Cranial Conception to Grad Reflections

Day 119

Part 2 – True Adventures Yet To Be Lived

Chapter 16: Cranial Conception to Grad Reflections

I figured the best place to start was at the end.  Imagining how I felt when the dream had been realized. Seeing the support, the tears, the laughter and celebration as we welcomed a fresh look at education, business, community, and how it could all come together in a seamless network.  

We brought back that village that had been missing. That sense of family. Belonging. Acceptance, and a strong delivery of the whole in a very personal manner.  

This was our first graduating class. We had turned everything on its head. Education presentation and monetary structure, business interconnectedness and how community supports both, and vice a versa.  This was business and community modelled after education instead of the long-standing history of the reverse.

Years of network building, fundraisers, public engagements, learning and the proverbial blood, sweat and tears had led us to finally opening our doors, and now standing on this historical stage. This venue had seen 100 years of graduates before, and today, the first of a new and inspiring era in education.

– – –

It was 5 years before when Jack first stood on this old stage looking out into a full auditorium of parents, family, friends, educators and in those first rows, what was supposed to have been one of the last graduating classes of this historied institution.  

The idea of going into education himself had already long been present,  but as he delivered the first of three graduation speeches he was to make that week, he suddenly seen today’s reality in its completed form. For those moments as he talked of the history and traditions of this school, his own education, and advice for the graduates as they started upon their adult journeys, those students became his own. Their parents and other supports, part of his network. The teachers, principals, and staff dear friends and colleagues as well. This was was his dream (all of their dreams), realized. In Jack’s mind, this was already the end he was only today, realizing.  

There were only 12 students graduating with a Provincially recognized diploma or certificate this first year, and 87 students total in all grades in a facility with a capacity to traditionally hold 1500 students,  but interest throughout semesters 1 and 2 quickly gained momentum thanks to an inspiring, award winning onsite social media campaign managed by their teaching partners and students.

425 new students from within and beyond Waterfall City were already enrolled for year two meaning the schools new capacity based on smaller class sizes, in-house community partners,  and alternative classroom setup and delivery methods, was to already be realized in season two of East City K2Life.

This was unlike any graduation Jack had ever attended. From the decorations, performances, the emotion of the families and students (even educators), who found a special place after years of educational struggles, right down to the awards the students came up with for their teachers and staff.

As the students proudly made their way through the front archway into the Welcome Garden, Jack choked up seeing the teachers and educational assistance sitting in their lawn chairs as they had each morning with their coffees greeting students in rain and snow every school day, now symbolically welcoming them to their adult lives and signifying their and the school’s ongoing support for the remainder of their life’s journey.  

The weather hadn’t cooperated well on this momentous occasion but nobody from students, staff, families, community supports, and of course Jack and his family, allowed any obstacles to stand in the way of enjoying every moment of the journey. The downpour of rain somehow made it all that much more exhilarating and refreshing. Then the thunder rolled and all went screaming and laughing for the cover of home – their school.

Halfway through the evening, the rain suddenly stopped, and the setting sun shone brightly through the open gymnasium doors. At that moment, Jack looked over at his partner Kate, reached out for her hand, and led her to the dance floor.

Kate had been there every step of the way. She believed in Jack and this dream, and worked tirelessly to ensure this vision was shared and realized. She was the reason that East City came to be. Kate gave Jack the motivation he needed through every obstacle that came between 5 years prior, and this very night.

In the end, that became East City’s principal vision. Belief in self. Without it, a dream is just a dream we don’t believe in.

Education – Plain and Simple

Day 68

Part 1 – Who am I?  But not totally.

Chapter 15: Education – Plain and Simple

Everyone has a right to a free public education in North America, but education should also be free from politics. Free from religion. Free from discrimination, judgement and bullying.  We should learn and talk about it all but neither should be allowed to influence educational experiences or outcomes.

Our children deserve to come out of the other end of their early learning journeys with the same confidence, same belief in oneself and equally knowing their value in our society. The same humility, compassion, respect for others, and global understanding of our wonderfully diverse world. That no one is better or smarter or more intrinsic than anyone else. Not a King or Queen, Prince of Princess. Not a Prime Minister. Not a President. Not a human over an animal or our Mother Earth. That we are all equally important pieces of our community puzzles. We cannot take away a bee, a wolf, a river, a tree, you or me without taking something from the spirit and harmony of the grander painting.

Students should take that leap into adulthood with these basic skills and understandings. We can accomplish anything when we believe in ourselves, and only a fraction of our full potentials when we are left questioning all the numbers and letters 14 years of report cards have said about us.

