Tag Archives: parenting

Running in Mud

It’s been four days since Pops died. The question I most get from people is “How are you doing”, usually with an emphasis on the “you.” I assume the “you” is emphasized when I read it by text, anyways. They could be emphasizing the “how” or the “doing” for all I know, but that would make for some odd lines of questioning “HOW are you doing?” or “how are you DOING?”

I was sitting on my couch half watching a terrible, even by my forgivable rom com loving standards, rom com asking myself in my head “how am I doing, really?” when another friend texted the same question at that exact moment. I don’t know how I’m doing actually.

This morning, I woke up finally getting the first good night sleep I had in four days but the sharp headache I’ve had since Pops passed was back. Later that morning, I was on the verge of tears right before my taekwondo class for no reason other than an unspecific encompassing grief. It took all I had to summon the will to not cry and get through class. My legs felt heavy, my arms felt weak, it felt like I was trying to run in knee high mud with a one hundred pound concrete slab strapped to my chest. I wanted to quit more times than I can recall. I wanted nothing more to throw in the towel, call it a day and head home for the security of my couch and blanket. I’ve done enough martial arts in my life to know that if the mind, soul and body are not in sync, its a herculean uphill battle but its one thing to know this and another to experience this.

Later that afternoon, Little Mitch had his taekwondo yellow belt test. We already postponed his test a month ago as he was struggling with his own feelings over his Papa’s cancer. Our instructor asked me if he was still wanting to do his test today, knowing that we lost Pops this week. “Yes,” I replied, “he says he still wants to do it. Says he’s ready.” He did fantastic. That tricky turn that has been plaguing him for months, no problem, fluid, graceful. That unsure left leg kick that never quite broke the wood board these past few weeks, with intention, clean snap in two.

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Like most fathers I’m especially proud of my son’s athletic accomplishments but today I have never been prouder. If roles were reversed I would have to postpone my belt test as there would be no way I could do it with the painful raw hurt for my Dad I’m carrying in my heavy heart right now. My seven year old son showed me an example of tenacity and fortitude that I will use for those painful times that are ahead of us as we adjust to a life without Pops.

So how am I doing? My head won’t stop aching. I sleep but I don’t feel rested. I’m missing my Dad. I want to cry today, but I can’t, it’s just not there. I’m digging deep for that extra little bit I don’t have just to get through the day. I’ve got a dull pain in my chest that hurts every time I breathe. I’m numb. I’m disconnected. I’m grey. I’m tired. I’m unfocused. I’m hazy. I’m hurting. I’m holding on.

You know what I wish someone would ask me, instead of “how are you doing?” I wish someone would just once ask me “what do you want?” I would answer, I want just one more afternoon with my Pops. To finally get his chili recipe I kept forgetting to ask for. To hear him complain about his favourite hockey team. To tell him about that powder blue ’57 Chevy I saw drive by the other day. To watch my son hug his Papa one more time.

How am I doing? I’m running in mud.

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I’ll Miss You Pops.

It doesn’t feel real yet. It’s been two days. It still feels like he’s here. It was surreal when Mom called. I’m at home with some cable guy in my home when my cell rings. In a weird way, I knew what the call was before I picked up. Mom never calls me in the middle of the afternoon, ever. It was a quick phone call, she managed to tell me between pain racked sobs that Pops was gone. Like that, his long cancer battle was over. The man who was my Dad for thirty of my thirty six years was gone.

I hang up the cell. I’m numb. I’m in blank shock. I have a complete stranger in my home finishing up work on my cable internet and I just found out my Dad died. The cable guy finishes up his work. I make some lame joke about having a beer after his shift, he earned it today, and see him out the door.

I head to seven year old Little Mitch’s school. I knock on his classroom door, the teacher knows why I’m there without saying a word. Little Mitch doesn’t know why, he’s just happy to get out of math class. He asks me why he gets to go home early. I say I’ll tell him when we get home. We’re home, both of us on the couch. I tell him I have sad news. I tell my son that his Papa has died. His little face just goes blank, some tears but not many, and then I hold him for a few quiet minutes, when he asks if he can play some video games. I say yes, and he plays. He’s quiet, very quiet. Little Mitch is never quiet, he’s overwhelmed trying to process enormous feelings he can’t comprehend.

The last two days have been a blur. Hours fly by and seem to stand still. My head hurts from crying and from trying not to cry. I’m not hungry and I can’t stop eating. I feel like I can sleep and I can’t sleep. I wan’t to be alone and I don’t want to be alone. I don’t want to talk about it and all I want is to talk about it. I don’t want to be touched and all I want to do is cuddle Little Mitch.

