Feb 25, 2009

Bad day in the kindergarden kingdom

I walked in from work and Mindy's mother was holding Princess, who was sobbing and muttering words I couldn't understand. I was running a little later than usual because I went to see my counselor today. It was a quick meeting because I didn't really feel like talking; I have actually done pretty well today despite having little sleep.

Finally the words got a little clearer...she had a bad day at school. Her whole class got into trouble and couldn't play at recess and she missed a field trip. Now I'm not sure about her missing recess, but I know she didn't have a field trip today. In any case she was upset. She had apparently fallen down in the Teen's room just before I got home. But the fall was not why she was upset, it was just the trigger. She calmed down and Mindy's Mom left us to finish out our evening. We had a hodge podge of left overs for dinner...and I really miss left overs. I've been really hung up on food lately. But I'm off my point.

After dinner it was baths and a short stint with me trying to work while they sat next to me watching a little television. Next it was off to bed for them. Sugarbear actually went to bed the first time I asked tonight. He usually gets out of bed at least twice, but not tonight. Princess cried out for me about an hour after I put them in bed. "Daddy, my stomach feels like I have fever." she said as she started to cry again. I went through a list of symptoms to determine what she really meant and it turns out she was just hot so a quick wardrobe change was in order.

But that didn't fix it...so I turned off the lights and laid down with her for a while. Now here I'll tell you that I'm thankful that I had a good day today. God knew I would need it for tonight. Princess began to tell me how she missed Mommy. She remembers how Mindy would stay up with her when she had a bad cough and how they would go shopping together at all the "kid stores". Now I'm putting two and two together, but I'm still unsure of the whole recess issue.

After a little chat I start to get up and she says "Daddy, I thought you were going to sleep with me like Mommy did. She slept with me like every week." Oh man...now my head is spinning with all the memories. Mindy and Princess had a special bond as each of them did with her. But they got to spend time alone during the day while the rest of us were at work/school. She couldn't even do that with our Teen because she worked then. Mindy really liked being a stay-at-home Mom (some times a little too much!).

I had been dreading this night since Mindy passed...the night that Princess would ask me to fill her mother's shoes. I always imagined it would be after a fall with a scraped knee; calling out "I want Momma!" but it was more subdued. It was more poignant and heartfelt. I was much more painful than I wanted her to know. Even though I had been trying to prepare for this day for months now I always knew I wouldn't be ready. I told her it was okay to cry about Momma, "...crying makes you feel better..." I said. But as I say it I'm fighting back my own tears. I would give anything if Mindy could just kiss her face and tell her it would be okay; tell her that Mommy will always love her.

I feel so unprepared to make her feel any better despite my hours of thought on this very situation. We calmed down and I leave her to get some rest. I'll wait till she falls asleep and I'll go check on her again.

Mindy would rock her to sleep and then just keep rocking her till they were both asleep some nights. I'd get ready for bed and wonder where Mindy was; as I walked through the house I could hear that amazingly loud snore of Mindy's (she used to get so mad when I'd talk about it) and there I would find them. I would ask her to come down to bed but she'd always rock our baby a few more minutes first.

Man I miss her! We all miss her!

I love my children so much...but tonight, being a single Dad really sucks!

All is well this morning, I guess a good night of sleep is just what my Princess needed. She was bouncing around the house this morning singing and getting ready for school. Maybe she was just tired, maybe it was a really tough day for her.

Coffee is my friend

So I've been staying up late again (I did well for a week or so) and tonight is no exception. I really wasn't planning on posting anything tonight because I didn't really have much to say. But I always feel better after I vent a little; it feels like I've dealt with it a little even if it's unresolved.

Tonight I'm half writing to myself, and half doing 7th grade math homework; the Teen decided to tell me ever so casually as she was running up to bed that she had homework she hadn't done and she'd do it tomorrow.

Um...no. We'll do it tonight.

