Sunday, October 20, 2013

The last 8 months in a nutshell

I am writing this to explain to people the journey I went through in the past 7 months as well as to express my true gratitude for my friends.

Over my life I developed the ability to dream bright dreams of the future and convince my employees to follow those dreams. That ability led my to a lot of success in life. For a long time I thought I was the king of the world, I had the wife, the kids, the job, the car, the house, everything.

But that whole life was based on a 21 year relationship that was fundamentally flawed from the beginning and as we entered our mid-life it became more and more unstable.

I really have no one but myself to blame for what happened. I had the false pride to truly believe I could hold that unstable relationship together just from pure force of will. As the relationship became more and more unstable I invested more and more of myself into shoring it up; beyond reason, beyond sanity and finally beyond the point of no return. And when that relationship shattered I shattered with it.

At first I could not see anything but the pain of that shattering. I stopped dreaming about anything. I learned what it was like to live a life that was so bad that you could see preferring nothingness to facing another day.In the days that followed my family stepped in to try and rescue me. My oldest son grew up overnight and returned 18 year of love by refusing to leave my side. I am ashamed to say that my child lent me his strength when I had none of my own. My family tried over a long distance to help me also. But they were slowly losing the battle.

And that is when my friends stepped in to help:

It was a good friend who branded a message on my back so that I would never forget it. A message that said; win or lose, only I could conquer the pain inside me.

It was my friend and mentor who spent hours listening to me talk and had the wisdom to know when to work me till I dropped, when to deliberately hurt me by making me face reality and when finally to slap me across the head and tell me to master myself.

It was the best couple in the whole world who spent a Sunday letting me vent pain and sadness until I was finally empty and could face another week of life and who spent the next 7 months checking on me to make sure I was okay.

It was one of my friends who faced a far worse situation that I had with such grace and dignity that she made me ashamed of myself and broke me out of my cycle of self-pity.

It was a little wolf who pinged me one night on my phone and spent the following months snapping at me every time I doubted myself.

It was an old friend who reached out to me, gave me a safe place to find peace and to begin bonding with my new girlfriend

It was my friend in California who let me complain all the time and who when I truly hit bottom wrote me a text I still keep on my desk cussing me out and reminding me of all the things I had to live for.

It was my friend the Sadist who stabbed me in the hand with a fork one night and told me the next time he heard me feeling sorry for myself the fork would go through to the table.

It was all the couples and individuals who reached out to M and I to help me begin a new relationship and to welcome me back into their lives when I was ready.

And last but never least, it was the woman who became mine. The woman who had the courage, love and trust to believe in us and let me be with her when I was still struggling to be with myself.

As I emerge from all this I am not the person I was. I don't smile as much and I lost the easygoing agreeable nature that I had. There are still times when I grow quiet and stare into space trying to think of what I could have done differently. But in the end I have become a better man from the experience. Now I see that maybe I needed to experience what I did to allow me to rebuild myself. I don't think I am really there yet but, as a friend of mine said... every day I wake up one step closer to my goal.

In the end it is my friends that gave me the strength I needed to survive the experience and to learn to love life again and I will never forget that.

She is beautiful and she is mine

It is funny how sometimes at the darker times you find something you never expected. M and I starting going to lunch after my ex left me. At first I was so focused on my pain that I really did not notice this amazing person who patiently listened to me and slowly got to know me better. After awhile we talked more about us and less about my ex until I finally broke free. 

It is amazing how much we have in common. Suddenly I have this social life I never had before. I have a companion who is constantly by my side and loves me. I have someone who admires me and is proud to be with me. We support each other and take care of each other. Lol, she is the light to my darkness. 


We went to a pumpkin patch today. Chasing after 4 kids was a bit of a challenge but also a lot of fun. Getting all these kids to pose with a serious face was impossible so we went for all four silly faces. That worked out! It was a lot of fun. We picked out the perfect pumpkins and ate ice cream. Since it was 90 degrees here that was a welcome relief.

A new start

I think I am going to begin writing on this blog again. When I last blogged I was a happy husband with what I thought was a happy wife and four great kids. I still have the 4 great kids but not the happy wife, lol. She decided to exit our marriage and find happiness somewhere else. While I spent several months grief stricken by her decision I have begun to emerge from the fog and face the world again. I have a new relationship starting with a woman who looks to be away more compatible with me than my wife ever was. I have 2 extra children who hang out with us (hers) so now I am up to six! In the end I am stronger than I have ever been. I refuse to let my travails bring me down. I will face the world with strength and happiness. I believe in the end my ex will pay a price for not only what she did but how she did it. However, that is between her, Karma and God. I am moving on!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

When your child exceeds you

When I was in high school I played football. I would say I was not so good at it. I played the line and my entire technique involved hitting whoever happened to be in front of me. I rarely actually knew the play nor understood what was going on around me.

I went to a small church school that had about 300 students and our football coach was also the priest for the school. He tried his best but there was only minor talent and he really had no idea how to coach. So we regularly lost and when I finished high school I never played again.

Which brings me to my son. He attends a church school also. But his school has 2500 students. And a football team that USA Today has ranked #3 in the nation. Their entire coaching staff is ex-NFL, the Varsity is sponsored by Nike and two of their games this season were televised nationally on ESPN. To them football is deadly serious. Last year the entire starting line had a football scholarship to a major college.

