Posts Tagged ‘kids’

I’ve gotten away from blog writing.. maybe I’ll pick it up again.. but right now I feel compelled to write a few things. It’s (very) early on Father’s day and while my thoughts are fresh .. I just have to get them down.

My Father now lives up the street from me and he has only been there a very short while. But he’s been in my thoughts and my heart every day for as long as I can remember. He probably doesn’t know this because I am not the best at communicating it. I may actually be better at doing so subconsciously. I say this because I see my Dad in all three of my kids and I am pretty sure I don’t outwardly try to make them like him.

I attribute that to the way my Dad raised me. You see, whether we like it or not, we take on the traits of our parents in many ways. Some obvious, and some not so much. But I look at my life now, I look at my children, I look at my choice for a soul mate and all I can say is thank you Dad.. Thank you.

I look at my 3 children and I thank God softly in my heart for giving them to me and for giving me the honor of calling myself their father..

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You just wait one second there mister!  I never saw in the manual the part about me having to teach my kids what it’s like to be a good winner and an even better loser.  They are supposed to learn that through TV and the internet.  All I have to do is make sure they get fed properly, get a good education and make it to their 18th birthday.. then Daddy is OUT!

Ok, so I don’t believe that for a second really.  I’m just scared shitless at the thought that I have to come up with an effective way to do this.  My assumption right now, is that it’s an ongoing process and I will probably not stop trying to achive this until they are almost adults.  So, knowing this is going to be a grueling task, Im starting young.  My children are 9, 4 and 2.5.  I started with the 9 year old when she started swimming and playing soccer.  She made it seem relatively easy… but my 4 year old son smacked me with reality.  You see, this little guy hates to lose.. hates to lose at ANYTHING.. even racing up the stairs to get ready for bed or bath time.  Hates it so much that if he even comes in second, he’ll drop down and cry and complain.

The first time I saw this my jaw got stuck in the carpet.  I couldn’t understand why the hell MY little boy is wailing at the fact that his little brother (half his age mind you) beat him up the steps.  I mean, I gave the 2 year old a huge head start and he still almost lost.. c’mon kid.. suck it up right?  I’ll tell you how I began this life lesson in a minute.. before I do that, I want to reflect on something that I found profoud in current events.

If you are paying attention to the Winter Olympics even a little bit.. you almost certainly heard about the totally awesome US Hockey victory against Russia the other night.  I didn’t see the game myself, but I read about it and caught all the highlights. Being a huge sports fan..and once a huge hockey fan, I was totally enthralled with the details.  However, one detail caught me more than anything else.. and it really had little to do with the game. TJ Oshie scored the winning goal for the Americans and during an interview he was called a hero.  Rather than accepting that moniker like I think so many other professional athletes would have done.. he made a beautiful display of humility. In a single statement, Oshie showed our kids a perfect example of what it’s like to be a good winner.

Dejan Kovacevic who writes for the Pittsburgh Tribune Review Tweeted:

“Just had good talk with America’s newest hero. Only don’t call T.J. Oshie that. “The American heroes are wearing camo. That’s not me.”

You can Google TJ Oshie or you can do what I did and look up “real heroes wear camo” and find a ton of people talking about this.  One article I read is right HERE. It’s short and sweet and has a couple of links that are inspiring as well.

Like it or not, our kids look up to professional sports figures.  Much to the chagrin of many of them, they have this cross to bear, even if they didn’t sign up for it (remember Charles Barkley and this Nike commercial?).  Our job as parents is hard enough and now we have to try and explain to our kids why Michael Vick got in all that trouble.  Or why Richard Sherman is being called a Thug.  The Bleacher Report did a pretty neat job of compiling some good examples HERE.

So, back to my first real attempt at teaching my boys how to lose well and how to win well.  When the 4 year old finished his rant.. I sat them both in the tub.  I got their attention and told them that in every race, every competition there is going to be winners and losers.  IT’S OK TO LOSE!  When you lose you need to stand up and say “I’ll get you next time!!” or “Im gonna try harder so that doesn’t happen again”.  I also told them that when you DO win.. don’t do a happy dance and tease your opponent.  Say “nice job!” and throw em a high five.  I was quickly loosing sight of the fact that I am talking to two humans barely more attentive than a chihuahua.. so I had to bring them back to reality… I finished off with my version of the Hulk Hogan eat your vitamins schtick.

I told the boys the best way to help yourself win is to EAT GOOD FOODS (did I mention that my 4 year old thinks the 4 major food groups are Pasta, Pizza, cookies and Pasta?).  Even the 2 year old gets it.. I said hey #3, do you know what good foods are?  He says “MEAT DADDY!”  So I rattle off a few other good protein rich foods.. and then I said what else can you do to help yourself become a winner?  “Exercise and lots of SLEEP!”.. figure, while I’m at it.. might as well go hard.  By the end of the little speech they were reciting the foods and forms of exercise and even thowing in some of their own.. so I would say mission accomplished this time around.  At least until tomorrow, when we race to the top of the stairs again.

So, Mr. Oshie I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You struck a cord with me not only as a father of 3 aspiring winners but also as an American.  Our media outlets do like a feel-good story but they also know that train wrecks are far more fun to watch and are good for ratings.  We don’t see enough of this.. I for one, am hoping that you inspire a lot more folks than just me.

(top image thanks go to failblog.org borrowed from- https://i.chzbgr.com/maxW500/2942401792/hD60B407D/)

windy-road-in-the-forest-hd-widescreen-wallpapers--1024x768I am amazed at how being a father can be so damned rewarding.  By comparison to many, I am still a rookie as my oldest is only 9.  I have also been blessed with a 4 year old and a 2 year old.  My oldest is a girl and the other two minions are boys.

