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Walking in the Dark…

I have a routine when I get to the office… not unlike yours or anyone else’s for that matter.

When I get to work, I put away my jacket and settle my things as my computer boots up.

Certainly I need my coffee so I head down a long hallway to where the coffee is. I get in early so the hallway is relatively dark, main source of light is from a skylight near the half-way point but it is not nearly enough. I pass other associates and friends in the hallway as they are also in the midsts of their morning routines.

It’s a long hallway so their are light switches at the beginning, end and even middle yet nobody makes the effort to turn them on. Instead they continue to walk down the dimly lit hallway.

I always turn them on as it makes sense to me to do so… I usually get a smile, nod or ‘thank you’ from others sharing the corridor.

I can’t help but wonder…

They are walking down a dimly lit hallway which, judging from their appreciation when I turn them on, is not preferred. The solution to the problem is not hidden, it is readily accessible yet most people won’t make the effort, if you have to call it that, to remedy it. It seems they would rather walk in the dark.

I don’t get it. Are we so wrapped up in our lives or confined to our roles that we can’t make the effort to fix things? Do we think it is not our jobs? “No worries… Mike the maintenance man will flip the lightswitch on later when he gets a chance” or “a manager will take care of it.”

We all have our central ‘core’ responsibilities at work and at home but we are part of a team regardless. It does not take much effort or sacrifice to make an incremental impact on progress.

For me it is a matter of pride and common sense. I value my family and the company I work for and look to impact positive change where I can. While only a symbolic gesture, flicking on the light switch represents my willingness to contribute to the team, willing to go beyond my ‘job description’ to help move forward… to help the company to grow and be the best there is. It also makes sense… who wants to walk in the dark?

The Marriage of Q and U (really, this is a thing now)

Lately I have been talking with some of the “younger” moms who have little ones in daycare, preschool and primary school. Seems odd, but they turn to me for advice because I have “experience.”

Ha. I laugh because I have no clue what I am doing. Don’t tell my son, but I am mostly making this up as I go along. Sometimes I think, “what would Mom do?” and that gives me a little bit of confidence, but in all seriousness who among us has any idea what we’re doing in life? I know I am attempting to raise a decent young man who will make his mark on the world with his genius and his altruism. But, I am totally winging it. I try to guide him and advise him, but I make mistakes. Lots of them. I look to my friends for their advice and their opinions regularly. We’re all just winging it, but it feels better to do it together, right? It takes a village.

I noticed that other parents were asking this question of me a lot lately – “did you ever miss out on the in-school events when your son was little?” Yes. I missed quite a few, even despite the fact that I had a pretty flexible schedule. Yes, I forgot to send him in with money on book fair days and Mother’s Day plant sale days. Yes, I missed a few “in class” occasions and several field days.

I started thinking about all the occasions my mom may have attended when I was little. I couldn’t think of too many because way back in the day, we just went to school. Parents were seldom invited. I recall an in-school carnival when I was in 4th grade, but parents were asked to volunteer. They were rarely summoned to be an audience while we entertained them. There was no parent “reader” visiting our class every week. No one was there to suffer through our in-class recitation of the Gettysburg Address.

We did not have the “marriage of Q and U” or Thanksgiving turkey at pre-school. I remember pre-school graduation. Mom was there for that. Dad was in the military and out to sea, so he very seldom made it to the school day events. Few dads ever came to the graduations or carnivals. Presumably, they all had jobs while the moms did not. My mom was a career woman when it was rare. I was proud of her, though I recall people looking at me strangely when I told them my mom had a job. Not just a job, a title. Weird, to think about that now.

So, why are there so damn many occasions these days to call parents in and have them witness these minor events? I understand that the idea is to get parents more involved in educating our children, but why do these events all occur during the workday? Teachers work outside the home, correct? Don’t they miss their children dressed up like little old people for the 100th Day of School or wearing a weird hat for Dr. Seuss’ birthday parade?

