Friday, April 3, 2009

"Me" Time

I don't get here much. Which is a shame. I miss it.
It's a shame because I love it here, writing, reading, sharing, laughing, and running the gambit of emotions with the other writers in the blogosphere.

Life got busy for a moment or two, and while I enjoyed the change in the parade, I missed doing some of the things that kept me grounded during stronger winds.
Writing was one of those things.

What sticks out as a time consumer is being a Dad.
I have of course been a Dad for 15 years. And for a great deal of time in the last five of those years, I have been the primary "go to parent" in Janet's long illness.
A fifteen month hiatus as that principal was a result of my medical 9/11 and my subsequent deafness.

I did find myself thrust back into the role of "Chief cook and bottle washer" of the house after my recovery, and Janet's fall back into the darkness of leukemia.

Now that I am without Janet, I find it a little unnerving at times as I search for the right answers in the care taking and parental advice needed with a now 15 year old boy.

Some things Mom just always knew the answer to, or the right thing to do.

I enjoy figuring these things out I suspect, but find myself at times looking up towards the clouds and asking for a little help. I'm not the first nor am I the only single Dad on the planet. So I take comfort in the fact that it can and will be done.

There will not always be the right answer or the right thing to say or do, so I give myself some latitude and the odd "mulligan" on issues that stump me.
It keeps me busy.

As life is ever changing, so are my answers to questions. There really is no right answer to many of life's questions, because what may have been the right answer or action 10 years ago, may have little relevance today.
So I try to lead by example and give Dan some room to discover and grow on his own, offering guidance and assistance when asked or needed.
I will never attempt to duplicate his Mom's efforts and actions, as they were hers. I think he knows that and respects that.

Janet and I had 2 very different styles of parenting, as I suspect many couples with children do. I think my style as the Dad worked for the most part, but miss her wisdom in answers that only Mom's seem to have.

Dan was never shy about talking about people in his life with his Mom, and I have to admit a little jealousy on my part over the years. His openness about people in his life was a subject of many late night chat between the two of them, and something I thought would come to us with time.

Perhaps it will.

If not, I am there with open mind and cochlear challenged hearing.

So I forge ahead with the day to day duties of laundry, shopping, dinner, dishes, homework check. And still find time to put in a 9 or 10 hour day at the office. Like most parental "stuff", there are little rewards seen at the end of long days. But we don't do life for the rewards really, do we?
We help them to live, to love, and to learn, and then we hope that the legacy we leave them will show itself one day. Perhaps as we watch them as parents struggling with the same questions, and coming up with the same answers that we instilled in them.

Certainly as life moves at the speed of life, we think that we do not spend the time or give the wisdom we should. But then we watch an action or hear a word or two one day, that comes from the heart. An action that could only have been learned from this environment. Bred in the bone if you will.

I see many of Janet's traits in Dan, and that makes me happy. There was never a more "common sense" Mother to be seen like her. No nonsense, careful, diligent, and forever making sure that the right thing was done for the right time. But always with love and kindness.

Dan has that to be sure. But he also has my ridiculous sense of humour, and my love of life.

He will do fine. I just need to accept that and chill a bit I guess I need to spend time on me. It has been years since I did anything for me, and I miss that. This writing was my one token "me" time, and I miss it when I break for too long.

I think as life changes, and Dan moves along into a fine young man; I just might do some things I always wanted to do.
No idea what that will be, but I am sure I will find my pocket of interest in something or someone along the road.

The journey is great, and enjoyable. I just have to live in the "now" and not worry about 4 or 8 or 12 years down the road. All we know for sure is that it will be different. Always. And life will have curve balls, fast balls, and the odd one to hit out of the park.

I just want to enjoy all the pitches it has to offer every day.

Or just sit in the grass and enjoy the changes at the "ball park".




bobbie said...

There is one thing for sure, Dave. Even when you least expect it, you will hear your own words coming back to you from Dan. Some times they really don't seem to be listening - but here it comes. Just what you told him all along. It will make you feel much better about yourself too.

Anonymous said...

Here's to finding some wonderful activities/times to connect with one another, and also time for yourself!

My husband was teasing the 16 & 17 year olds about not being out with friends or on a date tonight. But then he told them he was glad he had buddies (them) for watching a movie. It's not always easy to have our children grow up, and yet we do want them to grow and mature.

Sylvia K said...

Bobbie is so right, David, the ground work has already been laid by you and Janet both. It's what happens in those first few years of their lives that lay the groundwork that -- even though they may stray from now then --always keeps them on course. You have done all the right things -- sometimes they don't seem like enough, but as the years go by he will reflect all the values that he has learned whether he is totally aware of it or not. But in order to always be there for him, you need to be there for yourself. Find those things that bring you pleasure, that make you smile, that excite your mind, your curiosity. Because as you do those for yourself, you are doing them for him as well. Don't stop writing. It's a way of laying it all out where you can see it, feel it, understanding it. And you have many friends here, David, I've found they/ve been here for me and I know they are for you.

K.Line said...

I think you're parenting very sensitively despite the fact that you must be so tired and worn out right now - back to work, still managing with the implants, dealing with grief. I hope you get to do something just for yourself soon (maybe take a little trip somewhere?)

Kay Dennison said...

I have no doubt you will meet the challenges the future brings with the sensitivity and intelligence that you've been using all along. You are a profile in courage, my friend.

joanne said...

Oh, you still take my breath away with every single post...Thinking of you and Dan and your new life. Janet would be so proud...

Unknown said...

I think Dan is going to turn out more than fine. He's had the most extraordinary parents to learn from. Personally, I am excited to learn what he grows up "to be".

themom said...

You have shown such strength through these past weeks and I am sure you are up to the task of completing the raising of your son. He will appreciate all that you do. Dan certainly knows the difference in each parents way of "parenting." He will adapt and grow...keep up this wonderful wrok of art - in progress.