It was that kind of weekend for me, filled with the highest of highs and at the same time the lowest of lows. These kind of weekends make life very interesting, at the same time can make life difficult to handle. Things started earlier this week when I had to ask Emily to leave my house, giving her until Friday to find a new place to live.
I had given her a reasonable list of house expectations, and while at first she didn’t even want to look at or consider my list, to a few days later saying that what I was requesting was not unreasonable. As she is telling me the words that I want to hear, she is at the same time going to school but skipping every single class. Her words were definitely not matching up with her actions, and when I called her out on it she got angry, pulled back emotionally and did not come home from school on Friday afternoon.
I am trying to work with Emily and have her face her problems, her issues as opposed to running away from them as she has started to do recently. I ran and tried to hide from my own problems for too many years, I hid from them buried under an addiction and I could now see my daughter doing the same thing. It took me the better part of this year to finally exact life altering, and lasting change for the better. This blog being a huge part of that change, the sharing, the not feeling alone, unburdening myself of the giant ball and chain that I have been carrying around for many years.
Sitting around on Friday night, after telling my daughter that she was no longer welcome in my house was incredibly hard for me to do. But I did it, I packed up all her clothes, makeup and personal effects placing them into the garage and letting her know she could come and pick them up whenever she wanted to. That night was difficult, many different emotions ran through me as I sat there and thought about the last few years, and how things had come to this. It was a tough night.
I can proudly say that not one time did I think about returning to my addict ways, to numb my mind and hid from my problems with marijuana.
Saturday morning started the turn upwards towards those aforementioned highs. The morning started with some fun with Jenny and Austin, picking up Megan and starting my weekly 3 hour drive to return various kids to various mom’s. This drive was one of my absolute favorites as Megan and I talked for the entire two hours we were in the car together, not once did she pick up her phone and get distracted. We talked about an eclectic range of topics that included: her first crush, the Christmas dinner and the dress that she wanted to get, Tom Holland aka Spider-Man, her sister Emily, basketball, volleyball and a million other things… It was such an easy back and forth and upon dropping her off I was on the receiving end of several hugs and kisses goodbye as I headed out on my return trip to Barrie.
I stopped at the YMCA for a great 2 hour workout, after signing up for an Ironman race, I have found it has given my workouts an extra layer of focus, and taken them to the next level. I have already started to the see the results in the mirror which is always a bonus, vain yes I know… This time around in the Ironman triathlon the goal isn’t just to cross the finish line it is to cross that finish line strong and at the front of the field. I have no illusions of winning the race but a time of or under five hours and top ten in my age group would have me literally jumping for joy again. Have 7 months of great training ahead!
When I was done the gym I headed home to an empty house, as is often the case on Saturday and Sunday’s. I full custody of my four children pretty much Monday through Saturday morning, and then get to live the single man’s lifestyle on the weekends. You know hanging out at bars, and hitting on the ladies… throwing wild and crazy parties in my kid free house… actually none of those things at all. I am the opposite of 99% of men, whom are kid free on the weekend, I was going to have a glass of wine, listen to some music, dance around my kitchen and do a whole lot of baking.
My friend, Tiffany was having a bit of a rough day so I invited her over to help and to help take her mind off things going on in her own life, and over the course of a seven hour conversation I learned a whole lot more about her. She carried most of the conversation and I think just needed to share and unload some of the crazy events going on in her life. Just sitting there listening, and I mean actually listening to another person is such an amazing thing, She had my undivided attention, not interrupted by checking cell phones, a tv on in the background or any combination of kids running around. We eventually did get around to baking and that was another whole adventure.
I know that Tiffany wasn’t impressed when I pulled out a boxed cake mix to make some cupcakes, and when I saw the expression on her face I kind of got nervous. From my point of view I do almost all of my baking for my kids and using a box cake mix is simple, quick and easy, makes a decent cupcake as well. I think when I mentioned baking she was thinking, flour, sugar, eggs, etc. To be honest it threw me off my game and I ended up making the worst batch of cupcakes I ever have made. They were too big, the frosting was far too sweet, the candy canes I put into the icing you couldn’t see, and the colour scheme was all wrong. Just not happy with the finished product…
Looking back, I was nervous, and the results showed that. This was the first time I had ever baked with another person. And I got into my own head a little bit, we both talked and laughed about the results and what had gone on over the last hour. In good news, the banana bread we made was absolutely delicious. I sent that home with Tiffany to enjoy and heard it was quickly consumed. Before heading off to bed I thought about things and what I would do differently the next time we got together.
That turned out to be Sunday! The sugar cookies I had made a few weeks ago, has led to another job and five dozen Christmas sugar cookies and I was going to make another batch on Sunday to both perfect the recipe and send to school today with Jennifer for her class to enjoy. I asked Tiffany to help me out on Sunday, as on Saturday we talked a lot of baking, and icing and how much she enjoyed the whole process.
Sunday was the exact opposite from Saturday night. There were no nerves involved whatsoever, and I was totally able to be myself. On came the awesome 80’s tunes, one of my favorite songs, Doesn’t Really Matter by Platinum Blonde to which every single time I hear this song, no matter where I am have to air drum the drum solo midway through the song. I found myself singing out loud, which I never have done in front of another person before, as I do not have a voice for it at all. I played my best air drums using a few wooden spoons in my kitchen, it was epic.
Over the course of several hours we talked, we laughed and we had a great time. Tiffany and I worked very well together in the kitchen, instantly had an unspoken language while making these cookies. Several times throughout the process we were helping each other without having to say a word. It was like nothing I had ever experienced before working with another person. A communication without speaking a very rare thing indeed.
From the low’s of Friday night, to the learning curve of Saturday to the pure fun that I had on Sunday all came to a head Sunday night as I drove Tiffany home and picked up Emily who had finally decided that she wanted to stay at my home and we had our best talk in a long time while driving down to pick up Megan from her mom’s house. Sitting in the car with Emily, just being open and honest and not being afraid to talk to my daughter was the most powerful hour of my weekend. I truly believe that in that hour I was able to reconnect with Emily in a way I had been searching for these last few months.
I wasn’t nervous or afraid to open up and bare my soul to her, to share with her the experiences from my past that parallel exactly what she has been going through. I believe we came to an understanding about each other during that car ride and have taken the first few steps towards regrowing the bond that should exist between a father and his daughter. We still have a lot of work to do, together, being able to talk to be open, to share with each other one day at a time. One thing at a time. Baby steps, one after another and over time we will have climbed that mountain. Together.
I’ve learned so much about myself on this journey, this weekend in particular was one of learning, growing and most importantly being myself. Even with small periods of nerves spattered throughout, I was able to adjust, to learn on the fly and to grow one small step at a time. It taught me that I could take what I experienced one day and could directly be applied to the next day making it a wonderful experience.
I will leave you all with this thought for the day, each day that passes for me is one step further away from my old life and one step closer towards the man I am truly am meant to be. It’s still is amazing to me, this journey has been so wonderful. Each day presents to me such beauty and wonder in every situation that I have the pleasure of experiencing both good and bad. I will continue to learn, to grow, to evolve from each experience and shape my life, the life of my children and those I am lucky to call friends so much better.