Yesterday was such an amazing journey from the moment I woke up until I finally laid my head down to fall asleep many hours later. It was one of those days that felt like it was a week long, and it was filled with the entire range of human emotion. I awoke before my alarm was set to go off which seems to be the case almost everyday, which is great. My mind wants my body to get the day going because lately each and every day has been so amazing. I laid in bed for a few minutes reflecting on the dream that I had just had, trying to remember as many details as I possibly could.
My night ended the day before with a conversation about dreams, how telling they can be and where they actually come from. What prompts the subject matter of your dream? Turns out mine was a mash-up of my last two weeks, all my recent blog entries and a look into the things that I am missing most in life right now. It was a very interesting look into my subconscious mind, Tiffany and I shared our dreams with each other in the morning and her’s was equalling as telling.
Children started to awake, so it was time for breakfast, school lunches and getting various kids out the door to school and settling back home for a fun morning with Austin. Tiffany, whom now is my neighbour for the next little while came over mid morning and the never ending pillow fight that had started with Austin quickly resumed before she could even get her boots off. Austin was running down the hallway at full speed with a couch cushion in each hand yelling at the top of his lungs, PILLOW FIGHT!
And it was on… The laughter, the fun the playfulness that filled the house is always such an awesome and powerful feeling, I love it. It is what childhood and raising kids should all be about, having fun, playing, laughing and giggling was the next hour.
Up next was lunch time and Austin’s 47th grilled cheese sandwich in a row, he loves his cheese sandwich, before that was egg sandwich, before that various incarnations of peanut butter sandwich, and eventually he will switch to something else but just like his father he is a creature of habit. He knows what he likes, and rolls with it. While Austin was eating lunch I went down into “the dungeon” for an arm workout which was awesome. Again this Ironman I’ve signed up for has given me motivation to push and push and push things as far as I can right now.
Austin still goes down for an afternoon nap, which is greatly will affect his mood in the afternoon if not properly rested. And while he was sleeping, I pulled out the road bike set up the trainer in the living and went back to work. It was a hard 45 minutes full of sweat and working out the lactic acid in my legs built up from yesterday’s leg workout. It started off feeling very rough, and then as I got into the workout felt better and better. All said and done, I collapsed onto my couch full of sweat and promptly feel asleep for a 45 minute nap. Guess the body needed it!
After school I picked up the kids from school looking forward to a planned night out shopping to wrap up the Christmas shopping. Before that, it was a continuation of the never ending pillow fight as Tiffany came over again and Austin jumped right back into attack mode and once again the house was filled with the laughter of small children. Jenny was at the table making her third craft project in a row. The irony of making a menorah on the first day of Hanukkah, as she picked out what she wanted to make knowing nothing of the holiday itself. During a game of hide and seek, the little ones got picked up and it was time to head out with the girls shopping.
This is where things got really interesting, with a full range of emotions involved, excitement to start, getting taught some oh so valuable lessons about what my girls need from their Dad. To tears and a feeling of sorrow, overstepped boundaries and upset young ladies, to me putting all these pieces back together, taking everything that I have learned recently, stepping up and being the man I was destined to be and talking with three very different ladies putting smiles and love and understanding back into each one and then ending the night in the very best way possible.
Both Emily and Megan are very different young ladies, and they both need very different things from Dad right now. Emily and I are trying to work on and repair the last two years of our lives and draw back closer together. This takes work on both our parts, but more importantly it takes the right kind of work. She wants and needs my affection, my attention in the right way… something that Megan gets and comes naturally between us. When we got to the mall and after going through the first store, the girls split from each other wanting to go into different stores and I followed Megan which has become a natural reaction for me.
The relationship Megan and I share hasn’t been damaged, or in need of repair. She is used to being the center of attention, and when she went left, and Emily went right instinct and history kicked in and I went left as well when in fact I should have gone right and spent my time and attention with Emily, whom at this point really needs it more.
Tiffany, and one of the many reasons I find this lady so fascinating is her ability to see things that are oblivious to me, and better yet points them out to me. Her ability to tell it like she sees it, be bold and direct, to help me see things that I just don’t see. I am still learning, and will continue to do so but I need help, we all need help and if we are both open to and willingly to learn life has so many lessons just awaiting to be discovered. If you can be willingly to accept lessons in every form that they come things can change so very quickly, bad situations can become great almost instantly.
So right from the beginning of our shopping excursion Emily started to get into a mood, I could see it but I didn’t understand they why. Tiffany pointed it right out to me, and I tried to adjust my time and attention but at this point Emily’s shields had gone up and she started to get frustrated and upset because in her mind, once again Megan was getting all of Dad’s attention. And what had started out as a fun adventure, throughout the evening feelings got involved and the car ride home was one of silent reflection for me. And one of tears for Tiffany. It was tough. I thought back over the last few hours as to what had just happened, how did this fun evening out turn into this.
