I haven’t written anything of substance since I wrote the eulogy for my mother some three months ago. I wrote both the eulogy and then another thing reflecting on writing the eulogy, neither of which are going to be posted here at this time. I will say though that I am grateful for the support of friends and family throughout the process of dealing with the death of my mother. I have written about it, though as I said, I think that this space, whatever it is these days, is not the space for that. The aforementioned eulogy and the subsequent reflection were, for me, rather difficult to write, and in all honesty, put me off writing at all for a while. For whatever reason, I feel the itch tonight.
I think that I am exactly where I want to be.
If you know me even a little, especially from the old days, you might know that that is kind of a big deal for me to say. I spent a decent amount of my life wondering what I was supposed to be and who I was supposed to be and where I was supposed to be and the like. I spent a decent amount of years trying to figure that all out, as we all do as young people I imagine. It just always seemed to be something I struggled with a lot and I looked for myself in any number of people, places, things and ideas. There were good years and there were angst-filled ones, much I expect like the lives of most of us who are now looking at the other side of forty.
That said, I find myself, after celebrating my fifteenth wedding anniversary, with the same young lady I’ve been with for since I was ninteen, as I look at the life we have built with our three amazing children, kinda just now growing wise to the fact that I just might be, exactly where I am not only supposed to be, be exactly where I always wanted to be. And maybe I’m who I want to be too.
I always wanted to be a Dad. Always. I always felt that call even as a young man at a school that encouraged otherwise, I always knew that I wanted to be a father. I had a lot of jobs over the years, including dishwasher, lawn mower, deli clerk, sandwich maker, mail guy, lawn mower again, garbage man, tour guide, camp counselor, bartender, teacher, theater guy, teacher again, bartender, waiter, school administrator, waiter, athletic director, assistant principal, stay-at-home-dad, waiter, bartender, waiter.
I’m still kind of several of those things, but I am something else now which is difficult for me to admit as I think about it. It’s something I’ve never really been, well, at least not something I’ve really admitted to you all or that many others in my life.
I have always been afraid to say it. I’m afraid to say it out loud since that might jinx it. Saying it out loud might be the thing that heralds the big tragedy or something else bad happening. There were times where I felt like saying it, felt like shouting it out to the world, and bad things did happen, perhaps coincidently, but maybe I jinxed it? Some things that happened? Well, my dad got sick. My life changed. That girl broke up with me. I stood up for myself in a school district and I got shown the door. I thought I was handling things well and wasn’t and all of the people that cared about me noticed and I couldn’t handle it and I lost them all. I found work but they didn’t quite get me and I was kind of an ass about it. I took things too seriously and made an ass of myself. (I kinda did that one a lot.) It always seemed like those things happened just as I reflected on my life and said something, but, what is it? What is it I’m afraid to say?
It’s really a number of things-it’s part “I’m ok” and it’s part “I’m good now” but in the end, and honestly, I feel some genuine nerves even typing this, as I worry that I am jinxing myself or tempting fate. Honeslty, I do feel those nerves but I’m going to say it. Strap in.
I am exactly where I want to be. And, I’m good. And I’m ok.
Now, yeah, I’ve had a lot on my plate of late and am sometimes overwhelmed by the stuff we manage with the kids and their school stuff and activities. I left a lot of drama behind when I started writing this blog as part of our move to Hawaii. I left my old career and life behind and focused on family-being a stay at home dad and then finally realizing that I am a restaurant lifer. But I think I’m good. Yeah, I see a therapist now and then, but, seriously, for a $20 copay, it’s a bargain at ten times the price. I’m fine with that as she seems to think better of me than I am naturally predisposed to do. And there’s been a lot to manage with my mother’s passing and there is more to deal with still, but I’m doing my best. And for the first time I can recall, that’s just fine. I’m good.
And it’s fine for one reason. I’m good and it’s all and manageable for one reason. I am where I am, and I am exactly where I want to be and where I am supposed to be because of one person and her impact on my life.
I get nervous saying it and thinking it as so many other things I used to think and say, when they really mattered, ended up changing. I suppose, if my thoughts and feelings and desires really could mold the world around me, I would have a very different life now than the one I have and I like the life I have. The Eagles would have won at least one Super Bowl by now…
That said, I have the life I have because my wife chose me. She came up to me in the dining hall and never allowed me to get away. I was a hot mess back then, but she grabbed me and refused to let me go. I still don’t know what she could possibly have seen in me but she saw something in me and almost 22 years later, she’s been proven maybe not right, but at least not totally off base as I’m not a complete waste I guess, and what’s more, I’m really, for the first time, really good with where I am. I think I’m right where I want to be.
That’s still scary to even type for me, which in many ways why I think it’s important for me to write this now.
It’s not always easy, but the kids gave me such joy today when they all played together for hours. They all enjoyed being with one another and with some of the issues our children deal with, peace and togetherness can be a rather difficult to come by. There were a few moments of loudness, but we didn’t need to intervene. They managed. The youngest was the driving force-she wanted to play with her older brother and sister. I could feel it and they did too. I don’t know how much time they have left where they will do that in quite the same way, but I think we have, amidst everything else, created a home where that kind of connection is really ok and good and encouraged and something to cherish. I think we’ve created that. I know they will have their conflicts but I want them to love one another. I know they do that and when I see them actually like each other too, that’s a testament to what we’ve built here. And when it’s good, it’s really, really good. When it’s good there is nothing better anywhere.
And that’s the truth of all this-and I hope it all doesn’t fall apart because I’ve jinxed it, but we are here because my wife saw something in me that she liked and accepted and thought was good. Regardless of who I was and who I thought I was, I’ve grown. No small thing. But I think I’m good here, where I am, and who I am, and what I am. It’s scary to say. I hope the sky doesn’t fall. But if it does I know I’ve got the right people around me to try and hoist it back up again.