Yes, it’s okay to teach little Johnny that Mom and Dad won’t be able to make it to all these parties and parades. And, Mom and Dad learn that they have to let their kids down once in a while. But seriously, why? Why so damn many in-school events? The parents who are least involved in their child’s education are more than likely the ones who won’t be able to show up for this crap.

As a single parent, I implore the educators among us, to stop. JUST STOP. Schedule your art shows, guest readers and Pi day festivities for the evening. Or, better still keep it in school and share a video with us. It is the digital age, after all. Seriously. We’ve had enough. Make the special events really special by limiting the number of “special” events you schedule for workdays to 1 or 2 a year. Thank you.

Eulogy

For the past 13, nearly 14 years I have had this nagging need to get some closure. Because my mother passed away so very quickly and unexpectedly and because the world was in turmoil that fateful day in New York City, Washington DC and Shanksville, Pennsylvania – and because my mother was the one who held everything together when everyone else was falling apart, I did not deliver a proper eulogy.

We had a few lovely services for my mom, during which I was asked if I wanted to say something. The truth is I was a weeping, blubbering, crumpled mess and couldn’t pull myself together enough to utter more than a few words without breaking down. My mother and I had an extraordinary relationship and losing her was overwhelming. Now add to this enormous loss the fact that I was pregnant, and you can imagine how my emotions were running rampant. Now add in the crippling feeling that the world was spinning out of control on 9/11/01 and everything was upside down.

I never got to talk about how amazing my mom was. But as I begin to think of all the wonderful things my mother was, I have come to realize that perhaps she didn’t need a eulogy. The people gathered at the services were her closest friends and family. My closest friends. My two brothers’ closest friends. My dad’s closest friends. Mom’s numerous “adopted” children. Mom’s grandchildren. These people all had the honor of knowing my mom.

Some of them knew her as the kind woman who was generous to a fault. Some of them knew her as the woman who warmly embraced everyone who walked through her door. Some of them knew Mom as the woman who invited everyone to Sunday dinner. Some of them knew her as the woman who rolled up her sleeves and pitched in any time, anywhere. Some of them knew her as the lady who loved holidays and spent days decorating and cooking in preparation for every holiday, even St. Patrick’s Day – and we are neither Irish, nor Catholic. Some of them knew her as the impeccably dressed intelligent banker and business woman. Some of them knew her as a spitfire kind of gal who liked her scotch and cigarettes and was fond of a dirty joke, which was quite funny coming from a woman whose outward appearance was so prim and proper. Lots of people called her “Mom” and genuinely loved her. So, I realize that as we all came together to remember her, a eulogy may not have been necessary. Everyone loved her and remembered her in their own special way.

But no one knew her like I knew her. Few people got to see the fragile side of Mom. Few truly knew the young mother who was married to a military man who spent months at sea, leaving her to care for two young children on her own. A very select circle of friends knew the woman who cried alone behind closed doors because it was hard to make ends meet and even more difficult to hold it together in front of the rest of the world. Few got to see sadness in her eyes when she spoke of losing her beloved dad at the age of 13, when she needed him most.

Even fewer got to see the pain in her heart when she shared the story of taking her ailing mother on her crappy 2-day honeymoon to look at some stupid steam engines in Pennsylvania – boy you sure did know how to romance Mom, didn’t you Dad?

Hardly anyone knew her as the woman who found out at the age of 25 that her entire life had been a lie. She was not the person she believed herself to be. Mom had discovered she had been adopted. She dealt with an identity crisis while nursing her sick mother through her final days, all while she was pregnant and basically on her own. But, as I said, few people saw this side of Mom. I was one of the select few who truly knew the depths of her pain and appreciated the spark of life that extinguished that pain time and time again.

Most people knew Mom as the formidable woman who never let fear hold her back. She was an intrepid traveler who loved to make plans at the last minute and just go. Together with her best friend Patty, she ventured out with no money and two young children in search of simple fun. And, she delivered. I never realized when I was young that we “went without” because we never seemed to be in need of anything. Our bellies were always full. Our beds were always warm. And, Mom was always smiling, telling us everything was going to be alright. Mom was not a woman who would let a beautiful sunny day go by without getting outside to enjoy it. She fully embraced the idea of stopping to smell the roses. She understood that life is indeed much too short.

