Saturday, February 13, 2016

I Really Hate Valentines Day, But I Really Love You.

A Letter to the Beauty in my Life

Dear Wife,

You know more than anyone that I really hate Valentines Day.  It is a burning hallmark bag of dog crap left on the doorstep of actual love as the billionaires of the world run into the bushes giggling.  The problem for me is not that it exists, it is that us consumers actually open the door and step on it with glee before picking it up and throwing it at our spouse like it's a fucking compliment.  

All of that aside, that is not what this is about.  I don't love you for just one day, and I don't buy you fancy things to prove that I care, and I don't do nice things for you just so that you'll do nice things for me.  I know that you know that, so I don't have anything to prove by not recognizing the spectacular love the two of us have created.  You deserve that.

I try not to think about this often, but there was in fact a time in my life when you did not exist.  I was in one place and you were in the other, unbeknownst to either of us.  There was not a yearning to go out and find you, just as there was not a yearning for you to come find me.  We had no idea the other person was even a particle in this entire Universe.  And yet, we both were.  We both did exist.  We both made choices and sacrifices and endured childish relationships that knew nothing of a real center that led us closer and closer to a destination we didn't even know we were looking for.  And then, in one single moment, there we the center, meeting for the first time.  Life is remarkable in that way, and I really don't care what the truth of it is because all that matters is that in that center, we became one.  

So much has happened in what feels like no time at all and as you know, my memory is shit, so I will not even attempt to embark on a cliche journey though the history of us.  The beautiful thing about what we have, though, is that we have no need to do that.  We have no need to sit around in a snow globe of nostalgia just to feel a connection we hope is still there, only to have it fade into inevitability.  Obviously we are not the poster children of a perfect love and hills and rivers made of tears are laid out all around us, and always will be.  To me, that is true beauty.  We don't need perfect, we just need a single moment of eye contact, even if it is the only moment throughout an entire day, to understand how much we still love each other.  Even more so, how much MORE we love each other since the last moment.  In those shining spotlights of significance, the rocks and hills and rivers are behind us.  We went around, climbed and waded through them, and we are still here.  

Gandhi said, "Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, but it is very important that you do it."

I agree with him for the most part, but I'd like to make a slight alteration: 

"Whatever you do in life will be insignificant, until you do something that makes it significant."

In two separate yet equally as significant battles, you have birthed our incredible children and become a warrior worthy of every honor.  In doing so you have blessed us with a gorgeous, bright and utterly insane daughter and a devilishly handsome little boy with the tenderness of nothing I have ever known and the spark of mischief in his eye that is all too familiar.  I will thank you for sharing that reward with me for the rest of my life.

You have gone back to school with two kids on your hip, a job and a husband who literally only knows how to make breakfast.  Your strength and dedication to not only succeed, but over achieve in your studies as well as at home all at the expense of yourself has been the most remarkable thing I have witnessed from our lives together.  You have proven not only to just me, but to our children, our extended circle, those that observe from the outside, and most importantly yourself, that it is possible to change a future that was seemingly already set.  

You have shed blood, sweat and tears to ensure our family is strong and thriving, even if it meant that sleep was a far away fantasy you may never see again.  You have struggled with internal fare I will never understand and have come out the other side in triumph.  You have shown us that love is not a single idea, but a bond that is earned and worth fighting for.

You are an inspiration to mothers everywhere, and I have never been more proud in all my life.  

YOU are truly significant. 

So in the end, it does not matter that Valentines Day itself is meaningless, because it is yet another day that I have the privilege of sharing with you. What a wonderful life we have created together, bound tightly by the one that carries the candle in the dark:  My wife, my Beauty.  

I deeply and irrevocably love you and I believe in your love.

Yours for a while longer,


"Until the heavens stop to rain."


Friday, August 14, 2015

Gone Boy: A Parody


When I think of my life, I picture my head.  Pretty average... hard, a little bumpy, though also soft in certain areas that I can never seem to find until I'm bleeding... proportionate to the rest of me, but perhaps slightly too large for my own good...most importantly, however, it is attached to a face.  My face. The face everybody around me sees and defines as being me.  But it's not me, is it?  It's my representative, and representatives are good at lying to protect their employer.  The most recent job that I gave to my face was to convince the people that can see me that I was good, honest and pure...a good father, an honest man, a pure soul.  I thought I had instructed my face to lie again.  The truth came at me like a well written twist and I was very rapidly thrust into a third act that I never saw coming.

When Beauty and I decided to move the family back to Buffalo, NY, we had a grand list of really good reasons.  There was the big one, Beauty going back to school to become a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner.  There was also the lack of support for the kids when we needed it.  A notable entry was the dead end street that my job had become, though for both of us, I think, the most realistic listed reason was money.  We had none.  I say it now as if we eventually got some, which makes me laugh and cry simultaneously.  The breaking point that really lifted pen to paper was the second time since the ball dropped that I had to ask my Father for money to pay rent.  For me, that is one of the worst feelings in the world.  It sounds like failure and it smells like weakness.  It even looks stupid...I get all shaky and my eyes dart around like a twelve year old farting during morning circle time. The point is, it wasn't a particularly hard decision and so we quit our jobs, packed up our apartment and left.  It sounds so simple, though the reality of the ordeal also makes me laugh and cry simultaneously...

Queen B is three and a half as well as sixteen, drunk and on steroids.  She's like the Tasmanian Devil in a Quentin Tarantino movie...SPOILER ALERT: Everyone dies.

She wants to do everything you don't want her to do with such furious aggression and to such a degree that when she actually wants to do something you DO want her to do, your brain can't comprehend it and suddenly you're cowering in a corner tossing Hershey kisses at her and sobbing prayers you don't know the words to.

