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Posts Tagged ‘Kids’

This weekend I had the kids with me.  Saturday we ran by Kroger’s to pick up some stuff to make “breakfast for dinner” — something both me and the kids love.  While we were there my son Aaron stopped in front of the sushi bin and saw one of his favorite sushi rolls was there (apparently they don’t make too many and they sell out quick).  Anyway, he pleaded with me to get it for him, and I said we could pick it up and he could have it for lunch on Sunday.  After finishing the groceries, we put the bags in the hatch and head home, unload the groceries and I start on dinner.

Today — Sunday — we’re out running a few errands and Aaron’s in the back seat.  “Oh crap,” he says.  I glance in the rear view mirror and he’s holding up a plastic grocery bag.  “I left the sushi back here since yesterday.  Is it bad now?”

“Yeah, probably.  We’ll need to throw it away.”

“Awww…” He’s disappointed.  Then he adds, “Sorry Dad” after realizing that basically we just threw $8 in the trash.

I can tell he feels bad, so I just say “Well, we all make mistakes.”  I try to think if there’s some sort of lesson to be taught here, but he knows he screwed up.  I mean, I suppose I should have caught that the sushi didn’t make it into the fridge the night before, but the kids were helping me put the groceries away and I was busy fixing dinner, so I didn’t even really notice.  I just assumed the sushi was in the fridge and put it out of my mind.  I wasn’t thrilled to have thrown $8 in the trash, but shit happens.

It occurred to me as I pondered how to respond to the incident that some parents would have screamed their head off at the kid for it.  I’ve seen other parents do it out in public.  My own father might have very well made me feel like total shit if I’d done that.  And it was a strange feeling that I had in that moment, where I was grateful that my son had me as a Dad rather than someone who would have screamed at him over something like that.  Imagining an alternate-universe Aaron having to deal with that sort of reaction… just made me both sad and relieved.

At the very least I suppose the lesson there is something that’s important in how I live my life– don’t sweat the small stuff.  There’s no point in getting upset and angry over small bumps in the road that’s just a part of living.  Save that energy for the things that truly warrant it.

I did make a mental note to myself that, one day, when Aaron’s a grown man and maybe we’ll meet somewhere for lunch I’ll order the sushi and remind him he owes me one.  Hopefully we’ll have a laugh over that.

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I’m pretty sure I’ve written here before how having children so dramatically changes your perspective, not least of which has to do with regrets you may have had in life.  The steps you took in life, even the steps you may have regretted, ultimately led you to the path that brought your children into your life… and every day I see these wonderful little souls, these amazing lives that are growing and becoming more and more independent and curious, with dreams and hopes for their futures, I realize that even a slight deviation in my path to them might have prevented them from even existing.  It takes my breath away when I think back and contemplate how easy it could have been to take a different path, and so how can I regret the things I used to think of as mistakes and lost opportunities if they ultimately led me to these beautiful kids?

In the universe of previously-regrettable moments, there are two that are tied to one particular individual, an old friend I’ll call Mike.  Mike and I knew each other for years, but got quite close in high school and our early college years.  We had similar interests in nerdy stuff, were both smart and creative, and both rather big guys.  But while I tended to be more shy and introspective, Mike was outgoing and boisterous, which of course let him be much more successful with girls than I.

At one point in high school I went over to the house of a different friend of mine and met his sister for the first time, and I totally flipped for her.  I don’t even remember what I had gone over there for, all I recall was that his sister and I hit it off like long-lost soulmates.  We had a ton in common, we had a similar dark sense of humor and constantly laughed at each other.  While I tended to get extremely bashful around girls, something about her put me totally at ease, we kept constant eye contact, shared smiles, and by the time I had to leave she gave me a wonderfully long, lingering hug.  She was tall, long dark hair, a dazzling smile… I never wanted to let go.

I remember driving away in a daze, totally smitten… and in a quandry.  This was my friend’s sister!  In my circle of friends there were sisters who had gotten involved with friends and it usually didn’t end so well, and it tended to muck up the friend dynamic, often evoking the “protective big brother” response, which trumps friendship every time.

But… but… she was perfect! (more…)

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Today is one of those awkward dates in a recently separated/divorced person’s life.  You know…

The Wedding Anniversary.

14 years ago today, my ex and I said our vows in front of God, family and friends.  It was a lovely ceremony; we’d rolled the dice and crossed our fingers, picking an outdoor wedding at Maymont Park, and the weather was gorgeous.  The humidity was low, a nice breeze in the air, warm but not too warm.  Birds were chirping.  The very next day, the weather turned cold and rainy, but by then we were in the air flying to Cancun.

It’s certainly a bit sad now for me to think back to the man I was then, filled with all the hopes and dreams for our future together, and then ponder where we end up.  For many people, there’s probably a lot more emotion tied up in the Wedding Anniversary than a little bit of sadness, but that’s all there really is for me.

I recently had a nice conversation with Cdn Stormweather — who writes the awesome Life in the Dash Lane blog — regarding my previous post on a Reverse Bucket List, and she asked me if I died tomorrow, would I go feeling fulfilled and happy?  Certainly an interesting notion to ponder.  Yes, it would be easy to get caught up in regrets and other negative emotions regarding how the marriage turned out, but I have to say that I think I’d be fine on that front.

(more…)

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Being a Chill Co-Parent

I feel fortunate in a lot of ways.  I’m of an age where I see a fair number of friends and acquaintances going through breakups and divorces and most of them seem to be incredibly messy and full of hurt feelings and anger.  Thankfully, I don’t have that in my life.

