Would you guess, I’m a rainbow baby.
Life doesn’t always come at you fast. In fact, it’s when life moves slowly that the parts that need to be fixed are overlooked. If you overlook a leaking tire long enough it’ll go flat or burst or… you get it. This was a weekly blog with the intent to showcase the shenanigans and trials of a family with ADHD. It will remain that way but this entry I want to explain some things about myself. In doing so, you’ll have the opportunity to understand why a certain decision was made or why a certain process is in place with how I raise and teach my children. Here we go…
When I was around nine my mother and I walked into a church’s food bank with the permission to get what we needed and wanted. This was a blessing! There were so many items in there that I had seen but never had until that moment. I didn’t know that wasn’t normal.
My mother and I had a profound relationship of which we were best friends, honestly. She crossed the river when I was twenty-one because of complications stemming all the way back to issues fourteen years prior. She had been sick for three quarters of my life. As a child I didn’t know that wasn’t normal because it was all I knew. Where I had a home with two parents most of my friends lived with one of their divorced parents so my circle included near like minded people in regard to… that didn’t make much sense, huh? My mother was immobile for long and short periods throughout which kept us home often and not always on a family trip or excursion. In fact, most of my friends were treading the poverty line as well. My dad was a tradesman that didn’t always have work and my mother was sick but… I didn’t see my life as being bad and I don’t see my childhood as something bad. Today I love to travel for a day or two but I love being home every night. My fondest memories are at home of conversations or holidays. At home, you focus on each other. On trips, you focus on the trip and what it offers or at least that’s what I do.
Between nine and ten I walked the streets of north Laurel (cleary blessed that I wasn’t abducted although I nearly was once) and went on grand adventures to old train tracks and abandoned factories and hospitals. In fact, I continued adventuring into my early twenties. Not having extra money didn’t stifle my wonder or wanderlust. If anything it ignited it.
I started a full time job at fifteen as a warehouse worker loading trucks and sometimes getting to ride along on deliveries. At the time I was a strapping young lad with a strong back which the boss saw as a stairwell dolly. At one point, I was asked not to come onto the sales floor because of the way I dressed which was a t-shirt and blue jeans. Nothing fancy cause I ain’t. Nothing was tattered or stained and my clothes were washed after use and… I’ve always used deodorant because I was a man at the age of eight (Okay, I just had a big ego.) But this… this was the first moment I looked into the mirror and saw a kid who didn’t have everything. I also understood that a man can thank you for doing a good job with the usual, “only you could’ve done this,” or “we wouldn’t have done this without you,” behind closed doors but when nicely dressed, paying customers are around you’re asked to stay hidden. When I hit sixteen I made that rule permanent and he didn’t have see me again. *Side note, I worked for City Salvage (CHS now) while in college and the owner (similar upbringing) had the same opportunity to hide me as I regularly got dirty from busting my tail but he encouraged that I come onto the sales floor. Different men completely. One viewed work ethic as value. One viewed… I’m not going to talk down because both men taught me something.
Within that same year of my being tucked away as a dirty boy, one of my best friends told me that his mother didn’t want us to be friends anymore (for context, he had a bonfire party go south after water balloons with hot sauce got introduced. I didn’t introduce them but I did go hard on stopping the shenanigans using my… temper and strength?) It was apparent that to show his mother that he was her golden child and not the reason it blew up, myself and our other friend was named for starting it. I’ll admit, him and his family were higher middle class and we cleary were not. No, we were literally the only friends he had until that conversation. I began looking inward and began learning what I saw compared to how the world viewed me. Hint: I’m not a great person and hate it when someone finds out.
College will change how the world views me…
My first semester of college was one semester before my high school graduating class. After an injury and poor decisions I was sidelined from football which made public school the worst and home school the way to go That decision helped me finish high school early. My goal? Oh, to be rewarded with a PhD in philosophy and religion, of course. Who wouldn’t?
Okay… I’m going to say this because I’ve been urged to explain why I didn’t finish after getting close to a bachelor’s degree because I tell people now, in person, it was the money and that’s partially true while in fact, my mother took a turn for the worse and I dropped out to care for her. I didn’t go back and I promised her I would finish so when someone would ask (when I was younger) why I didn’t finish I could be honest or be quick adout it. She wept when it told her. She blamed herself that I wasn’t going to finish school. You won’t hear me say that. I can barely type that. I’ve learned since that a philosopher doesn’t need a doctorate to exist but merely a mind for logic and enough stubbornness to question the answers.
It’s been well over a year that I get every other weekend with my children though I’m blessed to see them everyday. I don’t want to linger on a failed marriage because… still hurts, ya know? What I learned and am learning is much more about myself. It’s a dumb feeling when something occurs or a thought comes to light and I know it could have made a difference. Every relationship, especially a marriage, requires compromise, communication, understanding and love. You know those hind sight moments where you could kick yourself? If you don’t like kicking yourself after a failed relationship then don’t look at it as an outsider. I will not… I’m not going to point a finger at her but I live with me and, as when I was younger, really looked inward. This time, I hated what I saw. I was embarrassed with myself. You want to know what I saw? Hint: I’m not great person but I know now what’s stopping me from at least being good.
I’ve not changed so to speak but… okay, I’m sure I’ve changed. My goal is to be the best dad I can be especially now and now when you read adout how I discipline or how I talk with and work through issues with my children you have an idea as to why…
These are my truths:
My life before today only molded me. It does not define me.
Nothing in life is fair nor should it be.
Assume I could have done more.
Look inward before acting outward.
This world owes me nothing.
Love is a commodity.
Moments matter more than time.
God is the only reason I’m here. I assume and I know I shouldn’t assume that everyone knows I’m a Christian. In fact, I first prayed, really prayed to God at nine. I surrendered at eleven and can’t honestly say there was a moment where I didn’t believe there is a God. My belief in Jesus was solidified later in life but belief in God was… just is. My goal is to be a good person and a great Deddy. I’m honest with myself and I know I’m not a great person but I will keep trying and anyway I can help I will.
You want to know what I saw? I saw a person who wasn’t giving enough where it mattered. I’m more focused now. I pray daily that I stay focused and if you enjoyed reading this I don’t mind a prayer being sent my way for just that.
God bless and I hope you have enough.
*I hope to give you an entry a week. If you have a child with an acronym and want advice or have advice then let’s start a conversation.
**I haven’t written long form in a while. Please forgive my grammar.