Mom was famous for her picnic lunches. I remember sitting in the picnic area of many different parks and family attractions chowing down on fried chicken and home made potato salad, savoring every delectable morsel. It never occurred to me that I may be missing out on something scrumptious from the concession stands at these places. I was always content to have Mom’s home cooking. I now realize that Mom’s culinary adventures were her attempt at bringing the carnival fun home and keeping within a budget. I wonder if she knew the life lessons and valuable education she was giving us while trying to create some fun at home.

She tried her hand at everything and let us help. We made funnel cakes, doughnut holes, and churros just like the ones at the traveling carnival.  We scarfed down chili dogs like the ones at the beach hut concession stand. We enjoyed sausage and peppers just like they served at the Italian feast. She was the queen of Belgian waffle ice cream sandwiches. She could whip up a shake better than any soda jerk at the local Friendly’s restaurant.

Mom’s house was the epicenter of fun in our neighborhood. We rode our bikes over the lawn, wearing down a path around the swing set and jumping over plywood ramps. We camped out in the tent on warm summer nights – okay, so the girls NEVER made it past midnight before we creeped each other out talking about bugs and wondering what all the scary noises might be, but Mom was waiting when we came inside with all the makings of S’mores which we cooked over the flame of our wood burning stove, even in the heat of the summer.

Sure, she complained about the ruined lawn or muddy feet, but she forgave us eventually. She used to warm scarves and mittens in the clothes dryer while we played outside in the snow, so when we came in for hot cocoa, she would swap the wet ones for toasty dry ones and then she would venture out with us, digging deep tunnels in the snow for us after shoveling the driveway by herself. We pitched in, but in all seriousness we all know how well a 5-year-old shovels snow, right? She would roll giant snowballs and stack them three high for us and give us a carrot stick and odd buttons to make a face for our “Frosty.” She was the quintessential suburban mom.

But, she was also a neat freak and a bit, shall we say, anal retentive? Somehow, she balanced her obsessive need for cleanliness with the ability to have fun. She helped us build countless blanket forts in the dining room and living room. She let us make pinatas in the kitchen. Play-doh was always allowed. When we were old enough we had chores and we couldn’t have “fun” until the chores were complete.

Saturday morning was dusting and vacuuming time and the whole house was cleaned from top to bottom, with Mom finishing up on her hands and knees, scrubbing the “no wax” floor. Then lunch. Then our Saturday adventure. She’d pile us into the old station wagon and her best friend Patty would ride shotgun and we’d go someplace perfectly ordinary, but Mom and Aunt Pat would make it fun. We would go on scavenger hunts through department stores. We’d be sent on “secret missions” in a craft supply store. We’d pick through the piles of “irregular” socks at a flea market or search for cans without dents at a salvage store. No matter where we ended up, it was usually a lot of fun. Then home to a warm and hearty meal.

Every once in a while we’d have enough money to actually go “somewhere” and do “something” like the Bronx Zoo or an aquarium. And, if our planned outing happened to be a washout, we’d put on our dime store ponchos and weather the storm. I soon discovered this was a great way to see lots of local attractions. The rain kept everyone else away and we’d have the whole place to ourselves.

When we got a bit older and Mom went back to work full time, we still had our Saturdays. Mom would be at the bank on Saturday morning, leaving us to complete the chores alone. She’d be home for lunch and then off on an adventure.

These days, I think about Mom a lot. Her smile. He intrepid nature. I am trying to be like Mom or at least live a life that would make her proud. I am not as organized as I’d like to be, but in all honesty, I think I’m doing pretty well. I try to be adventurous and I would love to have the hustle and bustle that Mom had when we were kids. I don’t know if I have it in me to be the perfect hostess. Okay, so Mom wasn’t a perfect hostess and that’s what made her entertaining so easy. She just cooked from her heart and everyone just showed up.

