Almost True Tales Of Fatherhood & Other Stuff

You have 12 links below that consist of almost true tales of fatherhood and other stuff.

Some these stories are pure fact, some are pure fictiona and some fall somewhere in between. Ask for a purpose or a point and I’ll give you an answer.

Because.

Because why?

Well, let me think about it.

I dream by day

I have many dreams and have been privileged to live a few out already and am actively working towards living out more.

This post is part of that. It is me reaching out and tapping people on the shoulder and asking them to take a look at some posts they might not have read.

That is why I grabbed these 12 and suggest you try reading some here too.

  1. The Broad Shoulders of Fatherhood
  2. A Letter To My Children-2011
  3. Mean Girls Come From Mean Moms
  4. One Slightly Used Pump For Sale
  5. Dad’s Life
  6. Teenagers Are Harder Than Toddlers
  7. A Father Describes Parenting
  8. The Best Thing My Father Ever Said To Me
  9. Of Dads and Daughters
  10. The Greatest Dad Blogger You Never Heard Of
  11. A Whiter Shade Of Pale
  12. It Wasn’t Worth Getting Arrested

What you see above isn’t the only selection or sample to choose from.

There are many more, but we all need to start somewhere. If you like what you see I encourage you to keep reading and or commenting.

Feel free to reach out and let me know if you want tips, suggestions or advice for where to go for more.

Thanks,

J

About Your Aging Parents

Don’t start writing a post about your aging parents with Johnny Cash’s cover of Danny Boy playing in your ears.

Not because it is not a fine song, but because it sets a more somber tone than you might want to start with.

That is because your blog is the tool you used to get through the time when your father lay in a hospital bed thousands of miles away from you.

Because you flew there and back praying that he would still be alive when you landed having been told it could go either way.

And though it is 12 years later and dad proved the doubters wrong you haven’t ever forgotten seeing his unconscious body breathe because machines were keeping him alive.

Most days you don’t focus on those moments because when you are with him you see the same spark in his eyes you always have and know that your father is present.

Present in his presence it is clear his mind is as active as it ever was and you hear him talk about plans for the future so you know what his intention is.

But there are little things, little moments that make it clear that his body isn’t always agreeable about the things he wants and tries to do.

It might not be a full blown mutiny, but there is dissension in the ranks and in some ways his health is very similar to a house of cards.

parentalgods

Steiner the minor doesn’t know that I look at the bull elephant in the picture above and recognize similarities between my father and him.

Go about your business and everything is ok, but the moment you become a threat life might get very ugly for you.

Those few of you who know me well might even recognize some similar traits in me and now you know why.

He taught me what it means to be a person, a man and a father.

And he did it in spite of my being a major pain-in-the-ass who knew more than he did.

I only have two kids at home to deal with, he had me and my four sisters.

Once I became a dad it didn’t take me very long to recognize I had a lot less on my plate to deal with than he did.

He hasn’t ever mentioned it but I am not surprised. It is not who he is.

Now And Then

I missed the poker game with the boys this past Friday night. Wanted to go but the craziness of the current moment in time left me exhausted and I just wanted to be somewhere quiet.

Wanted to go but the craziness of the current moment in time left me exhausted and I just wanted to be somewhere quiet.

Part of me wonders if that was a mistake because we all need time with the people who know us best and it would have been good to see the guys.

We would have sat around the table and told some of the same silly stories we like to tell and then we would have spent a few catching up on current events in our lives.

Twenty-five years ago we probably wouldn’t have scheduled the game for a Friday night.

That would have been date night for those of us who had a girl in our lives or “let’s try to find a girl for our life” night.

Twenty-five years again almost all of us had two parents now some of have lost one or in some cases both.

Now our conversations sometimes include comments about having become the new sandwich generation.

We take care of our kids and look out for our parents.

About Your Aging Parents

My parents had dinner with us Sunday night and I got another close-up of seeing how time and age has impacted them.

Neuropathy in dad’s feet has made walking a little more challenging at times for him.

Since he doesn’t have much feeling in them anymore he is not as sure footed as he once was and walking stairs or going up/down hills has become trickier.

I try to make a point to casually wander over to him so that he can put his hand on my shoulder to help with his balance.

A few years ago he would have told me to get lost but he never does anymore. Neither one of us make a big deal about it because it wouldn’t make things any better if we did.

****

I suppose the move has made me more aware of some age-related issues too.

