Jun 29, 2009

Life…the week of June 22

It’s been a tough week and I’m worn out. At least for now it appears that next week will be a total opposite. Next week should be quiet and relaxing…I hope.

Last Monday I put my Teen on a flight out to see her paternal grandparents to fulfill a promise I made her when the adoption process began. I was weary about sending her out of the state until the adoption was final but she wanted to see her Bio Dad’s family. As part of the final adoption we put in language that any visits to see his family would be with the paternal grandparents, they would be the ones responsible for her care. I sent the flight information to them about a month ahead of time, then confirmed about a week prior. The Teen and I packed bags and headed for her 6:35a flight out to see them and I saw her off at the flight gate. A couple of hours later I got a text message (the only way teens seem to communicate) that she had landed. I was thrilled; I didn’t ask her to call or text me she took it up herself to do so…for her that is huge! About 10 min later I got another text, nobody had shown up to claim her. I started making phone calls while trying to keep her calm and finally got in touch with her grandmother at the office. A few minutes later a call from Bio Dad as he was at the airport with his father. They said they’d been there for a while looking for her (now 30min on the ground with no contact) but hadn’t been able to locate her.First of all SHE HAS HER CELL PHONE! And secondly, this airport has two terminals…yeah TWO! It’s not like they had to search LAX or something to find her!

It’s my opinion that they showed up late and were alerted of my phone calls which in turn prompted their call. After reaching me they found her, and 45min after her plane landed she was on her way. I’ve sent her a few text messages through the week and she seems to be having a good time. I just feel like they go out of their way to make it obvious that they don’t really care. They go through the motions and say the right things, but it’s the little things that speak volumes. The options to take her to dinner while their in town, and they refuse. The prior chances to visit her when not court ordered…not even thought about. Some times it’s hard to not say negative things about them around her, but I know she’s almost old enough to see it all for herself.

Tuesday was a fairly normal day, and Wednesday should have been. The A/C service man came out for the semi-annual tune up on our A/C units. He was only there for a little over an hour and it all seemed well when he left. Thursday was our night at The WARM Place so we didn’t get home until late so we didn’t notice much about the temperature in the house but Friday it was HOT! It turns out that whatever the service man did on Wed during the preventative maintenance has us sitting in the heat now. He’s coming back out, of course, but it could never be soon enough. Even with the larger downstairs unit working the house isn’t cool so we’ve been out to eat and anywhere I can think of that will entertain the kids and keep us cool.

Thursday at The WARM Place the topic of dating was brought up and how to deal with the children’s emotions when a widow/er begins to date. Since this is a topic I’m not ready to discuss (at least publicly) I was pretty quiet, and the fact that I was the only male in the room this week ensured I didn’t say much! It was nice though to hear what these women had been going through and how they’ve dealt with it. I have really started enjoying my time at The WARM Place despite my strong hesitations to going originally. But like any time we go the “triggers” are always there in abundance so it’s always a demanding evening for me.

We’re gearing up for the July 4th weekend and the kids are looking forward to seeing their cousins. We want to get out to Nonnie June’s and over to Mindy’s parent’s for a little bit, but it’s looking more and more like we’ll have to choose just one. Either way we’ll have plenty of fireworks and fun. I hope your Independence Day we’ll be as fun as our should be; and I hope we can all stay cool in this summer heat!

Jun 24, 2009

Princess Ballerina

Runtime 5:57

The video may be a bit long for some, but I couldn't help it. I'm so proud of my little princess. This was taken last week at her recital and I wish I could make her smile that big everyday! A huge "THANK YOU!!" to Aunt Jen for helping out with hair, make up, costume changes, etc. She took the best pictures too. I'll try to post a few a little later.

You were brilliant little Princess. What a graceful little dancer! I absolutely love watching you dance. You remind me of your mother more and more every day.