This may just be the year that I finally get my shit together and jopen up my heart and my home without caring that things are not perfect. Now that I am learning to leave the past behind, I  can start to imagine the future. I wish Mom was here to share it, but at least I know she’d be proud.

 

 

notoriety

When we began this blog, I had the idea that I would chronicle my life as a single parent raising a brilliant child. As it turns out, raising a brilliant child as a single parent is more time consuming than I estimated.

Okay, so I never estimated the time as I never planned on becoming a single parent. I never planned on a lot of things that have happened. (That’s life, right? It’s what happens when you’re busy making plans, or something like that.)

A couple of years have passed since I became a single parent and decided I’d like to write a blog, and I have learned a lot. I have loved a lot and I have worried more than I probably should. This is hard work; single parenthood.

Being a single parent can take many forms. Here is my version. I was suddenly, without any warning whatsoever launched into single parenthood in a split second. My partner, my child’s father was ripped from our lives without giving me a chance to prepare. I have no child support or alimony and my son has decided to sever ties with his father altogether (but that is a topic for another blog post, or several blog posts).

My parents have both passed away, my in-laws are gone as well. So here we are, my son and I, facing this world alone for all intents and purposes. Sure, we have friends and family who support us and they are a wonderful bunch of kind-hearted, sweet-minded, well-meaning folks. We could not make it without them. But the nitty gritty, day-to-day crap, that’s all on me.

To make matters more difficult, what my ex did to us was earth-shattering and humiliating as he had a massive public meltdown. His notoriety taints every aspect of our lives. Every. Single. Aspect.

You wouldn’t think his actions could be that far reaching, but truly, they are and it is crippling. Somehow, we work through it.

I hold a considerable amount of anger and resentment toward the man whom I once loved. That anger is never more seething than the times I see my son struggling or hurting. I blame his father for the struggles. It’s not entirely right of me to do so, but damn it, he hurt us and the hurt keeps burning. The wounds are deep and they are compounded by the notoriety. I never realized what an ugly word that is, but there it is, in our faces every day. We can’t forget it. The world won’t let us.
That is not to say that the cruel people of the world, and unfortunately we’ve met a few, use the notoriety daily. But it is always there and it taints everything we do. Every good day is tempered by its ugly, dark, ominous presence. It’s like a virus that underscores everything we do, all that we are or all that we ever hoped to be.

We wear it like an ill-fitting jacket. It would be wonderful to unzip it and slip it off. Just peel it off and leave it in the donation bin. No, strike that, I wouldn’t want anyone to have that jacket. Not even the cruel people. It’s that ugly.

Let’s put this into perspective, shall we? Imagine that you are a brilliant student and creative and funny. You could really make a mark on the world and teachers like to nominate you to receive awards and accolades, but you shy away from the recognition and positive reinforcement because there it is, behind every good feeling, that awful biting, terrible notoriety.

Now consider the assholes of the world. There are a few of these in middle school, right? The assholes know about your family’s shame, they hone in on it and see how much it hurts you, so they take every chance they can to rub salt into that wound.

Yes, I could take my son out of this situation. We could sell our home and move. He chooses to stay because his friends are here. His life is here. I support his decision. I admire his strength.

I wonder and worry about his future. How many times will he back away from something spectacular and life-altering because he’s afraid he’ll be recognized?

He doesn’t want to be called to the front of the assembly for fear of being heckled. He doesn’t want to have fun with his friends in the school cafeteria for fear he’ll be recorded and have those recordings used to bully him on social media.

He censors his life. He stops himself from being himself. He closes down. I hate what is happening to him. I hate that horrible, terrible word. He doesn’t deserve this.

I am so filled with anger I want to lash out and wound his father. I want to reach out and hurt the little assholes who wield the shame like a sword. The scars of this will endure. Notoriety is not something a young teenager should understand. It’s not right. It’s not fair. And worse, I can’t change it.

 

Your life is not a movie… the big epiphany is not coming…

From wikipedia:

“An epiphany (from the ancient Greek ἐπιφάνεια, epiphaneia, “manifestation, striking appearance”) is an experience of sudden and striking realization. Generally the term is used to describe scientific breakthrough, religious or philosophical discoveries, but it can apply in any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective. ”

When I think of an epiphany, I am think of the end of that definition. ‘Any situation in which an enlightening realization allows a problem or situation to be understood from a new and deeper perspective’.