Little Mitch is hurting. His little seven year old heart is in so much pain it makes me feel helpless as my child grieves. He goes silent and I can hear his quiet sobs and he reaches for me with open arms, his little body shaking from the tears. He says he misses Papa. I tell him I miss him too. We were both quietly watching cartoons when he says with the emotional weight of a child whose in a depth of pain he can’t comprehend “It will be different without Papa”, I asked him if he’d like to talk about it. No he says and the conversation is abruptly over by his choice. I’m sorry my son, there is nothing I can say that will make the hurt go away, just know that I am hurting too and am with you every step of this journey.

I slept terribly the night after I got the news. I’d sleep and wake up. Cry, sleep, cry, sleep, cry sleep. I’m not sure if it was a dream, or a fervent wish, or if it was real or a little bit of all three but I felt you there Pops. I honestly felt you there, you were there. I got out of bed. Went downstairs and you were sitting there. Sitting on the couch, your hair lush dark brown again, not the sickly wispy cancerous grey it was those last months. You were sitting with your arms crossed, and your leg up on your knee as you always sit. Wearing faded jeans like you always do, and a light tan brown sweater. You smiled at me as I came down the stairs, waiting for me, to say goodbye.

It felt so real, it couldn’t be a dream, Pops was there I felt it. I wake up in the middle of this, not rested, my head hurting as much as my heart, if not more. There’s a faint glimmer of hope that this is real and I head downstairs and look to the empty couch illuminated by the bleak winter morning light. The realization hits me with so much weight I feel a tinge of physical pain in my heart. My Dad is gone.

I’ll miss you every day Pops.

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Life Lessons With Mitch Lesson 251

Lesson 251 AKA “Why You Can’t Have Motivating Sports Talks With a Seven Year Old.”

Scene: I’ve been coaching Little Mitch for the past 3.5 weeks for his first Taekwondo tournament employing many strategies from my wrestling coach and martial arts days.

The-Karate-Kid-Ralph-Machio-and-Pat-Morita-catMitch: “Okay buddy, tournament is 2 days away and this is our last practice. Do you feel ready?”

Little Mitch: “Yeah. I’m ready. I feel good.”

M: “Last drill. Let’s put it all together, let’s spar, offence, defence, the whole thing.”

LM: “Ok.”

M: “The sparring tournament is to 5 points. Right?”

LM: “Uh, I dont know. I guess so.”

M: “It’s to 5 points, okay. That other kid has your 5 points. You need to take those 5 points from the other kid. Those 5 points are yours! I want you to go out there and TAKE your 5 points!!! Whose 5 points is it?!?!?!”

LM: (Blank Stare)….”His? No, mine? No, his, wait, mine…his? mine,? I don’t know his? Uhhh… whose points?”

M: “The other kid has your 5 points. Take it from him. ”

LM: “He has my points? Wait the points are on his chest. I get a point for that right?”

M:”Sigh…You know what? Just go out and have fun, you’ll do fine, you’re ready.”

LM: “Can we order pizza tonight?”

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Life Lessons With Mitch Lesson 250

On a recent road trip, Little Mitch and I were passing the time playing Pictionary on his Nintendo 3DS. My first guess was soooooooo not even remotely close to “light post.”

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(Sorry for the lack of updates gang, I been getting my ass kicked by  my annual spring allergies and I’ve been licnesed to ill for a solid two weeks)

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Life Lessons With Mitch Lesson 246

One of the great things about single fatherhood is that you never really have to fully grow up. I refuse to become one of those middle of the road bland parents who think their personality had to end the day their kid was born.

A great afternoon Little Mitch recovering from the flu, spent playing video game women’s wrestling for the championship we made… and the gag NEVER got old.

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Life Lessons With Mitch Lesson 244

Little Mitch (Age 6): Daddy can I have a breath mint?

Mitch: Just one bud, then they are going away. I need them for this weekend.

Little Mitch: Why? You got a date?

Mitch: Yes I do, Mr. Smarty Pants.

Little Mitch: Hee hee hee, I KNEW it!

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Life Lessons With Mitch Lesson 240

There comes a time during parenthood when you can no longer keep up the lie to your kid that the much cheaper no name brand cereal is the name brand cereal.

Little Mitch (6 years old): “Wait. (looking at cereal in bowl). Dad? Is this my my regular Lucky Charms? They look different. Where are the moons? There’s no rainbows in here. What did you buy?”

Mitch: “I bought Lucky Charms dude. Don’t worry about it. Eat. ”

Little Mitch: (Running to the kitchen cupboard) “Wait. What’s THIS? This isn’t my regular Lucky Charms Dad. Who’s this dude on the front? Where’s the leprechaun guy? This is a wizard.”

