One day, shortly after Jabba and I separated, The Old Man called me out to his Man Cave. It was his garage, but he had put a TV, a couch and a fridge out there. At the time, I was back living my parents. I had no job, no car and no money and I was ready to start using the George Costanza line from Seinfeld episode “The Opposite”. I know I’ve talked about this one before…
The Old Man asked me to bring out a pen and a notebook – something that I was going to keep. He gave me the following directions:
- Create a list of goals – on where I want to be in five (5) years
- On a separate page, create a list of things I need to accomplish in four (4) years in order to reach the aforementioned 5 year goal.
- On another page, he told me to create a list of things I need to accomplish in three (3) years in order to reach the 5 year goal.
- On yet another page, he asked me to create list of where I want to be in two (2) years, in keeping with the 5 year goal.
- On a final page, he asked me to write down where I want to be in one (1) year, again keeping in mind the 5 year goal.
I specifically remember him saying that these lists were for me, not him. But he wanted to know that I would be okay; that I would have some goals and direction. He wanted it written down because he didn’t know if he’d be around in 5 years to see if I accomplished what I was setting out to do.
I logically understood what he meant when he said all of this. I just never actually thought he would be gone in less than three years of this conversation.
On his own blog, the actor, writer and self-professed geek Wil Wheaton wrote about a life reset. This is the story of mine.
Shortly before the holidays, I made the decision not to make a trip down South to see The Kid for the holidays. I could have pulled it together. Mother would have certainly helped me finance it. But I haven’t been working much lately to help contribute financially to my own family, and making one situation slightly, momentarily better with The Kid didn’t seem worth rocking the proverbial boat with my own family. Of course, I didn’t want a repeat of The Perfect Storm. Most of all, I felt like my life needed a good old-fashioned ass kicking. I’m hoping that that ass-kicking starts here:
The List of Rob
This was going far beyond a hokey New Year’s Resolution that would be forgotten before Groundhog Day. This was to be a multi-faceted look at my life – what works, what doesn’t work, where I am, where I want to be, where I’m going and how I plan to get there.
Without getting into too much detail – out of respect to the parameters I set down upon the creation of this blog – I broke this list into ten distinct areas:
- Me & The Auteur
- My family (me, the Auteur, 1B, The Kid & The New Guy)
- My relationship with The Kid
- Dealing with Jabba
- Health & Wellness
- Mending Fences
- The Future
There are action points listed under each of these categories but again, respecting the parameters of this blog, I will not get more specific here.
I’m still working on some of the details on certain parts of this list, but I am focusing a little bit on everything. I’m not saying everything is going to magically be better by 2018, but the truth is, there are many areas of my life with which I am not happy. There are other that I would like to see improvements. Then there are others still that like all good things in life, need maintenance. But this is the most comprehensive self-assessment I’ve ever made – including the list The Old Man had me make nearly five years ago.
People often lament about the things in their life that they want to change. Some even use that blanket statement “I really got to get my shit together”. The List of Rob is not only about getting my proverbial shit together. It’s about keeping it together, and putting the tools in place to keep it together for the long haul.
I’m going to be 43 later this spring. I’m not a kid anymore. I’ve lived most of my life day-by-day and for the most part, it has worked out pretty well for me. But things could be better. Of course, there are some things that will not work out for me, no matter how hard I try – areas of my life in which I will inevitably fail, but I’m tired of just going with the flow; being reactive instead of proactive..
Oh, and speaking of that list The Old Man had me make, like any list of the sort, there are things I accomplished on it and others I didn’t quite get to. But the things that I personally deemed very important, I did.
This post should have come much sooner than this, but as anyone who has had a child knows, life tends to get in the way sometimes; that and I wanted this post to be just right.
The New Guy – my second child and me & The Auteur’s first together – was born at 8:06 AM on Friday July 3, 2015 via Cesarean section. As of this writing, he and The Auteur are doing great.
To put my feelings into words right now seems like an impossible task. I cannot possibly do justice to all that I am thinking and feeling at this moment. But I will do my best…
I feel incredibly blessed. Blessed to have this beautiful, healthy child and blessed to be having this child with The Auteur. She’s such a remarkable person that falling in love with her was the easy part. The fact that she and I met at all is almost a miracle unto itself. That she fell in love with me and was wiling to have a child with me almost defies logic.
In all seriousness, I feel that The New Guy, as with all things pertaining to mine and The Auteur’s relationship is a gift. One that I do not – and will not – ever take for granted.
My God, he is beautiful. The Auteur and I made a beautiful baby together, if I may say so!
Thanks to modern technology, the Auteur and I anticipated approximately how big he was going to be (which, after hearing the sizes of other newborns at our hospital no longer seemed all that out-of-the-ordinary.) He wasn’t overweight, mind you; he was proportionately big all over, long and tall…for a newborn. As a result of his size, he came out with a lot of bruising. The doctors said it was because he was cramped inside the womb. It was funny, because shortly after he was born, one of the nurses looked at me and said “Congratulations, you guys just gave birth to a two-month old!”
