Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Paper Memories...

So what does it mean when things are no longer the same?  When your visions of what's supposed to be are trapped, only to be resurrected with the periodic glimpse of a picture.  What do you do when you're 13 years old and your reality is left to deal with the separation of your “everything?”

As she handed it to me the smile on her face beamed.  "Dad," she exclaimed, "Here is a picture of me and my aunt in New York City!"  Coupled with this came stories of their visits to famous landmarks and shows in the Big Apple.  Her excitement couldn’t be contained and at first glance, her face said it all.  But at second glance however, I had been ignorantly mistaken.  Noticing the perforated edges of her paper memory, I felt the creases and cuts, the bends and its curves.  Oddly out of place, they presented a story of their own.  The story of what a 13 year old did when things were no longer the same.

Having eyed these inconspicuous oddities, it was clear that this picture was not like any other.  It was then that I gleaned a bit of insight into not only what her paper memory meant to her but…what she thought it meant to me.  Imagine the sinking in my heart when I noticed that she had saw fit to conveniently cut her Mom out of the picture. 

Now while this wasn't done out of any anger or spite, discontent or malice, her response to why she would do such a thing made its own lasting impression on me.  "I knew you wouldn't want her in it Dad," she said. 

In that one moment I felt every cut, bend and sharp edge of her reality.  I felt her hurt and her attempt at healing.  See, what she wanted to do was protect me.  Realizing the pain I felt but…just as I, ignorantly mistaken.  "Beautiful," I said.  "This is not something I want.  This is not something I find acceptable and most of all, this is something that I never want to see you do again."

In the end, I had to explain that while our memories no longer represent our reality, our new realities bring forth new and unexpected hope.  That this new hope can only be obtained when we accept our current circumstances for what they are.  That this same hope cannot be obtained when we falsely imagine that parts of our reality cease to exist.

As we sat, I imagined her trapped between two loves - both of whom she wished to protect…for this is what she did when things were no longer the same.  So what will we do?  I think it fitting that we would, together,  resurrect that picture and continue constructing a totally brand new  “everything!”

Monday, January 17, 2011


It never has been a group of boys quite like us! The twelve of us made our way to the hardwood laden court dribbling frantically in single file while sporting golden thigh high shorts, tight fitting blue jerseys and artery collapsing biker shorts. Our sport was basketball and we...we were mean! No really, not a euphemism here- we really were mean! With us, I have no recollection of smiles nor fun to be had, only faint sounds of Go-Go beats emitting from our Walkman head phones when gathering. Each clanging beat infecting our psyche, laced with the occasional expletive spoken too fast to be deciphered by our parents ears. When we played, I remember no high fives, or teammate encouragement, only our best fraternity mug faces displayed toward the bench of our opponents. We were simply, Menace II Society influenced...80's babies!

Fast forwarding my cassette tape to today, this group of boys before me stand draped in long flowing shorts and fresh loose fitting jerseys. Here, no one knows what biker shorts are or why one would consider wearing them at all -and these kids...these kids are good! No really, they blow out teams like birthday cake candles- and they throw parties weekly! With them, there are no mugs, only smiles and faint whispers of the mass prayer being said as everyone gathers before the game. No evil stares, only high fives and love. They have fun and they are simply...High School Musical influenced- "turn of the century babies!"

So this leads me to ponder the difference between us and them, the 80's babies and these "turn of the century babies," I mean. Aside from the obvious win/loss differential, the fit of the jerseys and the length of their shorts, there seems to be one fundamental and dynamic difference. But what is it?!?

Having had the opportunity to gain a little length in my tooth, I've seen how generations attempt to dissociate themselves from their parents time. If they wore tight pants, we wore them backwards and baggy, if they preferred suits, we fancied T-shirts. If they played Frankie and Beverly, we played" Ni@@a's with Attitude! Wait...that's it! It was starring me in the face like a bad episode of Scooby Doo! The difference is attitude!

With these group of kids, they seem to understand that attitude makes all the difference. That while winning is fun, the real prize consists of which color Capri-Sun they'll be handed after the game! For they stand firmly on the promise that cookies and/or fruit snacks cometh no matter the outcome.

Realizing this allowed me to better my understanding in how "Kris-Krossed" we actually were as a generation. That it might do us some good to imitate the "musical ones!" Wait...I'm not saying wear skinny jeans or anything because that's embarrassing but imitate them in realizing what the real prize is at the end of the day. That the Sun comeths another day shining its favor on us yet again. That our game isn't yet over nor our candles been snuffed out! That we have another chance to get it right!

So, I challenge all my 80's babies out there to take note of their own attitudes and ways of the past and play this game of life with the best attitude you can. There's a whole generation watching...and them seeing you all disgruntled in your thigh high shorts, tight fitting jerseys, and artery collapsing biker shorts is not a good look! It never has been!

To read more please be sure to purchase a copy of my soon to be published book chronicling my life as a single father. Also, feel free to donate toward its costs if you so choose by clicking the donate button @ http://chroniclesofasinglefather.blogspot.com. Thanks for taking this journey with me.

Miracles and Blessings