Family Picture Day x3
You better not…
Elapse time: 1 hour
UffdaBlack – Adventures in Parenting
A diary of a black man raising kids in a place he never thought he would call home…
Family Picture Day x3
You better not…
Elapse time: 1 hour
Remember Gentlemen, she never just wants her share, she wants yours too. This rings true for:
Take out (which is why her order never turns out right, so she switches and you end up with yuk).
Clothes (yours are so comfortable)!
What is all yours, you ask?
Whatever you can wipe your sweat on, she won’t dare touch it.
Top 10 reasons I fear for my life right now:
1. I am not pregnant.
2. I can sleep in whatever position I want.
3. I send my wife the weekly “Baby Center: Pregnancy this week” emails that I receive detailing the baby’s progress.
4. I coach football.
5. I breathe air.
6. When she is cooking and has a knife in her hand, I can feel her looking at me like, “Someday…:”
7. She takes my kids to their sporting events.
8. It is about that time in her pregnancy that I get hurt and need surgery.
9. Because we are due for a boy version of Claire.
10. Let’s face it, I am a Jackass.
A few weeks ago, I spend time with my best friend. It was weird because her and I have not hung out in years. Life got in the way. After college we both got married, had kids, went pretty far in our careers, and drifted apart.
We decided that we were going to meet up in Minneapolis for the weekend. At first, it was a little awkward. I am not going to lie, I had always had a crush on her. When we met, the tension was still there.
It was like we were never apart; we picked up right where we left of years ago. We laughed, we ate, and we drank as if we did not have a care in the world. We thought, “Geez, if only those people we left back home could see us, they would be jealous.”
It was not until I saw her in a mirror that I thought, “Shit. I have been missing her for the last ten years.”
Good thing I married her.
Yup. I hung out with my wife.
We saw stayed at a casino hotel, took in Hamilton, attended a Counting Crows concert, ate sushi, consumed endless mimosas and met up with some old friends.
When you have kids, they tend to take up all of your time. Parenting is hard. Raising a human to be a decent grown up is a daunting task. It requires all of your concentration, money, and resources. We have four cherubs, meaning we work during the day, attend a multitude of events in the evening, and try to catch up on the days’ events at night after the kids are at bed. By 8 p.m., we are completely depleted. But, dispite of that, we have found that it is just as important to make time for each other, even if it is only once a year.
It is important that we are able to look at each other, twelve years later and see the people that we were – before we had the stressors of everyday living taking over our being. Yes, we chose this life, but like many other parents on this journey, we had no idea what the hell we were getting ourselves into (and yes, we would do it all over again if we had the chance and would not change any decision we made thus far).
I am fortunate that I have a support system around me that affords me the opportunity for a getaway. I thank God for that. I thank God for them. They allowed for the girl that I met in college to came back for a visit.
I hope to see her again next year.
All teachers become educators to make a difference in the lives of their students. Tomorrow I will watch a student who became a friend, a friend who became a brother get married to the girl of his dreams. And, he chose me to be in his wedding. There are many awards that I could win for teaching. But, nothing will compare to the honor that I will have to share this experience with Cody and Kate. He often writes about how I was a mentor to him. What he does not understand is how much of an influence he has been on me and my career.
When I look back on my career I will remember the conversations that we had in the weight room about life, about love, and about sacrifice. I will remember the pimple face twerp who listened to my every word as if I knew what the hell I was talking about. And I will remember the day that he came to my home and told me that he had fallen in love and how this is definitely the one.
I hope I have made some type of influence on all of my students throughout my career. I may not have been your best, or favorite, teacher, but I hope that on some level we connected and that you learned something from me whether that was from the content or just from life.
If you grow up in my neighborhood, you have already practiced overcoming adversity. You were supposed to be some kind of negative statistic. You were told from a young age that you would be dead, on drugs, or in Cook Inlet Correctional by the time you were eighteen. Not by people who actually live in your neighborhood, but by those who claim that their data is an accurate predictor of outcomes.
If you grow up in my neighborhood, it is not problem when your college advisor refuses to give you a letter of recommendation so you can move on with your studies; you weren’t supposed to be there anyway, now were you? But you don’t fret. You persevere. You find another way – because that is what your hood trained you to do. And one day, it will pain her to have to shake your hand.
If you grow up in my hood, you are not afraid to stick up for your rights, question authority, or choose another path to success. You’ve witnessed good people get lead astray everyday, dreams deferred, futures crushed. Why would you blindly trust someone to steer the wheel to your future? You’re not going out like that. So, when your boss threatens to cut your pay or take your job if you don’t agree to his illegal terms, you don’t bat an eye. Instead – you say, “I guess I’ll see you in court.” You watch as the papers are delivered.
