Tuesday, April 19, 2016

This

Dearest Daughter,

Some days I worry that I've taught you nothing.
(And other days I shudder with fear that I have).

Yesterday on this blog I repeated my mantra for you not to worry about the actions of others - just always be the best Moiya you can be.

Today I leave you this - which is even more important:

Forgive.

Don't wait till or if you think they deserve it. People are bastards. They'll rarely deserve it.

Forgive them because YOU deserve it.


I took me a lot of years of carrying around hurts and burdens that I didn't need to have carried before I finally figured this out. This knowledge was bought at a huge price.

And once you understand it, dear girl, you'll have something worth having.

I promise.
(And you know your Dad doesn't make promises lightly)


Sunday, April 17, 2016

Your Song

Dearest Daughter,

You've got this thing lately about songs. When we're driving you'll hear a song and say "This is my song to Mommy" or "That is Mommy's song to Travis."

Today we were discussing what could be your song to me. I already knew what I wanted for my song to you, but didn't say anything. Partly because I felt sappy.  Also because you don't like Simon and Garfunkel.

Also because you didn't ask.  ;)

So I'll do it now. This is my song to you, sweet girl:

"Bridge Over Troubled Water"

When you're weary, feeling small,
When tears are in your eyes, I will dry them all;
I'm on your side. When times get rough
And friends just can't be found,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.

When you're down and out,
When you're on the street,
When evening falls so hard
I will comfort you.
I'll take your part.
When darkness comes
And pain is all around,
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will lay me down.

Sail on silvergirl,
Sail on by.
Your time has come to shine.
All your dreams are on their way.
See how they shine.
If you need a friend
I'm sailing right behind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.
Like a bridge over troubled water
I will ease your mind.

Best You

Dearest Daughter,

It's been a rough week. I've been convinced for most of it that I was about to get fired (still am). The water heater failed and we haven't had hot water for a week (added to the fact that the $105 part I had to special order failed to fix the problem. And we've come to the realization that within  week or two, we're going to have to help Duncan to leave this world. The vet says her kidneys are going, and after a brief hopeful spell, this week she's taken a turn for the worse, getting thinner and thinner and wanting to be held constantly.

None of which has helped with my raging depression and certainly hasn't made me easy to live with. And then the week ended with another note from your teacher complaining about disruptive behavior and shoddy work.

Of course, you did what you usually do - tried to deflect it by comparisons to people who were worse. Usually it's other students ("Billy Jo behaves WAY worse than I do"). This time surprisingly you tried to use the fact that your teacher was texting in class.

And I told you again, as I have in the past, will in the future, and do now: I don't care about them. I don't care if one kid eats puppies and another has cured cancer. There will ALWAYS be people worse that you, just as there will ALWAYS be people better than you.

I don't care about them. I care about you. And what I want - what I expect - from you, is that you be the very best you, the very best Moiya that you can be. This week, you weren't. It happens.

But there's always next week. Be the best Moiya there is. And remember that I love you.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

Old Dogs, New Tricks

Dearest Daughter,

At the moment you are shut up in your room, texting your friends. I've been clearing out some of your old toys that  you said you no longer wanted, and those two things together usually put me in a sad frame of mind.

I sometime miss the child you used to be, the games we used to play together, and the closeness we used to share. And I sometimes used to write blog entries about how sad it all was. (I didn't post them, as they were too driify with self-pity even for me - but I wrote plenty of them).

Because it is a hard thing to be outgrown. Your brain knows that it has to be, and that it's a good thing. But your heart says otherwise.

And then I found a comment posted online that snapped me back into focus. It was so exactly what I needed to hear, exactly when I needed to hear it, that I kept it. And I take it out and reread it often, to make sure that I remember:

"I am 63 years old, my "babies" are 40 and 38. Here's is what I know. You are in the early stages of what is to come. My advice is to give a hug whenever possible, every day, even when your child makes it clear they think they are too big for a hug. Treasure each and every moment, each and every stage of growth. Do not be sad about what it "used to be like", instead embrace all the new little things about every "new normal" that is now and yet to come. Listen. then, Listen some more. Children don't always want your guidance or your advice, they just want to tell you things. The more you listen, the less you talk, the more they want to tell you. Show up at everything they are doing as often as your schedule will let you, even when they say you don't have to be there, even if they say they don't "need" you there. They will always notice that you are there, even if you are just standing quietly, unobtrusivley in the background, giving them a smile and a wave. The fact that you are always there to see them during the events that are important to them, will remain in their memories long after the event you are attending with them is forgotten. Show them your emotions. Tell them how important they are to you. Tell them how it warms your heart when they smile at you. Take photos, lots of photos. Photos are important to you now, photos become important to them later. ~ Pj Jackson"

I love you. I hope that future you will be able to look back and say that I learned from Mr. Jackson, and that I got it right.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

Dance

Dearest Girl,

Well, I had hoped to round up a bunch of my old notes and do a good, solid post this weekend. But I just looked back at the posts from 2008-2010 and found that all the pictures are gone (I really, REALLY need to create a backup of this this asap) So I spent several hours trying to figure out what pictures had originally gone there and trying to replace them.

So I'll just say this one thing that has been on my mind for the past few days:

You used to dance for me all the time. From practically the time you were first able to walk, you've periodically put on some music and danced for me. You don't do it as much now as you did, but even now.. even as pending adulthood nibbles away at all your old habits... sometimes you still dance for me.

So I just wanted you to know - just in case you didn't - whether it's serious or whether it's giggly, I LOVE watching you dance. I always have. I always will.