While certainly trying to live my life, I think I have been also waiting for some big epiphany. Like in the movies, this magical event happens and suddenly I know exactly what I want and have the energy/drive to get it done. A family ‘not so much of a friend’ told me a story of such an event and kinda hoped it was something that happens.

He’s a putz, a drama queen and certainly took his excessive share of poetic license.

Life is not guided by these giant epiphanies… the magical moments you see in a movie or read in a book.
I have come to the realization that my path is made up of micro-moments.

They guide and reassure me of the path I continue to create each day.

On the Eve of Your 13th Birthday

train boyAs I sit here on the eve of your 13th birthday, I am thinking of wisdom I wish that someone had shared with me when I was your age. No, I am not going to write some lengthy discourse for you to memorize. I just want you to know a few things that may help you get through life a little easier. What can I say? That is my job as your parent. So, here it is, my advice. I know you didn’t ask for it, so you may take it or leave it as you wish. Just know that all that I do, as imperfect as I am, and as haphazard as it may seem, I do so simply because I love you. Know that I always did my best for you, even when I made mistakes, I tried my best and that is all I can ask of you. Just do your best.
So, there is number one – whatever you do, give it your all. Don’t waste time giving something only part of your attention. It’s okay to fail. In fact, fail often. It is when we fail that we begin to understand what we need to do to succeed. If you start a project and your heart isn’t in it, the end results will show your lack of focus. That’s just wasting your time. Life is short. Don’t waste time.

And, that leads me into the second bit of advice. Time. It really is precious. I know you are in a big hurry to grow up and “do things” and “be somebody” and “leave your mark” but honestly, I know I say it an awful lot, growing up isn’t all that it is cracked up to be. I also know that my words (on this subject anyway) are completely meaningless. But if you could just remember every day to take a few minutes and metaphorically smell the roses, you will have a much richer life. I am not kidding. It’s true. Whether you actually stop and smell the roses is completely up to you of course, but I wholeheartedly suggest that you literally do this, too. You won’t be disappointed. Other ways to “smell the roses” will change as you mature. Perhaps today it is reading a good book or drawing a sketch of a cartoon, mindlessly completing a jigsaw puzzle, or even gazing at the sky watching clouds drift by. There is a lot to be said for slowing down every once in a while. It’s cathartic. Some days it’s like getting to hit a “reset” button. Other days, it’s just a way to not lose your mind and choke the crap out of someone.

Onto my third bit of advice. Don’t choke the crap out of anyone. Yes, you will meet people who will utterly disappoint you and/or annoy the shit out of you. You will meet some insanely stupid people who make you question how they manage to bumble through life, but the truth of the matter is, everyone has a story. Don’t pretend to know theirs. Exercise a little tolerance. Treat others as you wish to be treated. I know you already know this, but it’s good to be reminded every once in a while. We all deserve respect and we all deserve our dignity. Never look down upon anyone, ever. It shows a lot about your character when you belittle someone or try to make them feel inferior. Even if someone has mistreated you, please try to be the bigger man and simply walk away.

Don’t say or do anything you will regret. This one thing my mother told me that has stuck with me my whole life – don’t do anything that you would be ashamed to be doing if your mother saw you. Hopefully this keeps you from making some insanely bad choices. You are entering your teen years, hormones do crazy things to people. Consider yourself forewarned. If I could see you, would you be embarrassed or proud? If you can’t walk away, fight with honor. Don’t say hurtful things. Argue your point and be passionate, but don’t be a jerk. The world is full of jerks. Stand up and be a decent human being.