Not to say my divorce isn’t laced with hurt feelings and anger, but those emotions are just a by-product of two people who came to realize that they no longer wanted to be married.  Those emotions aren’t driving our actions or consuming our thoughts like I see so many others going through.  They mostly flare up and annoy, if they need venting I’ll vent, but then I just let them go and move on.

Of course, we have two children that we keep forefront in our mind, and our number one concern is raising them to be happy and well-adjusted people.  Having two parents at war with each other isn’t going to help with that plan, and when I see a couple that’s split and has children and they constantly inject drama and high negative emotion into their lives, I just flinch and feel bad for their kids.

It made me feel a little better the other day, when I was talking with a co-worker and come to find out he was a single father.  I asked him how often he got to see his son (assuming as is usually the case that the child lived with his mom), and he smiled and said he rented a room from his ex-wife, so  he got to see his son all the time.  While I don’t think I could ever live with my ex again, we did share a hotel room for a couple days at the beach with the kids for vacation the summer after we split, and I spend the night on Christmas Eve so we can all get up and do Santa Claus together with our children.  We’re not a couple and not really friends, but we’re friendly enough and we share a love for our two little ones that gives us common ground and common interest in the way we interact through everyday and holidays.

I wonder how that dynamic might change when one or the other of us brings a significant other into the mix.  I’ve not dated and I don’t think she’s dated since we split… on my side, it’s not been because I’ve not wanted to date, but mostly because it’s so difficult to find time.  I’d likely make a really terrible boyfriend right now unless I find a gal who wouldn’t mind keeping odd h0urs with me until I find a roommate and can cut back on my insane work schedule.  I’m not even sure how I’d go about finding such a woman!

But one day it’s going to happen.   One of us will fall for someone and that person will become a part of the relationship dynamic.  And it makes me wonder how he or she might react to the fact that my ex and I aren’t at war, and we try to both share in our children’s lives as much as we can.  Will they find it awesome, will they find it tolerable, will they freak out about it?

What do you think?  Have you covered this territory before?  It’s uncharted waters for me, so any tips or tales ahead of time would certainly help.

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A special thank you to Catherine of the awesome blog Simply Solo for letting me write a guest post there, please be sure to check it out and then stick around to read her posts– they’re fun, insightful and great reads!

The post is called Spice of Life, and is about all the possible new firsts that await us when we find ourselves single again…

What are some of your favorite firsts?

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I was recently listening to a really fun & awesome podcast called Why You Suck In Bed, which is all about sex, love, relationships, and sex.  It’s really a good listen if you’re open minded and not at all prudish.  In this episode, the two lead hosts — both women, both divorced — were adamant about not ever wanting to get married again.  They both gave plenty of reasons for why they felt that way and have moved on in their relationships.  One is dating a man 15 years younger, and the other is having fun dating around, both men and women.

no ambiguity here...

Their “marriage sucks” perspectives got me wondering how I felt.  Would I ever want to get married again?  It was an interesting question.

Even though my marriage crumbled and ended, I haven’t been consumed by bitterness or pessimism towards love and relationships (though occasionally I can toss out some snarky comments for fun).  I still love Valentine’s Day, even though it’s been a really, really long time since romance played a role in the holiday (right now it’s mostly about the kids).  I find that I’d still love to surprise a special woman with a silly, over-the-top romantic gesture each February 14.  Ever since I started thinking about such things as marriage (shortly after discovering girls were very, very interesting…), I always assumed I’d spend most of my adult life as a married man.  Even after marriage #1 didn’t work out, in the back of my mind I figured one day I’d find myself waking up in the mornings snug and warm next to a more compatible woman, wedding ring on my finger.

However, when I examine the emotions and my headspace around the topic of marriage, I find that it’s not something I need.  I mean, if I were my age and had never been married and never had children, I think I’d feel some sort of pressure or disappointment at having never accomplished either of those basic milestones in our modern human existence.  Having had two awesome children, I certainly don’t feel the need to have more, and having been married I don’t feel the need to get married again (especially not for the sake of getting married).  I suppose you could say I’ve checked those boxes off my bucket list.

check... check... hm...

That’s not to say I’m against either idea– if I found the right woman, I could totally see myself getting married again, and perhaps even having another child if that was something she wanted.  But if the next love of my life wasn’t interested in having children with me, or wasn’t interested in getting married, I’d be totally fine with that too.

In a weird sort of way this ambivalence is really liberating.  I’ve always felt that bi-sexuals had it pretty good– they got to chose awesome people from both sexes to possibly date and have relationships with.  Similarly I guess I could call myself bi-relational:  I’m up for dating women who might want to get married one day, or women who never want to get married.  Either way is cool, so long as our relationship is healthy.

You & me, babe

I suppose if I found another woman who felt the same way as I do, it could really lead to a more interesting and mature relationship than I’ve experienced before– one where we’re not really looking at future milestones we’d need to be checking off over the years, but one where we can focus on us, the here and now, and what makes each of us happy, healthy and loved each day.  To live and love in the moment, with no loftier goals than each other’s happiness and well-being.

Hm… isn’t that really another way of saying “friends with benefits?”

this movie seems so much more appealing without Ashton Kucher in it...

I suppose it could be… but that phrase seems to be tied to younger folks who are looking for care-free sex without complications of love.  I’m talking more about care-free love without the complications of an agenda, structure, a timeline, or artificial expectations.

Maybe one day when I wake up in the mornings snug and warm next to a more compatible woman, our hands entwined… we’ll have promise or “fede” rings on our fingers instead of wedding bands– not proclaiming our marital status but rather our commitment to love, friendship, and loyalty.

hand in hand

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