If you grow up in my hood, you don’t mind when you got overlooked for opportunities… when those way less qualified than you are placed ahead of you… when you are told that you are too, “Rough around the edges.” You get pissed, but you don’t lash out. You save that anger. You don’t make excuses. You say to yourself, “I will make them all sorry they did not choose me!” And you try harder — you do better. You win awards, you acquire accolades. And when you see those people next, you make them have no other choice but to respect you. They will ask “Why did you leave?” And you politely smile.
If you grow up in my hood, you hate the words, “Well that’s how it has always been.” It only means that there is going to be a door closed in your face or an opportunity that you won’t recieve because of established norms or customs that you didn’t have shit to do with. You do everything in your power to change the establishment. You don’t depend on others to do it. You don’t wait your time. You don’t use the proper procedures. You need this to happen now and you will be seen and heard! You already know how short life is and your time is now. Damn kid — maybe you are rough around the edges.
If you grow up in my hood, you are able to adapt to any situation and assimilate to any population. It does not matter who it is or what they stand for — you have grown up in one of the most diverse places in the United States and attended the most diverse schools in the United States. You have muliple dialects and an expansive vocabulary. When needed, you can choose to be prim, proper and articulate; or you can be just one of the homies. You have it all, and people are impressed by you — “you’re so “cultured.”‘
If you grow up in my hood, you walk with your head high. Some will mistake it for cockiness, but you’re not cocky. Cocky is for those who speak a good game – you let your actions speak. You say what you mean and you mean what you say. You don’t mince words and you fear no one.
If you grow up in my hood, you know loyalty when you see it. You live by it. You could have taken the more pleasurable route. You could have transferred to a better high school; you could have gone to a bigger college somewhere else; you could have transferred at the end of your freshman year after going 0-10. You’re no quitter. If you commit to something, then, dammit, it is going to be completed come Hell or high water. You’ll blaze your own path. You’ll take the unbeaten. What the Hell do you have to lose?
If you grow up in my hood, you were destined for greatness and respect. You were built to lead. You were made you rewrite history books. Damn what other people say, you’ve been mislabeled, marginalized, and undervalued your entire life. Seems like you came out okay.
I’m from The View.
But you knew that already, didn’t you?
“Infuse your life with action. Don’t wait for it to happen. Make it happen. Make your own future. Make your own hope. Make your own love. And whatever your beliefs, honor your creator, not by passively waiting for grace to come down from upon high, but by doing what you can to make grace happen… yourself, right now, right down here on Earth.” -Bradley Whitford
One morning, I got a call from my father-in-law. He is a man of few words:
“Something is wrong with mom.”
“Her words are jumbled and she cannot speak fluently.”
“I am coming over, now!”
Those words have a way of striking terror in anyone.
My mother-in-law fell ill. Gravely ill. She did not have a stroke, but the doctors were unable to explain what was wrong, so the treated her for a brain infection.
She would spend a week in the hospital.
On a particular day, I was coming out of my mother-in-law’s room, going for lunch, when I ran into a former student’s father. His father (the student’s grandfather) had also fallen ill and had been at the hospital for quite some time:
“How’s it going?”
“Yeah. It has been rough all around, huh?”
“How are the kids?”
“Cool. Organized chaos as usual.”
Sternly: “Enjoy it.”
At this point I was puzzled.
“Look, you will always have time for golf when you’re old. The country club will be there. Enjoy your kids now.”
I cannot tell you what the rest of the conversation was, because the look on his face when he said that statement had a profound effect on me…
I can still see it.
He was right.
The shameful thing is, up until that point I had not put things into perspective. I have been “chasing skinny rabbits,” if you will. My mother-in-law was vibrant, funny lady one moment; a day later, we don’t know if we should be calling the priest.
Life is something we should not take for granted. We are not sure what tomorrow will bring us; that’s what makes it awesome. And that is why from now on, I will spend my days in positivity.
I will take a shit-ton of pictures.
I will not worry about money (I do invest in retirement).
I will slap my wife on the ass often.
I will embarrass the shit out of my kids.
I will never miss a first day.
I will always give my opinion.
I will not lie*
I will exercise every day.
I will curse (it makes me feel better).
I will start to check off items my bucket list.
I will belly laugh at least 10 times a day.
I will be the best father to my children.
I will be the best father to other children.
I will not complain unless I have a call to action that involves me taking action.
I will be selfish for one hour every day.
I will (try) not to be embarrassed.
I will get rid of negativity.
I will draw often.
*subjective, of course.
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