Most of all, our children must have an educational experience as diverse as their many different learning profiles. Inclusion must be individual to what feels right for them. Not what politicians and office educators believe is best for our children.

Inclusion is personal. It’s time for our learning institutions to be holistically reflective of this.

Education is in need of the greatest innovation in how it’s delivered from structure, delivery and budget, to programming and environment. INSE seeks to be at the forefront of this innovation.

Happy Birthday to us!

Day 46

INSE_Birthday

A year ago we gave it a name. Now we’re giving it a voice. Happy 1st birthday to us. Looking forward to you being a part of this journey.

Here’s to 100’s more. Well I’ll be dirt but happy 100th whomever the latest INSE protector is on this day, September 9th 2116.

Darn I won’t live to see 2112 day. 21st day of December, 2112. Hope Rush plays loud and proud all day long. I predict records will be making another comeback by then.

Sincerely,
All of us here at INSE – and Jack (but not really).

“I can’t wait to share this new wonder
The people will all see its light
Let them all make their own music education
The Priests Protector praise my name on this night.” ~ Rush (Lyrics by Neil Pert)

Well commUnity

Day 22

Part 1 – Who am I?  But not totally.

Chapter 11: Well commUnity


If I were to highlight what I loved most about going to church and being a part of any one faith, hands down it’s the food.

No seriously, what I appreciated most through my own experiences, was the sense of community and belonging that, inspired by young, admiring love, most drew me in while exploring Catholicism in my early 30’s.

Although that eighth month long journey found me faithless and sitting in tiny pews in a freakishly small church on the side of the highway, it reminded me of that sense of association I felt when I played hockey as a child. That family. Mostly, it made me see that religion, quite literally in this case, comes in all shapes and sizes.

It was another year before the thought of faith entered my life again, once again taking us back to that summer with the Natives in the valley. Although I hadn’t yet been versed in their belief system through that experience, I did learn a great deal about their traditions, their spirit, their strength and desire to protect Mother Earth. From Sacred Fires to an illuminating sweat lodge ceremony in the midst of a quiet urban forest,  that growingly addictive sense of community was once again present in my life.

People were living in trees, tending to the fire 24/7 to ensure the flame did not burn out, and others were organizing efforts to bring food and water to all those sacrificing time and spirit to save this paradise from destruction. For the first time ever, I was witness to the story not well told in a time when Facebook and Twitter didn’t exist. These were the moments that made me realize the importance of learning about all sides of any situation.

That battle may have been lost in some regards, but things were changed and important lessons were learned.

It was around this time that I truly found writing again – a passion that I had let digress since those young, inspired middle school years. Writing led to being published. Led to meeting so many people volunteering their time to better their communities. Led to starting my own advocacy. Led to fighting for my children. Led to being an elected official. Led to this very story about the very thing I want to bring to our little city, to make it a better place by filling a void left by decisions I respectfully disagree with.

I clean alley’s. I run an event for kids each year. I pick up garbage while walking the dog at night.  I’m a politician. I am also a baseball coach. All of this inspired forward by people in my past and present whether strangers in the park or through the stories of giving back to his community brought out in my grandfather.

Community also comes in various shapes and sizes. From our sports leagues, our own streets, our broader towns and most importantly, our family networks. Knowing the importance of community and having the skill set to work together through good times and challenges, is key.

Being an active part of my community has strengthened everything else in my life from passion, acceptance, belonging, worth, communication, patience, humbleness, and kindness. I love the person I am more and more as I connect deeper with my community.

My work is better. My family is better. I am better.

I involve my girls as often as I can in the work I do in my community from cleaning parks, to arguing on the doorstep of strangers I hope will vote for me about who will knock on doors. I want them to know the value and importance of being involved, not to mention the peace I might find if they would only stop teasing the crud out of one another for 5 minutes. Long enough to go to the loo would be nice.

As with everything else, there is a balance between work, play, community and family so that is important to remember, but what engagement beyond our own lives naturally gives back to our spirits is invaluable and the key to a stronger, more harmonious and respecting society.

We must understand and value all roles played by all individuals across all aspects of our city networks to truly understand our own value and worth in and amongst the greater picture.

