Now I’m writing just to let you know I’m still alive

Hey dad, I’m writing to you
Not to tell you that I still hate you
Just to ask you how you feel
And how we fell apart
How this fell apart…

When you lay your head down
How do you sleep at night?
Do you even wonder if we’re alright?
But we’re alright

My brother turned me on to Good Charlotte back when The Young and the Hopeless first came out. It’s still in my top 25-ish favorite records of all time, because my music taste defies genre (and, by the standards of many, decent taste). I used to skip over “Emotionless” because it was such a sad-sounding song, but when everything did fall apart in 2004 I turned it on and turned it up – on constant repeat.

Tonight, I’m doing it again.

My dad called me while I was packing Friday night. I let it roll to voicemail, since we have (now less than) two weeks to get everything ready to go. What did he want? To know if I would do his taxes. Only after he told me what I could do for him did he add, a mere afterthought, that he hopes Arthur and I, and “that guy [I’m] married to, what’s his name” (a pathetic joke), are doing alright.

We’re alright…

It’s been a long hard road without you by my side
Why weren’t you there all the nights that we cried
You broke my mother’s heart, you broke your children for life
It’s not okay, but we’re alright
I remember the days you were a hero in my eyes
But those are just a long lost memory of mine
Now I’m writing just to let you know I’m still alive
I’m still alive

I wish I could go back to the time in my life when I didn’t know – or could ignore – the conditions he places on his love. I have to go back a long way…further than even my memory will take me. It seems that his fondest declarations of love came out of a bottle or a jail cell. The rest of the time, I think we were just the little people in his life who just needed more from him than he was willing to give.

When people would ask me who my dad is, I would tell them the story of how he took up a collection at work after he read a letter to the editor in the newspaper about a little girl whose birthday money was stolen from a public restroom, where she left it on the counter. But that man…that man doesn’t jive with the picture of my father I have in my head. A gunshot hole in the wall by the stairs. A pointed finger jabbing into my sternum. Hate in his eyes. Staring down a gun. And now, it’s only ever about what I can do for him.

There’s things I’ll take to my grave, but I’m okay…

I don’t know the man who wears my daddy’s face and speaks with his voice. I ache to have my daddy back, to believe that he really wants to know how I’m doing, that he really cares. More now than ever before, as Brian and I take our first fumbling steps into parenthood, I think that I could really use my daddy. But I don’t think he was ever really there.

And now I mourn at an empty grave, in a quiet spot that exists only in the corners of my mind – like the man I thought my dad was.

And sometimes I forgive
Yeah and this time, I’ll admit
That I miss you, said I miss you…

All I want is to say goodbye.

(Italicized lyrics from “Emotionless”, written by Benji & Joel Madden and performed by Good Charlotte, (c) 2002)

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Hello darlin’…it’s been a long time

I’ve been hiding in the blogosphere for a few months now. Well, not actually hiding – I’m just writing more over at my now three-month-old blog, From 0 to Baby.

That’s right – if you didn’t get the memo, we’re expecting! (Expecting what, you say? Well, according to 3 of my readers it could be a cyborg but we’re fairly certain it’s a baby.)

Conversation

 

Josh certainly isn’t lying – it’s been a busy year. Brian and I:

  • got married in June
  • decided to buy a house (and got pregnant) in September
  • found out I’m pregnant in October
  • closed on our house in December and promptly tore the place apart
  • are moving in February
  • are due in June – two weeks before our first anniversary!

If this isn’t the fast track to adulthood, someone please tell me what is. On the plus side, we can get all of this celebrating out of the way and spend the next few years just living this life that is coming together around us. (And, you know, celebrate with others – we’re all about sharing the wealth here!)

Of course, it does mean that I’m neglecting (again) writing as much as I want to, and really should. It’s a difficult thing to accomplish when your world is a roller coaster and it just came off a major hill and went straight into a covered loop. (Not that this is a problem – I love roller coasters.) Still, I know I need to make the time for it. Even when I don’t have anything substantial to say (like now), it’s just nice to sit in front of the screen and get some of my thoughts out. Writing is, after all, the first part of writing something good.

So hopefully here’s to a shorter hiatus, and if you really want to keep up – I’m always talking about the kid. 🙂

Tej’s Forever Home

Tej was ten months old last Thursday – I can’t believe how big he’s getting! With that in mind, and since the APL just sent an email about adopting “the perfect pet” and soliciting adoption stories, I think it’s time to showcase my little fur baby.

After a fair amount of discussion (and more than a little wheedling on my part), Brian and I decided in July that we would adopt a kitten. I started out wanting a dog, but with our work schedules we figured that a cat would be more practical. Plus, even non-cat people can’t deny that kittens are adorable.

The Cleveland APL ran a day-long cat adoption special on Saturday, July 23, 2011 to alleviate an overcrowding issue. We drove down and waited in line for half an hour before getting into the cat room; the whole time I wondered, “what if I don’t find ‘the one’?” I had checked out the Web site and found a few possibilities, including 2-month-old, all-black kitten Seth, but I just wasn’t sure. And then, what if they were all gone before I got in there?

