Thursday, May 12, 2011

School is Out

Another year of school is behind us. My kids did great. Their grades were all A's and they learned a ton. My son has what I think is a photographic memory which helps him with just about everything. He gets 100's on almost all of his testing. My daughter isn't that far behind and she doesn't seem to have the benefit of a photographic memory. They seem happy that they don't have to do any more homework. My daughter is going to miss her friends though.

Now that summer vacation is here, I have to come up with activities that will keep the kids busy. Otherwise, our house will be turned inside out. I pray the weather doesn't get too hot too soon. I hope we don't hit 100 until maybe the end of July, but I know that's a pipe dream. We've already had mid 90's and I just don't know what we'll do if it gets 100 on June 1st.

We're going to be packing away a lot of the kids' stuff into boxes so we can show our house. We're trying to sell it so we can move to Knoxville, TN. These last couple of months have kept their mother and I busy with house projects and the kids have been pretty great. They've found ways to occupy themselves while we painted and did other things. Anyway, the kids will have even less things to do around the house because most of it will be packed away.

It would be great if we could sell the house this summer and move to Knoxville. The timing may be tricky because we have to sell the house, find jobs, find a school and move all over summer vacation. Talk about change! But we feel that's what we need.

We had thought about moving to Washington, and although that was our favorite place, there aren't a lot of job opportunities. Plus, it's just so gray up there, weather-wise. So it looks like Knoxville is the place. We visited a couple of weeks ago and was shown around by our old friends from Dallas who also moved out to Knoxville, about 3 years ago. It was a lot of fun.

Not much to post these days. I have started another blog that keeps my attention these days. It's about my vasectomy and vasectomy reversal pain. It's been therapeutic and helped me sort out my thoughts on the pain I've had. So, that's why I have't been writing much over here at Dallas Daddy lately.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Male Bonding, Fishing and S'mores

We've had a lot of remodeling around the house. Our kitchen is finally almost done. Just have a little wall texture and painting to do. It looks great though. Almost makes us not want to move. But then we go outside and it's 90 degrees in March and we say, "Oh yeah, we're ready to get out of here". I feel bad because I haven't been able to help around the house with projects. My nerve pain just gets too intense. So I guess everyone knows now, my nerve pain is still with me.

I've decided to start an online journal for my post-reversal pain. It's a little too graphic for people I personally know to read, but it helps me keep track of my symptoms and gives me an outlet for my frustration. The online forum has also been helpful. They have really reached out and seem to genuinely care about my situation. Funny, but I find myself caring about theirs too. Quite a unique bond we have.

My son and I just returned from a church camp out. It was on somebody's farm so it wasn't like a real camp out. I thought it might be an opportunity to hook up with some of the men at church. With all we've had in our lives the last couple of years, I haven't really bonded with any men at church. But this weekend was not about church, per se for me and my son. Rather, it was just about me spending time with my boy. I have to say, from that standpoint, it was great. I got to see him catch a 19 inch bass out of the stock pond. Then he went on to catch about 5-6 more fish over the weekend. That was exciting for me to see. He handled it like a real pro.

I thought we were going to eat the 19 incher, but the proprietor never cooked it up for us. I hope they remembered to take it off the stringer. It was interesting to see  my kid in an environment like this. He was basically free to be a crazy 9-year old around a bunch of other crazy 7-11 year olds. I was struck by some of the similarities and some of the very stark differences between the other kids and mine.

First of all, it struck me that my son is his own person. He doesn't really cowtow to anyone. Oh sure, he wants to be accepted, so he will unwittingly do stuff for unscrupulous kids and be snickered at by them. But overall, he has some interesting leadership qualities. It's like when he decides not to do something because he knows it's wrong, the other kids will follow his example. I think that's great and says a lot about his young character. Even when the older kids are snickering at him, he doesn't really care. He just plays along and then moves on to something else that doesn't involve the older kids. He's very mature I think, despite being so childish. But his childishness is more from a sense of being naive' rather then an outlook he has on life.