It is about six weeks roughly since they moved out of the house I grew up in into their new place.

They are mostly unpacked but there are still things on the “to-do” list that have lingered there far longer than they would have in the old days.

Things that would have been unacceptable had they not been handled in a timely fashion are listed on there because they get tired much faster than they used to.

It is not a huge deal to me, but it is noticeable.

And I won’t lie and say I wasn’t pleased to get a telephone call from mom asking me to come help move stuff because she wanted my father to “stop doing things he shouldn’t be doing.”

abelincoln

It is 50 some years since my parents met as Peace Corps volunteers.

They have traveled all over the world, fostered children in their home and done more than most.

It has been a pretty good life so far and I expect to see it go on for a good long while because there are more stories and adventures to be had.

But like I alluded to above, sometimes there is a little whisper in my head that tells me to pay close attention because the end is closer to the beginning.

Still I remind myself that seventy-something years isn’t particularly old for our family and that genetically speaking we might get another 25 years or so.

Here is hoping that all that can go right does and that all that can go wrong loses their address.

Teenagers Are Harder Than Toddlers

My heart aches and my spirit has been battered and bruised.

There is a teenager down the hall that opened a door better left closed and has gotten sucked into a vortex of nonsense that was beyond his control.

Been doing all that I can to help him figure it out so that we can find our way back to the sunny side of the street but success has eluded us.

If there is a mark or moment of pain in a parent’s life it must be centered upon the moment they see their child struggling with something that seems beyond their grasp.

That is the moment I stumbled upon a short while ago but I didn’t recognize it as such and though I know better than to beat myself up over an oversight I cannot help but question myself.

A father is supposed to have the all knowing and all seeing eye. He is supposed to be vigilant, present and aware but apparently I let my eyes wander elsewhere.

stayinsunlight

I have long prided myself upon my ability to imitate the Oak trees ability to stay standing in both sunlight and rain.

The secret to successfully withstanding storms doesn’t lie in my size 12 EEE boot but by knowing when to bend with the accompanying winds.

It is in figuring out how to make the strength of the storm work for or with and not against you.

And though I would like to say this has always been my approach the reality is far different.

There have been ample times where I stood in the center of the clearing and screamed at the sky, “is that the best you have got.”

Blame some of it upon youth and my own desire to prove myself. Blame it upon my vision of my father as having superhuman qualities and my desire/need to show him and I that inherited those items too.

And then look at my current approach as having been derived from the wisdom and maturity that comes with age.

When I recognized and realized it wasn’t necessary to fight the storm every time I stopped doing so and started taking advantage of what I had learned.

****

What I fear is that the teenager has inherited his father’s stubbornness and desire to test himself. What I fear is that the teenager is going to be as dumb about this as I might have been at his age.

Though I am technically not responsible for the choices that have been made I still feel accountable.

I still feel responsible for helping the willfully blind to see how these choices are wreaking havoc upon the current moment and how they can impact the future.

And I do all this while trying to balance my thoughts and fears against Ben Franklin’s advice.

Because there is time and opportunity to turn and sail with the wind instead of against it.

troublegirls

Teenage Awareness

What I haven’t figured out yet is where the aforementioned teenager is fully cognizant of what is going on.

Do they understand the consequences of opening Pandora’s Box?

Do they recognize the impact upon the rest of the family?

Against the overall picture these things are immaterial and irrelevant because what is done cannot be ignored or rolled back in time.

The horse left the barn and this wild stallion is a mighty beast who won’t be tamed or walked back without significant effort.

And here is where my guilt raises its head again and the whispers in my mind start flowing.

“If you had done XYZ you might have prevented this or headed it off.”

“Maybe you should have taken it more seriously earlier and not allowed the beast to get a head of steam.”

So I look at the reflection in the mirror and remind the face that stares back at my own that if I was prescient and or clairvoyant we’d have won the lottery and would be living a different sort of life.

I also would have made several other choices but I am not prescient or clairvoyant so there is no point in crying about what could have or should have been.

There is no time for self-pity or whining, only for taking care of the current situation.

Chances are the teenager didn’t take time to think things through and didn’t consider what happens when the wind starts blowing right after you have torn open the feather pillow.

Teenagers Are Harder Than Toddlers

Some of you with young children might feel like arguing the point because physical exhaustion doesn’t allow you to think clearly.

You might see parenting teenagers as being easier because some of the fears you have about toddlers and infants don’t seem to exist anymore.