Thirty five minutes of crying and staring at the blank paper (no exaggeration) and we finally got started. Two hours in we're on problem ten of twelve. I think she hopes I'll give in if she drags this out. What she doesn't know is I've become a pro at running all day on only a couple hours of sleep. Not just in the last six months, but in the months before when Mindy would wake me up doing the dishes at 3am or turning the TV up loudly in the middle of the night. The meds she took, when taken right, messed with her sleep. The fact that she wasn't one to follow directions only made it worse. She was usually up most of the night and dragging along all day.

But its nights like these that make me wonder if I'll ever get this whole parenting thing down. I should've asked her much earlier if she had homework. I always do, it’s the first question when I get home. But not tonight, tonight it just slipped my mind.

We seem to get really close to getting into a good routine and then something happens. Last week I was doing really well at getting up and getting the kids ready for school and asking about homework. Then Saturday night I had to work. Most anyone in IT can relate to the late night remote sessions. Well, this one lasted till almost 5am. So I was tired all day Sunday but I managed to keep up with the kids. Monday was court...no sleeping in. So the routine I had is all but gone, replaced with the chaos of trying not to screw up the day as I wake up late. Rush the kids to school, rush to work and try to make up time so I can leave at a decent hour.

Work can be a hazard in ways I never expected. Like when your coworkers talk about how spouses do ___ or ___; but when you interject a thought the subject quickly changes as if they are doing you a favor. And I have a list of things to get done, very realistically less than 10 lines of code to write for a change to our system. It's been sitting here for almost a week now. I just can't make myself focus on it like I should and the longer I wait the bigger it seems to get.

Why does grief take an everyday task and interject overwhelming emotion into it? And how long does that last, a year or five or forever? And it's not always the same emotion; sometimes its anger or more often remorse. And sometimes it's just overwhelming sadness.

The one that really gets me is the numbness; the "ability" to feel nothing at all. Everything becomes so surreal and, for me at least, it's almost always followed by guilt. I feel guilty for being numb as if somehow I'm supposed to feel bad all the time. I know I'm not, I don't even want to. But as much as emotions seem to be stirred by thoughts, the thoughts don't seem to control the emotions. I know what should make sense. I know how most people think I should feel and that makes me uncomfortable; when I think I should be sad and I'm not, or when I don't want to be engulfed in grief and I am. It's so counter intuitive!

It's not always a photo negative of what I think it should be; for our wedding anniversary I presumed I'd be down...and I was. The day was okay as I mostly kept busy ignoring the calendar but the evening really got me. After dinner with N&P, sitting in bed watching TV alone, the kids all asleep, and pictures of Mindy pregnant with Sugarbear sitting on my chest of drawers. Feeling like I have to be perfect for me; for the three of them. But it's frustrating that it doesn't always make sense and it's not always that expected.

Maybe I'm just tired or frustrated by the adoption. Or maybe I'm worried about work, money, and the normal stuff. Maybe it's because I'm trying to do three full time jobs (Dad, Mom, and Breadwinner) but whatever the reason this has been a tough month. I looked to this month thinking it would be a milestone of recovery...six months and we haven't fallen apart completely; at least not yet. But it was a milestone of grief instead and with all the important dates at the beginning of the month it just hit too hard too fast. I'm ready for the spring to start. Everything seems to get refreshed and feel new in the spring.

Feb 23, 2009

All morning in court (Part II)

Here we go again; back in the same court room as the first hearing. Only this time we never made it up to see the judge.

Things in court today went well, but not as well as I had hoped. I wanted my attorney to tell me that this is almost over but instead I found out that it could drag out for a year or two if neither side is willing to give in. I wanted Bio Dad to realize that he’s case is weak at best and that he’s just throwing his money away. I honestly don’t know what he wants from this in the end. I know exactly what I want, to keep my family intact.

