Thursday, December 30, 2010

The day I fell in love



I fell in love one day.

In was a breezy and mild early winter’s day in New England. While the rising of the sun didn’t signify anything out of the normal for that day; for me December 30, 1999 will always hold special meaning.

It was the day that I fell in love.

It was in a non-descript room at the Jordan Hospital. I even remember the time.

I remember everything like it was yesterday. It wasn’t yesterday though. It was 11 years ago today that I fell in love.

It is the deepest most heartfelt love that a person can have.

It was 5:42pm when my son Colby Daniel Copley entered this world. All the anticipation and worry was worth it. I finally got to meet my little boy; and he got to meet me.

I was lucky enough to be there. I saw the miracle of life happen that day. My little boy came into this world and the first thing he saw was his dad.

I tell him the story all the time. I was looking at this deformed, bloody mess. Is he OK? Where is his face? Is he breathing? The doubt was flying around in the mind. I didn’t even know what I was looking at. Then…

His eyes flew open and I saw the deepest most beautiful blue eyes that I could ever imagine. I saw deep into my destiny. I saw my little boy’s eyes for the first time and the first thing that he saw was…. ME.

I fell in love that day.

Every second of everyday since I have fallen in love with my little boy even more.

What a blessing the last 11 years has been!

I saw my son crawl for the first time. I saw my son walk for the first time. I was there when he spoke his first words. I took him to his first race. I helped him ride a bike without trailing wheels, hike his first 4000 foot mountain and ski his first black diamond trail… all before he turned four! For many years I read to son. I have done so much with my son!

I did with my son the things that a father does. I am truly blessed that he has been healthy, active and an amazing person.

His 11th year has been a hard one for him though. Seeing his mom and dad separated has been a rough experience. Going to his grandfather’s funeral must have been hard!

But through it all my boy has stood tall. He has been tough when he needs to be and tender when he has to be.

He is growing up to be a young man now. My boy and I have laughed and loved together… and mourned and cried together.

Today I count my blessings that he is mine and that he is who he is.

This next year is an important one for my boy. He becomes a Boy Scout this year! He’ll be going to middle school! Every year is another opportunity and another challenge for this amazing soul.

Today I thank God for this young man that is in my life. I thank God for his mom and for all the amazing support that I have received from family and friends throughout the years.  Today is Colby’s day. Today is a day to celebrate my best friend and my only child. Today is for you Colby. You are amazing.

It was breezy and mild the day that I fell in love…

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tribute to my dad

NOTE: I wrote this a couple of days after my dad passed away. This is the version that I used at his eulogy. I edited out quite a bit but I actually like the shorter version better. I've been meaning to put this up here for a while. It has been on my other blog since the funeral. I think it is a very good tribute to a great man. Enjoy. - Rick






My dad was a great man.

Though he is now gone the memories that I have of him will live on in me forever. Not only did my father give me his name, but also he gave me everything else.

I would like to share with you today the memories of my father Richard James Copley.

My parents divorced when I was just 3. It must have been an awful time for my dad. When I was little I was living with my mom in Connecticut and my dad lived in Plymouth, Massachusetts. He made the 3 hour drive down Rte. 44 as often as he could to visit his only son for just a few moments. As I become a single parent myself I know how hard it is to not tuck in your little boy every night. I am blessed because my little boy is only 3 miles away. How torturous it must have been to him to have his little boy 3 hours and 3 states away.

He was always there for me in those years though. As I grew older he would come and pick me up so I could spend the weekend. I remember the feeling of warmth and comfort being with my father in his home on a Friday night after that long drive. I never thought in those days how much harder it was for him to drive it both ways…. and to have to put all that gas in a car that could break down at any moment.

When things were important to me they were important to my dad. When I was fascinated with the Hardy Boys series we used to go to the Hyannis Library to get some books for while I was visiting. During this time I asked him what the word “lad” meant. For a long time (I think many years) he called me “Lad”.

When I started playing sports my dad knew that he couldn’t go to all my games. He did ALWAYS go to the last game of the year when I played little league.

As the years rolled by my passion for sports grew. My dad’s passion for supporting me grew at the same rate.

I remember with pride the first day I outran my dad in a sprint. I was like 6. I remember wanting to pass the football with my dad. I know he hated it but he did it anyway. Until that I day he through an errant pass and I ran into a tree; becoming a bloody mess…. I guess his passion for sports ended at support.

That’s what I needed though. I always needed someone to cheer for me and that’s what my dad did. He became an amazing father.

He was quirky about certain things. One time he gave me a bent up shovel to clean up some trash in the basement. It took about 10 seconds for him to accuse me of bending his shovel. Really Dad?!? You gave me a bent shovel.

Another time he accused my sister Deb of drilling a hole in the porch with one of his drills. Teenage girls apparently are notorious for drilling holes in porches.

Years later I remember my dad calling the police when he couldn’t find things. He was convinced that people stole his tools. One time the police were at the house filing a report while I walked in the basement with my friend River. River picked up a drill off the workbench and said, “Hey didn’t this get stolen”. We waited for the police to leave before we told my dad. Guess he forgot to look on the work bench for his drill.
When I was old enough he started sending me bus tickets instead of picking me up. For years I rode that bus from New London to Hyannis. For years I couldn’t stop smiling as I got off the bus. I tried but I was always so happy and proud to see my dad.

For years I was an unhappy and lonely little boy trying awkwardly to find my way. From my entire childhood I can say that the moments of safety and pure joy were the moments that I spend with my father.

We never went to Disney. We never stayed in nice hotels. We never went to theme parks. We never flew anywhere. For us vacations were spent driving to Bangor, Maine or Conway, New Hampshire. The joy that I felt sleeping in a van with my dad in the woods of Millinocket, Maine I cannot express in words. While my dad didn’t provide me with lots of things and spend lots of money on me he did teach me the value of living in the moment and enjoying the gifts all around us.

While my dad didn’t always buy me “stuff” he did make sure that I got what I needed. When I wanted my first mountain bike I asked him to buy it for me. He said “no way in hell”. (Or something like that) Instead he made me work for it. For almost a month a carried ladders and slapped on paint to earn the $400 to buy a Shwin Mountain Bike.

He paid the taxes but I earned that bike.

Years later he’d help me buy my first computer the same way.

Years later he’d help me buy a car that way. My dad ALWAYS made sure that I had what I needed but ALWAYS made sure that I earned it. Thank you for that lesson Dad.

When I was 14 years old I grew fond running. I remember the first summer that I lived with him on Cape Cod. I wanted to run as many road races as I could. He apparently thought this was a fine idea. He took me to a dozen races that summer. He paid every time and never once complained about the money, or getting up early and sitting around bored while I slogged through 5 mile and 10k races. He was the ultimate supporter. Again, thank you for that Dad. This summer of running road races led to my lifelong passion for running.

Years later I remember listening to my dad when I broke up with the first girl that I dated more than a year. He told me, “time heals all wounds”. Even though I was 2000 miles away in Colorado I knew he was with me. Those words meant so much to me.

My life was falling apart then but I always knew that I had my dad for support. This fact helped me sleep at night. Just the thought of my wonderful father has always pulled me though the tough times. It worked in 1996 and then it worked again just this summer. As my dad’s life was winding down my life was falling apart again. One of the things that got me through as my marriage ended was the thought of the strength my father has shown and the supports that he has given. Sometimes words don’t even need to be said. Sometimes just that he is out there is enough. Going through life now without him is going to be a challenge. A challenge that I will be able to face knowing that he would want me to.

I lived with my mother from age 3 to 14 but always yearned to be with my father.