I am here to tell you that toddlers and infants are easier because physical exhaustion is easier than mental.

And yes, there is an ample amount of mental exhaustion that comes with bigger children.

Doesn’t matter if they follow the so-called straight and narrow and are good students and people.

You can’t help but be concerned about bigger issues like teenage driving, sex, drugs and a million other issues that you have less control over.

That is what it is, control.

Because teenagers do much more outside of their parents supervision and though that is precisely as it should be it doesn’t eliminate concern or worry.

This Too Shall Pass

It will, it really will.

One day this will be a moment in time but for now it feels like the only moment.

For now it feels like I am fighting the damn storm the way I did when I was much younger but I haven’t got that 25 year-old body anymore and I am bone weary.

The aches and bruises don’t fade as fast and physically and mentally this is hard.

However the one thing I have that I didn’t then is a mental toughness that will not let me down. I’ll find a way to help this kid stop tripping over his own feet.

But fuck…this isn’t easy.

When Dad Bloggers Howl At The Moon

* Howling at the Moon *

It sounded like six shots in the night. Six different moments laid one next to the other, pop, pop, pop, pop, pop…pop.

Was that what I heard or was it a car back firing?

Seconds before I finished an episode of Sons of Anarchy, number 11 in season 6. Maybe the violence in the show affected my interpretation of a car backfiring but somehow I doubt it.

Safe neighborhood or not sometimes things happen and six shots if that is what they were is not indicative of danger but still I made a quick loop of the house and checked the place out.

The 22 pounds of sleeping mutt led me to believe no one was close because he loves to bark when anyone approaches but still it made me think, reminded me of the Reaper video that so many have shown on Facebook.

I watched that Reaper chase people and wondered why no one turned upon it. Wondered if I am the crazy one for thinking about standing my ground and not being chased in that manner.

Friday afternoon another boy put my son in a headlock and refused to let go. It took two elbows to the ribs for the kid to release him. The situation was handled and my son pulled himself out of it, but I still wrote the other father.

He apologized for the behavior of his son and I told mine that we would let it go.

“It is not a problem until it is.”

“What does that mean dad?”

“It means we give him the chance to show that it was just a silly misunderstanding because that is what I think it was.”

“What do I do if he does it again?”

“You defend yourself and you make it clear that there are severe consequences for his laying his hands upon you. No one is allowed to do that. You asked him to let go and he didn’t. He is lucky nothing worse happened.”

When Dad Bloggers Howl At The Moon

When I was in 8th grade I would have been horrified if my father had gotten involved the way I did. It would have made things worse for me which is precisely why I hesitated to get involved here.

But the headlock happened on the Friday and the things that led up to it took place on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. Friday was the culmination of misbehavior.

Thirty-two years after my entry into 8th grade it was ok for me to insert myself. The response I got from the other dad was appropriate and I really do feel comfortable with it but I still needed to make sure my son knew we have his back and that he is to defend himself.

I don’t want it to be with his fists but there are times when it is appropriate.

“Sometimes the questions are complicated and the answers are simple.”
― Dr. Seuss

It is too bad the good doctor isn’t here for I would like to speak with him. I would love to sit down and talk to him about creating. I would love to speak with him about his process, his ideas and his thoughts.

I would like to talk to him about writing children’s books and his time as a political cartoonist. I would like to tell him how much that quote above resonates with me because right now life feels complicated.

It feels more challenging than normal and yet it feels easier. It is a contradiction I feel inside, which I suppose fits with complicated questions and simple answers.

These moments that pass in which I wonder and worry are accompanied by a sense of everything working out provided I just let go and have faith. It reminds me of kayaking down a river. I don’t know where or when I am going to put to shore but I know the boat will carry me and as long as I keep my eyes open I should be able to steer around most of the rocks and tree roots.

Maybe I don’t have as much control as I might like but I can be the captain of this ship or conductor of the train and avoid the wreckage.

“Monsters are real, and ghosts are real too. They live inside us, and sometimes, they win.”
― Stephen King

The Jewish New Year approaches, soon it will be Rosh Hashanah and perhaps this is part of why I feel unsettled. It happens around this time of year, reaches back into my childhood.

I first started exploring it in blogging when I was part of my first group blog. Every year I think about it and the impact of my actions. I suspect if I really dug into what I have written about time of year I would see an evolution in my thought, or so I hope.