He’s coming by to take the Teen out to dinner tonight…my guess is that he’ll show up with gifts and take her to eat where ever she wants to go. Not that it’s a bad thing, but that’s all he ever does. He’s not a real father. He’s never taken her to the doctor when she’s sick. He doesn’t check who her friends are or, in my opinion, even care. He doesn’t call regularly to keep in touch with her; although that part I don’t mind so much. At one point in the past he was court ordered to call her…court ordered. Who has to be court ordered to call their kids?!? To make it worse…he only called 4-5 times then we didn’t hear from him for years. But it’s hard for me, because I know it’s hard for her.

Mindy and I used to talk about how one day our Teen would look back and realize how inept he has been in making sure he was involved in her life. One day she would realize that what he says and what he does don’t often match up. I think she’s starting to see that through these proceedings. She wanted to know all about what happened this morning in court when she got home today. I gave her the censored version that doesn’t include all my opinions. And I hope tonight at dinner Bio Dad has enough sense to not talk about it to her all night long. But either way, I’m okay with it because she’s smart enough to see through his words and look at his actions.

Really at this point I guess I have to decide if I am willing to settle with managing conservatorship or if I press for full termination of his rights and adopt. I’m leaning heavily to termination because I think it’s best for the Teen. But I have to be honest it’s hard to be certain if that’s what I want or what I really think is best for her. I hope the answer to both of those questions is yes. If I settle, this could all be over within a week, but I’ll spend the next five years dealing with him on visitation disputes and nonpayment of his child support obligations. And he would still have some, albeit limited, influence in her life. If I press on, I’m confident that I’ll win, but it’ll cost a lot of money that I could use to take the kids places, put to their college, or whatever else. I wouldn’t have to worry about his influence on her or what she does. If I settle now what message does that send to my Teen or does it have any impact at all? What impact, if any, does it have on my two little ones?

It’s times like these, as I ponder these potentially life altering details, that I’m thankful I have so many family and friends praying for me and the kids. And I just found out that more of them read this than I ever imagined; until just recently I thought it was just my brother and his wife. But I’m wandering from my point.

Along with the prayers there is action to back it up; Mindy’s parents have offered me a plan to get the Teen to/from summer school should she fail her classes. And there are so many teachers in this family…it’s really kind of ridiculous. Ridiculous that she might fail 7th grade with so much help all around her. And again I'm wandering...it’s not who does what. It’s that everyone is doing something and that continually amazes me. And you would be surprised how little the big things are sometimes and how huge the little things can be. Aunt Jen did laundry, and started dinner for us the other night before taking Princess to a Mother & Daughter PJ Party at the church. That was huge. It was the first meal we ate that wasn’t eaten in or picked up from a restaurant or fast food place and it was fantastic. She didn’t ask, or even suggest anything; she just did it because she knew we’d love it and it would be one less headache for me to deal with when I got home.

Would the Teen have family like this, so caring, thoughtful and attentive, if she were to have to spend a summer in another state with Bio Dad? I would have to say that I’ve not seen these qualities in what I've seen of his family, and I guess that’s part of what scares me. Children inherit so much from behaviors of their parents, and teenagers especially need to feel secure and loved while learning to stand on their own. Mindy wasn’t okay with our Teen spending that much time with Bio Dad, she fought him on it in court. She knew him much better than I do and she was uncomfortable letting him attempt to care for his own daughter. So I guess, through the process of working this all out for this post I’ve answered my own question. Maybe this was all just my lack of confidence rearing its head again; but in any case I know what Mindy would’ve wanted to do. And I know that she always wanted the best for our children. I’ll pray about it and let the answer be revealed, then no matter what happens I know it is the right thing.

Well, it’s off to the grocery store to replenish a few missing items, then dinner. I got to bed by 11p last night (early for me) maybe I can get a repeat tonight.

I would love a repeat of that tonight.

OK so it's now almost 2am...no repeat.