Once again, it’s okay to want something in return for engaging in your community. Like promoting your business or looking to network to find employment. I will guarantee however that if you go in expecting nothing, you will come out richer in ways you couldn’t have imagined. You’ll have people shopping at your business. You’ll find employment. You’ll also come out with something far greater than pulling thorns out of your tailpipe cleaning up overrun alleys or collecting business card bits out of the lint catcher thingy that were left in the back of your jeans. You’ll find connection. Pure, real, connection if you are sincere and real in your intentions.

Religious or not, you will find faith in something. Belonging. Appreciation. Understanding. Love. Acceptance.

Subdivisions

Day 19

Music has been a big part of my life for as long as I remember.

The first record I ever received was one I didn’t, and to this day still don’t, understand why I was given such a present. This particular album I couldn’t even find on digital purchase sites like iTunes for the longest time but today I do see it on GooglePlay.

The band was a Canadian group out of British Columbia called Chilliwack, and the album was Breakdown in Paradise circa 1979. I would have been 6 or 7 depending on how long the record had been out when I was gifted it. I am not even sure I had a record player at that time or even remember being all that into music yet.

Eventually I did get a record player and I know I grew to love this album. When I pulled it out many years ago for the first time in awhile, I even remembered where it skipped and cringed as the moments drew close like I did as a youth.

I found a copy that didn’t skip at a garage sale sometime in my thirties so I was able to retire listening to the scratched copy and leave that as a keepsake only. It will always be my favorite record because of this weird tie to my great-grandfather Croft whom the gift was from. He would die in 1982 and aside from a few brief memories of him sitting on the couch watching television or the occasional flashback at the scent of a pipe, this album is all I have of his memory.

My first cassette tape was of another Canadian band. It arrived at our home as a monthly selection as part of my dad’s Columbia House membership. I had remembered my cousin Al having many Rush records and I believe I asked my father if I could have it. The album was Signals which along with Grace Under Pressure, remains among my favorite albums of all time.

There is so much power in music from how it livens our souls, to the trips it takes us on when certain tracks play on the radio.

Rush’s lyrics have always been very powerful and magical to me. Neil Pert is a remarkable drummer and writer. There will never be anyone better at either of these two categories in my personal opinion.

This song has always struck a chord with me. It would fit well in a soundtrack should this story find it’s way to the silver screen one day.

“Subdivisions”

Sprawling on the fringes of the city
In geometric order
An insulated border
In between the bright lights
And the far unlit unknownGrowing up it all seems so one-sided
Opinions all provided
The future pre-decided
Detached and subdivided
In the mass production zone
Nowhere is the dreamer or the misfit so alone

[Chorus:]
(Subdivisions)
In the high school halls
In the shopping malls
Conform or be cast out
(Subdivisions)
In the basement bars
In the backs of cars
Be cool or be cast out
Any escape might help to smooth the unattractive truth
But the suburbs have no charms to soothe the restless dreams of youth

Drawn like moths we drift into the city
The timeless old attraction
Cruising for the action
Lit up like a firefly
Just to feel the living night

Some will sell their dreams for small desires
Or lose the race to rats
Get caught in ticking traps
And start to dream of somewhere
To relax their restless flight
Somewhere out of a memory of lighted streets on quiet nights…

[Chorus]

 

A couple of fun Rush facts:

  • About the Subdivisions video including where the scenes were shot and who the main character is.
  • A fun movie about a couple of Rush fans starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel- I Love You Man

Losing My Un-Religion

Day 16

Part 1 – Who am I?  But not totally.

Chapter 10: Losing My Un-Religion

Hunk ‘o junk. Sorry, I had to break the religious tension. A story for another time.

I don’t want to get too much into religion. It’s a touchy subject and really has little relevance to the project. Well none of this babble has any real matter now does it for those waiting for this long, self-centred intro to be finally over so we can get to what the bloody h-e-double ringette sticks this is all about already.

I will say that I do not like religion for it’s occasional judgement of others, or the part it plays in war and strife or the pain in my sciatica after an hour sitting in those hard pews. I do like the light banter afterwards in the community room and pancakes and coffee and more pancakes. When it comes to getting people out, have food will travel as the saying somewhat goes.

I have however in all seriousness, come to understand, as someone without religion in their life, the importance of having faith in something in whatever form that takes. Like the Leafs will win the Cup or Friends will have a comeback.

Although religion, for me, has no formal place in work, education or play, I believe it’s extremely important for all of our children (all of us for that matter of course), to have a good understanding of those we share our communities with every day from religion, traditions, and customs. Faith is an important part of so many of our lives. We must respect, honor, and value that in education, work and play because it’s there in our signal to the creator after a score, the rosary hanging from our family photo at our cubicle, or in the attire we wear at school.

