What Really Matters!

Last night was Halloween and I got to spend some time with my daughter watching while she enjoyed herself. I was happy last night, seeing her partake in the festivities with the rest of her siblings. It was great being able to be with not just her, but the whole family. I had lots of fun watching them all run from one house to the next trying to get as much candy as they could attempt to. It’s these memories that will be cherished by me not just in remembering the night, but with reliving it through the pictures taken.

I was also happy to enjoy the company of her oldest sibling. I was tasked with being chauffeur to her 16 year old sister for the evening in order to surprise some of her distant friends. Although it was a long and time consuming task, it was still a wonderful adventure. She was able to have fun again, if only just in those short few hours spent with friends, it was nice to see her happy with a smile across her face.

In the end the distance traveled, the time and money spent have all been worth the effort because these are the things that will be remembered by all those involved. These are the things that really matter to infants through teenagers; that someone was there for them, not only willing to drop anything and everything, but also that they did. What matters most to them in the end is that you were there, no strings attached.

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The Little Things

This describes pretty much what I’ve been doing since my daughter was born, just with my phone and the gallery I’ve created instead of my wallet. The core truth of this graphic still remains though, a father will have many pictures of his children if not directly on him, then within close proximity.

 A Father Carries...

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400 Miles

Being the first weekend of a new month, while also happening to be a holiday weekend, saw me driving well over 12 hours and 400 miles. The reasoning behind all that insanity? I got to spend two full days with my little one! Two days of self entertainment at her grandmothers house filled with hugging stuffed bears, dolls and a stuffed puppy. She was one happy little girl playing with everything around her.

Even though she wouldn’t take her naps, seems she no longer does anyway, I thought playing a movie in the background would at least allow her to relax some from being her high energetic self. While she did manage to enjoy parts of the movie, dancing to some of the songs and happily being cuddled next to me, she wouldn’t fall asleep. This didn’t bother me all that much, since it was time spent with her, and she was having lots of fun. The rides back to her mom’s saw her slowly drifting off to sleep, a few times catching her jolt awake attempting to fight it.

With last night, having watched “Imagine That“, I couldn’t help but imagine myself being in the lead role, thinking nothing is more important than the time spent with her. It’s never truly what you do when spending time with them that matters, but the fact that you’re actually spending that time solely with them. That’s what they will remember as they grow older, that you were there with them, for them. As for those 400 miles traveled this weekend, feel free to add a few extra zero’s to the end and with a single smile from her, they’ll still be meaningless in the long term.

Eme

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Sore, Tired, & Happy

One sore back later and I’m a tired, but happy man. Spending the day with a little one and teenagers at the same time, come to find out, takes a lot out of you. Not only are you looking out for a toddler, but also a group of highly energetic teens. Go figure I’m now tired as ever.

It’s been damn near two months since being able to see her and each day has sucked just a little more than the last. It worried me a little, the reaction she would have when seeing me, but I managed to get lost in some music on the ride up. Her aunt greeted me at the door, a little earlier than expected. I poked my head into the stairwell to see her little glowing eyes and smile looking down at me. She was coy about it, almost taking a double-take to make sure it was really me that was standing there.

She was more at ease as her brother and sisters began waking up and joined us in the living room. This is where sore begins to come into play seeing as after each child woke up, they took instantly to wanting to be on my lap or next to me regardless of who was being squished. Its been an even longer time since having been around them that any discomfort was quickly forgotten and replaced by happiness. This confused my little one for a moment as she saw a swarm of arms and legs take hold where they could, but she was quickly back to playing with her dolls near our feet.

When most kids go outside to play, they like to run around and have fun. Sometimes though they are given those battery powered jeeps and want to drive around in those until the battery dies. It turns out they also like riding around in them with you pushing the vehicle around the yard as they steer it. This is where the sore back really comes into play, because they don’t just want to be pushed around for a short time. They insist greatly that you keep going, pushing them in the vehicle until something else catches their eyes. Leaning forwards to push the vehicle for half-hour stints is not very comfortable, though the smiles on their faces looking up at you makes it more than bearable to push through any pain felt.

To continue with the theme of leaning forwards for extended periods of time, finds teenagers coming into the mix along with some flowing water. My daughter’s oldest sister and friends wanted me to “hang out” with them by a nearby stream. Being teenagers, they decided to do what most teens do, something ridiculous. They jumped into the water having decided they’d swim around for a while. Having seen them do this inspired my daughter to start throwing small rocks from the edge of the waterline in. This not being near enough fun, she decided to start walking into the water near the edge, then pick up the rocks there and throw them farther out. Needless to say I was hunched over and ready to snatch her at the slightest hint of her slipping on the rocky bottom. She was good about it, staying mostly in the shallow area with one or two attempts to go deeper complaining that her pant legs needed to be pulled higher to do so. She had fun playing along the bank of the stream watching her older sister and friends playing, enjoying themselves.

As has become our usual routine, the little one puts up a fight while being picky of who can hold her. She likes to be held by me when she gets hurt, is tired and wants to sleep on me, or knows that I have to leave. She really hates that with a passion, my leaving. Just them mention that I have to leave evokes her superpower of clinging. The second I tell her I have to leave, her arms extend upwards signaling that she wants to be held. Once there, she won’t let go easily insisting that I’m not leaving. It definitely sucks when she tells me directly that I can’t go, but knowing that I have to. I keep holding and hugging her letting her know that I have to go for now, and that I’ll be back to be with her again in a few weeks. It’s of little comfort to either of us, but unfortunately for now, having to say goodbye like that has become our routine.

One day I hope to change having to tell her that I will see her in a few weeks to telling her bedtime stories and that I’ll be there when she wakes up the next morning. Until that time comes though, I’ll just be sore, tired and happy from spending the day with her.

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Teach By Doing

So I’ve decided its time to jump in with both feet and sink or swim, again. This time its by planning on going back to college to add to the degree I already have received for Computer-Aided Drafting. While obtaining that degree, I entered into another major at the same college, Carpentry, but was unable to continue with the program for a number of factors. Having pieced this together in a matter of about 30 minutes, I think I’ve got a pretty solid plan thought out.

There are four majors that I’ve looked over, and they all fit within the same umbrella of things that interest me. Along with my CADD degree, I am thinking of returning and obtaining degrees from these majors: Precision Metals, Computer Electronics, Carpentry, & Electrical Wiring. I’ve had a taste of doing each through experience or hobbies. Precision Metals in my mind is the next logical step and evolution of my drafting degree, it builds on what I’ve already learned, and applies it to a different industry. Computer Electronics will offer not only the degree, but industry certifications, allowing me to expand on my hobby of messing with computers. The Carpentry and Electrical Wiring degrees will further expand the knowledge I have from drafting as well as the hands on experience gained from helping a friend with an expansion project that involved a mix of new and old construction as well as outlet connections.

With these four degree majors, I will be able to explore fields that I find interesting and that build off each other while furthering my future potentials. It is also a way to teach by doing and by showing. Words only hold so much meaning and fall apart without the action to back them up. I can instill the value of education and the benefits it offers, but without having that, “doing” presence behind it, it becomes meaningless. By my actions of going back, I will be able to show my daughter that obtaining her education beyond her high school years will be a beneficial endeavor that can and will open up a wide variety of possibilities for her to explore.

In effect, continuing my education and instilling that value in her allows a quote from a favorite TV series from the mid-90’s to become reality. The quote comes from the opening title sequence of the show, “The Pretender“, and read, “the ability to become anyone he wants to be”. Further education is the enabler of such an ability, one that I’ve come to value greatly since high school. Hopefully she will grow and come to value this as much as I have.

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