Finally in 1987 I moved to Cape Cod to live with my dad.

Cape Cod is where I still call “home”.

In high school I became a runner. I don’t think it is a coincidence that I finally found my identity, that I hold to this day, when I started living with my dad.

I remember the day in 1989 when my team won the state championship in cross country. As I hugged my teammates I was happy. When I hugged my dad the tears started to flow. My biggest fan was always there to show pride in me. I appreciated that Dad. Thank you.

Now and forever, coming home is going to have a different feel with my father gone. The sadness of his loss will be in part of my heart forever. I am sure going to miss him.

I could go on a lot more about the support and love that he showed through the years. I literally could go on for hours and not do this great man justice.

My father took great pride in his kids and his grandkids. He loved us all and showed in so many, many ways. He wasn’t one to give money but he was always there to meet us halfway. He couldn’t ever solve our problems but he was an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry on and bearer of great wisdom.

He was always quick to offer his adult children a job or a place to stay. He was always quick to offer to help paint our houses, sheetrock a wall or loan a ladder.
I worked for him for years. He always had work for me to do and sometimes paid me well. I guess those first few years I was young and sloppy…. (I’m sure this is true and I’m sure I’ll admit to it someday…)

I am lucky. Many people don’t get a chance to say goodbye to people that are important to them. As my Dad’s health deteriorated over the last two years there were many times I wanted to tell him how I felt about him. There were many times I wanted to say my goodbyes. It is just so hard to do that to someone that is living. Finally one day last week I knew it was time.

On Friday morning I sat down at my lap top put into words what I had been thinking about all my life. I am so proud that I was able to write my dad a goodbye letter.
This is part of what I told my dad:

I said, “I am proud that you are my father. You have provided me with everything that I have every needed from a father. You have been truly all that I could ever ask for. You have taught me how to be a good person and a good man. You have taught me how to work hard and how to achieve my goals.

I am everything I am today because of you. For this I say, from the bottom of my heart THANK YOU.

Please know that I am praying for you today and every day. I am deeply saddened that I am so far away in these days when you need me more than ever. Please know that I may be far away but I am close to your heart as you are to mine. I think of you every second of everyday. I love you more than you'll ever know and I am thankful to have your name and to be your son.

I look back on my 37 years and I see you every step of the way. You there at all the good times and all the bad times. You cheered me when I was on top of the world and you supported me when my life came crashing down. You were always there. You are the most important person in my life. Again, I say thank you.

I could go on and on about the good that you did for me; the support, the love, the trust....

You will always be in my heart. I want you to know that.

I give this to you today as a good bye. Not forever but for now. You're time on this earth is coming to an end. It's OK Dad! You have done your job! You lived a great life and raised 4 amazing children. Dad - when you are ready you can go. It is your time. God is waiting for you. I will be there with you again someday.

We are all born and we all die. It's what we are in between that what matters. You have lived a life of worth and value. You have made a difference. You have loved and been loved. Now it is time to go see what else is out there. It is time to say goodbye to this trip and start the next one. It's all up you Dad. It's up to you when you want to go. Janice is going to be alright. I will make sure of it. Debbie, Karen and Lori will be OK. We have all cherished our lives with you. The end is so hard but it is necessary. Dying is part of living....

Thank you for life Dad. Thank you for everything that you have done for me. I will be thankful for you forever. You are the most amazing person that I know. I love you. You can go whenever you are ready.... you have won the race. You are the champion. You are my champion.”

I have tried today to do my best to pay tribute to my dad. My words cannot do justice to the greatness of this man’s life and his legacy.

He is the best father that I could have ever imagined.

He was an amazing husband to the love of his life Janice.

He was a remarkable grandfather to his many grandchildren.

His light shined on this earth for 69 GREAT years. He’s moved on now but his memory will be with us all forever.

To conclude I want to say thank you to my sisters Lori, Karen and Deb. I want to also offer my whole hearted thank you to Janice and to my cousins Michael, Dan and Kristen. The care you were able to give to my father over the last years of his life leaves me with a feeling of awe. I am humbled by the support that you gave him for so long. I know that it was so very hard. Thank you so much.

I hope you all were as affected in a positive way by Richard Copley as I was. Thank you all for being part of his life. He truly was a great man.

My tribute to my dad has been for you. Now I need to say something for me and…. for MY son.

Colby: I am going to spend the rest of my life trying to be to you the father that my father was to me. I will be everything you need in the good times and in the bad times. I promise to do my best to be the father that you need me to be. I am honored to have had the most amazing father in the world. Now I will carry on the legacy… my dad’s legacy.

… so that someday, many, many years from now, when my light stops shining YOU will stand in this very spot, in front of MY friends and family and say… my father was a great man.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Which is real?

Was having a discussion just the other day. It was an interesting conversation because the opinions being expressed were almost the exact opposite. What adds more flavor to the story is the fact that the two people engaged in the conversation were once married for 10 years. Maybe that is why we are not married anymore.

Another topic for another day…

The topic of our talk that day was what is real and what is not. It made me think of that old commercial from many years ago. You know the one, “Is it real or is in Memorex”. Funny, the thinks we remember.

Anyway, we were comparing “logic” and “physical pain”. Logic being the decisions we make about what is right and wrong and what we are going to do or not do. Physical pain is the hurt that you feel from things whether is actual physical damage or heartfelt pain from a loss. We took opposing viewpoints and had a civil disagreement.

She seemed to think logic was real and pain was not. In other words, right was right and wrong was wrong. Decisions are real. Decisions are about what is right and wrong is black and white. Pain, on the other hand, isn’t real; it’s fleeting. Hurt heals. Logic is forever.

In regards to logic she used herself as an example. “What if I decided to date a redneck in a trailer with guns and dogs and he drinks…etc. What would you think about your son being exposed to that?”

She says that this is logic and this is plain right verse wrong.

As far as pain goes she used the example of stabbing me with a fork. (REALLY?? Thanks for that! Lol) It would hurt for a while but it would heal and the pain would go away.

I think it is the opposite. Pain is real. Pain you feel. Pain is there. Logic is fleeting. Logic might make sense to you but not to someone else. As far at the redneck goes well I’m good with that. I said that I trust you to make the right decision about who to date and I hope you feel the same in the future. No logic there, right?
I think pain is the real thing. Pain from a fork in the hand and pain from a broken heart are the same. Both cause you pain at a physical and emotional level. Both can hurt for a long time. This is the body. You can’t control this. Pain is indeed real. Pain can hurt a lot. I can’t explain it away with logic.

What is logic anyway? You can have the same scenario but 10 different people handle it different ways. Is that logic? There are so many factors with “logic”. Logic tells me to date her. Logic tells me not to date her. Whose logic? Your logic? My logic? It’s not real. Its opinion and perception; sometimes it’s even wrong.
This is why dating is so hard. People have REAL needs that need to be met. People have REAL feelings that are there and need to be valued. Logic says one thing but FEELINGS and EMOTIONS say another. Which is real? WHICH IS REAL?

Obviously my ex and I are different. She is much more logical than I am. I am more of a risk taker with my heart. She tends to be able to focus on what is right and what is “logical”. That may work for her but not for me.

My feelings are real. My hurt is real. On the flip side my healing is also real. My logic? Well needs some work. Sometimes what I do just doesn’t make sense.