I walked in the room, turned to my right and there he was – little Seth, climbing the door of his cage as if saying, “Finally. You’re here, let’s go.” I opened the door and he climbed right up into my arms, starting the purr that today still melts my heart. I couldn’t bear to put him down, even to put him in the crate to take him home with me. But we made it. We named him Tej Parker Trenton (after Ludacris’ character in 2 Fast 2 Furious and Fast Five), and nearly eight months later we are just as much in love with him as we were that first afternoon.

Tej's first day home - already settling in!

"You cannot resist the power of the Force..."

Um, you're supposed to go *in* the bag...

It's hard work being a kitten.

All I need is my mommy -- well, just her blanket.

Look, I'll help you pack. I'm in, all packed!

It's just my size...

Everything the light touches...is MINE.

 

Monday musing: my own personal strategic plan

Well, the universe – whatever you call it – works in mysterious ways. Since my Marketing Management class started two weeks ago I’ve had the concept of a strategic plan in my head, not only because our term paper is a personal marketing plan but also because my instructor goes on…and on…about the importance of strategic planning. That isn’t to say that he’s kicking a dead horse, because it is crucial to the success of any person or organization to set goals beyond the day, or the week, or the month. (Then again, those goals are a great place to start.)

Nikki brought up the point again this morning, though I’ll leave it to her to detail her own plans at Clueless Me if that’s what she wishes. That being said, I’m now convinced that the message for my life is to stop existing and start living. I’m only 25, far too young to feel like there’s nothing to look forward to.

So now I’m staring at a huge piece of brightly colored posterboard, wondering where in the hell to start. I figure I should think big, long-term thoughts and then break it down into a doable chunk of short- and mid-term goals, but it’s a little daunting — there’s a lot I want to do, and despite knowing that some of my goals may be unrealistic it will still be sad to let them go.

Still, I think this is the right thing. I’m tired of going to bed feeling like there’s so much more to be done, and of looking back on my downtime with regret that I didn’t use that time more wisely. September is flying by and with it, the rest of 2011…and with that, my last full year of living only for myself. My life is changing in one of the most dramatic “milestone” ways possible, and I don’t want to just be sitting there and watching while it happens — I want to be right in the front of the action.

Here’s to strategic planning, and then maybe a nap.

Monday musing

A few reflections from this weekend:

Farmers’ markets should be mandated by law in every community. Mom and I went out at 8 am on Saturday to the Willoughby Farmers’ Market (conveniently, run by our cousin) and oh. my. goodness what a difference fresh produce makes. I walked out with bags of fruits and vegetables — fresh strawberries, nectarines, delicious tomatoes and a wealth of other treasures — for less than I would spend on the strawberries alone at a big box grocer. To be fair, Giant Eagle had mango 10 for $10 and the farmers’ market had none, but it makes me feel so much better to buy locally when I can.

I will never outgrow retail therapy, or procrastination, especially when I can have both at the same time. The initial game plan for Saturday was market, then back to Mom’s to help her pack for Moving Day (five more days!), then out to lunch somewhere and home to meet Brian. Well, buying food tends to make one hungry, so lunch became breakfast and when I mentioned that Fashion Bug was having a sale…well, let’s just say like mother, like daughter. We both walked out with (at least) two new outfits, plus some shoes and jewelry on my end, and I feel like I have a bright new outlook on the summer (not to mention, motivation to kick into healthy mode so I can get more new clothes!)

If you dress for 80-degree weather, it will rain. I wore one of the above-mentioned new FB outfits to our family picnic yesterday afternoon and it was a great success. Somewhat less successful was the trek to Quaker Steak for Fathers’ Day dinner…in the cold, pouring rain…wearing a white tank and flip flops. MIL saved the day with a coordinating rain jacket, though, and all was well.

I really…really…love my life. There have been several decision points in the last few years that have drastically altered where I am versus where I could have gone, and as I’ve contemplated the real consequences of our engagement and what that means for where we’re going I’ve had to confront those decisions head-on. There are some people in the world who would try to shame those like me who hit a snag in their grand life plan or who at one point faced more questions than answers, because obviously if you don’t keep your little train rumbling down the track at a constant clip then somehow you’re failing.

The thing is, though, I don’t want to be that person who marches in lockstep from Goal A to Goal B and only measures the worth of my life by what I’ve “accomplished”, what I “have” or how little time it took me to get there. I did that and those years passed by in a blur — I didn’t even really celebrate my college graduation, it was so surreal — and the things that I have picked up through my shortcomings and slip-ups are worth more than anything. I won’t lie and pretend that everything is perfect…there’s still some dirt by the door and a pile of laundry to put away. I’m counting down the days until we can move with almost the same enthusiasm as I count down to the wedding. And some days, I just wake up bitchy. But I will take my imperfect little life with its sides of foibles, adjust the plan, and enjoy this outrageous journey — wherever it takes us.

Screw anybody who doesn’t like it.