Wednesday, July 6, 2016

My Love Hate Relationship with Wednesday

        I hate Wednesdays.  I hate Wednesdays because that’s the day the kids go back by their mom.  This is a tough thing.  It’s been over 4 years since we’ve been in this split household arrangement, and I still have a hard time with Wednesday and the chaos being gone.  This obviously got a lot easier when I found Laura and we began building what we have, and we’ve still got the oldest around, but a good measure of the chaos is gone and it takes me a bit to deal with it.
This is a subject I’ve been apprehensive to write about.  I don’t know if it’s because I don’t want people knowing too much about my personal life, or if I think people will think differently about me knowing that I’m divorced?  Or maybe it’s that this is about me and not some idea or noble thought.  This is just me complaining about my lot in life a little bit.  Although it’s not all complaints.  There is the love side of this relationship with Wednesday as well.  Having the kids safely with their mother does allow me some time to be Jason.  This is something I need to constantly remind myself of.  Laura helps with that as well.  Having this time to focus on work, or running, or whatever the case may be, helps me be a better father.  I still carry a lot of guilt with that time, but I know it’s something I need.  It’s something everybody needs.  For the longest time while the kids were younger I pretty much only identified myself as “dad”.  Being dad took up all my time.  Or probably better stated, I allowed it take all the time.  There was no requirement that it did.  I thought that’s what I needed to do.  But as with all things a balance needed to be made.  Sure I need to be dad, but I also need to be Jason for while.  Just like everybody, I need to spend some time doing those things that make me, me.   As you can see in a lot of respects Wednesday has come to symbolize the switching from “Dad” mode to “Jason” mode.  Listening to the last few sentences, I’m sure you can imagine the expanded issues that go on in my head with that transition.  What’s weird is that I’m much more comfortable in dad mode than Jason mode, so switching back on Friday or Monday is pretty easy.  
I don’t know if I’ll ever get used to ushering the kids off to go spend time with their mom.  I think it’s ok that I don’t.  This story in my head is just that.  When it comes down to it I’m living exactly the life I want to live.  I’ve met the love of my life, a woman that challenges me, calls me on my bullshit, and most importantly, I feel better spending time with her.  The life we are creating for ourselves and the kids cannot be beat.  Everyone gets along amazingly well, and six months into this whole living together thing, I cannot ask for things to be going better.  So I guess if that means I’m uncomfortable for a bit while adjusting to some alone time, that’s a small price to pay for the life you want to live.

That last sentence isn’t sitting well with me, but I don’t know how else to say it.  The goal here can’t be to rid yourself of all uncomfortable feelings.  I also know that the kids really enjoy their time with their mother.  This really comes down to me dealing with a feeling that I don’t like.  Everybody else in this scenario is just fine, and I’m very happy for that.  This could go into a long tangent but we’ll cut it off here.  Thanks for listening to my brief complaint.

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sometimes the memory has to be enough

My oldest and I were in Milwaukee last week and we stopped to visit my parents.  My mom has this habit of sending me home with boxes of “so you don’t have to go through it when I’m gone” stuff.  I put that in quotes because those are her words not mine.  I wish she’d spend her time on other things but I’m thinking going through this stuff makes her happy.  Most of the time it’s silly stuff but every once in a while you get something that stops you in your tracks.  Thankfully this is one of those times.  
Have you ever heard a song or smelled something or whatever the impact is to the senses, but it takes you back and you can draw a picture of where you were and everything so clearly it’s like you’re there again?  I’d imagine most of us have.  Whether it be a first ball game you went to, your first crush, or just some random event that sticks out.  You remember every little detail.  Chances are you can remember the sounds, the smells, the sights.  This is what I got with what my mom had dug up.  She showed my a harmonica.
That harmonica sent me screaming down memory lane because it’s the harmonica my grandpa Stueck played for me the last time I saw him.  I was six years old when my grandpa passed, and I only have 3 or 4 good memories of the man.  This is easily the most vivid.  It was summer time and he was in his usual long sleeve flannel shirt tucked in and his cap on.  I wish I could remember the song he was playing, but I remember thinking how cool it was that I had a grandpa that could play the harmonica.  He was standing in the kitchen by the door.  He was a tall man for his generation and me being so little I remember my thoughts were always that him and my dad were larger than life.  I was standing in the doorway to the dining room between my parents just looking up in amazement.  I remember asking to hear more, but he said that was enough for now, and he put it in his shirt pocket.  We gave our hugs, and we were on our way.  33 years later, I can still go back there.
Of course all of this got me thinking, and the most prevalent thought that I kept coming back to was the power of memories.  In this case, that memory of grandpa playing is something that I go back to whenever I’m thinking about things like that, but seeing the harmonica made it all the more real.  Even though I never really got to know my grandpa, having that memory and being able to go back to that makes me feel like I’ve got a piece of him.  I cherish that. 

Memories are an amazing and powerful thing.  Obviously some memories are best left in the past, but for those fond ones, what a wonderful gift you’ve been given when you have something like that to look back on.