As I make my way today and tomorrow past the hurt of yesterday and the day before I hope to improve my logic. I would like to be better at choosing right from wrong and the good over the bad.   I would like to…
Yeah… but in the end it’s not who I am. I think with my heart. The feelings and the hurt are the things that are real to me. Again I ask: Where’s the logic is that? I don’t know but……

…..this is who I am.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Christmas Trilogy (Me, myself and I)



I had dreaded this day for quite a while now. I’ve know that today would be here eventually. I knew what was going to happen. I didn’t know how I would feel; I knew that today was going to be the worst Christmas of my life.

Funny, it didn’t turn out that way. I found myself actually at ease and content. Life is so curvy…

The first Christmas without my dad, the first Christmas without my wife, the first Christmas as a single dad, the first Christmas… alone.

The pieces to this puzzle have been falling into place for a while. My dad died in November. We decided that I would have Colby on Christmas eve and my ex would take him on Christmas day. But it was going to be OK. Christmas morning the girl that I was dating didn’t have her kids so we were going to spend it together. 

That relationship ended and I was left with no plans and no family.

I’ve known for a while now that I was facing Christmas alone.

My disappointed Christmas started turning around last night on Christmas Eve. Service as the church was very good; it really lifted me up!

Colby’s mom invited me over to bake cookies with them. We stayed for a few hours and enjoyed some Christmas specials on TV. I was content and happy. I was able to be with my son the entire day and evening.

We went to bed early and I slept well. Colby woke me up at 7am and it was time… for the Christmas that I’ve been dreading.

How could I dread a day where I was made to feel so special from the start?

A few weeks back I found the Christmas stocking that my mother made for me when I was a little boy. Every year my wife and I would fill each other’s stockings on Christmas eve and leave them out with Colby’s. This year my stocking was sitting on a chair in the living room; Santa wasn’t going to visit my apartment.

Santa did indeed visit my apartment last night.

Apparently Colby had snuck in some stocking stuffers that he and his mom had so thoughtfully bought. I awoke on Christmas morning to a stocking and some gifts under my little tree. This started the day off right.

Colby and I exchanged gifts. We enjoyed the moment and enjoyed each other’s company! My little boy was so proud of the gift that he got for me. What a great kid he is turning out to be! We took our time and got dressed to go over his mom’s house.

While there Colby got his big present from Santa. (Lucky duck got a lap top!) We enjoyed the same Christmas breakfast as we’ve had the last 10 years! It was so nice.

My ex and I enchanted gifts. The three of us had a good time! It was Christmas and we relished in the moments and the memories we were making!

The reality of our lives, of course, caught up. It was time for them to go and be with their family. I walked out the door with no one to see and no place to go.

I made up my mind though. I made a decision that today was NOT going to be a day of pity. Today was going to be a day of living in the moment. LIVING IN THE MOMENT. I took my dog and my GPS and went to the Ocala National Forest to go geocaching.

I walked 9 miles in the forest. It was just me and my dog. Along the way I found 12 geocaches and a certain amount of contentment.

My contentment comes from knowing that dwelling on the hurt and the what if’s does me know good. My contentment comes from knowing that whatever is in the past is destined to stay there and whatever is in the future is destined to be discovered. The future belongs to those that go in that direction; the past belongs those that choose to dwell.

Because of my decision today I had a good day. I had a day that made me happy. I had a day that I will always remember.

The facts cannot be changed. My father is gone and this is the first Christmas that he is not with me. My son is with his mother and they are with family. My Christmas day was spent single and alone. These facts are indeed part of ME. I know, however, that no one can take away who I am and what I am. No one can change that fact that I am ME. What is.... IS and what is to be is... TO BE.

Christmas will come every year on December 25th. Next year may be same for me. Who knows, it may be different. The facts don’t matter. What matters is that TODAY, on this Christmas, I chose to live in the glory of the season, I chose to focus on what was good, I shed no tears, I enjoyed the day and went to bed… happy and content.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Who I am

This isn't a post about WHO I am. This is a post about who I AM. Big difference!

Who I am is who I am. I don't want to describe that more today. What I want to do though is to tell you that that is the truth. Who I am is who I am. Take me or leave me.

It's amazing how many people say this but yet will lie to your face to hide who they really are. Believe me I have done it as well.

Am I proud of every second of my life. Are there decisions that I made that I have regrets about? Yep. It is all part of me though. The sum total of everything from the past is me..in the present.

Now don't go looking for me to list the bad things I've done in my life. While I do think my life hasn't been that bad there are things that I don't like about me. I don't want to talk about those things here or bring them up in conversations. But when asked...

Obviously everyone could find things about themselves that aren't proud of. Some things we can rationalize away. Some things we can chalk up to foolish pride or just plain foolishness. Do don't need to bring these things up and tell the world our regrets. We do need to own them....

As I enter this new phase of my life I have promised myself to be a transparent as possible. I don't want to mislead anyone for any reason that I am something different than I am. So many people believe this but very few of us practice this.

Who I am is me. Will I change if I think that changing is going to make me a better person? Absolutely. Have I been beyond reproach in the past. Nope! Am I that way now? Nope. I see this and I am trying.

My wish is to, whether I'm talking to a friend, a potential date, my pastor or a client, tell the truth and have no regrets. Can you imagine if everybody did this...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Boy meets girl...or not

Boy meets girl. Boy falls for girl; girl fall for boy. They live happily ever after. If only it were that simple.

What brings and keeps people together?

I don’t know either but it is an interesting discussion.

There are a lot of things that can bring people together. Common interests, common goals, physical attraction, job, faith, connections…. I don’t know. I guess it doesn’t matter. Being together isn’t an important as staying together. That’s the real question. How do you build a relationship?

Ironically I was talking with my ex wife the other night about this. What brings people together doesn’t necessarily keep them together. I guess the question really needs to be: what really keeps people together?

I have an opinion. Looking at my track record I’m sure it’s not a highly sot after opinion but its’ my blog and so it is my right! Ha!

I think it is love that keeps people together.  (What a cliché! I know, right?) You can start off with common interests or a connection or alcohol… it doesn’t matter what the catalyst. When it’s all said and done, if you are not truly in love then you are done. You can fake it for weeks, months or years but in the end you are doomed if you don’t develop a deep seeded love.

What if you just have love and little else?

It has never been my object with this blog to give advice. I am the last person to give advice (I have another blog for that: yourbestfitnessocoach.blogspot.com). I do, however, feel that I can provide a perspective; a firsthand account, if you will.

I believe that the starting point doesn’t matter. You start where you start. You have interests or attraction or whatever. Where you begin isn’t important. Next you need goals.  You both need the same goals. When you goals are different from your partner then you grow apart slowly or quickly; both these options are not good. At some point love develops. If love NEVER develops then you are sunk; plain and simple.

I don’t know. Relationships are hard. It is even harder when you have a kid and an ex and….

You get the point.

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about to proceed with my life. Do I get serious because that is what I want? Do I do the casual thing because that is what I need? Do I know how to do THAT? I don’t like either option.

For now I’m just spending a lot of time thinking about me; thinking about what I want and need. I’m thinking about what completeness really is. Thinking about what I want from me and what I want from a mate. I’m just doing a lot of thinking.

How do you do this whole thing? I wish I knew what I really needed; I already know what I want…

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Trust you, trust me...



Trust.

I sat bold upright in bed this morning. I had a word on my brain. That world was trust. I have spent the last hour lying wide awake trying to figure out the meaning of that world; today, this hour, this minute….now.

Clarity is advancing.

I trusted you. I trust you. I will trust you.

Trust is something that you give to someone. Trust is something that you feel. Trust is something that you bring to the equation.

I’m not talking about relationships; but I am.

I’m not talking about faith; but I am.

I’m not talking about sports; but I am.

I’m not talking about your family; but I am.

