LM Scores Game Winner

Allow me to briefly acknowledge and apologize for the long gap since my last post. It’s been busy and I’m terrible at keeping up with things that require a lot of effort. It’s a lame excuse, but it’s the truth. I’m very lazy in a lot of ways.

At any rate back to the topic at hand. Our LM has played soccer, with the exception of two seasons since, he was 4. Despite being one of the strongest players on most every teams he’s been on he’s never scored a goal other than at practice. He’s big and quick so he normally plays midfield.

This week we’ve sent him to a soccer camp at a local church. Well tonight while driving home he tells me his team won tonight and he scored the only goal! I’m not sure who was more proud.

Tomorrow night is the last night and it’s the campers vs their coaches and the parents are invited to attend. I can’t wait to see LM in action again doing what he loves so much.

Y Is For YB

That’s what his friends called him, either that or Yank. I called him Paw Paw. My mom was his youngest daughter and from my early childhood up until his death in 94 we were inseparable. From the time I could barely walk every where he went I would want to go too. I slept in his bed up until I was well old enough to remember it vividly. Despite being 70 years old when I was born he was still in good health. He would plow a half acre garden and work it every summer up until he was in his early 80s. I still remember going to the sale as he called it, but most people just called it the farmers market, where he’d sell his honey and a few crops from his garden.

He taught me nearly everything I know about being a man and more importantly about being a husband and a father. He taught me how to be patient and kind. He taught me how to stand up for mysellf. He was a great example of what a Godly man should be. I know that he’d be proud of the man I’ve become, but I know I can and should be better. 

Who’s example is the measuring stick for your life?

U is For Unforgiven

I’ve always been a musical person. I grew up in a musical family. My father and his brothers and sisters were in a Gospel band when I was in middle school/high school. My grandfather would play his guitar on his front porch and I’d sing along. At an early age my brothers and I would sing in front of the church.

At 18 I picked up the guitar and started teaching myself to play. Over the last 20 years I’ve became a decent rhythm guitarist. The first song I learned to play?

Metallica’s Unforgiven.

N is for Naked Running Spells

I lived on campus my first year at Carolina and loved every minute of it. It was a great experience and I’m glad I did it. I became close friends with some great people there including the 3Cs of Longcreek Drive. One evening while listening to Paul Simon’s Kodachrome I got jacked up and took off running down the dorm hallway full blast. Over the next few days upon hearing those magical words, “When I look back at all the crap I learned in high school..” I’d takeoff running. It kind of became a running joke and I’d do it a lot when drunk. It was a blast to run full blast down that hall. Later C #1 would call them running spells.

The story gets better.   Our suite was a popular hang out spot. We had a Sega Genesis and two of the four guys who lived there were seldom there so we had more space. One of my suite-mates, K, really didn’t like people in his room after 9. He was seldom there though as he spent most of his time at the library. He required 9-10 hours of sleep per night plus naps at the library so when he’d come back to his room he was ready for bed.

One night, K, steps out of the shower with towel around his waist. He sees about 4 guys sitting on his bed so he steps into the hall and removes the towel from around his waist. Ala Superman he hangs it over his shoulder as a makeshift cape and the Naked Running Spell was born. From that night on all it would take for folks to clear out of his room would be for K to step out of the shower with his towel around his waist and him casually mention it being a good night for a run. Occasionally he’d have to accidentally drop his towel by his bed, but eventually we all got the point and he got his peace and quiet by 9.

What are some of your dorm room stories?

M is for Mothers

A few days ago I shared with you my take on fathers. My take on mothers is a lot rosier. It of course comes from the two mothers in my life. Granted she’s made a lot of mistakes, but my mama is a very loving and caring mother. She’s very generous and is very helpful with BG and LM. E and I can always count on her and my step-dad to be there when we need them. I love them both dearly. They’re excellent parents and grandparents.

The other mother in my life is of course my infinitely better half, E. My children couldn’t ask for a better mama. As LM used to sing 

“I love my mama she’s the best. Oh my mama she’s the best. Oh my mama, oh my mama, she’s the really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really best.”