They learn techniques that most players never see until college. Where I used to just hit the guy in front of me, they study footwork and leverage points. They understand deeply the technique behind the game at a level that no one on my team ever approached. They also practice 6 days a week and off season their days start with a 6 AM morning workout.

This year my son played JV. For the 5th year in a row they were undefeated. The offensive line averages around 250 lbs. One team refused to play against them because in the prior game 6 of the opposing players had to be carried off the field. During that game I heard on team mom mention to another that "we are going to need more ambulances". And in this highly competitive mix, my son was selected out of 60 kids to move up to Varsity in his sophomore year.

Which brings me to the title of this post. For the first time, one of my children is clearly better at something that I could ever be. Even if he never plays college level he is still a better football player than I ever was. Which is sort of a funny feeling. It is like the time when they finally beat you in a footrace even though you are trying (instead of letting them win).

I find myself un-bothered though. I am fiercely proud of all my kids and very proud of my oldest son. To know that he is better than me actually makes me happy in a strange way.

What I do worry about is if in my pride I am putting an expectation on him that he cannot live up to. At the skill level he is playing at kids are thinking college ball and beyond. There is always the temptation to use performance enhancing drugs to stay ahead. I worry constantly that he will be pushed into something stupid. Especially since at "only"220 lbs (at 15!) he is considered "small" for the position he is playing.

So I encourage him to play while constantly cautioning him against drugs and reassuring him that even if he does not play college he will still have had the experience of playing with people who he will eventually see on TV in the NFL. And that experience alone is worth something! He will always know that he got selected for Varsity as a sophomore and was a success in a very difficult team. I hope that is enough. For me I could not be more proud of him and I don't care if he plays college or not. I just hope he believes me.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

In South Florida we have Lobster Mini-Season. For 2 days in at the end of July you can go out and catch lobster (up to 6 each person). Regular season starts in August. It is sort of insanity. It has become this huge deal where it seems like half of South Florida (I may be exaggerating there) loads up on boats and hunts lobster. What makes it really funny is that many of them have no idea what they are doing.

This year three of us at work decided to go lobster hunting with our sons. So the six of us loaded up on my buddy's boat and headed out. I was inexperienced but my two friends were veterans.

Each morning we met at my friend's house and loaded into his truck. We then headed to a private dock we have access to (public docs are overcrowded on this day and take forever). We launched out by 6 AM and hit the water.

Day 1: We get out into Miami bay and the boat motor refuses to work. After about 2 hours of back and forth calls with my friend's boat mechanic we finally get it running and head out to the Keys. We hunted lobster until 5 PM that night. I was waxed. C1 was with me and that is as tired as I have ever seen him. We caught only two lobsters we were allowed to keep. No problem catching lobsters, big problem catching big lobster. We did manage to stag one huge 17 incher and one smaller one. It was a cool experience though even without the lobster. We had a barracuda swim right by us (mean looking fish), had a wild dolphin play around us as we swam, and saw a lion fish (highly poisonous fish). We stayed way away from the lion fish. It is supposed to be like being stung by a hundred bees at once. No thanks! C1 got stung by a jelly fish though which he suffered through surprisingly quietly.

Day 2: Better luck with the boat so we got out earlier. We decided to dive some reefs fairly far out. All the dads SCUBA dove and the sons floated on the surface looking for lobster. Again, caught 15-20 but had to throw all of them back. I did see this huge black spotted eel though. It looked and me and I swam backwards fast!

As my buddy and I were complaining about the lack of sizable lobsters I suddenly realized that people pay good money just to come here and dive these reefs. And here I have them in my back yard and I am complaining. So I finished the dive and just enjoyed several beautiful reefs. What was neat was that you just drive around the Keys and look for reefs. Once you fins one you drop anchor and dive in. Most of the reefs had no one else even close to us when we dove.

At the end the dads decided this is a new tradition. We are going to try and go next year also. Maybe we will have better luck. I know we will have just as much fun!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Lazy Summer days in South Florida

Well we just got back from our annual trip to Cocoa beach. I really love it there. Every day is so completely lazy. I don't wake up until 9 (which is unheard of, usually I am up before the sun). Then we either spend the day swimming or going to the beach. This year we also spent hours into the playroom where A and the RP lived. We stay at the Ron Jon Cape Caribe (you can look it up on the internet..awesome place).

So now we are back and yes you guessed it, back in the water! It is so hot that usually on the weekend we live in the pool. Then I cook dinner on the grill and we eat outside. The wonderful thing about living in the sub-tropics is that after the sun start setting the world cools down. So you have these wonderful evening breezes. We sit out by the pool and eat our dinner and it is super!

Other than that, not much going on. Still no hurricanes which is great! In other news, C1 is now driving confidently. We invested in a set of driving lessons for him and it has really paid off. He is confidently driving around. We picked up the Matriarch from her hotel recently and he drove her around! That was her first grandchild who could drive. So a great first! She survived the trip with only minor gasps and wimpers!

Oh yeah that is a rare picture of me (I am usually the one taking pictures) with the RP. I was trying to steal a kiss and she was having none of it. I have now officially gone on a diet after that picture. Time to get back to my fighting weight (though the shirt is sort of puffing out).