I found my faith one summer in a valley learning about our country’s Native roots. If being Aboriginal was a religion I could simply pick up one day, I would have after that summer and a lifetime going to the local reserve with my grandfather, hearing his passion for our First Nations peoples, and his lifelong desire to do more to make their communities stronger.

As a politician, sitting on the First Nation Metis Inuit Community Advisory Committee and our local Indigenous Education Circle, has broadened my respect, knowledge and belief in their teachings and protective nature. Increasingly, it has me wanting to do more and to be constantly conscious of Indigenous teachings with the decisions I make in my life.

So although I cannot be Aboriginal and I chose not to take on any one faith, there are many beautiful aspects to all religions, traditions, cultures, and ways of life that we can all adapt to help us live a life that affords us to achieve our spirits, and those that share this space with us, true potentials. That includes our earth and all of its living entities.

Where once I believed in total separation of church, state, and education, I now see the utter importance in having an open and sincere discussion about faith, rather than shovelling it under the bulging rug. Not as a one over the other discussion or with any criticism, but rather as a matter of seeing the good intention in all of it. If nothing else, then quite simply the importance of believing in a power greater than us. Like lightning or tornados or mom’s chasing us around the house with a bar of soap.

I didn’t need the fear of God. I had the absolute terror of a cheesed off, cursing mother, with bulging central lobe veins leaping after one disrespectful little bugger.  She is my creator and as she often reminded me, also had the power to remove me from the world in which she brought me into. Luv ya mum.

Familie

Day 11

Part 1 – Who am I?  But not totally.

Chapter 9: Familie

Seeing as though my grandfather was a big influence in my life and he was born in Denmark, I thought I would add a little Danish to the mix. Dane on my mum’s side, Scottish on my dad’s, and England-born grandmother’s all around.  The Scottish roots go back a few generations however from when they immigrated to Canada.

Not only am I lucky, as lucky as divorced and broke and 2 jobs each between my partner and I go, I am extremely rich when it comes to family and friends.

Most of all, there are my two girls. Then, there is my partner who is my cheerleader, and her daughter who sits smack dab in the middle of our 3 girls birth years.  Then add an 80lb dog, a Garfield-esk cat, and two of her fluffy- sleep during the day’ kittens and one Gecko. There you have our immediate home. We even have to feed the crickets and worms and the outside cats even come to our kitchen window for a pet and a snack, so all I really seem to do except work and sleep is clean poop and feed things. Lucky they are all cute or fascinating like worms are.

My parents have toughed out many struggles and are 45 years into their marriage. They are certainly an inspiration and my biggest role models. Both my grandparents lived death-do-us part romances, except my mum’s mum died when I was just a baby. All I have of us is a photo of her holding me and a toy airplane. She and planes had a ‘never go on one’ relationship. My grandfather did remarry but at 99 a few years back, he left my step-grandmother twice the widower.

My grandfather and his second wife both lost the loves of their lives far too young. They also were on two different sides of the war. One fought it in while his darling and child stayed back home, and his second love lived surrounded by bombs going off in the second world war while her husband was in battle. Both her men would survive that war.

I have one sister who is one of my best friends. Both my dad,  mom and both my grandfather’s were of big families of 5’s and 7’s so I have lots of cousins who I have mostly been very close with.

As for friends, I have so many buds I have known since birth or early grade school. We may not see each other all that often even though some live close by, but I know they are always there and I hope they know I am always here. I wish for these friendships to continue because through breakups and other important life moments, it’s comforting knowing I have them. It’s always nice of course but life goes by in a rush.

My family is very sociable, kind, giving, lovers of children and animals, reunions, drinks and a game of cards here and there. We are passionate about our local team, big local supporters of small business, and together a very passionate, talented, and creative lot.

None of us have really left this place. It’s common for locals and if you stick around for awhile, you see what a hidden gem our hometown is. Some have ventured off for a short while or came back and moved not too far away. Otherwise, at any given moment we could probably scare up 50 family members including new relatives that pop up from time to time as pasts reveal the very human nature of all of our families.  We are far from perfect but perfect in every way that matters.

Our family flaws are never far from front and centre but our true nature and strength always shines through during good times like weddings and other family gatherings, and tough times such as repair needs or deaths. There is always an opportunity to celebrate and never a second thought to a hug, a kiss, or a strong man shake.

