There comes a time in everyone’s life where it is acceptable to reflect upon their lives; personal and professional. Tonight is one of those times where I find myself reflecting on my own life, mainly personal, and thinking about things I could have done differently. Truth be told, there are many things I have done in my life that some would deem “uncharacteristic” of a good person, and while I should possibly be ashamed or bothered by these, I’m not. I do not regret the decisions I’ve made, they were choices I made that resulted in particular lessons that I have learned from; and they have shaped who I am today. For that, I cannot be ashamed of. You see, I sit here writing this blog as a 31 year old man, divorced, successful career, father, son, brother, uncle, and for the most part a happy person. So you may be asking yourself at this point, what is there to reflect on? That’s where the “for the most part a happy person” comes into play.
I am happy. I am happy with my life. Did I see myself getting married and divorced a few years later? No, absolutely not. But am I at that point, yes, yes I am. Does it bother me? Sometimes it does, absolutely. The people who say that it does not bother them, well we call those people liars. There will come a time and place in my life where it does not come to mind as frequently, and it will not bother me the way it does now, but that time has not come yet. I loved my wife, with everything I had in me, but sometimes that’s not enough. And sometimes that love becomes more of a job than an emotion, and when you have to force it, it just is not worth it. Now, this is not a blog to bash my ex-wife, because as
I’ve said in previously blogs, she is an amazing woman and an excellent mother to our children, and I will stand by those words until my dying day. We just became stagnant, we came to a place where we were better off as friends than as partners, and that’s okay. The part that bothers me the most is the kids. The fact that they have separate houses, the fact that they do not get to see mommy and daddy every day, that they have to share their time with the both of us. And that my friends, is what this blog is about.
My ex-wife and I share our kids, we have a spoken agreement on our custody. We work very well together for what works for the two of us, and for our kids. Granted, some of you that know our situation know that our daughter is not “ours”. She is her mothers birth child, and mine only by title. Being that her mother and I are no longer married, that is all I have with her is a title, and love. I have no legal obligation to her by any means, and to some people they find it ridiculous that I still raise her. Quite honestly, those are the people that I do not need in my life. For those that know me best, they know I have a huge heart and genuinely care for people. That little girl is MY daughter, and always will be. In my heart, she is mine. She has been a part of my life for at least five years, I say at least because I can vividly remember five birthday parties of hers. Five years is a long time to be a part of a child’s life, that’s something you cannot just brush under the rug and pretend like it never happened. I am not the type of person to just bow out of a kid’s life and say “Well hey, your mom and I aren’t together, so we’ll pretend these five years never happened, I’m going on my way”. No, screw that. She’s my daughter, and always will be.
Back to the topic at hand, when the kids are here, life is amazing. Granted, when my daughter isn’t here and little man is, it’s still amazing. Being that my daughter has a “biological father”, I’m accustomed to her spending every other weekend at his house, as well as most of the summer, so I’m used to her being gone. But my little guy, no, I’m not used to that, not at all. Especially since when my ex and I first split up, I kept the kids full time to allow her to get her apartment together, and get everything worked out to where she could start taking the kids. So there were a couple weeks straight where they were with me 100% of the time, and she came to visit basically daily. Those are the nights that get me. Right now, is definitely one of those nights. I have no idea what to do with myself. I love my children with every aching bone in my body, I would give my life for them if it meant complete happiness for their entire lives.
Up until the time I met my ex-wife, I did not care about anyone but myself. I was the epitome of a bachelor. I did what I want, when I wanted, and did not have a care in the world. For me to date someone with a kid, let alone have them move in with me, was a huge deal. It meant I would no longer having that freedom I was so used to, the late nights drinking and playing video games, lounging on the couch in my underwear drinking a cold one…those nights were gone. Now I have those free nights again, a few times a week, and I do not want them. I have plenty of things to do, I am moving my father in with me at the current moment, to help him and myself out financially, and to be there for him with his health problems…and I am taking my time. What I should be doing right now is moving stuff around, unpacking his stuff, getting myself situated in my “new room” (I moved to my basement so he could take my room, he cannot handle stairs). But I’m not doing any of these things. Instead, I am in my room typing this out, trying to retain what bit of sanity I have left.I have the freedom to go out and have drinks, to go have fun, go to the gym, go on a date, go do whatever it is that I please…and I don’t. Why? To be quite frank with you, I’m depressed as fuck. The second I drop the kids off, or that their mother picks them up and they are gone, I fall into a dark place. I feel the full effect of depression. I lose all energy and focus, I want to sit in a dark room and just go to sleep. I hate Sunday’s for this reason (that’s when they leave for their mom’s). The days that follow do not get any better…until they come home. When I have the kids, I have a routine, I have plans, I know what I am going to do. When I know Tuck is home with my dad, I come home on my lunch breaks to see my little guy, even if he is sleeping, just to see him. Then I come home from work hours later to be greeted by big hugs and kisses and cuddles. Tomorrow, I will come home to nothing. There will be no giggling, no hugs when I walk in the door, no “Daddy home!”, no toys strung out through my entire living room, no messes to clean, no telling my daughter to clean her room and empty the dishwasher, no baths to give…just nothing.
