Tag Archives: family

How the Grinch (consumerism) almost stole Xmas.

During the holidays, kids get spoiled, parents get drunk, relationships start, relationships end. Regardless your situation, parent or not a parent, the holiday season affects you in some way, shape or form. My point of view of course is as a parent. A dad of a 10 year old daughter. I totally get that my advice, rant, whatever is one sided. Its my view of my world. This is the scenery that I awake to every morning. Father, struggling new business owner with debt and other stresses. I try my hardest not to judge others. And that’s freaking hard sometimes. Jealousy and envy. those are hard feelings to ignore sometimes.

This is the first Christmas that I don’t have a tree up for the holiday. I know, its still early so something might change. But money wise, its been a tough past 2 months. Its all for a reason, I get that. But when I see my ex and her husband going out, spending on the kids. When I’m embarrassed to see my nephew’s or niece because I’ve come up short for their holiday gifts. When I can’t even plan a trip home since I cant afford the gas money. Its hard to keep a jolly view of yourself or the holiday. I mean lets face it. The holiday season is all about those ads. The specials going on everywhere. Its near impossible to avoid the constant reminders. So should I be upset, jealous or envious that they can afford it but I cant?

No.

Even thought its been a hard few months (and I totally get that I brought this on myself). I made the decision to avoid a low end position for what I really wanted. I get that, I accept that. I’m not mad at anyone, especially myself.

Everyday we make decisions that affect a time in the future. That maybe a few moment’s, to a few days, years, lifetimes away. I may complain to my brother that I cant afford a Xmas tree. I may vent to my friend Jeff about my inability to walk in to a store without feeling guilt. But this isn’t the reason for this time of year. And I’m not referring to the religious side of the season. I mean the goodness and warmness that this time of year brings. The real holiday season. Not the ads. Not the specials. Not the enormous expense of living the holiday that society now seems to lead by example. Its about making cheap sugar cookies with my daughter. Its about walking out and enjoying a snow covered morning. Its about feeling the genuine warmth from others feeling the wonderful spirit of giving.

Its about love. Plain and simple. Its about feeling the love that we all feel grow and grow during this holiday season.

So I’ll count my blessings and count my pennies.

I have family that I may not be next to thinking of me this holiday season. I have friends that mean it when they wish me a prosperous new year.

And best of all. I have a 10 year daughter that wants nothing more than to be with her family this holiday (that last line made me tear up).

Life’s good this season.

Even when your without the low interest credit card.

A Holiday Analysis.

I love my family and I really miss them this Holiday. Normally my daughter and I make the trek out from New Mexico to Nevada and spend the 4 to 5 days getting fed ENOURMOUS amount of wonderful food. It’s basically our fattening session for the winter.

But this year I decided against the trip. Moneywise, with a new business, it’s pretty tight. So it’ll be just my daughter and I for the afternoon.

And at 9:05 am the annual “Happy Thanksgiving” text messages begin. Amazing how technology has changed our communication habits. A quick few sentences and you’re reaching out is done.

But after a few messages from friends and family, I received a group message that totally, for some reason stung. It was from my ex brother-in-law asking everyone to keep the thanksgiving messages to one exchange.

Great idea.

Except that he proceeded to name everyone one in the family and left me out.

Ok, I get it. I mean, I’m not technically family. We’ve been divorced for over 9 years so it’s understandable not to be involved in his term “family”. But why the hell would you send someone a text and single them out? Out of everyone tagged, I was the only one left out. Honestly, that kind of hurt.

Now, I’m a grown man and I really shouldn’t care what my Ex-In-laws consider me.

I’m not in any way still attracted to my ex. I’ve made a point to avoid her family functions and gatherings because over the years I kind felt like I was over stepping my place with them. She’s pretty possessive when it comes to her family, as she should be. So I’ve backed off and turned down invites from other family member’s and just kept it casual. But this exclusion in particular hit a nerve.

Why? Am I just a little moodier than normal?

So in the true fashion of family+emotions+drama= holidays, lets investigate further.

  1. First holiday away from my family does create a sense of sadness. It’s my only one on one time with my little brothers and sister. So maybe my skin is a little more tender than normal?
  2. After losing my mom when I was 18, I developed a ‘mom need”, where I latched on to any person who I could see as a mom figure. My ex mom-in-law fit this mold perfectly. Took me years to realize she wasn’t, nor would ever be my mom. Accepting that was pretty hard. So maybe this is some type of unresolved feeling towards that?
  3. My ex brother-in-law can be pretty blunt at times. So maybe this is his way of pledging to his sisters loyalty?
  4. Or maybe it’s his way of confronting me with my “backing off” from family events?