I’m not talking about your job; but I am.

What I mean is everything. For YOU to truly function you need to trust what you are doing and who you are doing it with. When YOU have the feeling of trust then you can fully execute whatever you need to execute.

At this moment, right now, I am torn. I want to write about why this is on my brain. I want very badly to express the exact reason that I have this thought on my mind. Sadly I will not. I can, however, relate to the word trust and what it means to YOU and to ME.

I will trust in YOU to do the right thing. I will trust that your intentions are good. I will trust my instincts and judgments. I will trust MY heart and my intentions. I will trust in who I am. If you can never truly trust then you can never truly be whole. If you never trust then you can never truly be happy. If you don’t trust you don’t win.

I remember when I was a coach of a women’s cross country team many, many years ago. One day I got them together for a mid-week pep talk. I asked them each if they trusted the others on the team. I made sure that trust was out of the equation. I made sure that each member of the team was able to TRUST each other member of the team to do what she needed to do in the race and to do her best. This away when you trust the others you can focus your whole energy on…..what?? Giving your all and doing YOUR best.

Incidentally that team, for the first time ever, qualified for Division II Nationals and finished an amazing 10th place.

Look at your relationship with your lover. Do you trust them? Do you trust them to be there when you need them to be? Do you trust them to be there in your darkest hour? Do you trust them to not judge you? Do you trust them?

I can say whole heartedly that my marriage ended after 10 years because of this issue. Trust over the years evaporated for both of us. We both lost faith and trust in the other one and thus a love was eroded.
I vow today to trust people more. I vow to put my efforts into being the one that is trusted. I vow to living life as someone that people trust.

This word and this thought is very powerful to me at 4:07am.

When I woke up an hour ago I climbed out of my warm bed. I put on a hat, jacket and shoes and ventured outside into the 30 degree night air. Why would I do this? Well, you see, I trusted that the lunar eclipse would be worth it... and it was.

As I typed away on my lap top I trusted the battery was good.

I didn’t trust it that much. I plugged in just before she ran out of juice. Trust is good but sometimes you just need to verify and move on. That is what I did.

As I make my way in this world as a single dad it is becoming so clear to me the simplicity of it all. The world around me may seem complex; indeed it is a complicated world. But the world inside me is as simple as could be: Trust and be trustworthy.

That’s it. It is as simple. The complicated part we create ourselves when we don’t trust… and can’t be trusted.

Monday, December 20, 2010

The night I will never forget

The phone rang at 10:13pm. I had been sleeping alone in my bed. I was going to ignore it and go back to sleep. I couldn’t because I knew what the call was. I reached for my phone and stared at it for a moment. The words on the screen were simply my sister’s name but I knew. I knew that those words, at that time, meant.

My dad was gone.

I called my sister back. “Dad died at about 9:30pm.”

I’d known this moment was coming for almost a year. Just the day before I had written my dad a goodbye letter in which I told him that it was time to go. He took my advice and took his last breath that night.

As soon as I started talking to my sister the tears came. The sadness overwhelmed me. I need to cry and I did. I was so sad alone in my bed. Colby was sleeping in his bed but I wasn’t going to wake him. A 10 year old boy doesn’t need to cry with his dad in the middle of the night. His sadness could wait.

I lay there in bed not knowing what to do next; so sad and so alone.

I texted my girlfriend; she called me back and we talked. She gave me an outlet. She let me cry and felt my sadness.

I tried texting some friends. I tried texting Colby’s mom. Nobody was out there. I cried hard and long. I reached out to my mother. Even though I only talk to my mom once or twice a year I still in this time of need reached out to her. It must have been so sad for her to her here grown son, who is so strong and independent, crying out to her and telling her his dad had died.

In the end it was just me and my memories of my dad.

Before I finally went to sleep I sat on my son’s bed. I looked at him and touched his head. He was so peaceful. I didn’t know how he would take it or what he would say. How do you deal with the death of a loved one at 10 years old?

I eventually fell into an uneasy sleep.

In the morning I showered and prepared myself for what I needed to do. I tried to be composed; I knew I could not be.

When Colby woke up he knew the minute he opened his eyes.

“There’s something I need to tell you.”

“I think I already know. Did Grandpa die?”

I read him the letter that I wrote to my day 48 hours before. We cried together. It was a truly sad yet prolific father/son moment.

We got dressed, went to church then went to a bike race as planned.

Life went on and life goes on. Loss has happened and is going to happen to all of us. It’s never easy but it just is. I look back on this time with pride. I think I did my best with what I had to do. I was week when it was OK and I was strong when I needed to be. This period of my life was hard but it has helped to define me and who I am. I have no regrets. I do still miss my dad…

Saturday, December 18, 2010

I can do that

It was the summer of 1997. (I remember the year because that was the summer of the Garth Brooks concert in Central Park. That was wicked cool) I lived in Colorado at the time but on a whim decided to spend the summer painting with my dad in Massachusetts. The night before I was to leave to the east coast I met a girl at a party named Tracey.

Tracey was nice. We got along. She liked me and I liked her. We agreed to do the distance dating thing and correspond over the summer.

We talked on the phone often. We wrote letters. We exchanged pictures. It had been a long time since I had a girlfriend so I was looking forward to having someone to spend time with when I returned home.

Then came the game changing moment for me.

I was a much more serious runner back then. I ran 40-60 miles per week almost all year round. That was my thing. I was very committed! Tracey wasn't very athletic and didn't like to work out very much. She did, however, know how important it was to me. Oh day she said something that she didn't realize at the time completely told me this wasn't the girl for me.

We were talking on the phone one night. I mentioned to her that I was going to start running a lot more when I got back. It was going to be the fall and there were some cross country races that I wanted to do. I suggested that she could ride my bike with me while I run.

Her reaction was almost comical now. Her reaction stunned me. I couldn't believe that she could be so violently opposed to that. It's not that she didn't like riding bikes. It was that she didn't think she could do it. She said, "I can't ride a bike 5 miles in 35 minutes. NO WAY!"

I ended it as soon as I got back to Colorado.

Why did this bother me so much? Well, it's not the fact that I didn't want a girlfriend that wasn't fit like me. That's not the point. It's not that I didn't want a girlfriend that;s not as intense as me. That's not it either. It's not even the fact that I didn't want a girlfriend that didn't like bikes. None of that means anything. I couldn't of cared less if she said, "I just don't like bikes".

If was the fact that she gave up with out trying. It was her attitude. "I can't do that." That doesn't work for me.

I see it all the time and it drives me crazy. I don't think that I can do everything but gosh darn it I'm going to try if you challenge me. I don't give up without an effort and I don't want to be with someone that does.

It's been almost 22 years since I had my first kiss. I have had a wide variety of loves and losses. I have had almost every type of relationships that there is. At the end of the day though I have lost each and every one of them for some reason. Yep, I am oh-for.

I don't pretend to be an expert on dating; I certainly am not. I am not going to offer advice; I don't feel it's my place. I am not going to criticize; throwing rocks from my glass house is not such a good idea.

I will say this though: I want to be with someone that when presented with a challenge will look at it and without much thought say "I can do that".

Friday, December 17, 2010

What I bring



As I venture into this dating world I want lay out what I bring to the table.

What do I bring to a relationship? Well.... I bring the penis.

Thanks for reading.

Seriously.

Here is what I bring to the table.

1. Honestly. I have little more than that. I know the error of my ways of my marriage and honesty was very high on that list. I will be honest with you about my intentions and the way that I am feeling.