Jun 21, 2009

Father's Day

In 2001 I was working third shift in a call center for TXU. One warm spring morning Mindy woke me up around 9:30am; I had just fallen asleep after working a double. She crouched down next to the bed and said "Honey, your going to be a Daddy." I opened my eyes and tried to mutter some response but I was exhausted. She let me fall back to sleep and we celebrated later that afternoon. I'll never, ever forget that groggy morning when I found out she was pregnant with Sugarbear. Father's Day with my Teen had always been a special day, even before that morning. The adoption spurred feelings similar to that morning when we finalized that whole ordeal. But it's something special to know that you brought a life into this world!

Father's Day is one of my favorite holidays and Mindy always made it a big deal (as I tried to do on Mother's Day). I have numerous T-Shirts from the kids that have "Daddy platitudes" on them that I usually wear all through June. Last year the Friday before Father's Day I bought the kids got me a motorcycle for Father's Day and I had pictured Mindy and I cruising around on it all over the place. As it turns out she only rode with me twice.

This year the day was still special, and thank you Chick-fil-a for the "Father's Day Chocolate Shake"! I think I have the greatest kids in the world and they have been so strong for each other as well as me. Even when the Teen rolls her eyes while I enjoy my free shake. But it's just never the same without my strongest supporter in my corner. This is another "first". The first Father's Day as a single dad of half orphaned children. And it's tough thinking about how great it is to be a dad when the woman who brought all three of my wonderful children into this world is no longer apart of it.

I can't help but think that my words sound like a broken record...

I miss her, she's gone.

I miss her, she's gone.

But it's odd that it's the same description but it's not the same feeling. It's the same symptoms (your throat gets tight, your eyes water, your stomach knots itself up, etc.) But emotionally it's not the same; each one of these "firsts" are a little different from the last. This one wasn't preceded by the usual anxiety of a coming holiday without her. This time the bottom fell out when I went through my Teen's bag as she packed for a trip to see her paternal grandparents. As per usual teenage logic she didn't pack enough clothes or other essentials and just planned on wearing "...whatever". We talked and I explained some things to her and the whole time I'm thinking this is a mother/daughter conversation. I can do this; I will do this. But if Mindy where here I wouldn't be doing this; she would. It makes me so thankful for all my wonderful sisters in-law that help out. It takes a mix of all of us to even begin to fill Mindy's shoes in these kid's lives and that point is what got me tonight.

On August 5, 2008 I loved Mindy more than I did February 11, 2000. Today I miss her more than I did August 6, 2008. We had a successful marriage...I'm confident in saying that now. We talked about divorce a few times; it very nearly became a reality once. But we never went down that road. Someone once told me that it doesn't matter if you think you married the right woman or not. If your married, she's the right woman. After all we went through, and we put each other to the test on occasion, we CHOSE to stay together. Mindy had issues that she couldn't overcome but I was no saint. I pulled my fair share of stupid acts and put her in some tough spots myself. But this Father's Day I'm just thankful for my beautiful kids, and I miss my wife terribly. I wish I could just tell her how much better of a husband I should have been and that she was always the right woman for me. I wish she could appreciate how difficult it is to fill her void in our lives. She often was under appreciated and I just wish she was here to see what I see in retrospect.

I miss her, she's gone.

Jun 15, 2009

Dream a little dream

Last night I was thinking of the last post I read from Crash Course Widow, and how I may have lost some focus on this blog. I want it to be a record that my kids can read years from now and understand what we went through the years after we lost our wife and mother. Along the way I’ve used the blog to help myself work through thoughts…to organize the clutter in my head. But I looked back and one of the busiest months was May with the kids having activities going on left and right. Yet I put up only four posts. Not that I have a quota or something, but it just seems like if I’m going to capture what life is really like for us now, I need to capture all of life. I use this as my pseudo anonymous space to vent, but I also use this as a sounding board to capture my memories of my late loving wife. If the kids are really going to relate to any of this I need to include some of what is going on in their lives also…I think.

Today was a nice, and quite full day. I woke up a little earlier than normal with a vivid memory of a very bizarre dream including Mindy. At the end of the dream she’s laying in bed, fully dressed, under the covers. I’m walking down a hallway and see her and jump onto the bed next to her. In the dream we’re not married but we had been (sort of like now, only with her alive) so I give her a quick kiss and she smiles at me. I start to say something and…I wake up. I headed into the kitchen and fixed some breakfast which the kids mostly ignored as we got ready for church. After the church services we had to run to the other side of town to get Princess to an extra dance class before her dress rehearsal tomorrow.

