Tuesday, June 25, 2013

I Am Saying It Now

What I Should Have Said To My Ex-Wife
     Somewhere along the way you've become selfish.  Maybe that's my fault.  Maybe I didn't do enough for you so you had too.  I don't know and by this time I don't care.  Your selfishness has hurt me but whatever.  Now it's hurting our son, though.  You're leaving him. You have to choose between a better life for him or a better life for you and you're choosing yourself.  I'm sure you're telling yourself the same old rationalizations people always use; that you'll be a part of his life, that you'll see him every summer and as much as you can otherwise, that he'll understand when he's older.  I'm sure you even think that he'll decide to come live with you someday.  The truth is that you're going to become just someone he sees in the summer and talks to on the phone sometimes.  You're always going to be Mom to him but you're always going to be the mom who left him and he's always going to wonder why.
     This area we live in, this little world, isn't much sometimes.  I like it but I probably wouldn't be living here if you hadn't convinced me to move here in the first place.  It's a bunch of small towns that we didn't grow up in or near.  It can be hard to meet people sometimes, find a job sometimes, I know.  Still, this little world is our son's world.  It's what he knows and what he wants to know and what he loves.  It's where he's best at and it's where it's best for him to be.  If that's not enough to keep you here there's something wrong with you but I wish you the best I guess.  Go then, there are other worlds than these.

What I Should Have Said To My Ex-Girlfriend
     I told you if I'm not enough for you then let me go and you're doing that.  It's almost funny that you pick now to start listening to me.  Still, I wish you nothing but happiness. You've survived a hard life and you deserve everything you want.  I'm sorry I can't give it all to you but I'm sure you'll find someone that can when you're ready for them.
     Every relationship is it's own little world.  We fill them with phrases and actions and activities and looks and touches.  Ours was filled with "licking the same window" and books and becoming a soccer mom and "oh my sweet baby" and quirky movies on Netflix and so much more joy.  When you look back on it you won't see much except darkness and sorrow because that's how life has taught you to see the past but I'll know.  I'll know we had a joyful world but like most joy it was fragile and it's breaking now.  So go if you have too.  Go then, there are other worlds than these.

What I Wish I Could Have Said To My Best Friend
     I love you Brad and I'm going to miss you.  I'm going to name my son after you and if he turns out to be half the man you are I'll know I've done a good job as a parent.  I learned how to be a man from a lot of men; my dad, your dad, my grandpas, your grandpa, your stepdad, and many, many more including teachers and coaches and uncles and just friends and family friends.  I learned more from you than all of them combined, though, and those of them that know you would agree with me.  I'm always being told how good it is of me to be your friend and how lucky you are to have a friend like me but that's wrong.  You're the one who has been good to me.  I'm the one that has been lucky to have you as a friend.  You've battled enough, my friend.  You've spread more love and joy in your short life than most of us could in several lifetimes.  So go on and close your eyes and let go.  Go then, there are other worlds than these.

What I Hope I Can Say When My Son Leaves Home
     I guess it's strange for a parent to say this to their child but I owe you a lot.  There have been times in my life when I could have just quit but I didn't because I had you.  It's more than that, though.  We've battled and butted heads but you've always been a good boy and you're becoming a good man.  You've always found joy even in sorrowful times and you've made my life so much more joyful than it would have been without you.  You have a knack for knowing when people need a hug or a pat on the back or a joke and a smile and I wish I had that knack.  I'm actually jealous of you for that.  You've been an inspiration my son and if I've inspired you half as much as you inspired me I've done a pretty damn good job.
     It's been you and me against the world for awhile now.  Guess what?  You leaving here today prepared to start your own life means we won.  The world didn't steal your childhood and it didn't keep us from making a man out of you.  I'm proud of us.  I'm proud of you.  It's time for us to fight our separate battles now but don't worry.  All you have to do is ask, and if I know you won't even have to do that, and I'll find my way to your world to help you in your battle.  Now get out of here before I started crying and hugging you and embarrassing the hell out of you.  Go then, there are other worlds than these.

What I'm Going To Say The Next Time Someone Asks Me What I Want In A Woman
     My great grandma was my buddy and I was hers.  We would sneak up behind each other and yell boo and scare the crap out of each other.  We'd eat barbecue in the backyard and her face would be smeared with sauce and she'd look at me and see mine the same way and smile.  When I was that young I don't know if I ever felt more loved than when she would hug me and say "Hiya Buddy."
     The doctor waited until the whole family was there to tell us she had died.  I didn't understand the how and why but I got that she had died and I was devastated.  I've cried in a way I've seldom cried since, with the unashamed sorrow only a child can show.  My grandma saw this and took the time, after her own mother had died, to come to me and hug me and tell me "I guess I'll have to be your buddy now."
     Grandma was my buddy too.  She gave me bite sized candy bars and insisted on taking care of me after I broke my arm.  I would go to her house during summer every workday and it was just like a parade of my favorite things.  Breakfast would be Nuttin' Honey cereal and we would make jokes about their commercials.  Lunch would be tomato soup, a thin sliced ham sandwich, and some potato chips served to me on the couch where I was lounging and watching her cable tv.  We would watch game shows together and Dr. Quinn Medicine Woman and we watched the Democratic Convention together when Bill Clinton was nominated.  If someone asked me if I wanted to go to Grandma's house the answer was always yes.
     Grandma was always a prim and proper woman.  It was hard to believe sometimes she was the daughter of the woman with barbecue sauce smeared all over her face.  So although she accepted the fact that her children were going to be around her deathbed there was no way she was going to let her grandchildren see her like that.  So my parents sent me to the Mayfest in O'Fallon instead of having me sit around a hospital waiting room.  I remember walking around with more money in my pocket than my parents usually gave me for the fair and trying to have fun but not being very successful at it.  My parents were right, though.  It was better than a hospital waiting room and it did distract me some.  I don't remember if it was my older brother or my dad who found me, picked me up, and told me that Grandma had died but I do remember the first time I saw my mother after that.  She came to me and hugged me and told me "I guess I'll have to be your buddy now."
     Mom has been my buddy too and the best woman I know.  Someday though, in forty or fifty years, Mom will pass away too and I'll need a strong, loving woman like these women in my life have been.  So I want a woman that will wrap me in her arms when I need it and say "I guess I'll have to be your buddy now," and be worthy of that word and understand what I mean when I say that.  I want a woman that will be strong enough to be there for me and interested enough in who I am to know why I will say to Mom as she lays in her casket, sixty or seventy years from now; Go then, there are other worlds than these.

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