Tag Archives: United States

Reflections in the aftermath of the Newton, CT shootings.

I wanted my next few posts to be about non-legal proceeding, non-divorce related, non-sad stuff.  I wanted them to be somewhat light-hearted:  an analysis of askmen.com 99 women of 2013; a review of  “the hobbit” and others, but then a horrific tragedy took place yesterday in a town I had never heard of…

It's so much simpler in comic books.

It’s so much simpler in comic books.

I suppose as an educator and a parent, I’d be remiss if I didn’t talk about my feelings on the events of yesterday in Newtown, CT.  For the record, I do support the second amendment AND stricter gun-control laws, but that’s really not the point here. Well, maybe it is.

Personally, I hate guns.  Maybe it’s because I’ve read too many Batman comics. Maybe it’s because one of my parents is a former police officer.  Maybe it’s because my other parent was involved in a lock down-type situation a teenage neighbor ultimately took his own life. This is not a judgment made out of ignorance or fear.  I’ve fired handguns, rifles and shotguns in the past.  Knowledge of how they work, caring for them and the prospect of owning one legally does not put me at any more ease with them.

I’ve never felt the need or desire to own a gun.  I’ve lived in relatively safe, suburban areas my entire life.  However, I have also at times lived in areas where gangs and arson were prevalent and it was not unusual to see and/or hear gunfire and shootings.  I worked, gone to school and spent a good portion of my leisure time in some of the rougher areas of  one of america’s most violent cities – Detroit.   In spite of all of this, I have no intention of ever owning a firearm.  Perhaps it is my own naivete.  I think sometimes as a white male in America, I do feel inherently safer than women or people of ethnic minorities may generally feel.  Of course, all I’ve ever been is a white male, so it’s not as if I have any real frame of reference to make such an assessment.

The truth is, guns kill people.  In the least, they make it VERY easy for people to kill people. A death or injury by gunfire is more likely occur in a home that owns a gun than in a home that does not; that’s just common sense.  The thoughts of someone getting injured as a result of a gun accident, or someone stealing a gun from my home only detract me from purchasing a gun even more.

Gun advocates inevitably will cite the 2nd amendment‘s right to bear arms.  While I do support this right, I truly question it’s relevance in 21st century America.  In the Founding Fathers‘ time, it made sense – allow the people to be armed in the event that the government breaks down and/or becomes a dictatorship.  Today, however, I think it would be virtually impossible for the citizens of this country to overthrow the government in the event of such a catastrophe. Furthermore, the actual wording of the 2nd amendment is, at best, vague and open to interpretation.  “A well regulated militia…” could be construed to me something as simple of your state’s chapter of  National Guard.  Finally, the Founding Fathers lived in an era of muskets and cannons.  They did not and could have imagined a world  of armor-piercing bullets and assault rifles.

There are no simple answers to this ongoing debate.  If there was a quick-fix, i’m sure people on both sides of the political spectrum would rally behind it. The events of 12/14/12 will for many of us, only serve as more fuel for the ongoing debate.  To be honest, I don’t think that politicians on either side of the aisle are willing to take the drastic steps necessary to either weaken OR strengthen gun-control laws.  Sadly, I think we will continue to live as we always do – as a society on the brink.

As a person who has  virtually no connection to the tragedy of Newtown, CT, the most difficult part of yesterday was not being able to see my son.  I would have loved the chance to hug him and look him in the face as I told him that I love him.  But I was able to speak to him – via telephone, and tell him that I love him;  and remind him that I will be seeing him when I pick him up at the airport on Friday.  And that Santa will be coming to see him both in Michigan and in South Carolina.  That is a hell of a lot more than the families who lost their loved ones yesterday can now say.  And for that, I am eternally grateful.

Damn.  I just made myself cry.  Well, maybe it wasn’t my writing…

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An open letter to the soon-to-be-ex

There’s so much I want to say to you, but doing so seems so pointless now. On second thought, I wanna get is off my chest and I don’t care if you see/hear it or not.

I want to apologize for my part in the dissolution of this marriage.  When I decided to marry you, I didn’t go in thinking it would end in anything other than one or both of our deaths.  I don’t think most people enter into marriage intending for it to ever end; but as we know, good intentions aren’t always enough. Don’t think I’m assuming sole responsibility for anything here.  As I told you before “it takes 2 people to ruin a perfectly good marriage”.