As I am dragged through the valley of the shadow of the she-devil, I fear everything...

This was reason #1 for my disappearance.  This was one of the jobs asked of my face.  "Tell the world I can handle this.  Tell them I am there."  It was easier done than said, because I worked a lot.  However when I didn't work, I took up video games again.  Or I walked the dog.  I spent the minimal amount of time dealing with it as possible and so my face was able to lie fairly effectively for everyone but Beauty.  She doesn't listen to my face.  She knows my heart and she knows I was actually gone.  The only obstacle stopping her from finding me herself was my sweet, handsome and completely relaxed son who also happens to be a severe boob addict.

This child quite literally transforms into a milk thirsting creature of the deep any time Beauty walks into the room.  He makes these crazy repetitive sounds like the young Forest Gump when his teacher tells him about how much his Mother cares about his education.  His eyes bulge out of his head and his fingers actually believe they are accomplishing something.  Everybody always laughs about it.  I tell them I know how he feels.  They laugh.

I don't...

That was reason #2.

The point of this is all about the picture.  A painting, really.  We can look at something and see it, but the beauty isn't really there unless we know how it was made. Every stroke, every piece of the vision.  These were my kids BEFORE we took away their home, drove to Buffalo, drove to Connecticut, drove to Vermont, drove to Maine, drove to Vermont, drove back to Buffalo.  What they became during that journey is a part of the twist.  Be patient, mother fucker.

The third key element to this story is a wonderful human being that both my Wife and I cherish in so many ways.  Her name is Brooke Lindsley, and she is only one of the two people that I have named authentically on this Blog.  Everybody knows who I am talking about when I mention Beauty.  Everybody knows who I am talking about when I mention Queen B, Ham or Fatpug.  Others that I mention might be a bit more vague to you, so if I called her T-Swift or Ski Bum, most of you would be lost. Brooke Lindsley deserves that clarity.  She is my best friend, and has been one of the few people in our lives aside from Rhoadie (Andrea Rhoads) and certain family members that has proven how much she loves us over and over again.  

Brooke and I have a connection so strong that we've been commonly mistaken as more than friends.  Even Beauty has glanced a curious eye to a random butt slap or a bizarre conversation that was probably centered around flatulence or worse.  The truth is, she is my bro and I am her gal.  It's weird, I know. The beauty is in the Beauty, though.  Not many men can say their wives are not only one hundred percent cool with their husband having that kind of relationship with another women, but that she is actually really close with her as well.  It works. 

Rather, it worked.  We had to say goodbye to Brooke, not once, not twice, but three times along our Journey and every single time was just as hard as the latter.  Another one of those moments when my face was a great liar.  I smiled, said see you later and walked away.  My head felt it, though.  

For those of you following along to the gimmick thus far, Brooke is the Neil Patrick Harris of this story.  Take that as you will.  However she does not have a penis...that I know of.

As I said, after we left we didn't stay grounded.  We zigzagged across the Northeast like a fucking paddle-ball.  It wore down the kids and exemplified their temperaments.  Queen B grew from a velociraptor with rabies into that terrifying hybrid beast from Jurassic World that can camouflage itself and rip off your torso without warning.  Ham went from boob addict to Jared Leto in Requiem for a Dream.  His arm could be falling off and he'd still be drooling down his face and moaning at the site of cleavage.  These accelerated troubles made the driving and the sitting and the walking and the breathing really really difficult for all of us. I shrunk even deeper into my disappearance, showing anger over understanding, exhaustion over integrity, grievance over strength.  

I had spent a very long time fighting myself.  It was a very long battle in a very long War and it was never going to end.  I wanted to be good, honest and pure.  I really did.  But my actions proved otherwise.  I did things, said things to those I am supposed to care about, reacted in certain ways that made my own persona a lie.  So once I realized that my head was lying to myself, I obviously could not continue. But my face could.  It held it's ground and I disappeared.  I retreated deep into my own personal version of self depreciation Hell.  Finally, after all of this unorthodox living, after leaving Neil Patrick Harris/Brooke behind, after being accused of being drug addicts (different, shorter story), after wading through the darkness of insecurity....we arrived to a more grounded way of life in Buffalo. Except this time, I didn't have a job.  I didn't have a hobby, I didn't have a better place to be or an escape or a reason to leave.  That was when it happened.

Here it is...the entire purpose of this story - the reason you are still reading - the transition into the third act.  I woke up the day after finally arriving back in Buffalo for good and looked over at the voice that woke me.  It was Queen B, and she was smiling and so fucking beautiful.  She took my hand and we went downstairs to start the day.  When I arrived, my son was in Beauty's arms and he smiled so wide when he saw me that I had to double check whether or not he was looking at me or something completely useless behind me.  He reached out for me and grabbed me by the face, still smiling. It was very similar to when Queen B grabbed my finger after she was born and I instantly fell in love, though this wasn't love. I already had that.  I already knew I loved him.  This was acceptance.  He looked me in the eye and said, "Get the fuck over yourself, Dad.  I like you."

I spent the entire day outside with both of my kids, sliding down the slip n slide, pushing them on the swings, rolling around in the grass and laughing until my sides hurt.  I couldn't remember the last time that kids actually wanted to be with me.  Queen B won't leave my side.  Ham falls asleep in my arms WITHOUT THE BOOB.  They enjoy who I am and I them.  That is the twist.  That is the point. I told my face to lie.  I told my face to tell the world I was a good father, an honest man and a pure soul.  My face obliged.  But it did not lie.  

I was alive the entire time...I just needed to believe it.  It's good to be home.

Hopefully Ben Affleck will forgive me.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015