When the dress rehearsal was done we were all little grumpy from all the running around. The last thing I wanted to do was head home and lounge at the house with three grumpy kids. As it worked out I got a text message on the way home to invite us out to the lake. I quickly worked up a list of things we’d need in my head and we ran home to change clothes and grab an ice chest full of drinks. We spent the next several hours with good company in good weather. My sister in law even joined us for a while too! Although she got caught in a little fender bender and probably wishes she could’ve missed out on that.

Tonight as I sit here pondering life’s direction I can’t help hope that I find my way back into last nights dream. I know it’s just a dream, but it seems like I get another chance to talk to her. To hold her hand and feel her beautiful curly hair brush against my face. It was such a vivid dream, the kind that makes you question your reality and I want to get back. Time doesn’t heal wounds, but a little time dreaming is like getting a local anesthetic. If time does heal wounds, it must be only the small superficial scrapes and bruises. For the real painful ones, the broken hearts and irreplaceable loss, you live with the scar and the pain is always just below the surface. I doubt there is any amount of time in this world that can make this feeling go away.

I look forward to my Princess’ dance recitals and summer nights with the kids cooking out and heading to the lake. Mindy would’ve loved that. It’s passed time for my Teen to learn to water ski and I think the kids have just about talked me into getting a puppy. With all this up and coming there should be plenty of less selfish rants to fill this space.

Jun 11, 2009

Can the night get any longer?

The kids have started their summer routine. They are staying with my sister in-law for the week and it’s been a very awkward week. On one hand it’s nice to come home and see that the only mess I find is the one I left that morning. It’s nice to be able to get a few little things done that are more difficult when I’m toting around the children. But on the other hand it’s unsettling to not have them right at my side; to have the house be so quiet. I’ve always known that my children help me immensely in dealing with Mindy’s death, but it is becoming more obvious just how much.

Initially I thought that with the kids out of school and staying across town for a few days that I could get a little more time in the office and get caught up on things. That has yet to work out. The last few nights I’ve ended up an exhausted lump on the bed. Too tired to do anything substantive, and yet not quite able to fall asleep. I thought the nights were long in the preceding months but the when you reach the point where night is now morning you know your in for a long day. When that happens on sequential nights…well it’s been a realy long week.

I knew that if I got up one thing would lead to another and I’d be up all night.; it always works that way. I think I can just do that one load of laundry, or just get the various Wii objects (remotes, games, etc.) back into place. Before I realize it I’m going full steam and the night escapes. But that isn’t the case this week. I’ve laid in bed staring at nothing in particular as my mind raced for hours at a time. Last night I fell asleep near 3a only to wake again at 5a, then again at 6a. Finally I just got up and out of bed to get ready for work. That was one of the better nights of the week.

Initially I thought I did the right thing to quit the anti depressants. I didn’t really notice any positive change. But now I’m wondering if I just coincidentally stumbled onto grief’s easy street for a few weeks. Maybe I was just too busy trying to make it to the Kindergarten graduation, plan a birthday party, and run around my Teen and her friends to notice that things hadn’t really changed. I’m contemplating giving them another try but I’m hesitant.

So here I was again, in the dark, wondering how my life will play out in the following years.

I’ve come to grips that while death is an event, it’s one that changes your whole world. It gives you new perspectives on a lot of life’s twists. It makes me more appreciative of things I once took for granted. It makes things that were significant in my life of before seem petty, and the reciprocal; making insignificant things of that life seem heavy. I have finally settled with the idea that I will never have that life again. I had clung to statements that time could heal, given the right actions and circumstance. Maybe the statement is true, just my definition of heal doesn’t fit.

I always felt that God gave me the gift of endurance. I’ve never been the fastest or most flexible in nearly every sense, but I could always find the steam to keep going. For the first time in these last couple of days I’ve really questioned my ability to keep this up, and not just because of the lack of sleep. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not giving up or admitting failure. It’s just the first time that I can’t fathom at least one scenario of life that seems acceptable.

