Archive for the ‘ sad ’ Category

Rough Weeks behind me…

It is odd what the world brings.  What life will deliver to you.  Odd how hard life can be.  Regardless of what you have on your plate as an adult you are never able to shirk your responsibility to your children.  Grin and bare it is what I do.  When you feel like life has raked you over the coals you don’t let the hurt show in your face as you hold your children.  They will learn soon enough on the grand scale that life is not fair, so in the meanwhile you spare them those hardships that keep you awake at night.

You can see broken people everyday, hell, I see one every time I look in the mirror but life goes on and you show your children that you love them every way you can.  I have gone through mediation with my ex and I am still alive and ticking, a little worse for wear but still up and walking.  On top of all that there will always be the ghosts of Iraq that seem to haunt me from my time in the Army.

I am not trying to bring any of you down, I am just speaking from my heart, telling you where my head is and my priorities.  Regardless of all that is said and done, your children are your priorities.  I will have mine this coming weekend and we will have a good time, a smile will be on my face and it will come naturally.  They will always make me smile, the best I do will never be good enough, but the love I have for my kids is genuine and in that I am content.

Nevadog on Being a Single Father

What does being a father mean to me? I have spent my life as a professional soldier in the United States Military and continue to serve my country in other capacities since leaving, and for me, all my military accomplishments, all the honor and the glory I have seen in battle, in my 2 years deployed to Iraq, all my efforts.  They all pale in comparison to being a good father.  I strongly believe that even alone as a single male I am capable of raising my children to be healthy and to understand what a healthy relationship entails.

I strive to set goals for us as individuals but also as a family unit, goals like our fishing trips, the 5k we ran as a family team, visiting their great-grandfather (my grandpa), I set these goals and help accomplish them so that in time my children will have lasting memories of what a good and healthy childhood is.  In my time with them I push them farther than they realize they can accomplish, I do this by listing to NPR in the mornings, explaining to them what is going on in the world news and then asking them questions.  I am often astounded when they ask me more questions back.  They are INTERESTED when I give them data, when I give them problems to solve and when I create challenges for them to complete.  They are amazed when they create stuff, both in the kitchen and in the woods.  They love it when I tell my stories and make fiction for them to be immersed in.  Telling stories is such a rich and rewarding part of my days with my children, both for them and for me.

Not everything they do is without fault.  I have to play the bad guy at times too.  Allowing them to have consequences for their actions (both good and bad) and watch as they suffer through those consequences.  For instance, I have found that my son (who is 12) has such a better time reflecting on his actions when I ask him to write me a paper on respecting his family, or on treating his sister better (or whatever it happened to be) because it causes him to reflect and actually write from his heart rather than give his cop-out answers like, “I wasn’t paying attention,” or “I didn’t mean to”.  For my daughter letting her know (she is 8 ) that I am ashamed or hurt by her makes her realize just what she did was wrong.  Both of my children are very mature and very different emotionally in how they act and how they react and I love both of them for their individuality.

I write this not to brag, not to boast, simply to show that anyone (even a broken and at times lonely and sad army vet) can be a good and wonderful father.  You just need to pay attention and to show love.

Lessons from my mother

I don’t know where to begin.  I feel partly lost, partly sad, and also committed.  Looking back on my life I can see clearly that I do not trust others to catch me when I am hurting or hold me when I need support.  I have learned over the years that you can’t trust someone to do that for you, the time when you need it they will be too busy, won’t care, or will simply let you down.  The only person you can trust is yourself.  I learned this lesson at a very young age from my mother.  I can’t say that she never taught me anything; she taught me how to survive in a very cruel world, taught me that nobody will protect you.

I want to create a different legacy for my own children.  I won’t allow them to go through what I did, I will strive every day to show them what a caring parent is and how my kids should be treated and cared for.  I will protect them from the truly horrible things in this world but will allow them to learn to deal with the small injustices now to prepare them for the larger unfairness of life.  If by allowing my son and daughter to realize that homework is hard or that you don’t always get what you want, or to struggle to save and work for something you really want they will later be better equipped to deal with those problems on a larger scale (how to cope in a work environment, saving for what you want instead of instant gratification, dealing with a hard breakup, etc).

But for me that message seems ingrained.  It impacts my personal relationships, I stay behind the walls of my heart because those I love and those I have loved have always let me down.  I hope that in my life I can teach my children a different lesson than the harsh one my mother taught me.  I am a survivor, I will make it, but as for my children, they won’t merely survive I hope that I can allow them to thrive and to feel without having to guard their hearts.

The Tampa VA Medical Center

Where do I begin? The VA is such a poorly run system for veterans, such paltry care with every air of indifference possible blatantly inferred upon us poor souls who seek care. It must be my fault, must be my fellow veteran’s faults for coming back from multiple tours of combat duty so broken both inside and out. I had a doctor tell me today that she didn’t have time for my scheduled appointment. This is the second time she has not shown up for a SCHEDULED appointment. Next I was seen for a second appointment and told that it was normal to have medical students sit in on my private sessions, what am I? Some teaching aid? No, I’m a soldier who has served his country with honor and who should be treated with honor. I don’t know if I will go back… Every time I go I am sick afterwards at the way the VA treats us. It is no wonder that my fellow veteran friends have only each other’s broken souls to lean on, because the VA simply doesn’t care…