He still enjoys being a kid and that was great to see. We've taught them to be in no hurry about growing up and he seems to have taken that to heart. He still likes to play with his little sister. He still likes to put on a Superman cape and "fly" around the house as if he's about to rescue someone. But he also likes to read his Bible and he completes his homework by himself, with very little direction from me.

This little weekend trip the two of us went on was a refreshing look into what makes my boy who he is. It reminded me that he's still a kid, despite his mature outlook and conversation skills. That was important for me to see. I just hope he saw a dad who loves him very much and enjoys doing stuff with him, despite my little aches and pains.

Sunday, March 27, 2011


I love my kids. I really do. But when do I love them the most? That's easy: 1) When they're asleep in bed and 2) when they're giving me a hug and they're telling me they love me.

But what about when they're not being little angels? When do parents love their kids least, or another way to put it, when do you parents get disappointed the most? Did your kid bring home a bad grade? Did they get in a fight with another student? There are lots of times to be disappointed in your kids. However, I look at those times as opportunities to instill character in your children. So maybe the question is, "When do I get disappointed in my kids"?

First let me say that I loved my mom and dad. I thought they were perfect parents. Of course, I've come to realize that my perception was tainted by the rose-colored glasses I wore as a child and young adult. My parents were better than most, but still human, still sinners, they still fell short in many respects. I was as different from my dad as any child could be. He didn't mind conflict, I want everyone to be at peace. He easily made decisions, I can't even pick out a restaurant on Friday night. After all, making a decision might create conflict and who wants to mess with all that?

I was more like my mom. She was kind of a wall-flower. People told her what to do and she didn't have any trouble going along. It didn't really matter to her either way, so if it meant someone else would be made happy, then so be it. In retrospect, my two sisters and myself grew up in a very extreme household. One parent was the unquestioned leader and the other was the unquestioned follower.

Let's fast forward many years. I am now an adult and very much like my mom - a follower. However, I have always aspired to be a leader. I know what qualities make a leader and I can identify specific moments in my childhood where my mom intervened in a situation. So here I am today, a peace keeping, lets all get along, sacrificial follower.

So to answer my question above, "When am I most disappointed in my kids?", I would say it's when I see my kids acting like I did when I was their age. When I see my son, who is just like my mom and I, reacting to circumstances in the same way I did. He truly is a smaller version of me. He looks like me, laughs like me, has the same expressions I do, puts his emotions on his sleeve for all to see and is almost a perfect little clone. You could say he is a Mini-Me.

When I see him reacting or behaving as I did, I become angry at him. Sometimes I raise my voice and say to him, "Do you know why I'm so angry right now?". He has learned the drill by now and he responds with, "Because you don't want me making the same mistakes you made when you were my age".

That pretty much sums it up. I hate to see my kids repeat my mistakes. I hope they don't grow up paralyzed to make decisions. I hope they can handle conflict and stand up for themselves. I hope they don't get run over by bullies. I hope they don't take the easy way out, simply because it's easier.

Parents have lofty expectations for their children. I am no different. But we all need to understand that our children are, well, who they are. Sometimes they'll be a lot like us and sometimes they'll stand in complete contrast. Whichever the case, we need to remember that our expressions of love need to be front and center. Because if you love someone, then you don't focus on the disappointments, you focus on the love.

Imagine if God had just went around saying how badly we humans behaved and tried to get us to change our ways so he wouldn't be so disappointed all the time? Thank goodness he sent His son, Jesus, to be a payment for all that disappointment. Now he can just focus on loving us, because Jesus takes care of all that bad stuff.

So, I'll follow His example when I'm trying to figure out how to parent my kids. I'll stop focusing on the disappointment and just keep on loving my kids. I'll still try to train them up to be more outgoing than myself, but it won't make me angry anymore.