Want to know what I share in common with the lion in the picture above?
We’re both fathers and he is whispering in his kid’s ear, probably something like “you better knock it off now because if you don’t I will embarrass you in front of your friends and take you home.”
Don’t ask me to provide you with a list of all of the other things we share in common because this isn’t one of those obnoxious list posts like The 25 Most Annoying Bloggers & Why You Can’t Sleep With Them.
It is another post about Breaking The Rules of Blogging but this one is not being written for entertainment or educational purposes but because my heart hurts.
Similar But Different
My parents sold the house I grew up in and after 44 years my childhood home is no more.
It is sort of a bittersweet moment because it was the right move for them and if I was in their shoes I would have done it too, but when I stop being dad and let go of the adult world it changes a bit.
If you go back to The Story Of A House- The Final Days you might gain some sense of some of why but unless you have been through similar things you won’t get the depth of emotion and feeling that comes with it.
That kind of bothers me, not as a person but as a writer because my inclination is to try to figure out how to paint a picture that you can see.
Because if I can’t make you see and feel it, well then I am not doing my job, I am failing and though I have failed many times I don’t like the taste of it very much.
Still failure is no something I fear because there is no reward without risk and that is something I have tried very hard to pass along to my children.
Life is a risk and if you don’t take chances it isn’t a whole lot of fun, at least not from my perspective.
I sit here at the kitchen table and stare out at the darkness and realize that the days of writing from this vantage point are rapidly coming to an end. I sit here and stare out at the darkness and think about how August 2011 will be the month that I remember for burying my grandfather, my sister’s wedding, moving and one hell of a family vacation.
It is not easy to measure time or to figure out how to identify the marks and moments until after things have happened.
That is because the big moments aren’t limited to birthdays, weddings and funerals. They are bookended and earmarked by the ordinary, mundane activities that are indistinguishable from the next until you realize they shouldn’t be.
I remember having a conversation with my father about the future and how his commentary shocked me.
That is because in many ways my dad is the typical Virgo, he is ridiculously organized, has lists and labels for everything and in my mind has always been a planner.
One day we sat in the living room of my old house and he told me that you could never plan for the future with the degree of certainty we want to.
“Jack, you can plan a year or two out but you can’t really say what is going to happen in five years or ten. You don’t know where you will be, what you will be doing or what things will look like. You’ll try, you’ll do your best but you won’t be able to see with the sort of clarity you want.”
He was right.
I wrestled with how to write this post.
Wrestled with whether to insert that now famous Steve Jobs quote about how our time is limited or to break up the post with some cool pictures.
Struggled with how to write this in a way that would give it the weight and impact I wanted.
Struggled because part of me feels heartbroken and it seems silly to be that upset about four walls and a roof.
People are important, things are not. Things are just things.
But then again, things become important because of the memories we associate with them and those memories are tied into people.
I wanted to write this last night, but after the final walkthrough in my house I was exhausted.
In the past I would have forced myself to write, but this time I decided to let it sit and see what happened.
Perspective- There Are Bigger Challenges
I haven’t forgotten and am not ignoring that there are bigger problems in the world than having to say goodbye to a house.
Hell if you go back to the link about the final days of a house you’ll see one of the low moments of my life.
I was unemployed and forced to sell that house because I couldn’t see any way to avoid foreclosure.
I had sent out thousands of applications, applied to unload trucks and done everything I could to find work and had come up with nothing.
That is when failure and I got real close and intimate.
I had trouble trying to imagine a time when I would feel like a person, like a real man again.
Maybe that sounds goofy to some of you, but that was when I realized that even though I do my own thing socialization had taken ahold of me.
Men are raised to provide for our families and a man who can’t do that doesn’t feel like a man.
It was brutal. It hurt.
But I got through it all and I came out the other side.
Cue, He Ain’t Heavy, He’s My Brother.
Storm Walker and Fire Dancer
There is more than one reason why I call myself a storm walker and a fire dancer.
Life experience has proven that when I set my mind to it, I get where I am going. I may not do it the easy way but I make it happen.
That road not taken suits me just fine and though life doesn’t like I thought it would all those years ago in that bedroom I walked through I am certain all will work out.
Hell, this post hasn’t gone as I had thought or planned it would either but I feel better and that is a gift I won’t give back.
I am grateful my kids got to spend real time in the house I grew up in and that they got time with their grandparents and great-grandparents there.
They got to eat oranges from the tree we planted when I was five and played soccer at the same park I did growing up.
So many good memories and so little time.
Damn, I am going to miss my house.