But I was reading Mindy's bible and I almost never get an immediate answer like this, but I know what Mindy would want; I know what our Teen wants. And I know what I am supposed to do.

There is a reason that I want to take the hard road here...because it's the right road to take. As much as I dread pouring money into this for legal fees and as anxious as I am for this to be completed, the quick and cheap route out of court is really the harder way to raise her. And if the last six months are any indication it's going to be tough enough without his interference. So I'll duke it out in the court room for the next year or so if that is what it takes. Compromising now and hoping it works out for the best later is too big of a risk to take with all of my children, and this doesn't just afffect the Teen.

Feb 19, 2009

Emotionally drained

I have dreaded tonight for the last few months. Group sessions, ugh.

The little ones were excited to go. Princess literally jumped out of the car and ran to the door when we got there. She thinks they have the best toys. It started with a Pot Luck dinner. We took roasted turkey from a restaurant, because I don't have much time to cook anymore; especially tonight. I raced home to get the kids and we made it with about five minutes to spare.

Our next visit should be less hectic thanks to my sister (in law). She offered to pick the kids up, get some food ready and make my life easy as pie next time we go. Thank you Aunt Jen!

The Pot Luck was okay. I have been craving Mindy's chili for months now. She didn't have a recipe; nothing written down. She just made it. I can't.

The kids went off into rooms with others of their age. I went with the adults. They started talking about what we can do for ourselves so we have strength to then do for our children. Are you kidding me, really, again with this? It's like I wear a sign that says "Tell me I need time for myself". I listen, half heartedly, realizing that my bias is creeping onto my face. We go around the room and tell each other who in our family has died and why. Then we take turns, for those who wish, to share the memory of the moment we found out/realized our loved ones were dead. The thought raced through my mind, “I’m not gonna tell these people anything. How would that help?”

Next thing I know I hear my voice, saying my thoughts. I realize that I don’t care who is in the room. I don’t care if they are listening or not. I just wanted to tell the story. I told it over and over in the first few days after Mindy passed but only to friends and family members. Oh, and the medical examiner and funeral home director. I can’t even yet bring myself to put that stuff on this blog; which is my pseudo anonymous corner of the web for dumping my emotions so they don’t consume my head space. And when I’m finished talking there is an awkward silence. As if I’m supposed to prompt them I’m done. Like a second grade essay paper that has “The End” on the last line as if the lack of additional sentences weren’t enough of a clue. Finally, a small voice from the other side of the room says "Thank you." At least I didn't cry and the lump in my throat wasn't so large that I couldn't speak.

Others shared their stories. I didn’t really pay attention, how selfish am I? Partly because I was consumed with my own thoughts; I hadn’t really thought of Wednesday August 6, 2008 and the breakdown of those events in quite some time. Also because after I finished speaking I was instantly tired and emotionally drained. I did find it to be a nice surprise that there were many Christians there; and others who have turned to the church after their loss. I assumed that talk of Jesus would be frowned on, I don’t know why. I guess the lack of any religious references on the pamphlets and website gave me that impression.

The little ones made pillow cases. Using markers they put happy thoughts on one side with gloom and doom on the other. One side is to sleep on, the other to punch when needed.

The teenager talked to a girl her who lost her mother and the father was in jail. They took turns asking scripted questions to one another. She reluctantly told me what she said to her after I very gently prodded her to open up to me. She asked me what the adults talked about. I told her I would tell her later, only because I was so drained I didn't want to get into it. Maybe this weekend, when I inevitably will have to recount this all for Mindy's parents, I'll have her listen in.

I still don’t know what to think of this place. I guess we’ll be going back a few times to see if it’s a fit, mostly for the Teen at this point. But I keep a careful eye on my little ones too, for signs they're struggling with Mindy's sudden death.

As drained as I am I had to get this posted tonight and get my thoughts about my thoughts down in writing. Tomorrow I’m going to try my best to avoid questions. Try my best to avoid emotions. At least the ones that I can keep half way controlled.