Had I gone the mall by myself, which was my original plan this night would have ended in anger and frustration. It was Emily that called an audible and invited Tiffany to join us at the very last minute. We all would have gone to bed filled with negative emotions, and it would have been several steps backwards in our path moving forward as father and daughter. I really believe that. However, having opening myself up to life and to all that I can learn it was not to be the case.
When we got home the girls disappeared into their rooms, Tiffany was still with tears in her eyes and was upset that she had over stepped her boundaries, that she was the cause of the feelings between father and daughter. It was really upsetting her, as a flood of emotions based on her life experiences flooded into her. She was able to share this with me, and was able to explain to me why Emily was upset. She pointed out the consequences of my actions, my choices over the last few hours. SHe was able to instantly make me realize what each daughter needed from Dad, and only coming from a place of love was very upset that it resulted in a poor end to the evening.
After a few minutes I got up off the couch and went upstairs to talk with Emily, as during this time I was taking in all the lessons I learned in the last few minutes. The NEW understanding of what Emily really wanted and needed from me, and I knew I had to go and talk with her about the evening. She was very hesitant to open up and let me know what was really going on in her head, but I persisted in a very calm compassionate voice explaining that this very thing, this inability to share with each other was what we needed to fix so that we could be open and honest with each other, so that we could learn from this experience, apply it to our lives and move forward growing closer together instead of moving further apart.
We had such an amazing conversation, opening up to each other in ways we haven’t ever before. She was able to share with me how she felt about her sister, and the fact that Megan always got my attention and affection, things that Emily desperately needed from her Dad and had been missing over the past few years. I finally understood. I finally could see what my beautiful daughter wanted from me… me. It was just that simple.
She wanted her Daddy.
We talked for several more minutes about this, making plans a date tonight for just the two of us. We even cried (well I did) a bit and ended the talk with a long warm hug. Pretty awesome. These events, while rough for a bit ended in a result a new understanding between the two of us and new and stronger understanding moving forward.
I came back downstairs to order pizza as we were all starving and noticed that Tiffany had left, as I suspected she might. I didn’t mention where I was going, perhaps now acting on instinct and my desire to talk with Emily about what had just transpired. We spoke on the phone for a few minutes, and I was able to share with her the mental journey I had just gone on over the last hour, thanking her so much from all of my heart for all the GOOD she had done. She left here thinking she had helped make a mess of things, overstepping the boundaries of our friendship and causing additional ill feelings between me and my daughters.
I assured her that nothing could be further from the truth. It was only because of her ability to be raw, open and honest. To call it like she saw it approach to life allowed me the perspective to learn and grow as a father. Through her comments over the evening brought about a new perspective for me and what each of my children needed. It allowed me an understanding that I just never had before, and from her desire to help draw us all closer together (thinking she had failed miserably, and leaving my house in tears) was EXACTLY WHAT HAPPENED.
I gained such an understand from last night, that it will forever shape and guide my actions and interactions especially with Emily. That was her goal. That is all that she wanted in trying to help. And because I’ve now allowed myself to learn and to be shaped by the experiences of life, I was able to talk that knowledge and directly apply it to my own life and put a smile back onto my daughter’s face. I said it before, had Tiffany not been there this would not have happened. Emily and I would have struggled more, for a longer period of time until I learned this lesson, learned this perspective and truthfully I may never have.
We had planned to watch another movie last night, and seeing as how the night was going those plans looked to be cancelled. Talking with Tiffany, and thanking her for help wisdom, asking her not to stop sharing it with me. Yeah things got a little bumpy for a bit, ended in a bonding experience for all involved. She agreed to continue with our plans for the evening, and came back over a few minutes later.
I next had a talk with Megan about what had happened tonight, I apologized for snapping at her in the mall when I could see how upset Emily had become and when I was caught up in several different emotions at the same time I was trying to process. I talked with Megan about what Emily needs from Dad right now, how she is envious of the relationship and bond that we share. It comes naturally with Megan, and it will again come naturally again with Emily, and as I explained it that will just take some time. I asked for Megan’s patience and understanding as we continued to work through this and draw closer as a family. She completely understood my point of view, and as Megan is was easy going and laid back about the situation. We hugged as well, as nothing is quite as comforting and wonderful as a nice warm hug.
Emily asked to join Tiffany and I for movie night as we were watching Legends of the Fall, which brought a tear to my eye. It showed to me that my talk with Emily was both needed and appreciated. She wanted to spend time with her Dad while she worked on a sketch for her significant other, and was a suggestion of mine that I had made the night before. She is quite an artist and banged out a really awesome drawing as the movie played out. I sat there silently smiling and so content on what had been another roller coaster of emotion kind of day.
I was able to take everything that happened, all the lessons that were available for me to learn, process it all and then act upon it. Not being afraid to do what needed to be done to put smiles back on several people’s faces including my own. My actions gave peace and happiness to four different people over the course of an hour, and what could have been a really crappy end to the evening turned out to be something else entirely, something wonderful and magical.
There is another post to come about Legends of the Fall, and the journey that can happen over the course of several hours, one unexpected and rather amazing. The line below kind of sums it up.
Life Happens, Roll With It!