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With One More Day

What would you do with or give for just one more day?

I don’t want to know when that day is.

I hope it’s forever from now.

He will say from time to time, Daddy I’m glad you didn’t die, Daddy I don’t want you to die.

Heartbreaking…

I’m not going to, I say in response.

But we do talk about death.  Unfortunately.  And probably a whole lot more than I would if the situation were different.

I do try to do as much as I can with these kiddos.

I don’t go about thinking that today might be the last or treating each day like it could be.

It’s just today or tomorrow or the next.

Smile and Laugh!!!

And avoid sweating the small stuff.

We had fun this past weekend, doing more than I probably normally would – especially on my own.

Friday they had an early dinner.  I didn’t so I took them to red mango (yum!).  That was my dinner ;)

She asks if we can sit in the bar stools along the window so we do.

Across the street is the local movie theater so I check the schedule and there’s How to Train a Dragon 2 starting in under an hour.

So we stretch out our time @ red mango, head to the theater get popcorn (she loves popcorn), some waters and sour patch kids (I probably ate half of them)

Then on Sunday I took them to Disney on Ice last minute (after an adult night in the city – so tired).  Without tickets.  We just went and bought some there.

They both dressed up in costumes.  He was Buzz Light-year, she was Monster High – Fun!

It was a really good weekend.

We do have our ups and downs, however.

Like today, they both had play dates after school.

When her friend left and she wanted to go find some more people to play with (it’s almost 7pm btw), I said no.

She wasn’t too happy with me.  She was tired.  Over stimulated.  And definitely didn’t want to hear me say no.

But we got past it.  She smiled again.

It’s just parenting, just life …

So I don’t really think of it as having just one more day.

There are a lot of little things, significant things that matter.

But there are also a lot of little things that aren’t so significant and don’t really matter.

I try to instill this in them.

If they lose a plastic toy that has no sentimental value, we talk about how those things aren’t important.

We talk about how things we say and do impact other people.

We always talk about how our buckets are full or empty.  I like the concept.

She empties my bucket, I empty hers, she fills his and I fill hers …

We empty and fill our buckets all through the day.

It’s not fun when our buckets are empty and it’s hard work to keep them full but we try our hardest to keep refilling them.

Single parenting is tough.  Parenting on it’s own is tough, even when you have a team.

I meet moms all the time that struggle in ways similar to me.  We’re not all that different.  Parenting is just TOUGH.

Ask C’s friends mom whose son, when dropping off C tonight threw a HUGE fit.  HUGE!  That isn’t easy.  She apologized but that’s not even needed.

What do you do in those situations?  We’ve had our own, everyone does.

Anyways …

This past Saturday I went out.  Overall it was SO much fun.  The majority of the people who went out would agree.

However I think I put together a group that wasn’t totally meant to play well together.  I hope there’s no hard feelings … it’s not me but I think a couple of the couples butted heads – just different people, that’s all.  My mike & joe friends and my non-mike & joe friends were definitely different crowds but that’s what works for me.  And these couples are kind of the same.  Maybe I just shouldn’t have put them in the “same room” with a lot of alcohol … oops.  They don’t need to be friends though as long as they both stay friends with me ;)

I, Me … I just want people to laugh, enjoy life, have a great time, smile and be happy.

Unfortunately life doesn’t always play out that way.

But then I think of the small things…

I think of what if that was my last day…

Would I have been satisfied with what I’ve done to this point forward?

I don’t just want one more day.  I want many more days.

Give me my 80th birthday.  I’ll take that.

Can I have that?

I’m optimistically pessimistic!

Can I say that?

I don’t want to be pessimistic.

I want to see them graduate. Get married.  Have children, my grand children.  I want to see them grow and be happy.

Then I can go.  I’ll take 80+ too.  But at 80 I’ll have lived.  I’ll have experienced.  I’ll have enjoyed.

I don’t just want one more day.

I’m just trying to live each day.  Just live it.  Not like it’s the last or almost the last.

Just that it’s our life and you just never know so just smile and live and laugh a LOT!

Miss you …

A New School Year

I’m at drop-off and I met another dad the other day.

Please don’t ask me what my wife does.  Ugh!  Sometimes I just want to wear an “I’m Widowed” t-shirt.

And then as we introduce ourselves at my daughters curriculum night, one after one the wife or husband says Hi, I’m so-and-so, and this is my husband or wife-blah, blah, blah.  I really just wanted to say, Hi, I’m Matt and I’m a Widower.  I might let out a quiet, hmph.  The rest of the room would be “dead” silent.