Little Mitch (Sounding out the box) Mar…marsh…marshhhhhh…mall….Marhmallow…mag…ick….Marshmallow magic??? Why didn’t you buy me my Lucky Charms Dad? You know they are my favourite.”

Mitch: “Ok fine they are not Lucky Charms. What’s the rule when Daddy buys cereal? Only the stuff that is on sale right?”

Little Mitch: ” I know Daddy. But I need my Lucky Charms. They are my favourite and magically delicious.”

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Life Lessons With Mitch Lesson 236

Little Mitch told me he wants to make a Valentine’s day card for his 15 year old lady-friend in his Taekwondo class.

My six year old has more going on in his romantic life than I do…

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Online Dating, The Horror. (Originally Published September 25, 2011)

Greeting faithful readers! Yet again I must apologize for the lack of new blogisodes. However, this was partially not my fault. I was temporarily without internet for 2.5 weeks due to my internet service being cut by an internet company, whom I’m not even a customer of. Go yell at a company you’re not a customer of for screwing with you and in return you’ll get a prime example of “yeah, we’ll get right on that sir.” I swear to god, I heard a toilet flush in the background whilst on that phone call.  

Anyways, the last three (Mitch Classic) blogisodes, while some of the most emotionally raw best writing I have ever done, have been a little on the morose side. Divorce tends to nut punch the whimsy right out of you. However, Mitch has had some wickedly awesome lucky bounces this past month, life is rolling along pretty damn good and I miss being funny. Let’s dance, Mary; 

Mitch’s Observations on Online Dating A.K.A Reasons Why I Might Just Want to Stay Single.

Mitch has only started dipping his toe in the dating game. I’m in no rush to get into a steady full time relationship, I just got out of my marriage a few months ago. However, I have started perusing online dating sites to see what that is all about and here are some random things I’ve learned in no particular order.

-Beware the profiles that only have a head shot. Be even warier of the profiles that have 4-5 pictures and they’re all head shots. There’s a huge reason they only have head shots. 

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-The interpretation of “a few extra pounds” under the body type category is a tricky one to navigate. This phrase can vary greatly amongst people. When I think “a few extra pounds” I think of someone such as myself, I work out regularly, I watch what I eat, but I love carbs and the occasional bag of chips so I got a “few extra pounds.”  Let’s just say Mitch met up with an online prospect once and the difference between my idea and her idea of a “few extra pounds” was a difference between a smart car and a bus. Ask for a full body pic, trust me it will save you from one of the more awkward moments of your existence.

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-“The ‘Drinker: Occasional’ Pic Incongruence.” Now, just to clarify, Mitch does imbibe, I’m not a heavy drinker but I do enjoy an evening nightcap now and then. From time to time I even let loose and pay for it the next morning followed by a breakfast of Gatorade and Advil while dropping Murtaughs left and right of “I’m gettin’ too old for this shit.” However, in the online dating world I have noticed that often people will put their drinking status as “occasional” but have 5-6 different pictures of themselves, from 5-6 different nightclubs with 5-6 different drinks in their hands. FYI saying your drinking status as “occasional” and putting a pic of yourself doing a keg stand sends a mixed message. FYI #2 saying your drinking status as “occasional” and putting a pic of yourself doing a keg stand and your 37 years old makes you kind of intriguing, strangely attractive and unremarkably sad at the same time. Which leads me to wonder what the hell is wrong with me that I’m attracted to train wreck women?

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-Age 41. This really means you have to add at least 4-12 years to get her real age. Found this one out the hard way when my 41 year old date finally admitted on our third date she was 51. Which would certainly explain why it strangely felt like I was kissing one of my aunts. If you ever suspect you may be in this situation my advice is to start dropping a load of seventies pop culture pop culture jokes (Man, that David Cassidy was a fine piece of ass in the seventies wasn’t he???) She may slip up and say I remember seeing that when I was high school, suspicion confirmed. On the other hand, 51 also means she knows what she’s doing in the bedroom. Damn. May have pulled chute a little early on that one. 

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-“I’m looking for a friendship first but I want a commitment, but I need a faithful man, but I don’t want to be tied down but I  just need to see where it goes, but I need to know this is going somewhere, but I don’t want any games, but I need my space, but I’m looking for something long term but not serious, I’m looking to date but just want hang out but I need to be wined and dined and I am actively seeking a soul mate.” Uhhhh, when I messaged you and asked you where you got your tattoo work done, that wasn’t an opening line, I really was just looking for where you got your tattoo work done. I wish you, and what I assume is at least 9 cats, the best of luck…yikes.

