Life

Divorce, Family, Life, Parenting

Is It Too Late To Capture This?


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These past few weeks have been stressful leaving me feeling particularly anxious and I have a hard time sleeping lately.  The truth is I have a lot on my plate right now with the divorce, trying to work things out here as a 50/50 parent, work stress  and kids who are being more than a handful.

I knew this would impact them, how could it not? Divorce is harsh even when the divorce terms are not and the communication is polite and reasonable. When kids see their family broken apart they don’t have a say or a choice other than to go along with it and just deal with it in some way. I think the impact on kids is the most unfortunate thing about a divorce. They act out in anger, hurt and resentment and I understand that but there’s a line.

This is most evident in my teenage daughter who over the course of the past year and a half to two years (even before divorce was considered) has progressively gotten meaner and more disrespectful, this is most evident in her interactions with her mother. The lying, stealing things from the other kids and her mom, sneaking around online as if I don’t know etc. But it’s the lack of remorse that gets me the most. When caught she simply does not care or apologize at all. I’ve tried to be understanding, to look for answers and hope that she will at least make an effort but it never ends. At times I feel completely lost in what to do.

Yesterday was another episode of lying by sneaking on social media using a basic flip phone. I really thought we removed any chance for that but as usual she found a way. So what now? I’ve taken things away, made her do chores etc. you name it but nothing seems to work. Her mother told me when she’s there it’s worse. The level of disrespect with her mother has gotten to the point of outright refusing to do something and saying, “no” and “so what if I don’t?” I can’t really understand that BUT again I look for the answer and hope there is one. “She’s a teenager and this is what teenagers do” I tell myself but this goes beyond typical teenage years rebellion. Is it a cry for help I have to wonder?

When I think back to my childhood and the anger I felt, I know that anger was rooted in feeling lost and without stability in my home. The environment didn’t feel safe to me and it wasn’t. I felt like I needed to build up a wall of anger for protection and as a result I acted out in a very similar way my kid is acting out now. So then I try to imagine how she must feel. A father who can be overbearing, angry, stressed often and perhaps worse of all poor at saying or expressing love and approval. For me I always felt like I needed to direct my kids to what’s right and allow their mother to express love.  She must feel like I’m always on the verge of yelling at her or looking for ways to scold her, she doesn’t make that hard that’s for sure but what’s missing?

The responsibility is in part mine. The larger effort needed is really on my part. The chance to capture something I felt was lost on me as a kid. She’s never had to face the things I did as a kid and she never will but the lack of connection with her own father is a travesty I think. I’ve tried to provide everything reasonable for my kids but it’s not the house, vacations or any of those material things it’s the love that matters most. I need to be better at expressing that last part. I’m not naive and of course I know she will continue to be a teenager who gets on my nerves and tests me on occasion but I also know as a parent I have to step up and try my best to let her know that while I won’t be walked over, I do in fact love her.

Sunshine

Family, Life, Parenting

Fatherly Advice


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When told my marriage of 18 years was coming to a close my dad said, “When you come visit me this weekend I’d like to talk to you, I have some advice for you.” I’ve always gone to my dad for advice because I respect his opinion. In my eyes he’s always been a solid person with a voice of reason.

Generic 1960s pic of a father and son scene.
Advice

Over the years I think I can count on one hand, no make that two or three fingers, the number of times my father has offered me advice without my asking for it. One time was years ago concerning my family. He said something in the way of, “Don’t work too much and spend time with your wife and kids as much as possible.” Sorry I blew that one dad but I always wanted it to be that way it’s just that I guess I didn’t take your advice soon enough. Honestly I always did what I thought was the right thing for my family but..

The second time came more than 15 years later when I went to visit him. I was waiting in anticipation for his words of wisdom because unsolicited advice from him was so uncommon. I think there’s a lesson in that. In the days prior to the visit I thought about what he might say and how he could relate to my situation. My parents divorced when I was only one or two so I knew he could understand what it’s like to watch your wife walk away and to see your kids half the time, how much that sucks and how much you miss your family.

When I arrived we went for a ride in his work van to run an errand and the conversation started. The first thing he said was, “I’m really sorry things have gone this way for your family, are you sure there’s nothing that can be done?” I’ve never, as an adult, shed a tear in front of my dad but when he first spoke I had to pause before answering. It was dark so I was quick to wipe away the tear and then answer in a fake controlled voice. “I’m sure there’s nothing because the choice is not mine and I can’t make it not happen.”  He then made a comment about wishing he could just talk to her and perhaps reason with her but I knew there was no point and it would not make a difference anyway. It’s not like a bomb had been dropped suddenly, more like a bomb was floating overhead for too long then finally dropped after more than enough warnings. Then came his fatherly advice to me.

With a smile my dad said, “Don’t worry too much about it. You will get over this, trust me, and besides I was just getting started at your age.” We both laughed.

There it was. The advice I had been waiting for. The words of unsolicited yet appreciated wisdom but certainly not what I expected to hear. The conversation quickly turned to talk about science fiction authors and corny jokes. I love you dad.

Life

A song


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When I think about life now it’s easy to feel down but that’s only when I think about a certain part of my life, it’s just as easy for me to smile. I’ve got so much to be thankful for. The key for me is to focus on the things I am thankful for and devote less time to those things that are a drag, especially things I have no control over.

Control

What is it about being in control of everything that I think will make me happy or complete? I think it’s good to not be in control of everything. Actually I think it’s better to allow yourself to know you are not in control of some things and to accept that fact. That might be a situation or person.

Happiness

The song included always makes me smile. Seeing beauty in things and trying to remember that life is a gift. Having compassion for other’s always makes it easier for me to face my own trials and tribulations.