But at least they’d know and wouldn’t ask “the” question.

So I keep talking to that guy and just hoping he doesn’t ask … he didn’t … phew

That day was an extra long drop-off because some bus driver lady (in an empty bus thankfully) decided to hit one car and then when moving again hit another other.  In doing so she blocked the bus my son was on and we had to wait an extra 20-some minutes before they could leave.

That dad and I kept talking for a while … one of these days i’m going to get better at remembering peoples names but I’m bad at it and I forgot his 5 seconds into the conversation.

There’s probably 60+ kids on this bus so there’s plenty more people to meet …

Then another night at a friends adult-only party (it’s nice to get out without the kids at times) I had a long conversation about Cari with one of the moms

She was super nice.  Not the in-the-face-full-of-questions type conversation some people seem to confront me with.

She didn’t know Cari but we talked a lot about her.  It was a nice conversation to have.  She applauded my efforts, like most people do, but man I’m just trying to do the right thing … and it’s not always easy.

Cari would have loved the party … it’s SO her … she would have been the party … fun, laughing, loud, joking … loving it !!!

The new year brings all this stuff up again.  New families, new kids … questions & answers.

You’d think I’d get numb to it but nope … just as hard 5+ years in.

I went on a jog after drop-off one morning.  Normally I leave it for the evenings but I was somewhat motivated.

While I’m running I’m wondering to myself what it would be like if I ever did remarry.  How I would respond to those questions.

Honestly, I don’t know how I would feel or if that would ever happen.

However, I”m optimistic that it will.  We’ll see ;)

Summer of Twenty 14 – Part 1

August 3rd and the summer is nearly over.

2 days in the 90′s so far, lots of days in the 80′s (lows in the high 50′s) days of fog and lots of rain

The garden is growing. Lots of zucchini, some cucumbers, green tomatoes (hopefully they’ll turn red soon), and some green onions.

The pea pods were a failure.  I planted them too close to each other and they grabbed onto each other and pulled each other back to the ground.

I might try a second planting.  Maybe

This week we head to MI with some friends.  Can’t wait!  It should be so much fun.  The kids are super excited.

We met a new family this week.  Did I say I love this neighborhood?  Sure there are some things I could go without (mainly drama between moms who want to be at the top of the perceived social circles – LAME).  But otherwise this place is great.  This family has a bunch of kids, some of them right around the ages of mine and the kids already get along so well.  That’s SO awesome!

We’ve got two loose teeth right now.  One went from just a little wiggly last night to i’m-probably-going-to-fall-out-now-and-the-tooth-fairy-better-be-ready status!  Hopefully the tooth fairy isn’t too busy and is ready to go!

This past Friday we had a very last minute random get-together with some friends.  There’s a festival this weekend just a couple blocks from the house and the band hairbangers ball was playing.  So much fun!

So I msg’d just about everyone I knew (hopefully I didn’t miss anyone) and about 30 adults and kids came over.  It was a lot of fun!  As usual with my get-togethers there was a chance of rain.  And not just rain this past Friday.  Torrential sporadic downpours lasting just a few minutes but dumping inches of rain.  It happened throughout the day but fortunately stayed away for the evening.  I was prepared though.  I set up a tent and plus we have the porch and the house so we were all good.

The kids could have just run up and down the block all day long but eventually we made it over to the fest.  They were in and out of the house.  In the backyard.  All over up and down the street!  But eventually we went to the fest and it was fun too.  GS was there with Baby J, plus some other family and friends.  E was dead set on going on this boat ride.  Not a kiddie ride.  The boat swings half way up one side and then swings to the other.  Somehow I was talked into the ride with our friends kids.  Yikes!  I asked E if she would go on again and her response was far from an immediate yet.  We stayed til the end of the fest, closed it down just like Mommy did so many nights in the city ;)  C slept until nearly 10:30 the next morning (it’s 8:50 sunday morning and the kids are still asleep, btw)

This summer the kids went to zoo camp at brookfield.  It seemed like they had fun.  They were able to go behind the scenes for things like the dolphin exhibit.  I’m not sure they’ll do it again but it was a good experience.  Then E went to a week (well just 3 days) at Park JrHS.  The class was about american girl doll; learning about their stories.  She wasn’t feeling well on day 4 so we skipped that class

Otherwise the summer has been relatively low key and has flown by.

