I spent an amazing weekend with Lila. Ly was out of town visiting family in Long Beach—so Lila and I ran around San Jose like two crazy people on a mission to have a great time!
We went swimming, bike riding, to the used book store, to Dave and Buster’s, to the movies and walked around downtown until our legs felt like J-e-l-l-o. I must’ve hugged Lila 1,000 times throughout the weekend—I just never want to let that kid go. She is my EVERYTHING.
I dropped Lila off at school this morning—it’s her last week of second grade. I’m so proud to say that Lila is already reading on a 4th grade level—and she really has made strides in math…though we still have work to do.
As the years pass, and life continues moving forward—I have found comfort in the fact that I am good, at least, at one thing. That one thing is being a father. Some people are terrible at everything—so in my opinion, I am ahead of the curve. J
After 8.5 years, it is still hard for me to cope with the fact that my daughter is only with me 50 percent of the time. People always ask me: “how do you have the energy? It always seems like you and Lila are doing so many fun things.”
My response is always: “I have 50 percent of Lila’s physical time, and with that 50 percent, I am going to be a 100 percent father. I will make up for time lost—you better believe it!” And though Lila is only physically with me half of the time, she is emotionally with me 100 percent of the time. A fathers’ job never ends—and is a constant learning experience.
As for Ly and I—we are doing well. I really like her a lot. I think over the years I have become a calmer person—I am trying my hardest to learn from past mistakes, and continue moving toward being the best me I can be. It’s fucking hard, like any worthwhile venture. You have to trudge along forcing behavior change—transitioning from unhealthy, to healthy behaviors. Giving up beer for sparkling water was a bitch of a task—then cigarettes for mint Orbit gum (cigarettes were SO hard to give up)—and impatience for a more thoughtful approach to frustration.
What do I mean by more thoughtful approach? Well, in the past, with girlfriends or during the early stages of parenting, I just said whatever diarrhea’d (made up this variation of diarrhea) out of my filthy mouth…for better or for worse. Usually those words were fueled by frustration and selfishness. I found myself regretting much of what I said—and it literally withered my relationships to the bone. Now, prior to saying something stupid—I think about the end result:
“If I say this to Ly or Lila, or anyone for that matter—will I regret it later? If I am mad right now, is it Ly or Lila, or anyone’s fault? If not, why take it out on those I love or anyone else? Don’t!”
Literally, that is my inner monologue and it has saved my family and me a lot of self-induced issues. Do I slip up every now and again? Yes…but I’m better 90 percent of the time. Progress, not perfection as they say in AA.
You see, when I quit drinking—many of these other deficiencies started surfacing…and when recognized, they are easier to rectify when sober. If you decided to quit, you can either relate or you will soon encounter the same scenario.
Addiction still has a stronghold on my life. I realize I can help myself—but I can’t help those I love, unless they want the help. Why mention this?
Well, my older sister is out of prison, and back living with my alcoholic parents. She has been a heavy drug-user since the age of 13, and quickly progressed to heroin. I am shocked she isn’t dead yet—but when you have my parents, the ultimate enablers, they will do their best to help you, even if you don’t want to help yourself. I canceled a trip back home because my sister is living at my parents’ home, a 38 year old person, who after countless attempts, just can’t get her life in order.
I love my sister—but I will not love her to death. After decades of dealing with her prison stints, relationships with tattooed felons and overdoses—I can no longer watch her kill herself and my parents. My family has a long history of substance abuse issues—my aunt/uncle died of heroin overdoses, both sisters (and me) battle with addiction and my grandfather was an alcoholic. I am determined to break this cycle!
I told my parents that I can’t have my daughter see her Aunt in this condition. Lila has only met my older sister one time—and I’ll be damned if my daughter is subjected to my sisters behavior right now. I pray for my sister always, and wish for her to be happy and healthy. I also pray for my parents to find peace of mind, and accept who their daughter has become.
I also pray for you all and wish you a happy day, week, month and year.