All of my Children are HERE!
I am very happy to write that Emily is currently upstairs sleeping in her bed, in fact all four of my children and sleeping soundly under my roof for the first time in several weeks. It has been one heck of an emotional day that started at 6:30am this morning with tears running down my face as I listened to a very powerful song from Simple Plan called This Song Saved My Life. I instantly started to think of Emily and how much I missed her..
The first stanza is as follows…
I wanna start letting you know this
Because of you my life has a purpose
You helped me be who I am today
I see myself in every word you say
Sometimes it feels like nobody gets me
Trapped in a world where everyone hates me
There’s so much that I’m going through
I wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you
I was broken
I was choking
I was lost
This song saved my life
I was bleeding
Could have died
This song saved my life
I was down
I was drowning
But it came on just in time
This song saved my life
When I picked up Emily today we had a long talk about the last few weeks, I (as nicely as I could without turning it into a lecture) about the expectations of coming home and what I expected of her in terms of behaviour and life goals moving forward. I will get to those in a second. I was as open and honest with her, which isn’t easy for me as I have been here with this blog.
I told Emily that she was my catalyst for change. She was the reason that I wanted to change my life, to get better, to be a better father and dad. Through her actions, and at times her words she was screaming out loud for a Dad that would be there for her. I had spent too many years wrapped up in my own world, focusing on career and personal gains, wrapped up in addiction to both drugs and stupid iPad games.
When in front of me the whole time was this little girl, slowly growing up in front of me and I was too wrapped up in my own shit that I couldn’t see it. Emily inspired me to make change in my life, to get better not only for her but for me as well. I have really enjoyed reading about other people’s rise out of the darkness, we all share similar stories of overcoming the darkness in our lives. The issues may be different, but we all share something in common, that there is something that triggers the change.
To me this was a father bearing his soul to his daughter. I wanted her to know the power that a child can have. Any person can have to inspire another to be better than the sum of their parts. I hope to do that for others one day.
I wanted Emily to have a clear understanding of that, and what I expected from her coming home. I explained to her that we are in this together, and that running away is just running away from your problems, and that I would always be here for her, that she wasn’t alone, and help comes when you least expect it. It sure did for me. In many different ways and many different forms, in places that I never expected as soon as I opened myself up to it.
I would love your thoughts in the 11 House Rules if you will for Emily, Megan, Jennifer, Austin and myself to follow moving forward. In no particular order…
- Have a simple schedule in the morning, getting up with enough time to do what you need to get ready for school, including having breakfast.
- Get a minimum of hours of sleep at night to get the proper amount of rest, phone turned off and put away at least 1/2 hour before bed.
- Go to school. Complete projects and assignments on time.
- No drugs or alcohol period. I’ve done too much research on the damaging effects on a developing brain.
- Don’t take things that don’t belong to you, respect others property.
- Weekly chore list, including bedroom tidy and laundry done before going back to mom’s house.
- We will talk out our problems, anger hostility and disrespect don’t have a place in our life anymore. Be honest with yourself and others.
- Ask for help when you needed. Don’t be afraid, ashamed or embarrassed to need it. I was and resisted for too long, we all need help from time to time. You don’t have to carry the weight of the world on your shoulders.
- Eat dinner and help clean up afterwards. Your body needs fuel and if you’re not hungry you most likely filled up on junk before dinner.
- Exercise, very important for long-term feelings of wellness. Something as simple as going for a walk will do the trick.
- Be happy, enjoy life.
That’s my list. I also mentioned that I was not going to force family time upon her, and that she was free to choose to do what she wanted as long as the above guidelines were being followed. I did suggest that spending time with her brother and sisters playing would take her mind off any stress or anxiety in her life. I know I do…
I ended our conversation asking her what she needed or wanted from me, mentioning that I didn’t need an answer right away and wanted her to think about it. Tomorrow we will talk about consequences as opposed to punishments. Everyday moving forward I hope to learn more and more about being an effective, loving and awesome Dad.