Now, if I can just get one more load of laundry folded I can crawl into bed.

Feb 18, 2009

The joys of the strong willed teen

My teenager is on a roll with this crap this week. Really, she's been at it for several weeks, it's just all catching up with her. She started off the week bad by ignoring my instructions Monday at Mindy's parent's house. I told her to stay off the Internet...so she got on the Internet and parked in front of the computer all day while I wasn't there. Tuesday it was back to school. She gets the same questions every weekday; do you have any homework and have you finished your chores?

Tuesday she answered "Yes, so can I go to __'s house?"

I like to say yes when I can, so off she went. A quick glance around the house, which I probably should've done first, and I realize she hasn't done her chores. So here I am trekking down the street to escort her back home. When I ask why she lied to me I was almost amazed that I didn't get the 13yr old standard answer "I don't know"; instead I got "I didn't want to do it."

So she finished her chores and the night ended with us upset at each other. Me, I got lied to...her...well she had to do something she didn't want to do, like cleaning up. Imagine that!

Now we're on to today, Wednesday; here's the part that really gets her in trouble. I checked her grades at school. She's failing three core classes and has missing assignments in four classes. So back to the "Do you have any homework?" question and the lying. After a lengthy conversation lecture I manage to come up with nothing more than I knew already. Nothing makes a parent more excited than to talk at a kid who is staring off at the wall!

I guess this is payback for all the times I lied about my homework. For all the nights my Mom stayed up late making sure I got my work done. For the summer spent in summer school to bring up my grades after slacking off all year.

Tomorrow is our first group session...Princess and Sugarbear are looking forward to it. The teen and I are not. But if it helps...it helps. Something has got to get into her head and make her deal with this. At this point in her life nothing that Dad says really seems to mean much (which just makes me talk louder!). I just want to get in her head and tighten all the loose bolts!

I wish Mindy were here. I'd make her deal with the teenager for a while. Oh well, it could be worse. She could be sixteen, or eighteen! Oh man...what am I going to do then??

The chemicals between us

I've was a big fan of the band Bush, and still like the music Gavin Rossdale is putting out. Lately I've been spinning his latest hit around quite a bit. And as I was driving into work today (my quiet time) I started thinking about some of the lyrics:

A thousand times I've seen you standing
Gravity like lunar landing
You make me want to run till' I find you
I shut the world away from here
I drift to you, you're all I hear
As everything we know fades to black

Half the time the world is ending
Truth is I am done pretending

I never thought that I
Had anymore to give
You're pushing me so far
Here I am without you
Drink to all that we have lost
Mistakes we have made
Everything will change
But love remains the same

It seems lately that I can ponder most any point and make it relate to me, in that instant. I guess I'm just grabbing at straws. Trying to hold onto what I know when it seems it's all slipping away. I read in another blog that having a spouse die was like an amputation of the soul.

Man did that phrase really hit the nail on the head.

Learning to do all the daily tasks to nearly the same level as before...but without all the resources. Without your other half. Feeling restrained and restricted because your helper is no longer there, but not wanting any help.

Needing help, but not wanting to ask.

Asking for help and feeling relieved.

And the further I drove in the slow rush hour traffic the thoughts just progressed. Eventually I stumble on the fact that with the loss of Mindy there has been a loss of confidence in myself. Mindy and I had a rough marriage...she was diagnosed with bipolar disorder after a second surgery to remove a pituitary tumor. But the symptoms where there even before. The tumor had been there since she was a teenager. Her struggle put the chemicals between us; made it hard for us to keep clear perspectives of our marriage.

I know how much she loved me, that she told me often. She used to tell me how brilliant I was, especially when I felt like I could do nothing right. She was my biggest fan! And like a great sports team or a big music act when the fans are gone, and the seats are empty...where do you turn for inspiration? Even when things got rough, we always stuck it out. She would cry and tell me how mad she was that I did __, or she would apologize for doing ___. We'd butt heads for a while and agree that for all the faults, all the heartache, all the tension...we still wanted to be together. Love remained the same.