Some pretty deep possibilities.

But after much thought (well, 10 minute’s worth) I’ve come to a conclusion.

Fuck it. Who cares?!

It amazes me how as human we tend to reach out to what we really don’t want, but feel we do. It’s like not getting a happy birthday wish from your ex the first year after your break up. I guess some just move on faster than others and that’s ok.

I better get cooking

Happy Turkey Day y’all.

All about the little things.

A few months ago I was in the mindset to move out of state.

For the first time in my daughter’s life. I felt comfortable with the idea of living away from her. Now, I know that sounds bad but let me explain. If you’ve read my previous post you know that I have a very good relationship with my ex-wife. We share custody but neither of us really demand time with our daughter since we’re so interactive with each other. In other words, we don’t obey a schedule since were in such good terms with each other’s household.

So every year my daughter and I take a few trips out to visit the family in Nevada (usually once in late fall and then again in early spring).

And every drive back I ask myself the same question.

“Would she be ok if I moved out of state?”

And every year I come to the same conclusion. “No. She needs me.”

But this time it was different.

Maybe it’s her age, coming into preteen. Maybe the realization that my father is getting older. Maybe the guilt of missing my brothers and lil sis growing up into amazing adults.

So I spoke to my daughter about it.

About the possibility of moving in with my folks for a bit and living away from her. I was surprised by her much laid back reaction. She seemed genuinely excited about the possibility of living out in Vegas for a part of every year.

I spoke to my folks, spoke to my ex and to my friends back in New Mexico. Everyone seemed very supportive and excited for my new possibilities.

I had a place to stay, a possible internship with the city all lined. And the option of moving back if it didn’t work. It was hard going to work every day knowing that in a few short weeks I might be moving out of state.

Then the day came when the internship I was hoping for called with the news that I had the position if I wanted it.

It was happening.

A guaranteed paying position with the city once it came open. And as the woman went into details about my schedule and responsibility, I trailed off. It was my daughter’s karate practice that night. I would be missing it after I moved.

And everything changed right at that moment.

My excitement for the new possibilities suddenly vanished. I couldn’t do it. There was no way I would be able to move away from my daughter. No matter the amount of time or possible amount of money.

I declined the position and explain my realization. She understood and wished me luck. But I knew I didn’t need it because what I had wasn’t luck, it was a blessing. I was truly blessed to be in the position I was in.

Fast forward a few months.

My daughter called me from the schools nurse’s office today. It was picture day and she needed a change of clothes after having an accident. As I walked up to the school office, she met me at the door, awaiting the clothes, thanking me repeatedly, hugging me tightly.

No regret about my decision. I can wait till she’s 18. By then she’ll hopefully be deciding about school, maybe out of state? Maybe the armed forces?

Then I’ll ponder about possibly moving away.

Till then I’ll be readily available for whatever she may need, only a few miles away, at all times.

Anger.

Sometimes I hate being a parent.

I love my daughter, let me say that clearly. But sometimes the responsibilities that we carry hurts. It stops us in the middle of a walk and makes us realize that our kids, even though we love them, can easily hurt us so deep that we want nothing but to run away. My baby girl is 9 years old and shes always held that power. I never questioned if that was smart because its my daughter. My love is UN-phased because she would always be my love, dedication and passion.

But just recently she hurt me so deep that it left me slightly crippled for a moment or two.

I’m not going to go into details since shes only 9 and who she is now isn’t the same person shes going to be in a few months. Change is growth. I totally accept that. But fuck it hurt.

Do all parents go through this?

Guess we all carry that burden or possible hurt as parents. Disappointments, regret or just plain anger. No kid grows up without some bitterness towards their parent. Even the most loving adult has some pent up issue towards mom or dad. So its normal for a parent to feel that towards their kid I’m sure. Just because we feel it doesn’t mean we love any less.

I remember being a kid and my mom asking me a question about why I loved her. I remarked back in true “Israel smart ass” fashion. She cried so bad that she had to walk away from me. I never saw my mom walk away from me like that. I don’t remember being hit by my dad but I’m sure I was for saying something so harshly to her, I apologized. It wasn’t a true apology because I really didn’t understand the reason I was apologizing. I thought I had said an unfunny joke. Some time later I laid in bed and awoke thirsty. I asked my mom for a glass of water and she walked in, half asleep holding a glass. Then it hit me. I was wrong and why.