I’d live to live somewhere warm, somewhere that’s not freezing half the year.  Maybe we’re just jaded after this past winter.  Maybe this next one will be okay.

The weather lately is crazy though.  We’re having an unusually wet summer.  Other areas of the country are in severe droughts.  Who knows what all this means.  I’m just hoping that it doesn’t mean very difficult challenges for the kids and future generations!

A couple weeks ago I took C and one of his friends and his dad to a cubs game.  It was his friends 1st cubs game.  It was such a good night.  Lots of cute pictures and the kids took a bunch of their own selfies.  We lasted until about the 6th inning / 9p and then headed back.  Their mom watched E … awesome family … again, loving this area!

Just hoping we can get in as much as we can in the next 3 weeks!!!!

Parenting Ain’t Easy

Insurance sucks too!

$500 co-pay at the ER … need to skip that place whenever possible (unfortunately today wasn’t one of those days)

$250 bill for cleanings at the dentist (i have insurance and that didn’t even involve x-ray’s) … ain’t going there again!

And I’m just going to insert some tech talk here for a second.  Because I’ve had a shitty day and I’ve recently taken over development for some shitty programmers.  Whoever decides to use Entity Framework for a project is just a BAD programmer … BAD!  BAD!  BAD!  AGHHHHH!!!

Okay … phew.  Maybe I just need a drink.

Today was just not a fun day.

I had actually planned on writing something here earlier in the evening yesterday.

The kids at 5 & 7 are a handful on a daily basis.  We have lots of good moments but they seriously don’t listen, or choose only when they want to.  I’m trying to lay down the law with them but it AIN’T easy.

I give them a lot of freedom but they’re always trying to see how far they can get.  It drives me nuts.  I see all the kids around us doing it so we’re not the only ones but man could I go without that stress.

So the evening yesterday started kind of crappy but then it did get a little better (for a bit)

Lately I’ve been taking them on bike rides wherever we need to go (it’s my attempt at getting in a workout).  Last night I packed them in and we headed to Davanti in Western Springs.

I’ve been to the one on Taylor street.  It’s really good.  However, it’s not exactly the most kid-friendly restaurant and Western Springs tends to be a little more up-scale, let’s say … I love the area btw, it’s not a dig.

So I took a chance, biked the nearly 2 miles there with 100 lbs in tow behind me (my legs were burning on the way back).

The kids did really good.  Didn’t complain on the way (I probably would have dropped them off on the corner if they did — it was that kind of day).

And they did well in the restaurant.  Ate off a salami and cheese plate (not normal salami & cheese) and ate pizza and he had some of my steak (he pretty much had a bite of everything – I love that in him)

So all was good until we got back to the bike.

He got in and started complaining about a belly ache.  I figured just the food or he had to poop.  No biggie.

I took them to Oberweis (they weren’t fans and honestly I would take Tate’s any day over Oberweis).  Nevertheless we all ate and I rode them back home.

I was really proud of our successful dinner and bike ride and their ability to stay relatively well behaved the majority of the time.

That’s what I planned on writing about.

But then we got home and he kept complaining.  And he wouldn’t let me touch the area that was painful.

So I’m concerned at this point … enough to keep me rolling in bed and eventually spending the night with him … what’s wrong? was it the food he ate? did he hurt himself? why is he in pain?  is he going to be okay?

Then this morning he wakes up at 6 am.  Still complaining.  So I make a Dr. appointment.  Now I’m more stressed.

When he finally gets up around 9 he can barely stand and he’s in tears trying to get him into the car.

So I just call the dr and as I figured I would do, we went straight to the hospital.

6 hours and $500 later (yes that’s my deductible off this bull shit blue cross blue shield top end OBAMACARE plan – RIDICULOUS) we were released without any diagnosis.  why are there all these resident doctors at pretty much any hospital we go to that barely know anything – where are the real doctors???  i have little trust in them.

So we’re leaving, I carry him to the car, he’s in tears (of pain) and we head home.

I’m sure I lost at least another year of my life (or a couple months) stressing out about what could be wrong … is something torn, is it going to require surgery … and then they just say go home and take some Tylenol and rest???

As of about 8pm tonight he finally sat up.  I don’t know if that’s the meds or some improvement.  Now he’s asleep

Hopefully the night and morning are better.

This stuff just AIN’T easy.  Too bad there’s no real “day off” from parenting.  I could use it.

