Saturday, June 2, 2012

I am on an emotional roller coaster that I can't escape from.  Not sure when (or if) this ride will end. 

Lots of BIG, HUGE, MAJOR life changes in store for my little fully functioning dysfunctional family. Last month, my beautiful baby girl, Harper, turned a YEAR OLD.  I can't believe a year (now almost thirteen months) flew by so fast.  This past Wednesday, Harper became a big sister, as Shea and JP delivered their daughter, Alaizah.  And in October, Harper, Shea, JP, Alaizah and I will all be moving to Los Angeles!  I got a promotion at work and we are all excited/anxious/nervous/elated/happy/sad about the transition.  Shea and JP are excited to get back to a big city and JP's hometown, and I am excited about a new environment too.  On the flip side, we are part of a much larger pack here and it will be hard to leave the loving unwavering support we have come to sometimes take for granted.  I will spend a lot of the summer traveling between Los Angeles and Sacramento preparing for the new store and transitioning out of my existing one. 

Last month Harper and I spent a week in Tennessee and North Carolina with my Mom and her husband Alex.  We also got to visit one of my dearest friends and former teachers, Kelly Deese, and her family.  And my best friend, Carey, and her family also came to visit.  It was so nice to be way out in the country with no cell service and completely disconnected for a few days and I am glad Harper got some time to bond with my Mommy.

Tonight, my heart is full of worry.  My dear Grandpa who I mentioned a few blog posts ago is in the ICU in Florida.  The outlook is grim.  I love him so much and don't want to lose him, but I also don't want him to be in pain or suffer.  I know if he knew I was even writing this right now he would tell me to "close the computer, quit your bitching, and go out and enjoy life. It's Friday night for God's sake, Age, what are you doing on the damn computer anyway."  

My sister Crystal continues to battle her cancer and other major life obstacles, and it is difficult to watch because I feel so helpless.  I just want her to be well.  And happy. Tonight I got word that one of my very close cousin is in the ER because of a spider bite (I mean, seriously!).  The list seems to keep piling up. 

I am strong and resilient, especially when there is a lot going on, but I cried all the way home from work tonight.  There is just a lot going through my head. I keep thinking about my Grandpa's eight children and how the thought of losing their Dad is probably keeping them all up tonight.  Or his 22  Grandchildren who all have a little part of his spit-fireness inside of them and how they all wish they had seen him more often, called more frequently, and listed more carefully.  It makes me think back to when my Dad passed, and Grandpa caught a red eye flight into Tennessee and on to Las Vegas with us to be there to support us.  Those days, 15 years ago, seem blurry now but I can remember that Grandpa found a way to make me laugh even when my heart was broken.    

My Mom posted this beautiful poem by Maya Angelou  tonight.  I want to memorize it.  It has spoken to me more deeply than I can say:

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Introspection

I just wrote three paragraphs that sounded amazing, but were fluff to what I actually wanted to say.  So rather than post them to my blog, sound all PC and appropriate and have many comment about how intellectual and healthy I sound, I decided to delete them all and start over being more open and honest. This is my blog after all, and I wanted to write it for me to look back on, not to make everyone comfortable and get followers. 

This has been a hard week. 

Right before Christmas I met someone with whom I had an instantaneous connection like I had never experienced before.  It was so not the corny love at first sight crap that everyone dreams about.  It was a heart racing, intense, scary, body trembling, shaky all over, and almost light headed enough to pass out around this person every time I saw them type of connection.  And it was a man.  And so instead of dancing on egg shells about it, I dove in head first with absolutely no clue how deep the water was below.  I called my Mama up two days before Christmas and told her the news.  Yep, those life long naysayers who whispered about me as a small boy, those teenagers who teased me and called me names, those family members who always asked what if, those people that were skeptical about my marriage to woman, all of them were actually right, and yes her son was gay. 

And guess what, I really didn't care.  In fact I PROUDLY announced it to mostly every person I loved, with no regard for their feelings because I had never been in this type of situation IN MY LIFE.  It was amazing.  It was authentic.  It was the most real and alive I had felt in awhile and I wanted everyone who knew me to know how happy I was.  Because I was so genuinely happy.  I just wanted to shout from the roof tops every day. 

My announcement was really, really well accepted, by some so much so that it still brings tears to my eyes.  And the naysayers or questioning skeptics can disappear for all I care because who I date really has no affect on them anyway so why do they even care?  And I found myself wanting to defend myself.  I wanted to say that I had a genuine and real marriage and that nothing or no self revelation was ever going to change that.  I know my ex-wife knows that.  I know my closest family members and friends do too.  And I NEVER would want it to ever be changed because doing so would eliminate the best thing that has ever happened to me in Harper. 