Somewhere along the way, these last few years to be more specific, I turned into someone I despised.  I lied to you and I lied to my parents.  Finances got tight and I was desperate.  I took a lot of chances and pushed things to the absolute limits in several areas of my life.  I made it hard for me to live with myself, and I’m sure it was no easier on you.  At the end of the day I knew I was doing it for our family. I think that’s the only way I was able to live with myself.  Even now, I know in my heart that I did absolutely everything in my power to maintain our family.  If it wasn’t enough – and apparently it wasn’t – I could live with myself knowing I gave it my all.

I’ve told you before that communication broke down between us years ago, long before the events of the last year or two.  In hindsight, I think that was the beginning of the end for us.  I specifically remember one day (and I know you’ve heard this before) that I was complaining about work, and you accused me of “bitching”.  I can tell you that that was the moment I stopped confiding in you – about my hopes, my dreams, my fears and my thoughts on anything of any real significance in our lives.   Looking back now, that conversation was a red flag.

Being separated for the last few months has allowed me the time to reflect not just on the last few years, but also the entirety of our relationship.  Since the day I met you, you’ve had this “me against the world” mentality.  You believe it is a source of strength for you; and to some extent, maybe it is.  You were always so scared of showing the outside world any sign of weakness or pain that you built up these walls around yourself.  To strangers, family, friends and foes alike, your words, actions and body language all said to the world: “I am who I am, and I will mow down anyone who stands in my way”.  And for the most part, it has worked out for you.  I’ve had friends of ours, acquaintances and strangers say that they were intimidated by you.  I’m sure on many levels, that’s just stroking your ego.  You thrive on people being afraid of you.  You think that that is your greatest source of strength.  On the contrary, it is your greatest weakness.  You probably describe yourself as being “assertive”.  Others would describe you as being a bitch.  Rather than showing any signs of vulnerability, you push people away. You keep everyone, including your loved ones at arm’s length.  I call it being a coward.

Maybe you and I were a bad combination from the start.  I was always the more passive of the two of us.  “diplomatic” and ” the good cop” are two expressions that I remember being used to describe me.  Maybe in this relationship, I played the role of the good girl who as determined find the sweet, sensitive guy buried far below the surface of your Bad Boy persona.

(Updated 10.1. 12)  It is occurring to me you simply didn’t want to be married to me anymore.  In fact, you haven’t for a while. I wanted to think that our separation was a result of my actions of the last several months  regarding money, etc.  Not because I wanted to blame myself; but because I wanted to “connect the dots”.   But the reason for our divorce no longer matter to me anymore.

I would’ve done anything to work things out between you and I – for our son if not for us.  But in hindsight, I’ve realized that we passed the “point of no return” too long ago.  You, me, time and our feelings for one another simply passed each other by too long ago.

I hate the fact that we failed The Kid.  If  I ever thought for one second that we would one day divorce, I never would have started a family with you.  That is not to say that I have any regrets.  Far fro it.  The Kid is the best thing that ever has or ever will happen to me.  As much as it hurts me to say that I am not in his life everyday, I am absolutely honored to be his father.  No job I ever take will be more important or more prestigious than being his father.

I hate the fact that I was a part of a failed marriage.  I hate the fact that we are now among the majority of American married couples.  And I hate the fact that I stood before my family, my friends, and yes, my God and said that I would be with you for the rest for my life; when that was obviously not to be.

Tales from another broken home

I get a phone call yesterday from a 843 area code number that I don’t recognize.  After checking my voice mail, I realize that it’s my son.  As she has talked about doing, the STBX bought our son a cell phone.  Needless to say, I have some mixed feelings about this.

He is 5.  He called me 3 times yesterday, not so much to talk as it was to play with the new phone.  As a teacher, I know what a hot-button topic “students and cell phones” is.  I worry that starting him with one at such a young age sets a bad precedent.  My brother’s 11-year-old step-son got an iPhone 5 this week; and he apparently has a tendency to misplace and/or break phones. Is that the road the STBX has started our son on?

On the other hand, I’m happy that he has his own means of contacting me -without having to rely on using the STBX’s phone.  Likewise, he has the means to contact her for day-to-day stuff, like if he misses his bus at school or it’s running late.  Furthermore, it isn’t a full -blown cell phone; rather, it’s one of those “kid phones” that only has 4 or 5 numbers on speed dial, It doesn’t even include a regular keypad.

