June 25, 2010

Kissing the Blarney Stone..

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Ireland

June 23, 2010

My son and I were in Ireland last week. It was a graduation present for him. It’s an old family tradition that began with my own father. I knew he wanted to visit Ireland on this trip for about the last year or so, and Caroline knew about it too. Truthfully, it came at a great time for me emotionally, mentally, spiritually, etc. The trip happened when it needed to happen for me. I was sinking here in a lot of ways. The entire flight to Dublin, I was keeping an eye on my son. Eighteen and one foot out the door already; to me, he is still this little toe headed kid I taught how to swing a golf club when he was three. 18 years happen too fast.

I kept asking Caroline to help keep my eyes and ears focused on all that was happening over there. After touring Dublin for a couple days, we took a train down to Cork. I kissed the Blarney Stone, which was something I remember telling Caroline I’d never do. I could almost see her face as I walked up to bend myself completely backwards to kiss this little area that millions before me had kissed. I cleared the thought, and just did it. I knew she had to be laughing at that point. At one point in the week, I had a meltdown. I missed my girls who were back here at home. I knew my youngest was having a rough week. I was just spent. Then I saw a distant rainbow. In the Bible, God presented a rainbow to show Noah and his family that He’d never flood the earth again. Caroline loved the symbolism in that act; that something beautiful could come from something difficult. Without the rain, there is no rainbow.

The rest of the week, I concentrated on enjoying where I was for the moment. I fully believe that my wife was behind that rainbow in the distant sky. My life has been turned upside down, inside out, and backwards. There’s a lot of days I don’t want to pick myself out of bed to do much of anything, but I also have good days. And for the longest time, I felt guilty for having those good days. I know I’m not funny, happy, silly dad a lot of the time. But I’m going to try to find beauty in the ashes. Maybe it will only last a day or a week, who knows. I have good days, and I have bad days. I really want, for my kids especially, to have good days. As much as they’ve lost in their young lives, they deserve to have a Dad who can put on a real smile.

It was a great trip, and I hope it’s one my son will talk about with his kids like I talk about going to London with my own father.

Daughter’s letter

June 8, 2010

Zoe wrote me a letter today. Beautiful letter.

Dear Daddy,

I know you’re always sad, but you don’t want anyone to see it. But even if I don’t see you cry, I know you’re hurting. So hopefully this letter makes you happy and not sadder. It makes me happy that you’re my Daddy. I know my friends say they have the best Dad, but that’s not true because you’re really the best of the best! You make me feel safe even if I’m scared. You tell me you love me, and you give me hugs and kisses every day. I wish Mom was here so that you wouldn’t be so sad. But I love you lots, and I hope you don’t cry at this letter. Because I wrote it so you’d smile. Someday when I am a Mom, I’m going to tell my kids how great their Grandpa is!

Love you xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo,

Zoe

If

June 2, 2010

“If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream – and not make dreams your master;
If you can think – and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on”;

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings – nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run –
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And – which is more – you’ll be a Man my son!”

–Rudyard Kipling–