2. I bring a 10 year old boy named Colby. No compromise there.

3. I am a runner and an athlete. That is my passion. Whether I find someone with that passion or not it is who I am.

4. I am a sensitive person. I don't like to be hurt and I don't have very thick skin. It is who I am.

5. I am divorced and recovering from a broken heart. These are different things and both left me with scares on my heart that I need time to work through. I doesn't get in the way of how I act or what I do BUT these are events in my life that happened and I will never change that.

6. I bring the unique combination of low self-esteem and confidence with arrogance that will be downright confusing. Again it is who I am but it is not a bad thing. It just is.

7. I am a personal trainer in a tough economy. I live alone and I pay my bills but I am not well off by any means. I do, howeve,r have a passion for what I do and love my job.

8. I have an intrinsic physical strength that, to be honest, even astounds me. I will try not try break you when I hug you. Yeah, it's weird.

9. I love to play guitar and think I'm better than I am. Same with singing.

10. I tend to start things and not finish them. Not a good quality.

11. When I fall in love I fall hard. If I do fall in love then I am devoted and true. Yes, I am the guy that everyone has heard about but never seen.

12. I live a public life with my blogs and on Facebook. If I am dating someone exclusively I will not release and publicize details of our relationship BUT I will stand on top of the highest mountain and point to you saying "THAT's HER!"

13. I bring a not perfect person to a relationship. I do, however, bring a person that has learned and continues to learn.

14. I am someone that will give as much as I can even when it doesn't come back (for a while. See #17).

15. I bring 4 bikes and some crazy goals that include climbing mountains and doing crazy things.

16. I bring me to a relationship. I bring my A game at all times. I bring energy and enthusiasm. I bring a positive attitude and optimism to a fault.

17. The last thing I bring is this: If I am committed to you and don't feel the same I will walk away because I have learned to value myself as a person. I am a good catch. I am someone that a lady is going to be lucky to have. I want to get married to a person someday that tells all her friends.... "THAT'S HIM".

That is what I bring.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

That’s her


As I begin this dating process I one goal in mind. OK, well it’s actually two goals. How I get there I really don’t know. I am here. I know where there is. The cool part if that I don’t know what to expect next.

I like it.

I want to find someone that I can tell all my friends about. I want someone that I can tell EVERYBODY: “That’s her”.

It’s simply really.

You know what else? Do you know what the other goal is?

I want to find a girl that is going to say: “That’s him.”

Till I find this I am OK. Who knows when I might meet this person and when they shall meet me. Optimism is my friend. Simplicity is the boss.

Moving forward…

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Match (dot com)



I signed up yesterday with Match.com. I really don’t know why. I guess I’m going to find out. Never in all my life have I figured that I’d be one to try online dating. So many people are doing it these days so why not.

I am not looking for a long term relationship. I am looking for a person to say “hey”. Maybe chat. Maybe get lunch. Maybe go to a movie. Maybe go for a bike ride. I really don’t know. Honestly I really don’t care. I may find “the one” here. I may find a lady or two to have a good time with. You just never know.

I need to be smart now. I don’t want to just go back to my apartment every night and play guitar for myself and write blog entries. That’s fantastic but it isn’t a life. I want to get out and do stuff and meet people. There are lots of people out there to meet. For now I’m going to try the online world and see what it out there.

Today was day one. I made a profile. I did some searches. I sent some emails. Now I wait. I did get two winks. What does that mean? Why did a girl from Tampa wink at me? Isn’t that a little far to be winking? Is that like a “Poke” on Facebook? Ha! I guess I am pretty lame and clueless with this dating thing.

Why the rush?

I think there really is no rush. I am in no condition for a relationship right now so THAT is not the goal. This is the perfect time. No pressure. Just a chance to see what is out there.

I do have a rule though. I believe that I am a good catch. I believe that there are some ladies out there that are going to be lucky to have me.  I am going to my eyes open and be ready for what is out there.

Look! I have a message... “Hi, I like your profile…” and so it begins. … 

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

She found me

“Find a guy who calls you beautiful instead of hot, who calls you back when you hang up on him, who will lie under the stars and listen to your heartbeat, or will stay awake just to watch you sleep... wait for the boy who kisses your forehead, who wants to show you off to the world when you are in sweats, who holds your hand in front of his friends, who thinks you're just as pretty without makeup on. One who is constantly reminding you of how much he cares and how lucky his is to have you.... The one who turns to his friends and says, 'that's her.'”


I found the above quote on a friend "Notes" on Facebook. My only reply there was: OMG.


Here I can write what I really think.


I need to stop dwelling over what was, what might have been and what should have been regarding my former girl friend. I have to stop the pity party. I have not been ready. I have not understood yet. My head has been spinning.


Until right now. After this I am done and moving on. What is done is done. It's over. 


Read that quote above. That was ME. That is how I conduced myself in my relationship with her. She was lucky to have me! The things that it says? I said those things! I was the one that wanted to hold her up and say "That's her". I was so lucky. I REALLY felt that way.


In the end she didn't feel the same. I'm through. The pity party is over. Nobody was bringing presents anyway. I stand tall now. I did what I could do. I was PERFECT. I did what a person in love does. I acted like I should have. This is her loss. I was there for her but she didn't feel the same.


I accept this and I move on now.


I forgive her for walking away from something that I thought was so perfect. I forgive you! What wasn't right, wasn't right. I am done. Now I go on with the rest of my great life. From the last few months I carry much joy and great memories. For a moment I held you and now that moment is over but I will always remember you for what you were and what we were.


I did all I could. Now I move one. I'm still making my way....

Falling in love

For years I have had a fantasy. I’ve had this fantasy for so many years that I can’t even remember the root of it. I have no idea when this started. I just know that I’ve have felt this way for a long time. My fantasy was me playing the guitar and singing. I used to drive in my car with the radio way up loud and singing my heart out. I knew I was awful but who cares. I would sign and pretend I was entertaining people with me voice and guitar.

It was all a fantasy. I can’t sing and I didn’t know how to play.

Well if you’ve read my blog in the past then you know it’s not true. I can sing and I can play.

When I think back on 2010 I see a ton of heartache and pain. I see a divorce, the death of my father, true hurt… the injuries. I see a lot of bad. There are lots of good times as well. (Believe you me, there will be a blog!!)

Pin me down. Go ahead and ask! #1 moment of 2010. What was it? Just like the countdown. Top 10 moments of 2010. What is the top moment of 2010?

Back story. I will eventually blog about the song that I wrote for the girl whom I cannot name. This song was an outpouring of emotion for a girl that would not talk to me; a girl that eventually loved me then left me. It was an amazing song that I refuse to sing ever again. Anyway…

One night I sang for her kids and they actually seemed to like it. The youngest asked me to play her mom’s song. The name of the song was “_____’s Song”. 

“Please, Mr. Rick can you play _____’s Song again?”

I have never felt so good about myself in my entire life. Thank you _____ for making me feel so special.
Now that I have learned that I can play I do! I don’t have the internet in my apartment but I do have my Blackberry and my ear. I listened a song and figured out how to play it. Yes sir, I learned a new song tonight.
Yeah, I am a sap at heart.

The song? “Falling in Love” by Lisa Loeb.

“The time between meeting and finally leaving is sometimes called falling in love…”

Healing doesn’t happen overnight. A day without tears I would call progress…

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Cry


I finally had the cry tonight.

Honestly I’m OK with admitting that. I don’t know if I should or not; but I will. I will admit that I simply lost it. I had just dropped off my son with his mom. I stood in the kitchen doorway frozen in time. I stood there unable to function; unable to move. I was paralyzed. Days and weeks of up built up anger and hurt were about to be released. It came like a flood.