Thoughts within my head…

The sorrow and emptiness at times have filled me up.  I didn’t know how to stop it.  Was there a drain or would I simply drown in all of it.  The whole mess of my memories, my shortcomings and my pain.  The next question was, how many others will my pain end up hurting as well?  Why does it have to be this way? What is normal?  How can I be normal?  When do I get to feel like everyone else does?  Fair?  I never expected fair, but how unfair can things be?  Do I need to be heartless like the others?  Can I make it and still keep my soul?  Those thoughts are in my head every day.  Every week. Every year.  Can I be normal?  Do I want to be normal?
How many of you go through life happy?  Why do we put so much emphasis on being happy?  I have been happy at times, will be happy at other times.  But it isn’t the norm to just go through life on some unfeeling level of happiness.  You are supposed to hurt, to feel pain and sorrow as well as anger, fear and, happiness.  Prozac isn’t a cure-all for the feelings we are SUPPOSED to have.  We all have our vices and mine are as personal as the next guy’s (or girl’s) but those things are part of us too aren’t they?  It is the hard questions that we forget to ask.  Forget?  Is it really that we forget or is it that we refrain to ask those questions?  Is it easier to just not know the answer to some of our troubles?  I think so but I have always been stubborn as well.  I can’t help but ask even if the answer will hurt.  Pain and I go way back.  Not necessarily the physical kind, but emotional pain?  Yeah, we are old friends.  Joy is a pal of mine as well, but she visits less often.  These are just a couple thoughts for the day…  Things that go through my head at times.  Not all the time mind you, but just those times of self reflection, when we let our guard down to allow what is inside to come out for a cup of tea before we once again lock it away for a rainy day…

Christmas is a lonely day

Christmas was hard.  Yeah, I realize that it is only 8:40 in the morning but already it is done for me.  The kids woke me up at 6 am and by 7:10 we were at my ex’s place.  Santa had come.  The kids had written him and told him that while they were spending Christmas Eve with me that they would be at their mother’s place in the morning so if it wasn’t too much trouble, if Santa could please deliver there.

It felt odd being in her place with her roommate and her roommate’s husband and “their” child who were all there having their separate Christmas together, a Christmas that my ex was a part of but which my only connection was through my children and their joy.  I sat there like a stranger looking through a window of a place that was not his.  My dog Benny came with the kids and I when we went there so he and I spent a majority of the time outside playing with the Frisbee so as not to be in the way.  My ex asked me to stay for breakfast but seeing as how I wasn’t really spoken too by the other members living in that house (other than my children of course) it just felt awkward.

I had to go.  Alone is something that I have been quite a lot over the last year and a half.  Even though I don’t really care for my own company I make due.  Christmas Eve was amazing, I have those memories with my kids that we created together and for that I am lucky and joyful, but Christmas day is different.  You know what?  The holidays suck, they are hard and stupid and we make them out in our head to be so much bigger than they need to be (I am not meaning for my kids, but for myself).  We expect to feel some sense of something bigger than ourselves but really it is just you and all your own demons together for some good alone time when all is said and done.

I will be fine though, I have a lunch with one of my wonderful friends from the military who I thank God for every day.  His name is Daniel.  He and I served 2 tours in Iraq together and we both understand that our lives have been and will always be changed because of the things we saw and the things we did.  He understands my pain as I understand his and I am so very thankful that he and his wife have so graciously invited me to spend Christmas day with them starting at lunch.

As I drove away from the home that is no longer mine I called my dad.  He too understands me.  He has served in combat (Vietnam) and he too has gone through divorce, loneliness and pain.  I called him and I felt the tears coming as I told him I loved him and that I wished him a merry Christmas.  He is a good man, a great man really.  The people in my life are ones whom I do not deserve but who bless me by accepting me with ALL my flaws.

I suppose this is how Christmas is as a single father, awkward and alone, but happy that your kids are so wonderful and so loving.  Merry Christmas to all of you and I wish you a happy new year…

Times get tough

A lot has happened, I don’t want to be so negative but I am going through quite a bit.  For those of you who don’t know I pay my ex’s car payment, her mortgage, car insurance, and health insurance.  I can’t afford it anymore.

I have been paying over half my monthly pay.  I have to take care of my children too and I know that I wouldn’t pay that much in child support.  I explained that I can not afford to continue paying so much.

Tell me I am doing the right thing.  Over half my pay is ridiculous right?  I think so…

When the kids leave…

Maybe other single fathers can tell me if they get the same feeling, but for me I am so very excited and happy when I have my kids.  I plan whole weekends full of fun, sometimes it is expensive, but mostly it is free.  Motorcycle rides with them, video games, writing together as a family and such.  I love them with my whole heart and now we come to the hard part.

They have to leave, it hurts every time.  I don’t show them how upset I am because I know that spending time with their mother is just as important but she gets them most of the time.  It is just hard any way you look at it.  This roller coaster of emotions I am sure is similar to what my children feel when they go between our houses.  To their credit though, they are doing so very well.  I am so damn proud of how they are handling the whole situation and I love them with all my heart.

Why does it have to be so hard?  I go from these amazing high feelings with my kids to feeling so sad when they go.  Like someone turned all the electricity to my home and what once was a bustling energetic home is now kind of an empty shell.  I am sure it gets easier with time but for now it is just hard…

I can’t help but compare my decisions and my life to that of my father at these times.  He left my mother and was still an amazing father and I love him with all my heart.  While he could have, he never had a single bad thing to say about my mother and for that I had so much more respect for him.  I strive to be that kind of father and so far I have succeeded.  I love my children and want the best for them.  I will be the best father I know how to be, I am just Zach, nothing more, nothing less.