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Since I’m writing I might as well mention some other stuff …

He recently earned two of his first few trophies (T-Ball & Soccer). YAY!

The block we live on is so much fun for the kids.  When I was a kid I had someone down the block, a couple kids on the block behind me, but otherwise we were spread all over the place.  In this neighborhood we have 20+ kids on our one block.  And almost all of them play together.  4 of them showed up at our door tonight looking for both the kids.  This happens every day nearly all day long.  It’s pretty awesome!

We met some new friends recently.  A fam with kids the same ages as mine.  We have plenty of these families around us but this family and I connected pretty quickly.  It’s been nice.

Summer’s almost half over (maybe it is already half over) and that really stinks.  These couple months just fly by.

Soon they’ll both be in school full day.  They’re just growing up really fast!

Is that it???  Hmm… Today was a lot more stressful than I needed it to be.  Hoping for some less stressful ones to come

5 YEARS

It’s really just unbelievable.

The kids are 5 & 7 now.

5 years have passed. :(

I don’t even have to keep track of the years, I just have to ask myself how old my son is.

He was only 4 months old, strapped to her chest, when this all happened.

Just today a neighbor brought up the topic.

He didn’t know that it happens 5 years ago tomorrow (well today now)

He’s a firefighter so unfortunately he sees this kind of thing in his job.

Ironically his mom was working on that particular day for the police dept and on the seen of our accident.

I think he brought it up in part because I recently sent out invites for our Memorial Day party.

A party I’ve held ever since.

I do it for two main reasons; to get our friends together and to keep her spirit alive. (I just checked, 167 people responded to the evite so far!)

The kids know what it’s for.  They don’t really understand what tomorrow’s date means, however.

I don’t plan on bringing it up with them until they ask.  They don’t need to worry about it all day.  Actually, I’ll probably talk to them about it tomorrow at dinner.

Anyways, he asked a bunch of questions.  We’ve never talked about it in any detail before.

It’s not something I usually bring up in conversation.

It was tough to hold back tears; for both of us (there were just a few)

I told him about the phone call.  A phone call no one should ever get.

And the 60 minute drive, or however long it took, to get from lake forest to LaGrange.  Someone should have driven me.  I can’t imagine how fast I was going and I’m certain I wasn’t paying attention to anything on the road.  I got that call.  A call from the police department saying you need to come to the police station now, no wait, come to the hospital…

You don’t even want to ever experience what that was like.  Horrific!

I left the house that morning and less than 4 hours later my whole world was turned upside down.  I still remember her face that morning.

The next 7 days were a blur.  Hospital for her.  Hospital for him (because he was hurt too).  Funeral arrangements.  The Wake (HORRIBLE)!

So we talked a little about that, and raising these kids, how they’re doing … it was a good conversation.

He was worried it would bother me but I’ve been living it for 5 years now so the conversation isn’t anything new.  Never easy, but nothing new.

Oh, he was in our house for a few minutes while he was over and noticed all the pictures we have of her in the house.

She does occupy quite a few picture frames.  I like keeping her there for the kids, especially.  She’s not going anywhere again any time soon!

Well we’ve made it 5 years.

We are fortunate to have a lot of amazing people around us.  Family & Friends.

We get to talk about her often.  She left a lasting impression on nearly everyone she touched.

That’s pretty awesome!

It’s really too bad we lost such an amazing person way too early in her life.

I’m sure I’m doing a great job with these kiddos and that she’d be proud.

I just wish she was here doing this with me.

We were a pretty awesome pair!

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On a separate but related note …

Do you know the woman never apologized?

I unfortunately had to run into her for the first time just a few weeks ago.

You could slice the tension in the air.

I never wanted to meet her.  Never cared to meet her.  Hoped I would never meet her.

She did try to talk to me.  She wanted to explain how she picked up my son after the accident.

I have absolutely no interest in any specific details. She could have simply said I’m sorry.

Maybe she thought those details would help but in fact probably made things worse.

I don’t doubt this is difficult for her.  But I don’t believe her, don’t believe the accounts of the accident, and unless she’s going to admit she wasn’t paying attention, that she took her eyes off the road or was doing something like swerving around to pass the van that was in front of her, hitting Cari because of her actions, I don’t want to hear anything else.

I am absolutely convinced she did something more than she’s willing to admit.  There’s no way given all the evidence that she wasn’t doing something.

Just admit it, just say for real what was going on, don’t hide the truth and apologize to everyone you hurt.