(As I write this I sit at my dad's kitchen table. I've stayed here on nights when Dave has the boys at our house. My childhood home has become my home again. I am so at ease here.
His shirt from yesterday hangs on the back of the chair I sit in. I can smell his cologne. Dad always smells nice.)
I'd like to introduce you to my dad. It will give you an idea of why I am the way I am.
My dad is a truck driver. He hauls gasoline to local gas stations. He's been doing this job for over 35 years, and if you people drive over his fills one more time or park where you shouldn't he is going to pinch your head off. Believe it.
My dad is a drinker, a swearer, and a dirty joke teller.
My dad talks. A lot.
He can fix shit.
He's handsome. The ladies love him...especially his wife, Jackie. He's a snazzy dresser.
My dad can cook anything. He's aged Parmesan cheese, brewed beer, and dehydrated potatoes. He can cook ON anything, including Dutch ovens, grills, smokers, campfires, and plain old stoves. He can debone a chicken in 4 minutes.
My dad is a compulsive reader.
He is ADD (undiagnosed). He owns a motorcycle, a moped, a row boat, a sailboat he built, and a 20' Bayliner fishing boat. He has a pop-up camper to tow behind his Honda Goldwing and a 38' class A motorhome. Dad has a swimming pool and a hot tub. He owns three Weber grills and five smokers. He is a collector.
My dad is polite and thoughtful. He is generous. He is stubborn and opinionated.
He is a lover and a fighter.
My sons think their grandpa is a super-hero. He kinda is.
My dad is a good son and a terrific father. He's got my back. I am thankful for him every day.
(A Five Minute Friday post. Start your timers.)
I live in Marshall, Michigan, the same town where five generations of my family have lived. It is, and I am not exaggerating, a perfect example of how wonderful small towns can be.
I live in an historic home within walking distance of my dentist, a hospital, the civic theater, my church, and the local bakery. I send the boys to the barber with cash and to the corner gas station for milk. We take our wagon on trips to the farmers market.
Marshall isn't perfect, but it sure feels like it some days.
Those of you who read this blog or follow me on Twitter know that I have four sons, the oldest of which is 12. We are tech lovers, each with an iPhone, an iTouch or an iPad. My two oldest children have Facebook, email and Instagram accounts. Some would argue that they are too young (and they might point out that they are in volation of Facebook's policy on young users). I think it is terrific, and let me tell you why.
Today's young people are going to integrate technology and social media into their lives with or without our blessing. I would prefer that they do it with me by their side. I accept any friend on Facebook, and I love that I am friends with my sons' friends, former students and parents. I don't (usually) post anything on Facebook that I would be uncomfortable sharing with them. But more important than what I share with them is what they share with me. Eighth grade poets, self-conscious girls changing their profile pictures daily, and sixth graders updating their relationship status.
Isn't it better that Facebook be a safe place where we can all get to see a side of each other we may not have known before? If we expect our children to wait unti their teenage years to begin using Facebook I am afraid that they will already begin putting up their "filters." My young and sweet boys see social media for what it is; A means of seeing what the people you care about are up to. A way of staying connected to far-flung relatives and camp friends.
Of course there will come a time when our children will crave privacy. They, like me, will have a private Twitter account, or a blog that their closest family and friends don't know about, and I am fine with that. Part of growing up is separating oneself from one's parents and hometown. It's the same thing kids have been doing in dorm rooms and summer camps for generations. At some point everyone deserves the right to a public and private persona.
Until then, I will friend my sons on Facebook. I will "like" their posts and pictures. I will tease them in front of their online friends and make them roll their eyes IRL.
There is a certain rhythm of progress one expects in life. I always anticipated that marriage would bring emotional, professional and financial stability. I believed that after the first few years of settling in, a predictable and comfortable pattern would emerge in my life. Work, vacations, sports seasons, holidays...my life would roll along like a pleasant river.
No. Not so much. It seems that when I felt emotionally secure our finances were in the crapper and when we finally attained financial security all hell broke lose in marriage. My career remained a stabilizing force in my life.
So now I'm moving backward. I am back to square one. For all intents and purposes I am back to where I was when I was 25 years old...except now my boobs are less perky....and I have four ankle biters.
Due to budget cuts it is likely that next year I will be earning less than I did this year. Much less. A divorce and a serious illness (not mine) have decimated our savings. The boys and I may have to move out of our home. And emotionally...oh pulease. Don't get me started.
Every day I see someone misuse the word everyday. Every. Stinking. Day.
Yesterday Sam posed an interesting question: If life were like a movie and came with a fast-forward and a rewind button, which would you push?
I didn't have to think about it long. As a mother of four coming off two years of marital hell, I knew that I didn't want to go back in time. But even in the midst of a divorce I am an incurable optimist. I always anticipate that things will be easier/better/calmer when...
...I lose twenty-five pounds.
...we have more money.
...the kids are older.
...my house is clean. (The rest may actually come to pass. Alas, this one will not.)
Lately I have learned to make peace with the present. My house is a mess but it is mine, and I'm no longer waiting for someone else to clean up after themselves or fix things. I see that the lawn needs mowing and I know that I'll get to it when I have time. I enjoy every day, the ones with the boys and the rare ones without.
This weekend my soon-to-be ex-husband will be taking the boys camping. While there he will be introducing them to his girlfriend (haven't come up with a snappy name for her yet....give me time). I could stew and fret about this, but I have decided that the best thing for me to do is focus on my own terrific weekend, puttering in the garden, spending time with good friends, and wallowing in the knowledge that I am loved and in love, every day.