Bittersweet Valentine’s day…

Today is a day of love and romance for many. For me, it is also one of reminiscing for a different reason. My grandmother, who I spent most of my young life living with, was a Valentine’s baby. She was a guide and role model for my life that I could not be who I am without. She would have been 85 this year, but she was taken from us almost 3 years ago. I know in my heart there isn’t much that I could have one to spend more time with her, but I still wish I had had one more day, even one more hour. We celebrated her 82nd birthday at my home, she laughed and joked and we had a grand time. 3 months later i was camped in her room at the nursing home when she took her last breath. The emotion is raw still, especially this time of year. While everyone else is buying roses and chocolates, I think of a very special woman and all the advice and wisdom she imparted to me over the years. A few years before her health started to decline, I worked third shift and would visit with her in the mornings when I got off work. I am sharing something I wrote during that time. There are times now that I still have to fight a tear when I pick up a pack of playing cards.

Spending Time with My Grandma

There are mornings where I have a new pastime.
It involves a visit with my aging grandma.
We sit and talk and play a few hands of cards.
While I talk to her about my work and day,
she listens intently, always with a few kind words,
or a bit of advice to help me on my way.

Staying with my mom, she is right on the way
home from work. This new fun pastime
of mine is sometimes hard to put into words
what it truly means to me. When I visit grandma
she always tells me she misses me every day,
and is quick to bring out the deck of cards.

Her shaking, aged hands shuffle the cards,
everything on the table cleared out of the way.
With school and work I can only visit every few days,
but nothing can take away the joy of my pastime.
The time is precious that I spend with grandma,
and the hours spent is more important than any words.

We pass the time in laughs and exchanging of words,
shuffling, dealing, shuffling, and dealing the cards.
“I am going to beat you this time,” says my grandma,
getting three aces and clearing the cards out of the way.
I think she has as much fun as I do with our pastime.
With excitement I wait for the visits on those days.

When it is time for me to leave at the end of those days,
a sadness creeps into my heart. We put into brief words
the happiness and comfort that comes with our pastime.
The table has been reset, the scorecard and the cards
have been put in the drawer and out of the way.
With a hug I leave, saying, “I love you grandma.”

The time with my grandma on those special days,
will always outweigh the advice or the words,
or the little deck of cards of our favorite pastime.

The Word of the Day is Proud…

The word of the day is Proud…

Another Daily Post idea, again I am a day late on this one but I wanted to go a step further and talk about someone that I am proud of, versus just their question of the last time someone said they were proud of me.

The last few years have seen a lot of changes in my life. I try every week to get better at this fatherhood thing, and everyday my son teaches me just how much I do not know about being a father. We have our good days and I have my bad days where I am sure I come across harsher than I really mean to. I also finally published my “life’s work”. I know my grandmother is watching out for me from the other side of life and is proud of me for finally accomplishing that dream. I have been rather successful this year so far with controlling my temper. I think it has been off putting for my wife as I know there have been times where she has expected me to blow up, and I didn’t. I would have to say that I am proud of myself for this.

The last week has seen a major change in my household with regards to my son. When I was growing up, my little brothers and I had specific chores that we did. We made our beds (most of the time), washed the dishes by hand (we didn’t have a mechanical dishwasher back then), as well as vacuum and dust the house. We also helped fold and put away laundry before graduating to running the machines ourselves. In return we got that treat that I am sure a lot of people relate to, an allowance.

My son, who is ten this past October, has entered the world of allowance earners. I think it will be good for him once he adjusts to the routine a little more. My wife and I started simple. Mostly things he does already, but giving him an incentive to do them without being asked multiple times. He is to make his bed, feed and water the dogs, empty the dishwasher when needed, clean/vacuum his room at least once a week. The goal is that he will learn the responsibility of working for what he wants, which generally revolves around some new video game or Lego set.

This past week was Week 1. Based on the Lego Set he has his eye on, he needs at least 6 more weeks in order to earn the money he needs. He is after one of the more expensive kits. We had a few bumps in the road, but all in all, I am extremely proud of the progress he made. When I get home from my day job today, I get to sit down with him and give him his first allowance. It is one of those moments in fatherhood that I am excited to experience. Here is to hoping he keeps it up the rest of his life and learns the value of a hard earned dollar.

Father’s Day 2014

I am awake early on this Sunday, Father’s Day 2014. No one else in my house is up. I live on a quiet street so the noise outside is minimal. Today is a day that I wouldn’t have thought would have much significance for me when I was younger. My son, Mason, will probably wake up any minute and bring the dogs downstairs with him. I will get a hello, or good morning, and then he will do his own thing. What I hope he knows is that I love him, and will be there for him no matter what. I will never let him feel the abandonment that I grew up with because my father was a part time dad, full time asshole. So, here is to the Dads out there who sucked it up and always did what they had to do for their kids. They say any man can make a baby, but it takes a special man to be a Father.