Maybe my wise and helpful family keep telling me I'm doing such a wonderful job because they have noticed the void of confidence. Maybe others have been able to see what I just realized. Or maybe it's all coincidence and the support was just God's nudging them that I needed a good word.

But a loss of confidence is not so horrible or insurmountable. But now it makes sense to me why I've been second guessing nearly every decision. Sometimes I don't even notice I've done it until later, it's becoming routine. But I'll just keep doing what I've been doing; praying and reading His word. All the answers are in there. It's just that this is another realization of how much I really lost when we all lost Mindy.

I think amputation of the soul is a wonderful description. And I never thought that I had anymore to give, but now without her...there is so much I wish I could give to her. So for now I'll hold it tight, till He comes like a thief in the night.

Feb 17, 2009


This weekend was doomed from the start, I'm just glad that the Valentine's madness is behind us. Mindy never did like Valentine's much anyway...I loved that! We even moved our wedding a few days just to avoid Valentines. But Saturday I took the kids to see her and we placed some flowers for her. My Mom provided the flowers, they were nice. I couldn't tell you what type of flowers they were, I'll claim being a man for that one. But they were pink, and Mindy loved pink.

I noticed that my little ones could have cared less if we went to place the flowers...and the Teenager was noticeably upset. Not crying, making a scene upset; but the "I'm 13 and I don't want to talk about it" upset. I finally got it out of her later that evening that the prospect of me getting upset near her, in turn upset her. I can't blame her, I just wished she had told me earlier.

The next day we went out to my in-laws to visit. Mindy's father likes to give me advice, and I'm not one to turn down good information. But this time he told me that I don't need to go see Mindy, it just makes it worse and I need to move on. But I don't think he and I see it the same way. To him it brings it all to the surface and it's uncomfortable. For me, it's a way to release...to let go. I can get things off my chest and vent without any one's response. And it helps me to keep the memories of her, because I can imagine what Mindy would say to all my comments.

He also asked me "When are you going to get a girlfriend?" To which I had almost no response. I was not expecting that question to come from him. I think really it was his way of just saying 'When you want to get a girlfriend, it's okay with us.' The first thought that ran through my head was...it's only been six months. What would that say to my children about how I felt towards their mother? It's not like it's been a few years and the wounds have healed some. I do really miss being married, but I really miss being married to Mindy. Not to just anyone. But as I said, I think he had good intentions...the words just fell out all wrong. Never the less, the pot had been stirred.

Then we moved on, cause the conversation was getting a little deep and the tears were coming up in both our eyes. And for two men standing in a garage, surrounded by power tools and power toys, that's just not very cool. But the subject doesn't stray very far...now it's on to 'when will I take time for myself'. Um...that's what I went to Colorado for. I had a week of fun with the guys. No kids, no wives, no distractions...just fun. I think I'm good for a while, but apparently I'm the only one because this isn't the first time the subject has come up, and my side of the family is just as pressing on the issue. But I make a quick list of the times I've squeaked away, kid free, for a few hours and for now it's a quashed item.

We head inside and I get a proper lecture about how I need to step up my game as a parent because my Teenager all but refuses to pass her classes in school. Now I have to be polite, and what they were suggesting all makes sense and was meant to help. But I really just wanted to stand up and scream "Hey, there's just one of me here!" I poke and prod and ask questions about school all the time but I can't do the work for her. And when I force her to do her work, I can't make her turn it in. We've had teacher conferences, we've tried every imaginable punishment...but that is all a whole other topic that would fill a page itself.

The kids spent the night with them. I leave thinking I have a 200lbs. weight attached to my ankle. And I can't drag it or I'll disappoint someone.