I just love it when you dance.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Remember This

Dearest girl,

I hope in my previous post I did not come off too critical. I did not mean to be - I just was trying to describe some of the challenges you (and you and I) are going through.  Hopefully if you are reading this from the vantage point of adulthood you got a wry chuckle out of it - which was my intent.

You are a good kid - a kind human being - and I am proud of you. Below is a picture of a Valentines card I gave you a few weeks ago. I thought very hard about it and went through several revisions because what I was trying to say is very important to me and I wanted so badly to get it right and for you to internalize it. Wanted it so badly that I'm reaching through time itself to give it to adult you again.
(Transcript follows).


2/14/2016

Dearest girl,
Read carefully what is written here - it comes from the heart.

I love you.  I have made sooo many mistakes over the past 11 years that I wish I could go back and fix. But please believe that my mistakes were never ever the result of my not doing my very best for you (because I love you - duh)

I never knew I wanted to be a Dad till I became yours - and then I could not imagine ever wanting to be anything else. I've told you before - and it's true - that you are the best thing that ever happened in my life. There is nothing as important to me as you - nothing I enjoy seeing as much as your smile - and nothing I love hearing as much as your laugh. I love you. I love being your Dad. And I am so proud you are my daughter. Time changes most things, but it will not change this: as long as I am alive I will be there for you. 

I hope, dear girl, that you grow to have as much love, as much faith, as much belief, and as much pride in yourself as your old Dad has in you.

You're the best. Never forget it.

Love you -
Daddy.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Puberty

Well, it's here. You've hit puberty and everything that comes with it. While you will still talk and or play with me on occasion, your primary focus is listening to current music and talking to your friends on your iPod (I bought you an iPod as sort of training wheels to teach you responsibility and safe behaviors in this hopes that by the time we cannot put off buying you a phone any longer, you will have developed the maturity to use it well.

Results to this point have not been encouraging.

You are coping with school okay (still on the honor roll as of this writing. and other than the fact that I get my feelings hurt as I am moved further and further out of your world (I am trying hard to adapt - I really am) most of the time you continue to be a great kid.

And then without warning, you occasionally go batshit insane.

Never about anything reasonable - you are not happy about my not allowing you to have Instagram, for instance - or about the few occasions when you have had your electronics privileges revoked for minor transgressions. On those occasions, we talk, you voice your arguments, I explain my position. Life goes on. So that level of maturity makes it so much more mystifying when - like the time I told you that it was too late to take a bath - you completely lose your damned mind.

I sympathize - I really do. I know you are in the grip of forces beyond your control or understanding. And I remember having been there myself. But some times..

A few years back when we were yelling at one another, I decided to follow the common parenting advice and "remove myself" from the situation till tempers cooled. So I'd gotten in the habit of going in my room and simply closing the door. Shortly after that, we came up with the idea of slipping a piece of paper or a notebook under my door and continuing the argument in written form.

It has worked pretty well. As we write, we gradually calm down, begin to find common ground, and eventually start making jokes.  That's why I have as it were "notes" from our argument this past week.  I present them here as a time capsule of puberty's early days and what we both went through.

To this day I have NO idea what this was about. Zero. Zip. None.  I knew that you would have been missing your friends after our week in St. Louis and so I gave you a good 2+ hours online with them (as opposed to the rule of 30 minutes). Eventually, since it was a school night I told you it was time to wrap up, gave you another 15-20 minutes and then told you to get to bed again.

You went into your room, closed the door - and some time later came out and lobbed a notebook into my room before going back into your room again. Attempts to talk to you failed, so over the next hour we had the following exchange in writing (you in red and me in blue):

Dear Father,
I didn't mean to be so mean. It's just that I want some time alone cuz I haven't seen my friends in 2 week.
SORRY!!
GOOD NIGHT
THIS PROBABLY WON'T MEAN ANYTHING OUT THERE
I REALLY DON'T CARE ANYMORE. SAY YOU LOVE ME ALL YOU WANT IT WON'T CHANGE ANYTHING
FINE I SEE HOW IT IS!!
GOOD NIGHT
(I'm very mad)
  Huh???
 You see how what is?  And why are you mad? I let you have 2 hours e-time and I stayed in my room to give you privacy most of the night. You only got fussed at because you farted around when it was bed time. I think I have been VERY reasonable and understanding. 
WELL GUESS WHAT......?
I CAN TELL YOU DON'T CARE ANY WAY SO...
YOUR GONNA ACT LIKE YOU DON'T KNOW WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT BUT I DON'T CARE EITHER.
YOU DON'T WANT TO TALK ANY WAY SO...
BYE 
I am genuinely sorry that you feel I don't care and sorry (and puzzled) that you are so angry with me when I was trying hard to make your day a little easier. And sorrier still that you will go to bed angry and that I won;t be able to tuck you in. 
I know that you don;t believe that, but that does not make it any less true. 
STOP LIEING
YOU ALWAYS SAY THAT AND THEN YOU GO OFF SAY THE OPPOSITE. I'M REALLY NOT IN THE MOOD. I DON'T CARE ANYMORE.
 I do not lie.
You may choose not to believe, which is your right.
I have tried to give you more time and made you angry.
I have apologized and been called a liar.
I can't think of where to go from here. Call me a liar all you like, but I love you and am sad that you are angry (and confused)
Can' think of what else to say. Sweet dreams and I hope tomorrow will be better than today. 
YEAH WHATEVER
GOODNIGHT JERK
YOU THINK IM GONNA COME BACK WELL YOUR WRONG
BYE FOREVER
VERY :(