A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away...
a scared and lonely man climbed into a station wagon packed with the few personal belongings he had and left behind his kung fu instructor, his therapist, his band, his ex-wife and kids (the kids would be coming along later), his parents, and the only home he'd known for 30 years and went to find his fortune.
The enormity of what he'd done settled in on him in the midst of southern Alabama-- lost, running out of gas, and with his cell phone dead, he suddenly realized just how alone in this world he was.
That was a year ago, today, about 2 am. The adventure was only beginning. I have spent the intervening time surviving the following: moving others out here, well-intentioned parental help, re-establishing authority with my own kids, integrating a new girlfriend into my family, getting the kids started in school and day care, finding places to live, finding ways to get the ex- out to visit her kids, teaching the kids to play basketball, soccer, and baseball, working substantial overtime, and occasionally pausing to take a shower and reassess the way I look at the world.
It's been a year. That went by fast!
Have you ever been climbing something, gotten about halfway up and paused, and been overwhelmed by the sheer insanity of what you'd just done? Looking down, you suddenly realize it's a LONG way down... as in "a guy could get killed out here" long way down... and looking up you realize you have an equally long way to go... and you're not sure if you can finish the trip because you're exhausted and thirsty and there are all these ants and sand in your shoe and mosquitos and bill collectors...
Sometimes letting go seems like the easy way out... sometimes like the only option.
But oh, what a view! You look at the way your kids have learned (sort of) to play together. You look at the way they are adjusting to school... when 2 months ago the principal was ready to hold them back for social reasons and now he's ready to pass them on. You watch your son get his first assist in basketball or the way your daughter is hitting a baseball on her first try. You watch them get excited about learning to hit a heavy bag properly or going down the fun slide at the local amusement center. You play squirt/bumper boats with them and get soaked because your squirter is pointing *up* so it shoots over everyone's head unless they are exactly 12' 3" away from you. You read to them and then your 6 year old starts reading to you. Your (then 3) now 4 year old successfully potty trains. Your about-to-be-2 year old starts going to bed on his own, you just hand him a bottle and a blankie and off he goes. And he starts talking, even if 90% of what he says is "that" (while pointing) and "knock knock" (because his older siblings WILL NOT STOP TELLING KNOCK KNOCK JOKES!AAAAAIIIIIIGHHHHH!!!!).
And you spend a night, every now and then, crying softly while your girlfriend holds you and tells you she loves you.
And you realize that, while things are harder than they ever have been, they are also better than they ever have been.
So you get up and do it again...
And the facts that your lease is up in 2 months and you still don't have a new place lined up, that you have a job that's straight out of "Office Space" ("I'm gonna need you to go ahead and come in on Saturday, mmkay? thaaanks..."), and that you are going to pay more for 45 hours of Childcare than you were paying weekly in child SUPPORT when you didn't have custody, don't quite take all the wind out of your sails and the boat moves slowly upstream, headed for the calm waters of the river's source... some 40-50 years down the road, most likely.
Happy first anniversary, Greenville. You don't know me, but I am happy to know you.
Posts: 3846 | Registered: Apr 2004
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It's great to read that, Jim. I can sympathize with the emotions, if not necessarily the exact specifics, of a lot of that right now...
Have I mentioned lately that I love your kids, and think they're awesome? (Of course, I realize that I don't live with them. But I've got an inkling you might feel the same. )
Posts: 21182 | Registered: Sep 2004
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Great post, Jim. I know a little of that feeling, since in the past 3 years we have gotten married, moved over 1200 miles (away from both friends and family), seen our parents retire and move more than 2000 miles away, both been offered promotions less than 6 months into our new jobs, payed off what had been the brand new car, as wel as over $5,000 worth of personal debts, and begun considering having children.
Hectic doesn't begin to describ it, but we are loving it.
Keep climbing man...you may never reach the top, but what a trip it will be!
Posts: 15082 | Registered: Jul 2001
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