When I ran my first half marathon I wasn’t sure I could finish. The longest run I had completed prior to the race was 5 miles. As I passed the 6 mile marker in the race I wasn’t any more confident that I could reach the end. It wasn’t until I was about 500 yards from the finish that I entertained the idea of completing that race. I felt like such a champion, I had met my goals. I wanted my wife to see me cross that finish line but she wasn’t there, but that could be another post in itself. She made it up to me though. She showered me with praise the rest of the day and nothing feels as good as a spouse lifting you up.

I think my recent doubt about my life now is that I don’t really have any goals. I want to be the best I can be for my children, I want to be there for them at every milestone in their lives to remind them how much they are loved, and how special they each are. But there is no path to run on, no mile markers to pass, no destination to reach. No spouse to cheer me on. It’s just today; and who knows how many more “todays” I have to complete. Maybe I’m just fighting against living in the past, or maybe I’m fighting against what maybe waiting in tomorrow. Either way it’s a long, long night.

Jun 7, 2009

Happy Birthday Princess

My youngest daughter turned 6 years old. She is a carbon copy of her mother in many ways. She has her facial expressions, her smile, her hair, and most endearing to me her creative mind. My little Princess thinks outside the box for sure just like her mother.

While I rush around making arrangements and picking out gifts I am never far from the thought that my little Princess is very much like her mother in so many ways. I just hope that I still have good parenting skills when this little one gets to be not so little. I want her to understand that the world is hers for the taking. Her big heart and generous spirit never cease to amaze me.

I love you baby…Happy Birthday!

Princess, Momma is watching over us and she is so proud of you. She is thrilled at how well you did in kindergarten and that you have become such a big girl. Never forget how much you are loved!


Jun 4, 2009

It’s a great day…shouldn’t there be more of these?

Today is the last day of school for my three little monkeys. I’m just as excited as they are because I’m so sick of dealing with the school district. They have had incredible teachers this year but the administration at both schools has had my head exploding! They won’t be at home with me tonight, they’re going to Mindy’s parents house. Which actually works out well and leaves me more time to put the finishing touches on an up and coming birthday party.

My work load at the office today was relatively light. There’s always the office politics about who gets to do what and when. In IT, everyone wants to be the first with the new toys! But it was nice to not have meetings about meetings and then scramble to get work done so it can be reported in the next meeting. I rode my Father’s Day Harley to work, as I do often, and it was beautiful out. I didn’t have much time but I found a short winding road near the office that makes for an enjoyable ride. While I was out on my ride/lunch break I stopped to grab a bite and an older man blocked me in with his Road King. I guess he thought the bigger bike could park where ever he wanted. As he was putting stuff in his bags I walked over to my bike and slowly got ready to leave, but he didn’t budge. So I started it up and not so gently made the loud pipes scream back at his large but quiet ride. He nodded my way and rolled far enough over for me to slide out of the slot. It was really no big deal, but it made me smile. He’ll probably have to go buy a new set of pipes now!

For now I’m looking forward to some time to myself over the summer, be it a few days here and there. But I’m cautiously aware that I may not be as ready as I think for the kids to spend so much time away. I have big plans to accomplish this summer on the days they are gone. If history is any indication only about half of it will get finished, but that’s more than I have now. I haven’t been on the anti depressant meds for a few weeks now. I took them for about two weeks and had no noticeable benefit but realized several side effects. I got my running shoes back out of the closet and let a few things at work slide. I don’t know which helped the most but I did notice marginal improvements. I still have some really crappy days, Monday of this week being one, but overall I think I’ve stepped up one rung on the ladder out of this pit.

I know that creeping up ever so quickly is the one year milestone. It doesn’t feel like Mindy has been gone 9 months and 29 days and just over 4 hours already. It feels much shorter and the “new first” triggers keep appearing. But want to think that if I can get past the first year, then I can make it past year two, and three, however long it takes before I get to see her again. For now, I’ll relish the good days and the insignificant events that make me smile; I’ll keep looking forward to my dreams of her and the better memories that randomly pop into my head. I’ll live life and try to really live life, so I’ll have much to discuss with her later.