Standing up for yourself and standing up for others is an admirable quality. So, this is my fourth piece of advice – don’t be a bystander.  The world is full of people who just sort of let things happen. Sometimes not acting out or speaking up is just as bad as intentionally being hurtful. When you see someone being bullied, speak out. It takes a lot of guts to stand up to bullies, but know this, if you speak up others feel empowered. No one likes a bully, but often people just accept it, because standing up is hard to do. Know this too, that bravery is about being scared, but following through anyway. Being unafraid is not the same thing as being brave. As you become a man, you’ll find lots of times when you need to be brave and I hope you seize the opportunity to face your fears and experience the exhilaration of taking a leap of faith.

Which leads me to number five – don’t literally take a leap of faith. Teenagers do stupid things to impress their peers. Yes, you are smart and wise beyond your years, but seriously, remember you are human. You have bones that break and flesh that can tear and internal organs that you can not live without. You are my only child, my heart and soul, and the most important person in my life. Taking stupid chances that could lead to death and/or dismemberment is not advisable. Seriously. Think twice before you try to outrun a moving vehicle or attempt to cross the tracks after the gates have gone down. The split second thrill isn’t worth the risk. Also, remember that once it’s on the internet, good luck getting rid of it. Pictures, videos, texts, whatever you put out there has the ability to come back to haunt you. And it will.

And lastly, when you love, love with your whole heart. Be kind. Be good. Choose your words wisely. Face to face conversations really show the person that you actually care about them. You will fall in love, possibly many times, and you will have your heart broken, hopefully not many times. It will hurt, but you will heal. When you are hurting, do not say things you will regret. Do not say things in anger and frustration. People you love will often make you angry. And you will also make them angry. Sometimes that anger comes from passion. Sometimes that anger is just anger. Learn the difference. Always apologize. And lastly, whoever you bring home to meet me will never be good enough for you in my eyes. Know this though, whoever you love must treat you with respect and love you; faults and all. They must also respect me. They may not love me. They may not even like me, but they must treat you right and show me respect. I will do my best to respect your choices, and that includes your significant other. I make no promises though because after all, you are my son, and as I already stated, no one will ever be good enough for you in my eyes.

 

 

I lost so much.

It snowed again.. can’t remember how many storms we had this year… its been a blur.
Normally I don’t come over to the house to plow the driveway and a path for the dog but I got out early today and came over. Nobody was there when I got there so I went straight to work. You all came home when I was almost done. I was in a suit and coat not in snow gear so I could not join them as you played in the snow in the back yard. I watched from the picture window…

It was like in the movies. Like a Norman Rockwell painting came to life. You and our two girls… and the dog playing in the snow, throwing snowballs, rolling around with each-other. At least for those moments, you all looked so happy and carefree. I guess those moments happened when I was still ‘at-home’ but I can only remember a handful.

I was numb for most of the time as I watched. Everyone saw me eventually and waved. The numb turned to pain. I lost my family… wait… you took my family. You made it so unbearable and unhealthy for all of us that I had to leave. You took them from me. I should be in that painting. I wanted to be a part of that movie.

An Open Letter to the Mother of My Son’s Bully

Dear Ignorant Mother,

Okay, maybe ignorant is a bit harsh. Perhaps I should address you as “oblivious” mom or “preoccupied” parent. In reality though, I have no right to call you names because I don’t know you. I don’t know anything about you. I jump to conclusions about you because I see how your kid treats my son and I want to believe that you are a horrible person. You’re probably a nice person and had we met when our children were in preschool or even in kindergarten, I am certain the circumstances would be different. Perhaps we may even have become friends.

But, we have never met, so here we are, and I am addressing you as the mother of my son’s bully. That’s also not a great way to make friends, but then again, I don’t know if I want to be your friend. I mean, who would want to be friends with someone who has raised such an awful, hateful kid?

You may think that you are doing a pretty good job raising a decent human being. You may believe that your kid is a “good” person. I am here to tell you, that you are wrong. A decent human being would not be outwardly, openly mean to someone they don’t know. A good person would ask, “Hey, how are you doing today?” instead of shouting “Hey dude, I am going to beat your ass.” A decent human being would not take some tragic event from my child’s life and ridicule him because of it. A good person would not shout insulting names at a stranger for the amusement of others. Your kid is not a decent human being. Your kid is not a good person, and so it stands to reason, you are not a good person and you are not a decent human being.