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-Chicken Wings is food, not an “interest.” I weep for your empty existence.  

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-You are legally obligated to stop dropping gang hand symbols in your profile pictures once you are over that age of 23. Make that 21. No, 19. Actually, Just stop. Stop.

-Duck-face. Really?

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If ever a blogisode warrants a sequel(s) this one is it I’m sure. No need to thank me, I’m an idea man, it’s what I do. 

 

 
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Venti Suck Latte (Originally Published July 26, 2011)

DISCLAIMER: I’ve been debating for a few weeks now if I was going to repost these “Mitch Classic” blogisodes from when my marriage ended. I went back and forth between “I don’t want to repost them and relive that experience” to “I should post them to show how far I’ve come since then.” I concluded that Mitch Being Honest is about being honest, and being true to myself and to not post them would be contradictory to my blog premise.

The last couple hours of the day before sleep are the worst. That time between putting Little Mitch down for the laundrynight and my own bedtime. The only time of the day when I am truly alone. I distract myself. I fold laundry, I love to smell the scent of my son on his clean T-shirts. I watch DVD’s of movies I’ve seen too many times. I read magazines about sports I don’t care about. I listen to Springsteen, no sad songs don’t need that association. I watch music videos on youtube, always the same songs never new ones. I text with friends, keeps my focus busy. I load the dishwasher, when it doesn’t really need to be loaded. I go over my budget, even though I already know its balanced. Anything to keep busy and keep that admission I don’t want to acknowledge at bay. 

It’s been four weeks since the split. I don’t want to admit it to myself but I know it’s there. I miss intimacy. 

I don’t mean sex. I mean intimacy. I miss being touched by a woman. Just to hug, to hold hands, someone to lean into me sitting on the couch, to have someone to hold onto in bed on Sunday morning.

You know what part I miss the most? Now that it’s just me and Little Mitch at our place it smells like a man house.  I’ve always loved the fragrance of a woman and now it’s not there. The scent of a woman can literally make my skin tingle, now I don’t know if and when I will ever get that feeling again. The perfumed floral fragrance of femininity. 

Right now, if someone offered me a choice between a physically satisfying purely sexual one night stand or an emotionally fulfilling intimate cuddle in bed, I have to be honest, I may choose the latter. 

I read a book that says the first 100 days since the split are the worst. I sure hope so because I am ticking off the100 days to get to that number. Not that I expect to get to day 100 and some magical switch will click and everything will be okay. I’m not delusional, I know this stage of my life. learning to be single, is a journey. But I keep telling myself if I can get to 100 days… I don’t know what will happen at day 100 I think Im just using that arbitrary number as a goal to keep my mind focused on the things I don’t want to focus on. It’s always easier to focus on external things than the internal hurting angry bitter sad things. I know it in my head and I know it in my heart but on a certain level I don’t want to acknowledge it; I will be divorced. Just the thought of the word makes my chest sink. 

At this point, you’re probably thinking that I’m depressed. Actually that couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, I’m actually, in general happy about the state of things. I just feel desensitized. A venti suck latte with a crap biscotti and flavour shot of mildly angry about the situation.

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Little Mitch is doing okay. His grandpa is looking after him for the summer when I am at work. He is happy but there are signs now that the life changes are affecting him too. He’s hitting a lot. Not hard, but hitting nonetheless, I think he’s mad about the life changes too, I don’t blame him, somedays I want to hit things too.

He’s back in my bed indefinitely. The five year old kid who doesn’t really like to cuddle in bed needs to fall asleep on my chest. He’s very concerned about when I am going to bed, he doesn’t want to be in bed alone, he asks me every night to go to bed with him. I wake up some mornings to go to work and he cries he wants me to stay in bed, and then I have to hand him off to his grandpa. Every day hes asks me if I’m going to work tomorrow, I say yes, and he asks me to take the day off. 

Tonight, as we lay in bed, after his bedtime stories, Little Mitch asked me again to tell him a story about when I was a kid. I told him the story of the first girl I ever asked out when I was in Grade 9. He listened intently as he often does to stories about my childhood. “Daddy, did you ask mommy out?” a few years later I did, I replied. “Daddy? Why don’t you ask her out again?” Sorry bud, that’s not going to happen, mommy and daddy were fighting too much. “Oh yeah daddy, we’re still a family though right?” That’s right I said we’re still a family. “Daddy? Are you going to ask any girls out soon?” I told him a version of the truth he could understand, “Not right now bud, maybe someday who knows? But right now, no.” 

The sad reality of my days is that the most authentic adult conversations I have are with my five year old son at bedtime. I think I need to start letting other people in. 

 

 

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