She really is great too! She’s not only good at the typical mom stuff like baking cookies, kissing boo boos and comforting them when they’re scared, but she is one of the most empathic people I’ve ever known. No matter what LM is going through she can get down on his level and be what ever he needs without even having to ask what he needs. It’s awe inspiring. We have a bit of a running joke that she speaks LM. He often gets wound up when trying to describe a situation and I sometimes have no idea what he’s talking about. I call for an interpreter and usually within moments she knows exactly what he is saying and the situation gets resolved. He loses things a lot. She’ll put herself in his world and finds it within seconds. It’s uncanny.

 BG thinks she is the sun and the moon. Wherever E us that is where she needs to be. Bathroom visits? Not without her watching. Making dinner? Not without her under her foot. I sometimes tell BG that E is my mommie and the if looks could kill I wouldn’t be here to share this story.

She truly is amazing with them both, but despite how awesome she is she seems to frequently doubt her parenting skills. If she could see the way I see her look at our children and the way they look at her maybe it would help. Maybe not, but I know she loves them dearly and she tries her very best and as LM says:

“I wouldn’t want any other mommie. If I could have any mommie in the world I’d want my mommie.”

Me too LM, me too.

L is for Longcreek Drive

The first rule of Wrestling Club is that you don’t talk about wrestling club. The second rule of Wrestling club? Yeah you know the rundown. Fight Club was very popular when I was in college.

My roommates and I, we’ll call to them as the 3 Cs, loved the movie. In fact we loved it so much we staged our own Fight Club scenes, but instead of bare knuckle fighting we’d have Olympic style wrestling matches. 

C #1 wrestled in high school, and had a state champion older brother turned high school coach, so he was the reigning champion.

C #2 also wrestled in high school, but was 5’5″ and weighed 130 pounds soaking wet. He held his own, but was really too small to win very often.

C #3, like me didn’t know anything about wrestling, but was by far the biggest and strongest of the four of us.

I knew nothing about wrestling, but I am fairly athletic and was stronger than the first two Cs.

We had some epic battles that first year. We’d hold 3 or 4 matches a week. Entrance music and all. Wrestling club was was serious business. 

We lived on the 1st floor that first year, but due to maintenance issues we were forced to move upstairs shortly after our first lease expired. The very first night after we had new people move in below us Wrestling Club came to an end. Apparently, 4 21-22 year old men wrestling in an apartment is very noisy to people living below them.

I have lots of funny stories about living with those guys, but I’ll keep this post short as I am way behind on the challenge and need to write my M post as well tonight.

Remember the most important rule of Wrestling Club, if it’s your first night at Wrestling Club, you’ve gotta wrestle.

K Is For Kids

Our first year of marriage was full ups and downs. We had a great honeymoon in Mexico, I’d landed a good job at a great company and she had gotten a job she wanted teaching middle school English. We bought a great new house 2 months after getting married. In October of that first year, during her fall break, she took me to Universal and Disney. It was a great trip, but after a visit to the neighborhood Walmart in Orlando our lives would forever be changed. 

Once we got back to SC we went to her OBGYN to confirm and indeed E was pregnant. It was a huge surprise. We had planned on having kids, but not for several years. As the hours and days passed nervousness gave way to excitement and anticipation. We couldn’t wait for our child to arrive. That baby would want for nothing. 

On January 16, 2007 E had her first ultrasound. It was supposed to be a happy day and one that we’d remember forever. We had talked about what the sex would be and if we had any preferences. I still remember the look on the ultrasound tech’s face like it was yesterday. Her words still sting, “I’m sorry there is no heart beat.” After speaking to her doctor we found out that she’d have to put on medication to trigger child birth so that the baby could be delivered vaginally. The next 3 days seemed like an eternity. Despite all the deals I’d made with God when she delivered our son on January 19th he was dead. We were able to hold him and bond with him. E and I took one look at him and knew he was meant to be Noah Calhoun. The love and heartbreak in her eyes when she held Noah still tears me apart 9 years later. She was completely broken and there wasn’t a damn thing I could do about it.