My brother asks if I want to meet them at a local restaurant. So I do and got a little steam out, then I met the guys at a bar downtown. Then a bit more steam came out.

I went to pick up the kids the next day. The Teenager didn't follow my instructions, and Sugarbear ended up with fever and was vomiting in the night. Hey, is there a better way to end an extended Valentine's weekend then with willful defiance and sick kids?

Well, we head to our first group session this week. Another event I'm not looking forward to doing. And then next week I'm back in court for another hearing on the adoption. So at this point, I just hope that light in the tunnel isn't a train.

Feb 13, 2009


This morning the news was giving statistics of all the people in the Dallas - Fort Worth area that would "suffer" from paraskavedekatriaphobia; the fear of Friday the thirteenth. How they would not get out of the bed today, or they would go to great lengths to avoid everyday activities.

Now I don't believe in superstitions and I don't really care that the thirteenth day of the month happens to be a Friday. But I did find it a bit weird that today there would be more people who felt like me. People who go to great lengths to avoid certain activities or other odd behavior. And who am I to say that they are acting any more or less rational than I am.

I mean, I can't be the only one who rearranges furniture so they don't have to stand in the place the paramedics attached the defibrillator. Or stacks pillows in the middle of the bed so they don't roll over to the side where she slept. And some where out there is some one who knows what it's like to start to remind her of that inside joke only the two of you would get; only to remember in that same second that you can't. Or my favorite so far...not changing the entry in your blackberry so every time some one calls from your home phone it slaps you in the face with her name. And it would just take a second to change it...and so much has changed already. Why can't I just change it to say 'Home'?

I can't for the same reason I won't delete the emails she sent me, or the greeting on the voicemail. The same reason why photos and video clips have become so precious. Because I'm afraid that my memories won't be enough and I feel it necessary to hang onto the most insignificant things...just because.

It's not like I have an overbearing fear or depression. At least my counselor says I'm "dealing with this normally". But I found it slightly humorous that somewhere today there were people acting as strangely as me...for no other reason than the thoughts we can't get out of our heads. The fears that have no real reason, or substance to them...they just exist.

Feb 12, 2009

And the adoption goes on...and on

I hate writing about this adoption...only because I feel this overwhelming need to be censored. But it is really weighing on me. Our next court date is just over a week away and nothing has really changed in that time. Bio-Dad still doesn't call, doesn't write...doesn't anything. He did manage to send some CHRISTmas and birthday presents along with the presents his parents sent (wonder who really did all that?)

He still managed to botch that up. He bought my Teenager some clothes and they were all way too big. But then again how would he know...it's not like he's an active part of her life anyway. He did manage to get her a Sony PSP and a few games. The only thing that burns me about the PSP is that he can afford that but he can't pay his child support?

Don't get me wrong, we aren't starving without his child support for her. It's the principle really. He was ordered to pay child support when she was just an infant. She's a teenager now and he's $35,000+ behind and fighting me for custody of her. He was court ordered to call her on Saturdays (what parent has to be court ordered to talk to their kids?) and did that for about 3 weeks. I mean, in my opinion, it's obvious that he doesn't really care about her or care about having custody of her. I just don't know what is pushing his buttons to make him fight me so much.

And it's very scary to know that as much as my family has been ripped apart by Mindy's death, as we go on mending our lives and finding our way as our family minus one the threat of loosing another still looms. The decision as to whether or not the daughter I've raised since she was two and a half years old gets to stay in our household rests in the hands of a judge. And as capable and honorable as the judge may be...it's scary to have his decision make or break what I'm trying to hold together.

Well, as much help as venting can be, I guess that's all I can say for now. I can't wait until this is all said and done. I can't wait to have that 'Your Adopted' party to celebrate the fact that we get to continue being the family Mindy and I wanted us to be.

Feb 11, 2009

Happy Anniversary Honey...

I remember vividly standing across from Mindy. Holding her hand and repeating our vows to one another. I remember so much more than I thought I would ever be able to recall. But it's just another blessing.