Even on the day he was born, I could tell that he has a very mellow disposition. Don’t get me wrong, he can belt out a great cry with the best of them, but he seems to take everything in stride.
Being a father is different the second time around. Not better, not worse, just different. I feel better prepared this time. I feel like with The Kid, I was able to enjoy every sensation of his birth and those first few days of his life; however with The New Guy, I was able to enjoy every moment with a different sense of perspective. I feel like I was able to enjoy different nuances of every moment that I couldn’t even process when The Kid was born 8 years ago. It is a feeling that is very difficult to articulate. I suppose it’s like bring in The Matrix: no one can tell you what it feels like to become a parent, once has to experience it for themselves. To that end, no one can tell you what it feels like to become a parent once again. That too, one has to experience for themselves.
This adventure is just starting. No doubt I will be telling of it more in the days, weeks and months ahead, but one last thought I’d like to leave with:
Just as it was with The Kid, there really are no instruction books on having children. The moment when we were leaving the hospital to take The New Guy home was surreal. Sure we had his room, his swing and his bottles all ready for him, but that moment of leaving the hospital and coming home for the first time with The New Guy in tow – I assume is not unlike the first step one takes when they are skydiving. We really are out here – in the world – on our own. These little ones don’t come with instruction books.
Not that I didn’t already know that…
I found this on this Father’s Day Eve. As a very soon-to-be expecting father, this resonated with me. This is a moment I have been looking forward to myself since we found out the The auteur and I are expecting.
I haven’t written much lately. Frankly, I haven’t had a lot to say. But the other day, I was in a weird funk; something I’ve written about before but has weighed heavily on my mind:
I turned 41 about a-week-and-a-half ago. I lost The Old Man two-and-a-half-months ago. Needless to say, it has me thinking about my own mortality. A LOT lately.
I am The Human Bomb.
Of course, I’m not suggesting that I am the World War II era comic book character, or his modern day successor. But like Captain Picard says in “Star Trek: Generations” I’ve come to realize that I most likely have fewer days ahead of me than I have behind me. And that sucks.
The Old Man was 67 when he died. That means if I live no longer than he did, I have about 26 years left on this Earth. That scares the hell out of me.
I’m not dying or anything. Hell, I’m not even sick. I feel better than I have in a long time. Aside from the time I was working out a couple years ago, I probably feel the best I’ve ever felt in my life. The truth is, I feel like I’m just getting started. Divorce is the great reset in 21st century American society and I’m happier than I’ve ever been. i want A LOT more than 26 more years with The Auteur and the family that we’re building together. There’s just so much I still want to do in this world.
I’m reluctant to use the expression “mid-life crisis”. I’m not about to get a sports car. I’m sure as Hell not about to leave my family. But maybe it’s time I start on my Bucket List and crossing things off of it.
Opening Day is something like a holiday in Detroit – as I’m sure it is in many, if not most, Major League cities. Over the last 2 decades, it has become something of a tradition in my family as well. Back in 1998 (or was it 99?) My Dad started purchasing a partial season ticket package for the Detroit Tigers.
For the Tigers, as I assume it is with other teams, even the 21 game partial season ticket packages have included tickets to Opening Day. So every year, either The Old Man, Phred, LeRoy, myself – all of us and/or our significant others have attended every Opening Day since. In fact, when I moved Down South during My Previous Life, I told my parents”If I only make it home twice per year, it will be for Christmas and Opening Day”. During my 8 years there, I probably made it home for as many Opening Days as I did Christmases.
At the risk of sounding melodramatic, baseball is the great unifier in my family. My brother, sister and I (and to some extent, my father before his passing) don’t have a whole lot in common. We don’t all agree on politics and religion is basically a taboo subject among us. But baseball – Detroit Tiger baseball more specifically – is something we all enjoy. Its one of the few things we all have in common and we all enjoy.
Last year was the last Opening Day my father ever saw. I am happy to no end that I was able to be there with him. I am all-the-happier still that The Auteur was able to be there with me and experience Opening Day. Obviously, tomorrow will have a much different feel. It will be the first Opening Day without The Old Man. It may be the last Opening Day I attend for some time. My siblings and I haven;t discussed whether or not we’ll keep getting season tickets for the Tigers beyond this year. This could be the end of a tradition, in more ways than one.
One of The Auteur’s close friends, who is now a neighbor of ours, got pregnant a few months before we did and just had her baby yesterday. She had a boy, as are we; and I have to say that I’m getting bit by the baby bug once again.
I want to meet our little boy. I want to see what he looks like and I want to discover his personality – how he takes after The Auteur and how he takes after me. The Auteur is showing. The Baby is looking like a real baby in his most recent ultrasound photos. I just want him out now.
I think we chose a name. Thursday night, we drove down to Columbus to see a WWE NXT house show. On our way home Friday, we decided on a name. Granted it was a name we were leaning toward already, but I think we made our final decision.