I couldn’t describe why I was crying to her, I just sobbed as she held me. She thought it was from a bad dream. But no. It was the realization that I had hurt the person who was my world. That guilt was so heavy that I carry it still to this day. Even more so after losing my mom 10 years after that night.

So I know I love my daughter. I know she’s going to mess up. She’s going to do things, say things, act in a way that might not be what I want for her. But I will always love her. Even when she’s driving me bat-shit crazy.

Short Stories.

The next few stories are my recollections of text messages, poems and stories that came up while in the different stages of 3 relationships. These were very turmoil filled, stressed relationships. One eventually ended by divorce, one by a police restraining order filling and the other by her moving away. Enjoy my humor, embarrassment and awkwardness.

Her name was Jenny.
I had been sick. It was my day on call at the rape crises center. I was an advocate helping survivors with emergency calls and that Saturday was the busiest Saturday I had had in a long while. I had left Jenny’s house around 10 am. When you’re on call and a case comes in you have an hour to get down to the center. So I left her side and headed down. Fourteen hours later I headed home exhausted, tired and a little nauseous after eating something from the pantry. They usually had a bunch of stuff donated to them from local charities. The cup O’noodle soup seemed to have been a bad idea. I was suffering all the way home. Jenny was already asleep when I arrived. As I walked in to the bathroom to shower before going to bed I felt another bubble. The belly rubble that you usually get after eating something bad or after a night of mixing drinks. Luckily it seemed to pass and after a quick rinse I was off to bed. The next morning she got up before me and headed downstairs. I awoke, after only sleeping a few hours but the sun was up so what was the point of trying. As I was in the restroom Jenny came back up and found a stain on my side of the bed. I came out to her standing over my side of the bed. “What’s that?” she asked pointing to a dark brown stain on the avocado green sheets. “Probably from a chocolate”, I answered. She had a habit of eating some chocolate covered cherries in bed. “I probably fell asleep with one in my hand or something.” “We haven’t had any since last Sunday and just washed the sheets the other day”, she stated in a very matter of fact tone. Then I remembered how my stomach felt last night. As I realized what it may be she thrust her face into the sheets to get a better smell. It definitely wasn’t a stain from Cella’s Milk Chocolate Covered Cherries. She stood over the sink scrubbing her face for what seemed an hour. I said nothing as I took the sheets to laundry mat. Embarrassment doesn’t even describe how badly I felt. Well, at least I didn’t smell it.

Road Trip.
One minivan, five adults and one newborn. On a 1,320 mile road trip. Oh the horror. We were just recently married (about 8 months at this point) and I wasn’t too excited about spending so much time with my new in-laws. Grandpa had a cabin on Pelican Lake in Minnesota and that’s where we were headed. Joe and Kelly in the back row (brother in law and girlfriend), Judy and Adrianna in the middle (Grandma and my daughter), Sara driving (wife at the time) and I in the copilot seat. I’ve never traveled this far east before. I was excited but at the same time dreading it. I didn’t relate anyone in the car other than my daughter. Sara and I had started going down the “it’s not working is it?” road. Her brother was recently released from a four year stint in Tennessee from some drug charges. His size was intimidating but his girlfriend Kelly was a sweetheart. Never understood why he treated her so badly. Judy was an amazing woman but a bit emotional. Sara and her brother would play roughly with her, taunting and teasing her. I expected nothing less throughout this two day drive. I needed to use the restroom. It was around 10 pm and Sara was looking for a gas station. She wanted to keep stops to a minimum as to save on time and gas. In the 10 minutes from me telling her I needed to use the restroom, we passed 5 gas stations, none being the one we needed for the gas card. “Let me just drive a little further”, she would state. At this point my bladder felt as if it was going to explode. “Seriously just pull over!” I started to shout. “I could of ran in to any of the gas stations we passed and been done within 3 minutes.” But she kept going further and further. After twenty minutes of arguing I had had enough. I blew up. She pulled over to some side street and I got out, pissed in front of the van and slammed the door as I got back in the van. That experience was the reality of what we were to experience for the rest of the trip. Somewhere driving through Kansas Sara decided to play a trick on her mother. I’m not sure if she had talked it over with her brother but he played along smoothly. She asked her brother if the gas gauge seemed odd to him because it seemed to be dropping in gas. It wasn’t. But this of course gave Judy enough of a horrible scenario that she was convinced that the car was losing gas and we were all going to die in some tragic crash. After accomplishing what Sara and Joe set out to do they proceeded to belittle their mom for over reacting to their prank. For reacting how they expected her to react to their trick. I still had a week of this to go. The stay itself was amazing. The beach was a playground where Adrianna and I played daily. Taking walks in to the woods and enjoying the sounds. Sara, Kelly and Judy enjoyed Oprah on the TV while Joe went off daily to go fishing with his grandpa. On the drive back Judy pleaded to be dropped off at a Greyhound station, saying “she would rather ride back by herself”. I felt for her. I actually thought about asking for the same thing. Maybe it would make the drive back more of an adventure for me and my daughter. But instead everyone grew silent and the drive back was uneventful and boring. We separated a few months later, divorcing the following April. But my daughter and I still take multiple road trips every year. Instead with the family though we take Roswel, our dog.