I guess the pros outweigh the cons, so long as he doesn’t abuse it.  This is just one of those parental decisions her and I will have to make as he grows up.  I guess I feel like i wasn’t part of this one.  She decided she was going to do this before we even split up.

I still haven’t heard back from my lawyer yet.  I’ll have to call him later today.

In the meantime, insomnia sucks.

course correction

At long last, I finally sent off my copy of the STBX’s separation agreement – with my counter-proposals of course. I’m finally glad to have that off of my chest.  I still get a chuckle out of the fact that she  said to me “you mean you’re retaining a lawyer?”  Did she really think otherwise? Especially after I told her I was going to get a lawyer?

Moving on.

I went for a walk again tonight – trying to get back into the habit of that as well.  which brings me to my point: I’ve been drifting lately – losing sight of my goals.  Right now, my main focuses are getting re-certified and getting back to South Carolina, so I can be there for my son.  Nothing else really matter right now.

i have class tomorrow night – and while I got my books over the weekend, I’ve been putting off doing my homework for the last few days.  No better time that the last minute – that attitude has probably done more to get me where I am today than anything else.

It’s time for me to get re-focused.  I have many of the tools that I need at my disposal – to bring about the changes that i’ve needed for so long in my life.  It’s time to start using them.

Okay, one last daily affirmation – only because its so ridiculous:

one less thing

 

I got my financial aid refund for school. Basically I’m robbing Peter to pay Paul but it enables me to take care of some of my current financial obligations. To paraphrase Forrest Gump “one less thing to worry about”

With that dinero, I was able to get my textbooks – another thing to scratch off the list.

my prime directive

Earlier this week, two of the STBx’s former students were murdered and of course it got me thinking.   As a human being, I can’t imagine the horror the young women must have faced.  As a parent, it is the embodiment of his or her worst-possible nightmare.  To me, it is simply unnatural.  Children are supposed to bury their parents; not the other way around.

When faced with death, one naturally begins to think about their own mortality and the importance of every single day and every moment with out loved ones.  This line of thought has led me to one absolute priority in my life right now:

I HAVE TO GET BACK TO SOUTH CAROLINA AS SOON AS POSSIBLE.

I absolutely hate being away from my son, let alone as far away as I am.

I know that the chances of something like that happening to him are slim; but I’m sure the parents of these two young women though the same thing.  And, as I’ve said before, I will not allow myself to be relegated to being a weekend and holiday dad.

Robocop had his “4 directives“.  Star Trek has it’s Prime Directive.  This is my Prime Directive going forward.

It has begun…

Wednesday (yesterday as of now) was my first day back at school.  It felt good being back in familiar climes once again.  As of now, I only have the 2 classes this semester.  I’m still hoping to add at least one more, but this is a good start.

Wednesday was the day that the whole “rebuild rob” officially began.  I mentioned in an earlier blog that this may be my last chance to get things right with teaching.  I plan to make the most of it.  I did very well at Wayne the last time I went there.  This time will be no different.

don’t believe the hype

Every day, I am reminded that divorce is never as easy as anyone thinks or says it is. The STBX used to say that she would want things to be as amicable as possible if we ever split up.  That of course was all pillow talk during the so-called “good old days”.

I asked my brother, who is also an attorney but not family law, to look over the separation agreement she had prepared. Overall, he said it looked like pretty standard stuff.  He suggested i ask her to make a change to visitation. He recommend, with her being out of state, that I ask for more time during the summer in exchange for less time during the school year.

Once again, her audacity never ceases to amaze me. She had the temerity to say that she “already doesn’t get to spend time with [our son]”.

Amazing considering I live 850 miles away from him; and her room is right down the hall from his.  But in her eyes, she is the victim.  She is, she says, “the one who was wronged”.

NOTE TO SELF:  this is a reminder to put together a list of her most ridiculous one-liners.  this would make a good blog entry.

I’ve put this off long enough.  It’s time for a lawyer.

Goodbyes suck

At the gate in Myrtle Beach about 1 hour ago, the STBX had the temerity to be “so happy in to see him she had cried“.  She should try not seeing him for a month, with the prospect of not seeing him again for 3 or 4 months.

He started to cry as we said goodbye. That got me crying too.  I really didn’t want to cry in front of the STBX but I also want my son to know that crying is OK.

On the way back to the Shire…

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