It would be good to see growth.

Last year I wrote How Often Do You Really Face Your Fears?

Many of the things I talked about there still reside inside my mind. I still wonder how many people will go to shul because they fear not to go. I wonder how many will go because of community and how many understand what they say.

At some point I’ll have another discussion with friends about Unetaneh Tokef and ask again if they know the words in English.

“On Rosh Hashanah will be inscribed and on Yom Kippur will be sealed how many will pass from the earth and how many will be created; who will live and who will die; who will die at his predestined time and who before his time; who by water and who by fire, who by sword, who by beast, who by famine, who by thirst, who by storm, who by plague, who by strangulation, and who by stoning. Who will rest and who will wander, who will live in harmony and who will be harried, who will enjoy tranquility and who will suffer, who will be impoverished and who will be enriched, who will be degraded and who will be exalted.”

The purpose isn’t to demean or diminish those who do. I figure if nothing else this is a good time for introspection. Time to shine a light on the darker corners of my mind and see what I find.

Running With The Moon

I am not howling at the moon, now, I am running with it. If there are wolves around I am not worried because they are either part of my pack or smart enough to mind their own business.

Still don’t know what those noises were but I can assure you they aren’t part of one of my stories, there is no fiction here.

A few more days until the chagim, the holidays start and we get to see what the new year rolls out. A few more days until the children and I have another discussion. My guess is they’ll see the video again in Hebrew school and that will be a starting point for another discussion.

I am good with that. It is good for them to think and to be asked why they think as they do.  Thinking is important.

Some of my favorite moments come from these conversations.

It is after midnight here, time for bed. I hope that other boy follows through on his promise.

What Do Father’s Fear?

Ice Climber
What do father’s fear is a question that has stuck with me for years but I am not entirely sure why. My kids assumed I wasn’t afraid of anything.

When the elder was about four he told me that if bad people broke into the house I was to kill them dead. Truth is he has always known that dear old dad has very few fears.

Remember When I Punched That Wolf In The Face should give you a good indication of that. Bigfoot used to scare me, but I was a child then and that was only after I saw him almost beat the Six Million Dollar Man.

Once I knew that Steve Austin could take him I wasn’t afraid any more and I certainly haven’t been afraid for years. Hell I wear a size 12 triple E shoe, not as big as many but big enough to give you the kind of kick in the ass you’ll remember.

What do father’s fear?

Well we fear things happening to our children or people we love. We fear not being able to protect them or help them. We fear hearing things like She Broke My Penis, ok that is not true. We use that story to remind our teenage son that his mouth has gotten him in trouble his entire life.

But we refrain from telling him that dad has suffered from the same problem.

What Do We Have Control Over?

Courage is resistance to fear, mastery of fear, not absence of fear. “Mark Twain

Flip through the pages and posts here and you’ll see ample evidence of my insouciant approach to life but don’t mistake that to mean I am never serious because I am.

Sometimes life and parenting feels like a combination of circus and game show which I suppose is part of why I am mix silly in with the serious.  It is too easy to get caught up in fear and worry about what could happen.

I tell my kids much of life is balancing fear versus reality and that is part of why I can be so damn silly. There are lots of serious moments where it feels like it would be easier to cry than laugh.

Yet I have always found that when you can find a reason to laugh it helps manage the rough spots and that is really what Twain is talking about.

Only a fool or a sociopath says they are never afraid.

We have limited control in life. Much of what happens is outside of our control so what we are really talking about is how we respond to what happens.

So I teach my children to try to be proactive when possible and that when you can’t you just do the best you can. And I teach them to remember lying do when things get hard is not an option.

Resistance to fear is about learning how to move forward when you want to pull the covers over your head. It is about doing what is required.

What Do Father’s Fear?

If you want to know what scares me I am more worried about ordinary, stupid things than the really horrible stuff. That means I worry more about my kids falling out of a tree and breaking their neck than kidnappers.

I worry more about them getting into a car with a friend who is drunk or high than pedophiles. I worry more about them doing something stupid than getting shot at school.

Not saying any of the other stuff is impossible but I operate off of the numbers and statistically speaking some things have a greater possibility of happening than others.

If I have one fear that bothers me more than others it is one I mentioned above. It is of something happening and my not being there to protect my loved ones.

I don’t focus on it because it is not based on rational thought and there is no benefit to worrying about things that haven’t happened.

What do you think? What frightens you?