Today, I’ve been gearing up for another round with Jabba, which has had me searching for old computer files. While doing so, I came across some old photos of The Kid when he was a baby, which is making the baby brain thing even worse.
Oh yeah, and The Old Man’s first name is also going to be The Baby’s middle name. It only seemed right…
It’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. My life has changed considerably in the last six weeks or so since I last graced this blog. Things have been happening that, quite frankly, I’ve been reluctant to go public with. I have a few posts – namely here, here and here that I will one day soon go public with.
I hope that everyone has a safe and happy New Year’s Eve and I wish you all nothing but the very best in 2015. My New Year’s Resolution for this blog is to write much more frequently…
Coming to the hospital, it hit me – hard.
I’m going to lose my father. Probably sooner rather than later.
It’s been all but confirmed: he has cancer in his liver, his lung, his pancreas and on his bones. I’m assuming we’ll get an official confirmation in about 8 1/2 hours when we meet with his doctors.
I’m not ready to lose him, but I can’t stand seeing him in this kind of pain. The drugs he’s on are making him speak in non-sense; see things that aren’t there. Now, he’s talking about things from when he was a kid. If I didn’t know better, I would suspect that it had spread to his brain; or that maybe he has Alzheimer’s.
The son becomes that father and the father becomes the son.
In the last two weeks, I have watched him transform in sickly, old man. It’s a pretty surreal transformation to witness when there’s still the spirit of a five-year-old within you who is convinced that your Dad is the strongest person in the world.
I’m spending the night in the hospital room with him. The overnight nurse suggested that someone stay – partially because of the way the drugs affect him; and partially because of his overall condition. As eerie as this vigil feels, I have the feeling I may be very glad I agreed to stay with him tonight.
“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”
– Charles Dickens A Tale of Two Cities
It’s times like this last week for which expressions like “an emotional roller coaster” were invented.
Sunday morning, after two weeks of wonder what was going on with her physically, I found out that The Auteur is pregnant.
I am going to be a father again!
She took a home pregnancy test last Sunday morning. The results came up quickly, so much so in fact that when I heard her say “wow, that was quick!” I immediately knew the results. It was two more days before we got her in to a doctor to get some blood work done. The day after that (Wednesday) she had her first ultra-sound. As of this writing, our baby is about the size of a grain of rice.
Initially, The Auteur was convinced it was a boy, now she doesn’t seem so sure. We’ve both said that we would like to have one of each together – so that we as a couple can have the whole parenting experience together. sure we The Kid and 1B, but we want to have our own children as a couple as well.
When she took the test last Sunday, we were both elated. the next 48 hours or so that followed, there were some questions and concerns for both of us. I know I personally felt a sense of relief when the Auteur went to have some blood work done; and even more so after her ultrasound. We’ve had some questions as to whether or not we would even be able to have children – which of course have now been answered in the best way possible. It’s relief. It’s excitement. it’s vindication. It’s the future. It’s all of these things…and so much more.
We’ve been talking a lot about the future lately: getting married, having kids, possibly moving out of state a little further down the road. We’ve had some questions as to when we should do what: get married first? try to start a family first? We’re not getting any younger and we both want both our blended family and a family of our own. I remember saying once to her that we almost need something to happen in order to tell us what order to proceed in. Whatever way one slices it, this is tremendous news. At this moment in my life, i can imagine no greater honors than having a child with The Auteur and being marrying her. We’ve obviously been working on one. Now it’s time to get serious about the other.
And on the flip side…
Tuesday morning, my father The Old Man – went to the hospital. He’s had a bad back for years and has been laid up in bed quite a bit over the last several weeks. He goes in Tuesday and we were told that he had 3 cracked vertebrae and a spot on one of his lungs. As of this writing, they still don’t know if it’s cancer despite several tests. we’re hoping to know more later in the week.
Right now, I just hope he’s home for Thanksgiving.
The thing is, his mother (my grandmother) went through something almost identical when she died. The doctors found that she had lung cancer and it had spread to her bones. Keep in mind, The Old Man has smoked since before I was born and he’s never been able to quit. Frankly, I’ve been waiting for news like this since I was old enough to establish a connection between smoking, lung cancer and my dad. Still, you’re never ready for a bombshell like this.
I haven’t told him about the baby yet. I wanted to wait until he was out of the hospital. Now I may tell him on Thanksgiving, regardless. The Auteur and I have talked a little bit about what we should do if he does have “The big C”. Should we get married sooner than planned? These are the kinds of things this type of news gets you thinking about.
I keep going back the early conversations we had when I first moved back to Michigan; about him wanting to see me have a plan to put my life back together; about him wanting to know that I at least had a plan. Right now, I just want him to see me happy. I want him to see that not only am I going to be okay, but that I’m going to succeed and prosper.
Once again, I have so much to be thankful for this year.
For a long time, I looked to articles like this one for affirmation in my decision to divorce. These days, I see articles like this, mentally check everything on the list and wonder to myself “how did my marriage even last as long as it did?”