I walked out to the garage with my ex wife. I didn’t want my son to see me like this. I spent the whole weekend with him. It was fun. We kept busy. Sunday it just became too much. I wanted to drop him off and be alone. His mom was busy with her life. I felt worst. Everything made me feel worst. Being in Ferran Park looking at the Christmas lights made it worst. Colby was happy and I was sad. Christmas for me… alone… is not a happy thought.

I held it together for so long. Tonight I lost it.

There are three things weighing on my mind. Each one alone I think I can handle emotionally. Together they are so ever present with hurt on every inch of my soul that I simply can’t escape the pain. The tears have come often especially in the last week.

My dad died on November 13th. I wanted so badly to be strong at the funeral and I was. I delivered the best and most heartfelt tribute to my wonderful father. I stood tall and was strong for my son and for my sisters. I guess I held things in a lot.

Two weeks later I lost her. Falling in love was easy. Having my heart broken was hard. It wasn’t just a broken heart. It was a broken heart on top of a broken heart. I was emotionally shattered. This is where I found my true hurt.

The straw that broke the camel’s back wasn’t either of those. The nail in the coffin of my heart was a thought; a day that isn’t here yet but I know is looming. No matter now strong I try to be the day is going to be a hard day for me.

December 25th. Yes, it’s just another day. It is a holiday that I have always liked but I’ve never obsessed over. I’ve always enjoyed Christmas but let others really get in the spirit. I wish now this year that I had enjoyed all those other Christmases more. This one is going to be tough.

My ex has my son for this one. This will be the first Christmas without my dad. I have no family where I live. I am facing Christmas alone. I’ll drop off my son at his mom’s so he can get his presents from Santa and then it’s just me.

The stocking that my mom made me 37 years ago will stay empty on my couch. I’m sure Colby has a couple of little gifts for me so I’ll have something under the tree. My ex and I will exchange gifts but it is going to be a lonely day for sure.
I did get nice gifts for my son. That is going to be awesome waking up Christmas morning with him. I know he’s going to be more excited to see what Santa brought him though.

I do see the bright side but it is hard this year.

My tears tonight were a culmination of emotions. I’m sure it’s not the last time I’ll shed tears this holiday season. Losing my father, who was so near and dear to me, then less than three weeks later losing the person that I called the “love of my life” is so hard with the holidays coming.

Life does have its ups and downs. I do think that I am blessed. My dad doesn’t have to suffer anymore so I can feel good that he is in a better place. To love and lose is so very hard but it opens up doors that I don’t even know about. Each tear shed leads me closer to healing and moving past the hurt.

I know that life is truly great. I know that there are truly great things in store for me. Tonight, though, I chose to be sad. Tonight I shed tears or sadness that help me to cleanse my soul and bring me closer to what life has in store for me tomorrow.

I hold my head high tonight even though tears stream down my face….

Friday, December 10, 2010

Time



Time is a funny thing. It's one of the feel things that is exactly the same for all of us. I'd put gravity in the same category. While time is in constant it's what we do with it that makes all of us different.

On the brain for me today is time. Specifically how much time do you need to heal and how much time do you need to be alone after a breakup. There are several reasons that this is on my mind.

Apparently there are lots of books out there about post divorce emotions and feelings. There is a class. I've been getting a daily email called "Divorce Care". Apparently there are rules to this divorce thing. I heard that you should be single for 4 months for each year that you were married. Holy crap that is stupid.

Yeah, I think the rules are way to simplified. As a matter of fact I think these rules are dead on wrong for some people. Why do you NEED time after a break up? For some it seems to make sense. For others not so much.

This leads me to the other thought that is on my mind. I have been told this by more than one person. It must be written in some silly book somewhere. The advice is that you need to learn to live alone before you can learn to live with another. You need to be comfortable doing and being alone? What the hell for? Honestly in the future I want to be with someone. I want to share with someone. I've been alone. I can do that. Why do I need to figure out how to be alone, again.

This just makes my head spin thinking about it. Being alone isn't the goal so why learn to do that? Maybe so that we don't rely on a certain person to provide for us? I think that it sets us up for failure in a new found relationship so that we can always say to the other "I'm OK without you". Hearing that sucks. It destroys the relationship.

As I stumble forward I know that I can't be in a serious relationship now. I know that my heart has been broken. I know the hurt is ALWAYS there whether it is on the surface or not. I am not however going to stand outside the fire. I'm not going to purposefully be single just because some book tells me. I'm going to date and have fun. I may even fall in love. I may even get my heart broken again.

I'd rather risk and fail then sit on the sidelines.

Or I could be totally wrong. I guess time will tell.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fix me

So I just finished writing a post and I deleted it by mistake. It must have meant to be. I think I'll start over.

The heaviness in my heart has started to lift. The pain isn't today what it was a few days ago. While I haven't gone a day without tears I am hopeful today is the day. I am optimistic that I can round the corner to healing. Optimistic but a bit cynical.

I know each day is a new day full of new opportunities. I know that I have many gifts and much happiness is in store for me. I know that if I focus on the good then more good will come.

It doesn't make it any easier.

I guess the hurt and the sadness are all part of the plan. I hope that someday I figure out what that plan is!

Today I feel like I can get through this. The hurt that permeates my every fiber when I have thoughts of her is clearly less. The amazing memories are there but fading. With no new memories to make the old ones aren't so clear.

The shock and sadness can't last long. The love that I felt can fade. The moments to remember will always be there. I will fix me. I know that I can do it. With time I can fix this and make it right. For now I am OK to hurt. I accept the hurt. I move forward, I move on....

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Epic Fail



I enter into relationships in one of two ways. Whichever way is on my heart I do my best to convey that to the person that I am with. Now that I’m the single world after 10 years of marriage and a failed attempt at love I am feel the dichotomy of my relationships is appropriate.

I’m in it for fun of I’m in it to win it. In other words it’s going to short term or long term.; temporary or permanent. If I’m honest up front then it usually works out for the good.

I don’t CHOOSE which way I am going to proceed. This is a choice my heart makes for me.

This past summer I was in a relationship for a about 6 weeks with a lady that I got along great with. We had a really good time! It was light. It was good! I was very clear though that I just didn’t want it to be long term. Whenever one of us what done then it was done and we move on. That’s how my heart felt and she felt the same. One day we just ended it and remain close friends today.

That one was easy. My relationship that just ended was not.

I went into this one full bore 100% committed in it to win it. I was VERY clear on my intentions the entire time. She was not on that page. I think now that I thought she was and truth be told I think she gave a lot of indications that she was on that path but in the end she was not. It just became too much for her and she bolted leaving my heart broken.

It was a true Epic Fail.

Now what? Well, I have learned…  (yeah, right. I haven’t learned a thing)

I won’t do that again. (yes, I will. Likely it will be soon)

Next time I won’t fall as hard. (as if…)

What's the cliche? You live, you learn? Well that's for sissy's! Ha!

As I recover and work through my “true hurt” I hope to do some casual, light dating. I want to enjoy another’s company without the pressure that I apply on myself. My eyes are open. Someday my heart will be ready to love again. Someday….

Monday, December 6, 2010

True Hurt



I woke up in the middle of the night; again. I couldn’t fall back asleep; again. My mind could only go one place; again. It’s night number one of the healing process. Its night number one since the love of my life officially told me she doesn’t love me anymore.

Tonight I woke up with two words going through my mind: true hurt.

This is true hurt.