But, in order to assume those things about you I must jump to conclusions. You know what happens when one jumps to conclusions? They end up behaving like your kid.

You see, what your kid thinks about my child is based completely on jumping to conclusions. Your kid doesn’t know my son.

What your kid sees when he looks at my son: a small, weird boy with strange ideas and a bizarre sense of humor who dresses in unremarkable clothes. Your kid takes a look at my son and sums him up as an easy target for his dastardly bullying. Your kid knows one important detail about my child, that my son has survived a terrible event that left our family shattered. Your kid views this information as a weak point and a spot that he will zone in on so he can torture my son. Gee, what admirable qualities your kid possesses. You must be so very proud.

Here is what my son’s friends see when they look at him:

A gifted visionary with creative ideas that take shape by way of drawing comic strips and storyboards…

a sarcastic, avant-garde satirist with a wicked sense of humor and a sharp wit who can turn his ideas and characters into elaborate stories with clay and Legos and stop motion animation…

a brilliant scientist who learns by conducting experiments and exploring the world around him every chance he gets…

a skilled go-kart driver who mastered the art and science of drifting by the age of 7, who earned adult driver status with his skills by the time he was 11…

a car enthusiast with an advanced knowledge of super cars, muscle cars and all things built by Mopar…

an adrenaline junkie who loves to race karts, dares to ride the tallest, fastest roller coasters and skis black diamond courses…

a big-hearted philanthropist who takes on causes for all things great and small. He often rescues insects and amphibians. He raises money and awareness and dedicates his time to charity so he can make the world a better place…

an amateur astronomer who knows the difference between asteroids and comets and finds Neil deGrasse Tyson very entertaining…

a water-park aficionado who never met a water slide he didn’t like…the scarier, the better…

a marine biologist in training who studies the creatures of the tidal pools and marvels at the complexity of nautilus shells…

and a thoughtful fisherman and boat captain who sometimes enjoys standing still almost as much as he enjoys going fast…

What I see when I look at my brilliant son:

a snarky, opinionated smart guy with an infectious laugh who is a joy to be around…

a sensitive, hilarious young man who has an uncanny ability to imitate virtually any sound he hears from engines to musical instruments, who greets every day with a smile on his face and an eagerness to tackle new challenges…

a smart, clever teen who wants to have fun and hang out with his friends without being tormented by your idiot kid.

What my son sees when he looks at your kid:

a physically imposing kid with a dark, mean heart.

What I see when I look at your kid:

a shallow, smart-mouthed wimp who is afraid that people will see his faults…

a cowardly jerk who can’t control his impulses…

an entitled little prick who thinks athleticism and brand name labels are all-important…

I see the douche bully from every 80s teen movie – Biff from “Back to the Future”, Johnny from “The Karate Kid”, Greg from “Just one of the Guys.” Your kid is nothing more than a caricature to me.

It doesn’t make me proud to think these things of your kid, but we are jumping to conclusions here, right? I don’t know you or your kid, so I have to fill in the blanks with what little I do know.

As a mother to a mother, I wonder what you are doing that you have no idea your kid  behaves this way. Are you a self-absorbed ego-maniac? Or, perhaps you know he behaves this way and you simply don’t care.

As a mother to a mother, let me inform you, that you are failing at the most basic part of parenting – to teach your kid morals and ethics and above all, empathy. The golden rule, if you will, is fairly simple – do unto others as you would have them do unto you. You should have taught this to your kid before he was able to read or tie his shoes. Perhaps you did teach him this lesson, but you have failed to reinforce it. Now, at the age of 13 he needs to learn it all over again.

As a mother, I am sure you can understand this one thing that is paramount in my life – that I will fiercely, ferociously protect my child from those who wish to do him harm. I am certain you feel the same about your kid. So why then would you allow this behavior to go on? Would you like to see your kid suffer? Would it make you feel good to know that every single day your kid gets out of bed, goes to school and has to face a cruel and callous tormentor? I am sure it would really piss you off and I am sure it would break your heart to watch your kid go through such hell. I try very hard to contain my rage at you and your kid and your family. You may be good people, though I have not seen any evidence of it.