The last few years on our anniversary I would tell Mindy this year will not be like the last, mostly because of the turbulence in our relationship. But I told her yesterday that for certain...this year will not be like the last. Last year I was able to argue with her. I could hold her hand as we drove some place. I could get upset when the kids tried to play off each of us to get what they wanted. This year will most definitely be different.

Feb 9, 2009


This morning on my way into work I listened to one of my favorite voices on the radio, Steve Brown. Steve spoke about nostalgia and how things aren't always the way you remember them. He said nostalgia is remembering the good and forgetting the bad. But I don't know that I agree. When Mindy passed away I made a decision to remind the kids of all the loving, caring, motherly things she did for them. And to not remind them of the lesser times we'd all rather not remember. It's not that I want to forget; although I wish my kids would forget. It's that I want to honor her memory and reflect on the good we shared. Mindy and I had a troubled marriage for sure, and I've been asked several times how I could handle a marriage like ours. But God never gives you more than you can bear. He knew the day Mindy would pass from this life, He just wasn't inclined to let me in on it. But He knew how much give and take there would be in our marriage and He blessed us with it.

God gave Mindy and I ten wonderful years together. Eight and a half we spent married, and pouring into our kids a foundation. Mindy was baptised as a profession of her faith on October 28th of 2007 along with my Teenager. So that foundation has some cracks, but it's solid. Nostalgia, in my opinion, is not forgetting the bad times, but choosing to find the good in them, or from them. I don't want to forget all the arguments and ordeals Mindy and I went through. But I do choose to keep those in perspective as I memorialize my children's mother. And the good times wouldn't seem nearly as special if they didn't have contrast. So when you're feeling a little nostalgic, do you take the good with the bad, or just ignore the bad?

Feb 6, 2009

Six Months and Counting

My life changed dramatically six months ago today. And as much as I wish I could treat this as just another day in my new life, I can't. And it's probably just me buying into my own hype about the day...but never the less, today is the day.

So I ask myself, what has changed in the last six months? What is better? What things do I still need to work on? Well, as with anyone being honest with themselves the list of what to work on is exhaustive. So for now I'll leave that plank alone and try to highlight some splinters I've manage to pick out.

So what is better; it's hard to say. I guess I've gotten better at being a single parent. I'm not great, but I get the kids to school in clean clothes with their faces washed. For the most part they have their homework done. They always know who will be picking them up on any particular day. And I like to think they feel secure and loved. We have found a night each week that we intentionally spend together, just the four of us; we eat dinner together almost every night. I know what boys my teenager likes and who are her best friends. I know how well my Sugarbear is doing in school and how his teacher is trying to find ways to keep him challenged. My Princess is starting to read on her own, and both my little ones are really opening up socially. So in all those areas I feel I'm better. Those are all things Mindy took large part in and I've had to add to my list of to do's. I may have gotten better at other things, but for now if it doesn't impact my kids then I'm less interested than I may have been before.

I don't know if death is easier to handle when you are older and wiser. Or if it's less intrusive if it's not a spouse, parent, or child. But I know the last six months have been the fastest six months in my life. I've felt like I'm running in thick mud...working really hard to not get very far. But I've been going to my counselor regularly, and the kids are going to group sessions. And I think most importantly is that I have a wonderful support system in my family and friends. So while the time is supposed to heal all wounds...and things are marginally better. I don't think six months is a significant milestone in the grieving process. I will go visit Mindy today with the kids...and again next week, just me, for our anniversary.

Maybe in another six months life will have a different pace, or maybe I'll just be more accustomed to this pace. Only time will tell, only God knows. My favorite radio personality says..."Prayer is the least we can do, and it's the most we can do." So I ask for your prayers for my family. Prayers that my children remain resilient, that my family support system continues to find strength to help us, and don't forget to pray that God pour out blessings on you for your want of blessings for me.