True hurt is the feeling you feel deep in your chest when everything else is gone; when you are alone with nothing but your thoughts. When your thoughts have no where left to go but back to the hurt that you feel….the emptiness….the brokenness…the helplessness.

True hurt if when you wake up to realize that it wasn’t a nightmare after all.

True hurt is an emotion and feeling that is not easy to produce. People just don’t feel true hurt from being sad and alone. It’s not a feeling you get just because.

True hurt comes when you truly lose what you truly value. True hurt comes when you’ve given everything that you have and can’t stop giving. True hurt can only come when you love completely... and lose completely.

Tonight I feel true hurt.

I finally gave up hope two nights ago. Now for the second night in a row I have felt the middle of the night true hurt. I can fall asleep at night; I get tired from my day. My body sleeps the few hours that it truly needs to function. Then the true hurts surfaces and I sleep no more.

I’m up at 3:39am because I have broken heart. I’m going back to be bed now to figure out how to fix me. I wish that I knew.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Stalker




For the last few weeks my girlfriends has had a stalker.

We have lost sleep; we have been on eggshells. It's scary stuff. Who could do such a thing and why?

It started about a month as we slowly rolled from simply friends to tentatively dating. First her car got broken into. Smashed glass 30 feet from when she slept. Scary, scary stuff.

Then a couple of weeks a later a mean and vindictive comment was left on her blog. All indications pointed to her INSANE ex-husband. Things were not looking good.

With all this going on the mundane and silly became to take on meaning.

Around the time the window was broken disposable razors started showing up on her lawn. At first it was simply a "Hey, that's weird." Then as the other things started falling into place connections were drawn and this became a bad scene.

Someone was watching and waiting and leaving razors.

Who was it? The ex? A jaded blog reader? She was single for 2 years but had plenty of men wanting to take her out. One of them? A neighborhood crazy?

One night a razor (all the razors were in a package. They were all EXACTLY the same) was left in her back utility room while she was in the house! This was the second one of the day and the first left in the back yard (that is fenced in!) and the first left while she was home just feet away in the kitchen.

This was getting too weird. She was getting alarmed and so was I. I'm the boyfriend. I need to protect my girlfriend.

One came in the middle of the night Sunday. That was another first. The others came during the day. How strange! We needed a plan. I was determined. I was going to catch the SOB that was doing this. What kind of person would do such a thing?

By now there were more than 20 razors left. A plan was formulated...

Monday morning she left at 7am. I drove by to check at 8:10am and sure enough there was a razor!!

I came back at 11:00am to do Day 1 of my stake out and there were 2 more packages in the walkway. What? Really? This was the first time 3 were left. This is stupid. I stayed and watched all day and no more came.

Day 2 of the stake out I had a new plan. I took the day off from work and I was going to be there from the time she left till the time she came home. At 6:50am I hopped the fence in her back yard to come into the house UN-NOTICED. !I thought we were being watched!)

In the dark house I sat and I watched.

Picture the seriousness of this.

My heart pounding. My face pressed up against the slit in the blinds. Scanning... watching..waiting....

Then... JACKPOT.

Up the driveway came a single disposable razor in a package. There were at least 20 of those in the house already. Finally I saw, with my own two eyes, the razor being carefully placed, in the same spot as the others. I HAD CAUGHT THE VILLAIN.

How dare you scare my girl with your razors!!

HOW DARE YOU STALK HER!! What gives you the right!!!

I am no hero, alas. I did indeed figure out the answer to the riddle but it wasn't that scary.

You see, I did see the razor being walked up the driveway. It wasn't, however, in the hands of some evil man. It wasn't even in hands at all. It was in the mouth of a homeless cat.

For almost a month a homeless cat had been raiding someones supply of disposable razors and leaving them on the front walkway of my girl. Of all the crazy things.

I am a hero. I solved the mystery. My son, who was playing detective with me, had a hearty laugh and said, "Dad, it was the cat the whole time wasn't it?"

"Yes, Colby, it was."

While I feel silly about the whole episode I am happy that there no stalker. Just a kind hearted cat bringing gifts to a kind hearted woman.

Life is so funny.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The Talk: Part 1




Had to have "the talk" with my son today (Not the whole talk just part 1 of ??). I dread the talks but I know they are needed. He's too young!

Grrrr.....

So how do you talk to your 10 year old about the birds and bees? Should you really have to? How do you?!?

I remember being VERY young and asking my mom how babies were made. The irony is that I remember asking then I remember her telling me not to tell anyone what she said but I don't remember WHAT she said. lol. Guess she made quite an impression with her talk. I want to say I was like 6 at the time. What could she possibly have said?

My son is 10. I've talked to him about how babies are made. I don't think that is the issue though. Or is it?

Without getting to specific I know that he is curious about "sexy naked girls". Hmmm. Is this normal or OK? Do I be the cool dad and show him some "sexy naked girls"?

THAAAAAT's not going to happen.

Do I tell him that is is normal to be curious? It's a tough call.

I do have a pretty good relationship with his mom so we will work on it together. It's just hard to know exactly what to do. A big problem that I see is that since there is no was for for him to look at "sexy naked girls" within the rules he has to lie about it. THAT disturbs both of us big time.

Anyway, so I had a talk with him this morning. I didn't yell. I didn't get mad. I just told him I know and that it was wrong. In the near future I'm going to have more talks and am going to try to get ahead instead of be behind like I am now.

I only have one reference point and that is of course me. Was I interested in sexy naked girls at his age? Yep. Did I ever have the talk with my dad? Nope.

I need to have the talk....

Monday, October 25, 2010

Bring it

I remember the day we moved into our dream house.

It wasn't a dream but a nightmare.

We were fostering two children that were not ours. I had ignored the signs and now my business was going down the drain. A new house, a new life, new kids.... no money and no happiness.

I was living a nightmare and every-time I opened my front door it was highlighted like a light turned on in a dark room.

I thought about my dream house just the other day. I was in my apartment and looking at the wallpaper falling off the wall wondering where I was going to put my bike rack. My tiny batcher pad isn't the 3000 square food top of the line home in a gated community but it is home and it makes me happy.

We always wanted a big nice house. Who doesn't? We thought we were ready. We were not but I least I thought we could be. We walked into the this beautiful brand new home with not a penny to buy furniture. The mortgage became a rope around my neck. As I watched the housing market crumble my business melting into the sands of time. I knew that we couldn't afford to live in this home.

Those were 18 dark, dark months.

I'd walk in the house knowing that it wasn't home. I knew that we would lose the house and our credit. I knew I was losing my marriage. My son didn't get attention because we were working so much just to keep our heads above water.

It was awful.

A combination or bad choices and bad luck led us down this path.

After 18 months of mounting debt just to survive we were done and our dream home experiment was over. Life went back to the way it had been but now we had a few scars that will never heel.

Do I want to get out of my tiny apartment someday and own a house? Sure I do. Will I rush into this because somehow this will make me happy? Ha! Never!

Stuff and big houses don't make you happy! This you bring to the table. Happiness is within. It just needs to be brought out. I am so much happier now broke and living below the poverty line then I ever was when I lived in the house with cherry cabinets and crown molding.

Life is what is so AMAZING; not stuff.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The ex Game




When you are divorced or separated or other wise single in some way shape or form then surely you have ex's. Often times they all live in Texas. If this is true then just avoid the lone-star state and you will be fine.

For the those of us that aren't George Strait our ex's live right around the corner.

Just for fun:


So we have ex's. Some get along with our ex's. Some don't. Some are at odds and some aren't. We have kids with some of our ex's and sometimes we do not. Some people sleep with their ex's! Eek!

We all have different relationships with our ex's.