So, I ask myself and my friends, what kind of mother raises a bully? The answers we come up with are not very kind. It is so difficult to put ourselves in your shoes because we don’t know you. The general consensus is that you are the kind of parent who is failing at being a parent. After all, you are raising a bully.

Did you correct your kid when he was young and went around the yard smashing bugs or throwing rocks at birds? Did you brush it off when he kicked the neighbor’s cat? We struggle to understand how a parent turns a blind eye to this behavior.

So, we attempt to give you the benefit of the doubt. Let’s say you have tried everything you can to raise a decent person, but you find it increasingly difficult to reign in this behavior. If this is so, reach out for help. Your kid needs it. You need it. My son needs it. The other students at school need it. Ask someone to help you. You’ll be surprised at the resources available to you for the asking.

You see, while I have been busy showing my son how to treat people with kindness and respect and behave like a responsible young man, you have failed to do the same for your kid. I am trying to raise a person who will be respected and admired and who will go out of his way to help people. I lead by example and I am expecting great things for my son’s future. You, on the other hand, seem to be raising someone who merely “fits in.” Wow, what lofty goals you have set for your kid.

It seems you are content to have an average kid. It seems that you encourage mediocrity and conformity. And, while that is your prerogative, I don’t want your “ordinary” kid standing in my extraordinary son’s way. That is my right. That is my son’s right. So, step aside average kid and failing mom, and let my son live his life without you in it.

 

 

 

I am so mad at you… nothing will ever be the same.

You let me down…
The one person who I should count on to build me up while keeping me grounded…
The one person who was supposed to help me grow my strengths while helping me through my weaknesses…

You were supposed to help make me who I could be…

That’s not how it went.
I was always a disappointment.
Not like the rest of the “family”

Is that why I chase them constantly looking to them to reassure me I am part of them?
They are not family… they might have been your friends but I am not as close to them as you were.

I am constantly looking to secure a foundation. I am relentless in this pursuit. I have always talked about how I need to be happy at home or happy at work. The truth of the matter is that the foundation I was supposed to have was from you.

I have always idolized you dad.
Like the name of god. My god.

Things will never be the same.

Inspired by a scene from Suits but I am not entirely sure why.: http://youtu.be/2iGHsl5Uuho

Homeless… for the moment

15 years. That is how long we lived in the ‘Mc Mansion’ as people have tended to call this type of house. It was sold this week. Long story short, my x, kids, and dog are moving in with my mother while we are getting the new house mortgage stuff out of the way. The new house is much more ‘modest’ and suitable to their needs.

The Mc Mansion was built for ‘us’ at a time where money was not an issue, kids were only in the planning stages, and the problems that would eventually lead to our end as a couple, were neatly buried under the surface.

Post closing we have until Monday to be completely cleaned out of the house. Last night was the ‘last night’ so we all slept in the house on the floor as the movers took mostly everything. We worked to clean up and pack last-minute things all day yesterday and we will do the same to day.

There is a spot in the house I just love… from the moment I stood in that spot in the model home I knew it was what I wanted.
image

As the x and my girls sleep (its only 7am), this is where I am sitting. Tons of mixed emotions are in my head, and in my soul.

I moved out of the house over a year ago but I was so proud that I had this house. I knew it had to go, I make less than a third of what I used to. In the last few years, I redefined ‘house poor’. I did everything I could to cut costs in other areas… all in an attempt to keep my kids in this house.

I know what you are going to say (or think)… its not everything. I know this but I feel like I have failed most of the time. I will get over it because I ultimately know the ‘house’ does not matter. I also know what you reminded me of…’we will take our memories of this place with us’. In the end, the McMansion is only a place to live. There will be others and things will be better and more affordable.

With the McMansion gone I can close the chapter of very difficult (I won’t call it extreme) financial times and focus on starting a new life.

Wish me luck… I know I am off to a great start thanks to you.