The next several months were incredibly hard, but somehow we made it through to our first anniversary. While on a Memorial Day weekend get away in Charleston, SC to celebrate our anniversary we learned that E was pregnant again 

The next 9 months would be extremely difficult. Every trip to the OBGYN would bring up,horrible thoughts and memories. Despite what should have been a beautiful experience we were constantly waiting for the rug to be pulled away. Several months into it we found some hope though as Me, E and the baby to be we’re going to move in with E’s grandmother after the baby was born. She and E were more like mother/daughter than anything else. We were all super excited, but that would never happen though as she died unexpectedly in January of 2008. Another devastating low.

About 3 weeks later on February 11, almost 2 weeks after the due date, LM was born. I’d never seen a more perfect face in my entire life. Two months later our little family would move back home, but not the  way we had wanted it to be. In October of that year Erika would become pregnant again. This one too would end with an agonizing loss. It would take us 5 years to work up the courage to try again, but we’re all glad that we did.

This time E was dubbed a high risk pregnancy, which means she and the baby were closely monitored. The Novant medical group took great care of my girls. 

So on June 23rd BG was born and our kingdom got a new queen.

It’s amazing to think about all the grief and joy that E and I have experienced with our 4 pregnancies. It makes me wonder what their lives will bring us. If the last 8 years are any indication it will be well worth it all. Like Johnny told you yesterday,

 “I just thankful for the journey and that I the survived the battle and my reward victory is you.”

J Is For Johnny Cash

There are very few artists that are more influential or more iconic than Johnny Cash. His tremendous career spanned 6 decades until his death in 2003. The official cause of death was complications tied to diabetes. People that knew him know the true cause though. He died from a broken heart after the unexpected loss of his beloved June.

I won’t rehash his troubled life, but his story is a great tale of redemption and a testament of the power of  God and a great woman. Like him, I’m proof of what the love and support of a strong woman can do. When I think about what my life would be like had I not met E it scares me. She saved me in so many ways. I survived, thanks to her.

I’ll leave you with a line from my favorite Cash song. 

“Then you reached down and touched me and lifted me up with you so I believe that it was the road I was meant to ride.”

What Comes After G and just before I, H Is for……

Harold way up in the sky.

If you you know these words almost as well as you know your way home from work then your kid must have loved this video as much as LM did. E had this bookmarked in her phone for him when LM was a toddler.

You’lol have to forgive me as I’m reminiscing a bit tonight. We’re going through LMs old toys tonight that we pulled from storage. He’s already shared some of his favorites with her including his racey track and his Thomas chair.

That is one fine young man! He makes me proud to call him son every day. I’ll leave you with this exchange between the two of them as it says more than I’ll ever be able to.

LM: “Come here sweety heart. Let bubba show you how to play with the race cars. You put them there.”

He then her put the cars on the starting line.

LM: “Then you push this button. Yay baby girl you did it. Good job!”

Good job indeed.

F is for Fathers

I wish that I could say I learned everything I know about being a dad from my father, but I can’t do that. I only lived with my dad for the first 13 years of my life. He was a hard working man and a member of the National Guard and so he was seldom home. When he was there the only thing he really did other than fight with my mom was watch TV. I have little to no memories of any father son time spent fishing, playing catch, talking about life or really anything at all. In fairness he likely has Aspergers so he’s likely to be nearly incapable of those kinds of connections. It wasn’t all bad though, I had two older brothers, uncles and the best grandfather any boy could ever want. I cherish everything that each one of them taught me as a boy.

Today, my father and I rarely see each other and in fact he’s never met BG. It’s ok I’ve come to grips with that a long time ago. It helped that during my senior year in high school remarried my mom remarried. The man she married, RC, is a wonderful dad and love both me and my children as his own. 

I try to do my best to do right by LM and BG, but I often fail. I get distracted by outside things and waste valuable time that could be spent with them on unimportant things. I get angry when thet aren’t on thei best behavior. I sometimes tell myself that at least I’m doing better than my dad did, but I know that shouldn’t be the measuring stick. I need to be the best I can be for them. They deserve that and more.