I have been told by many dad’s that becoming a father is the most important and wonderful event in a man’s life.  Prior to becoming one, I believed these guys but couldn’t truly appreciate it.  All I had to go by was being a son and that is just not a fair comparison.  For me the whole experience has been enhanced by the fact that our (my wife and I) road to parenthood was not easy.  Wanting desperately to have children and then physically being denied is a very tough thing to deal with.

It seemed like people all around us were getting pregnant.  When you can’t get pregnant you tend to experience this phenomena where everyone you know gets pregnant.  It’s almost like sperm is flying around in the breeze impregnating all the fertile women.  You would swear that if a random man and woman were to bump into each other they would be delivered a bundle of joy 9 months later.  Not for us though.

It was intense.  Just about everything I would see, reminded me that we were not allowed to have kids.  The doc told us we had a 1 in 1000 chance of getting knocked up on our own.  I had friends getting pregnant out of wedlock.  I had family members getting prego with their 2nd and 3rd kids.   It seemed like every God Damned TV show or movie out at the time was about babies.  Meanwhile, back at camp infertility… wifey and I were sitting down, looking at a calendar and planning which days we had to try and make shit happen.  In-between doctor visits, medication and the calendar  the joy of making babies was becoming a job.

What do you do when you are on a strict baby making schedule and good old Murphy’s Law throws an argument in the mix.  An argument that happens just an hour or so before bed time.  How the hell are you gonna get into the mood when you both want to rip each other’s head off?

Anyway.. let’s fast forward a little bit.  The Doc’s know what they are doing when it comes to fertility.  They got us pregnant finally.  Pregnant with twins!  What the ??  I want to be a dad..but I wanted to start one at a time.  I figured I would cut my own teeth on the first one..and that would give me enough experience to handle the next one or two.  By my logic, odds were my first kid might be messed up because of my poor parenting..but I could always make up for it on #2 if we were that lucky.  BUT TWINS?

It took a while, but I finally became used to the idea.  I think it was after we found out they were boys.  I began to bond with my future golf partners and really started to relish the idea of having two boys around.  Then Murphy entered the equation again.  I’ll spare you the gory details, but my wife and I ended up losing the twins.  We were quite a ways into the pregnancy so it was not a good time for us.  The following months were very painful.  I hated everyone and everything.  I doubted my faith in God, in medicine and people in general.

My entire outlook on life had changed that year.  Some would say it was just a maturation process.  Maybe so, but I tend to think maturing means you learn and grow from the process.  For me, more than just my sons died.  A piece of my soul died as well.  Even to this day, I have a very low tolerance for bullshit in life.  My internal filter is damaged as well.  I tend to call things as I see them more often.  I am quicker to judge than I had been before as well.  I no longer hate the world.. but I no longer trust it either.

Life is so complex and so interesting though.  Just when I was beginning to think that I had to accept the new normal, Mr. Murphy threw me a bone.  My wife had somehow, almost miraculously gotten herself pregnant.  The mailman was an old man..so I ruled him out right away.  We don’t have a milkman so that couldn’t be it.  I am pretty sure God wasn’t going to do the whole Jesus thing again so the only conclusion I could come to was that I must have gotten one past the goalie.

Completely natural.  No doctors were involved.  No medication.  Just some good old fashioned bumping uglies and viola my daughter was born.  If I could be so lucky at the casinos on 1000 to 1 odds, oh boy!  Not only did I feel like the luckiest man on the planet I was scared as hell that I now had a little lady to care for.  I know now that having a girl is extremely special for father and nothing can compare to the love I have for this little girl.  I can already see the bond that we have is strong and growing by the day.  I also see my love for guns growing too.  I am becoming quite proficient at the range and I can even do some pretty cool things with a knife..so I know that she is safe.

Mr. Murphy must have felt really fucking guilty for what he did to us.  I say that because a little over 3 years later we had our second blessing enter our lives.  My first boy! Well, 3rd really.. but the first that I will get to keep.  I now had what some call a “rich man’s family”.  One of each gender to call my own.  My life now was complete.. I had all the pieces to forge ahead and work on the rest of my legacy… until..

Wait.. what?  Are you sure?  It can’t be…

The doctors told us we couldn’t get pregnant on our own.  God and Mr. Murphy just threw us a couple of bones.  There is no way you are pregnant again.. we were not even trying this time!!

Wrong!  2 years after our son was born.. we had our 3rd and yes, another boy.  Most men might have started to worry.  The transition from a man to man defense to a zone defense can be daunting.  We were going to have two in diapers too.. but I didn’t care.  All I knew was that I had a beautiful little girl and I got my 2 boys back.

To this day I still break down in tears once in a while.  Usually while driving to or from work.  Just thinking about what life would have been like if the twins had survived.  But almost always that bout with my manhood ends with me smiling and sometimes even laughing out loud because I know how fortunate I am.  Fortunate to have looked life in the face.. dealt with the shit it threw at me and not having cracked… well not completely anyway.

So, you can see why I feel as though I have been rewarded with a little something extra in the parent department.  I imagine most dads see something special when their child smiles at them or laughs.  I imagine most dads can feel the warmth and bonding of a child who is hugging them.  But what I have over most other dads is a unique feeling of triumph and security.  I know that in each of my kids is a part of their two brothers who have passed.  Each hug, smile, kiss and fit of laughter is multiplied by 3.  I truly know how special children are because at one time I couldn’t have them.

I am sure that everyone has had to overcome some kind of adversity in their lives.  Everyone who does handles that adversity differently.  I heard a quote once and it really stuck with me. I believe we are defined not by what our experiences are, but how we react to them.

Have you ever experienced something tragic only to grow stronger by it?  Tell me about it.