Without my kids, life is nothing. Granted, I could actually make a big attempt to get back into the dating scene and throw myself out there, meet someone that will take my time and make things worth while, it’s possible. And honestly, I would love to have someone to talk to and spend time with, I’m at that point where I feel I am ready to date again. Yet, at the same time, I would feel bad for anyone I would date. I would never be focused. Especially if we go on a date and the kids are at home with my dad, I would not even be thinking about the task at hand and would only have the kids on my mind. For example, I went to a work event a few weeks ago; free drinks, free food, a concert, everything, and the entire time all I could think about was getting home to cuddle up with little man and go to sleep. Luckily, everyone decided to make it an early night and I rushed home, making it home just before he went to bed, so I got my night time cuddles in and slept peacefully.To ease the pain at times, I get on random “single dad’ forums and websites, just to read how other guys are doing it. Truth be told, it actually helps, I’m not the only dad out there that is a single dad and truly cares about his kids. Some of them keep their kids full time, some only get visitation, some have split custody, and some just do not get to see their kids at all. One thing is the same with all of them that are on the sites, they love their kids, and love them dearly. They all feel the same type of pain, to an extent. Some have learned to cope with it and find hobbies to do, and suggest to others to find things to do to pass the time when the kid (s) are gone. Some of the guys actually have stable relationships with someone new, and their kids love them (or some cases hate them). The thing is with all of these forums and websites, there is a lot of women on there too that have advice and things to say, and it’s always the exact same thing, something I would have never guessed. They always say that single dad’s have it harder than anyone else. In all honesty, I would have said single mom’s have it harder, but after reading some of the posts, especially the posts from women saying it, I can kind of see why they say single dad’s have it harder. Dating a single mom has kind of become the norm now, it’s acceptable to date a woman with “baggage”, it’s not uncommon to find a woman that has kids. But a single dad? Now that’s unheard of. A man that accepts his responsibilities for his children, cares for them, loves them, nurtures them, raises them, and is actually a part of their lives, that’s not common. A man with “baggage” is not exactly a sought after trait on any dating website, trust me, I’ve looked through several.
My theory on the whole thing is that if I am going to bring someone into my kids lives, it’s for the long haul. I refuse to bring someone into their lives without the intention of them being there for a long time, if not permanently. Basically, if I grant you the opportunity to meet my kids and we are “dating”, then you should feel honored. I may be quite the catch, once you get to know me and ignore the harsh shell of a person I am presently, but the true catch is my kids. I do it all for them. If I am going to spend time with you, when I could be spending it with my kids, that there says a lot, because let’s be honest, I’d rather be with them. Instead, I’m probably at a bar, or a club, or a coffee shop, or whatever with you; but am I dressed up as Captain America? Am I wearing a cape? Am I crawling around on the floor pretending to be a dog or a horse? Am I getting the opportunity to be Buzz Lightyear? No, I’m not. I could be having so much more fun at home than I am with you… listening to you talk about the Kardashians or some Dolce & Gabbana bag you are dying to have. If I go on a date with you, you better make it worth my time, because I know what I want and will not hesitate to end the date early to go be with my kids (pending it’s a night where I have them).
Now do not get me wrong, I’m not a complete asshole, just quasi-asshole. As I said earlier, I’m extremely depressed when I don’t have my kids, and that makes me a little mean. It’s easier to hide behind anger than sadness. If you don’t believe me, watch ‘Inside Out’, cute movie. I just know what I want and deserve in this life, and I will not settle for less than that. What I want the most is for my kids to be happy and safe at all times, and what I deserve is the best. Rant over. Honestly, I just needed to vent, and try to get my mind off of things, but there’s no hiding the truth. I miss my kids dearly, and it’s only been a few hours, and I should be sleeping, but I’m not. As always, it’s my adventure…what’s yours?