California Border.
Her name was Becky and she was excited about moving back to California. We had attempted to be a couple a few times through out the 5 years we knew each other but for different reasons it never worked out. This last time that we ran into each other was 3 months before she was to move out to California. She was born and raised in L.A. and always talked about moving back. I knew I still had feeling for her but I couldn’t pass up the chance to see her as much as possible before she moved back. Towards the end before her move, I was starting to really host the idea about moving out there with her. Maybe change would be good for my daughter and me. Of course it would be hard at first but I loved this woman and sometimes you have to make drastic changes for those you care about. Throughout our on and off relationship, I was never given the title of her boyfriend. I’m sure her family already suspected this but Bec didn’t want to use the word since she was moving out of state. I didn’t care, I just wanted to be with her. So we kept the affection to a minimum, never around her daughter or family. But anyone who saw us together knew. I didn’t mind the facade. Soon we would be in Cali and I would be able to hold her hand without worry. The drive was long. We were hauling a trailer filled with all her belongings so I didn’t dare go over 55 miles per hour the entire trip. It was long and sad. I didn’t know when I would see her again. Would we continue with a long distance relationship? Would I survive not being able to kiss her? We kept the conversation light the entire way. Every stop closer we started talking more and more about what we should expect. She was pretty honest about what she wanted. I stayed silent about what I wanted because I knew it wouldn’t make a difference. She was moving away. That was it. Sometime after 10 pm we arrived to California border and she broke out into a celebrated cheer. She had moved away from Cali years before but always knowing she would return. She was finally almost back to her true home. And suddenly I grew even more depressed. I didn’t want the trip to end. She was going to be staying with a friend in Montclair for a few months until she got on her own two feet. After texting her friend about how far we were she asked me to pretend I was her brother. Reason was because her friend’s mom was staying with them and she’s very religious. “She wouldn’t be ok with the thought of you and I staying in the same room without being either married or related”, she said as I squeezed the steering wheel tighter. “You mean to tell me that after pretending in New Mexico for the entire time I’ve known you that we were less than what we actually were, I now have to pretend in a totally different state too?” I was hurt and furious. I was hoping to finally feel like a lover to her, in the open, with no restrictions. And now she was making wanting for me to keep up the charade. She saw how upset I was. She pleaded with me to pretend. I was leaving the next afternoon via train back to Albuquerque. I had my daughter and job to return to. Before I was dreading the train back but right at that moment I was anxious and excited about coming back alone. It was the reality that I guess I had been avoiding. We were ending and it was going to happen regardless the romantic scenario I was imagining in my head. The next afternoon I was dropped off at the train station. The goodbye was short and kiss-less. I rode back to New Mexico sad but relieved , realizing it was never going to work. The relationship ended the moment I crossed the California state line.

Sunday Morning.

It’s it bad to want to stay in bed for a few awoken hours on Sunday?
I mean ‘stay in bed lazily, push-off work, watch Netflix and take naps’ type of laziness. Is that bad?
As long as I can remember my parents were always up at the crack of dawn. As kids, my brother and I would get up at 4am on Sunday’s so we could make it to the swap meet (flea market) sellers line early enough to score a good selling spot. Weekends were for work. On summer vacation I remember being awoken everyday by my mom at 5am.
“Remember to take out the trash”
“Remember to clean the bathroom”
Always something.
My dad however (when he was able to) enjoyed staying in bed for a few hours on Sunday morning’s. Maybe that’s why I’m so attracted to the idea of being lazy? Or has our society as a whole become lazy?
Probably just me.
My daughter usually has some extra stuff going on. Cheerleading practice or a game, Mexican folk dancing, guitar practice or recital. It’s exhausting! Sometimes girl scouts is an all day thing, especially during cookie session. So I’m being lazy right now, is that really do bad?
Screw it! We’ve grown into a society of instant gratification. We all need to take a Mayberry moment and chill. So I’m staying in bed..while looking through my Twitter and Facebook feed. Crap. Screw it, I’ll go wash the dishes and do laundry.