Mine has been weird. We are at times very displeased with the other. At times we are fine and talk and text like friends. Sometimes we go camping together....

OK, not sometimes but this upcoming weekend. This can create some challenges.

When my ex said that we should do our son's scout camp out together I was all for it. He's still getting adjusted to his parents being divorced so this will give him some mom/dad time. Sounded like a great idea before but now I don't like it.

The reality is this: your parents are divorced. It is now 2 separate families: mom/Colby with a boyfriend and kids (if applicable) OR dad/Colby and girlfriend and kids. This is a sad reality of a broken home. This however is the reality.

After this camp-out I'm not going to do this again. It's creates too much weirdness all around. It's sad but it is the reality of our lives now.

As I progress into a relationship THIS has to be my priority; not my relationship with my ex wife. She and I need to raise a son but we aren't doing it together. I'm OK hanging out at the house or maybe going to the park for an hour.

Spending the weekend camping? That's not going to work for me anymore.

As time goes by I need to figure things out. There is no book for me. It is a daily struggle with decisions that impact a lot of people. Right now I see that my choice was a bad one. It's OK. Today is a new day to make new decisions.

My new found wisdom will guide me...


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Music




When I was in middle school I did chorus to get out of some other class that I didn't want to take. I remember like it was yesterday the afternoon that I tried out for a solo. I sang "Your a Grand Old Flag".

It didn't go well.

I remember one of the kids that could sing came up to me afterwards and said, "Nice try." That make me feel GREAT. Actually it made me fee like crap. I couldn't sing...

Years later I tried to teach myself the piano with little to no success. Same thing with the guitar. I tried and I wanted to but just never really put forth the required effort.

For years I've day dreamed about picking up a guitar and playing for an audience. For years I'd sit in my car with the music loud and sing along like I could. It was always a pipe dream.

Then the moment came.

It was a goal written in a book. I was going to learn to play guitar.

For Christmas last year I got a cheap guitar. I picked up a book and I slowly started to learn. After a while I went and took a few lessons with my son. I discovered fairly quickly that I actually did have an aptitude after-all. I could play guitar.

A while later I found a better guitar at a garage sale.

Then I heard "Highway 20 Ride". I feel in love with the song last winter because it made me think of my dying father. He's two years into a desperate battle for his life. He has cancer and the end is near.

When I was a kid my dad used to do the "every other Friday" ride to get HIS son. The road wasn't hyw 20 but it was route 44. Different numbers but the same meaning.

I wanted to play this song for my dad.

My instructor taught me part of the song and I went on-line to learn the rest.

Then I got divorced and the song took on even more meaning in my life.

I learned to play and sing the song. A month ago with trembling hands I sat down in front of my ailing father. I played the song. He enjoyed it. The moment was touching. I had done it. I could play and sing.

One day this summer I had a moment of inspiration. When I'm inspired I often write. On this day I wrote a song. I wrote a song for the girl that I wanted ti be with. In a period of 90 minutes I had written her a song and composed music for the song on my guitar.

At the time she wasn't even talking to me. To me then it didn't matter. I wrote from my heart hoping and praying that I could play it for her someday. I practiced and practiced. Finally a couple of weeks ago I was able to play her the song. She liked the gesture but I still wasn't sure about the quality.

This weekend I learned a new song: "The Search is Over".

I kept practicing all my songs.

Last evening I stood before my girl and her three kids and I played my three songs. When I was done  the youngest looked at me and said, "Mr. Rick. Can you play "Mom's Song" again?"

Words cannot describe how good that made me feel.

Music. I can play music....

....and play it well.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Negativity is dense

Did you ever get a positive feedback from people? Feels good, right? How about negative feedback? Yeah, not so good. What happens when you get both. Which is more dense?

No question there.

Imagine having someone say "I love you" to you 10 times a day for 100 days. Now that is 1000 "I love you's". Now after day 100 they say "I hate you" 1 time. Which do you remember?

Negative thoughts, feeling, emotions and words are denser than their positive counterparts.

When you start a new relationship with someone there are always going to be the cheerleaders. These are people that simply support you. You are going to get lot's of pats on the back, good luck's, she's right for you...

What happens though when you get a neigh-sayer? The person that puts a "what if" in your mind? Someone that comes along and tells you that you need to be careful? He's not ready? She's not ready? He may hurt you? What about the kids? What about his... What about her...

What if YOU have negative thoughts? What if you find 100 things about your new partner that you love but then you find a reason to doubt? What is stronger?

This is why it is so challenging to start a new relationship when you are divorced. You have people that want to see you succeed yes. You also have ex's. What do they want for you? You have people that are jealous. You have people that want to run your life. You have people that have well intentioned advice without all the facts.

It's a complicated world this whole dating thing.

Add Facebook and blogs to the mix and.... oh boy.

I say keep these thoughts in mind if your friend is entering into a new relationship.

Encouragement is always important.

Your advice can be valuable. You can help! Just be careful. Sometimes the best of intentions can backfire.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Apparently sleep is last on the list

Building a relationship from the ground up is a rewarding process. It doesn't, however, mean that it's easy. Some things need to be sacrificed. For me it is sleep.

We have our own lives my girlfriend and I do. She has kids and I have my son. She has an ex and so do I. We have out hobbies and out jobs. As we start to make each others lives each others we have to carve out time for that. For us it's at night.

Sleep is nice and all but worth the sacrifice to build a relationship.

During the day she works. In the evening it's kid time for her.

During the day I teach or work. Evening are spend teaching, training, or bring my son to scouts and church.

Some weekends we both don't have kids. Then we get to spend time together. This is nice but neither one of use think it is enough.

What hours of the day are left. Well it's the nights. Sure I'd like to be in bed at 10pm to get up at 5am. Losing an hour of sleep to spend with my ladyfriend? That I'll do every night of my life.

Life can be a challenge. Life can be rewarding. Life can be a little of both. I choose to dwell on the rewarding part., I choose to focus on what is right and what is good. My new found relationship is good and it is right. Losing sleep several nights a week is a bad thing but who cares.

Spending an hour building the foundations of a special relationship.... yeah, that's what I choose to do. I am enriched by the process. I am optimistic and happy. Forward I go...

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

A House Divided

I walk into the house that I build. I picked out where the outlets go. I picked the colors for the walls. I painted the wall. I was there when we picked out the pool. I say the roof go on. I watched the whole being build bit by bit. I made the mortgage payment for 5 years. This is my house. This is a house where I helped to pick the lot, the shingles... everything. This was the first house that I built.

I walked around this morning while my son was getting ready for school. It looked the same. There's the couch that I helped to pick out. We picked out that table and those chairs. I remember the day we picked out the picture on the wall. This is my house.

This was my house.

Some things are different. You have to look but things are different. No more wedding pictures. No family pictures. Picture of the kids but not of me. I have been removed from my house. My house is no longer my house.

It is very strange indeed.

My apartment is down the road. I got the nice TV and the spare bed. I have four bikes in a tiny apartment. There are some pictures that I liked. I got some of the dishes. This place I live is just that. It is a place that I live. I have no home.

My home is where my son and ex wife live.

Don't get me wrong. I am happy to not be living there. I am happy that I am not officially divorced. I am happy with my life.

My home is now a place where I don't sleep. That's not my food in the refrigerator. The bad that I picked out and slept in for years is no longer a place when I am welcome. My home is gone.

I guess it is all part of the process.

I think about this on the day my divorce is final. The day that a new chapter of my life is being written. I have moved on and am content with my place on earth.

It just makes me a little sad that my home.... is gone.