Somehow, through all of this it became more about me falling for A guy than really paying attention to the signs and relationship I had with THIS guy.  And my mind got muddled.  Those intense feelings still came every time I saw him, and so I brushed aside that internal voice saying make sure this is right.  Make sure this is going to work out.  Make sure you are listening to yourself and getting what you want out of this too. Don't set yourself up to get hurt again.  And three months later, I found myself wanting to move forward.  To settle down, make this official, really start building a life together.  But that is not what he wanted. 

And so yesterday, as incredible as our connection was, as amazing as I think he is, as much as I so badly wanted this to work, we decided to part ways.  I spent the last two days upset about this.  But then tonight I picked up my baby from her Mom's house.  As she came to the door, I knew she could sense who was waiting for her on the other side.  And as it opened and she reached out her arms for Da-Da and smiled with her one small toothed smile from ear to ear, I was reminded how amazing life is sometimes.  And how God put's people in your life for a reason. And how every day is an absolute gift.  I wasted two days being sad and depressed about a failed relationship instead of celebrating the spark in me to love again and keep looking until I find the person who I can start building a life together with. And how thankful I am for THIS man.  Although our relationship didn't work out right now, he taught me that its possible to love again, and was graceful and honest enough to say that it was going to be with him at this time in our lives, despite our intense connection.

And so I am left with where to go from here.  I know the only place to go is forward.  So I will keep putting myself out there, while celebrating life's gifts each day.  A few friends are expecting children this year so Harper will have playmates and cousins to grow up around, work is continuously challenging and growing, and my daughter just breathes life into each of my days.  I have to keep a level head.  I need to stop and smell the roses.  And more over, I just need to smile and laugh really hard every single day.  I know this is easier said than done, but I am really going to make ME a priority.  I know if I can do this than everything else will just fall into place.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

New Year

I don't know about all of you, but I am SO BEYOND EXCITED FOR THE NEW YEAR.  This is going to be my year, I can already tell.  Happy 2012 to everyone. 

There is so much to be thankful for from 2011, most importantly Harper who has re-shaped my entire existence and reminded me what is most important in life.  She is turning into such a little person, and growing by the second.  She is now full blown mobile and crawling at rapid speed, and is able to pull herself up into the standing position on all furniture pieces.  Her interest is kept for longer periods of time (during TV, reading time, with certain toys, etc) and she constantly repeats Mamamamamama.  Her laugh is so contagious and I am amazed at the joy she brings to so many lives.  Random strangers in public come up to me constantly to talk to her, touch her, and just simply be around her.  She is magnificent and by far the best part of 2011. I am proud and humbled to be her Daddy. 

I am also beyond thankful for my family---and if you are reading this than it also includes you.  As I look back over 2011, I had so many joyous times with most of you and was able to reconnect with family I hadn't seen in awhile (Florida Family, Chicago Family) and make new deep connections as well (Roseville family).  We headed out for my friend Ean's 35th Birthday last night and I couldn't help but smile all night looking around at the amazing circle of people that I have around me- people who genuinely care about their friends and want what's best for them.  Tonight I rang in the new year with my bestie Shannon and on Monday I get the keys to a new duplex just two cul-de-sac's down from her house and closer to Harper's grandparents, which will be nice and easier for everyone. For the first time I can remember, I can confidently say BRING ON THE RAIN.  BRING ON THE CHANGE.  I am SO READY FOR YOU.  I have a renewed focus and am ready to barrel forward. 

One person I want to say I am so thankful for is my big sister Crystal.  I don't mention her often, but she has been a beacon of light for me through the journey of 2011, all while battling her own journey through fighting stage 4 ovarian cancer, a divorce, and raising two small children.  Her determination to look every day in the eyes, fight full head on, and quit trying to make everyone else comfortable and put herself in the driver's seat has given me the ammunition to try and emulate the same for my life.  I know it is normal to look up to your older siblings, but Crystal gives that new meaning for me.  I want to be like her when I grow up. 

And another person I am so thankful for is Kim O'Brien-my mother in law- who has fought tooth and nail to keep control of the shaky ground that seemed to be under me and those that I love this year and somehow found a way every time to stabilize us all and keep us moving forward.  If you are reading this, you are gifted so much more than you know and I am thankful for you every single day. Thank you for not giving up on me.   

If you haven't done so, give each person you love an extra squeeze today when you see them.  Pick up the phone and tell a friend or family member you haven't talked to that you love and miss them, and if you are holding onto any grudges, pain, resentment, hurt, or sadness my prayer for you is to start getting over it today and just move forward. Life is too short.  It's 1/1/2012 for goodness sake and time is flying.

May God bless each of you.  I love you very much.  Happy 2012.  -AJ