Family is so important and for those that aren’t so blessed, it’s our opportunity to share the strength that our loved ones give us each and every day. I think we do this very well as does the community I live in. I feel that’s because so many families I am surrounded by are of the same cloth. Dealt more shyte than a litter box and maybe a bit broken and guarded, but always giving and quick to love again even though their love is always forever.

I am lucky that my children have known a great grandfather and so happy they have been able to have a close bond with my parents and sister. I know how important all of these relationships have been for me including the bond I had with my aunts and uncles.

My pooch sits up for a little love as a cool summer’s wind rips through our yard, making me think of how I am also lucky to have the forgiving, forever-love of this sweet soul. She and my cuddly cat have been with me through many lonely nights.

There are so many great souls in my life that I feel have all contributed to a powerful passion with so much pent up love and giving to express.

Strengthening that sense of belonging to a family is something I feel is extremely important and a big driver of this project.

Daddy

Above image credit: My two girls (really)

Day 10

Part 1 – Who am I?  But not totally.

Chapter 8: Daddy

Is there anything more amazing than hearing that call? ‘Daddy?’

It is surely soon to slip away. It’s long since been ‘dad’ for 1.

~

For those imaginary people following along this, quote unquote, live writing journey, it’s been a few days since I have hacked away at this tale.

As I believe I have stated – the memory isn’t as good as it never was so perhaps I have, I am a single father. Kind of a misleading phrase considering I am no longer single and I never truly have been. As in single parents without the assistance of anyone to rescue them from tantrums, gadget duals and dirty laundry on top of clean laundry on top of toys on top of candy rappers on top of cat. I believe the run on sentence nicely symbolizes a day in the life of those bearing child minus a sanity assistant. Those angels need a medal or opioids or a big free frickin’ party for single parents at each month’s end sans children and avec whatever the frig they want. Parenting is hard bloody enough with another person or half of one or even one that comes down with the lurgy every time it’s their turn to watch the little buggers.

I love my girls with all of my affection. I have fought hard to be in their lives half of the time and I would gladly accept all of of it. Although, there has been a moment or two in recent months as they enter the ‘can I get away with locking them in their rooms’ years, that I was ready to send them back to mom’s. Of course the moment I get in the car and head for home when our time sharing ends, I already wish them back. Back to give me a hand when I realize on returning home that there is makeup and sparkles all over the bathroom sink, evidence of a long game of dressup, and rubber bullets spewed across the living room and in kitten mouths. Of course in all seriousness, that is codswallop; wishing them home to clean not the mess they make, because I will cherish the already fading desire to want to be with me rather than friends or boys. My aluminum bat is ready and has already had a couple of symbolic taps in my palm.

Before their mom and I separated 5 years ago, I had not gone but a couple of days every once in a blue moon without seeing them. I had to kiss their sleeping foreheads goodnight after spending hours on transit travelling back and forth to work for a few years, or had to settle for having a few moments to read them a story before bed, but otherwise we were hardly apart.

I am lucky to be in the situation I am, aside from an ‘always love her for giving me the greatest gifts ever’/loathe/dislike existence with my former spouse, as I know so many great dads fighting for access when all they want to do is be a part of their children’s lives as much as possible.

Although I cannot change my situation, even though every day I regret the time I have lost and will continue to lose with my gals, I believe I have a lot to offer – especially my children, to help others be better equipped for life’s challenges. This includes understanding relationships and especially our own personal needs. Not that I am a trained professional or have any paper qualifications, but I do have many thoughts on how we can as a society, avoid completely messing the family bed. After all, I  myself have written numerous pages in the Mucking it up for Dummy’s self-destruction manual. I have many degrees in lived experience.

I do not for one moment believe we should encourage bad couples to stay together as our prisons are already in abundance, but I do believe we can provide our children with more tools to help them avoid at least a few setbacks in their lives. Life has so many obstacles as it is. Like tapered jeans, brothers exposing your unaroused neckedness to a love interest and the whole trailer park while you sleep, a Parisienne full of party weekend buds breaking down 5 minutes after departure, or that perm that you thought was a good idea that you’ve never been able to obtain the negatives for.

Divorce seems such a waste in so many ways. Like all that hard-earned cash gone to pot for know-nothing lawyers. Most importantly of course, it’s a waste of precious time without our little beings. The creatures we have waited our entire life to meet and nurture and not totally fudge up before graduating into this sometimes dark and lonely world. I don’t wish this life on them or anyone for that matter. Well maybe some, but not really.

I interviewed other soon-to-be fathers when we went to prenatal classes before our first child was born. I wanted to know what they were thinking, dreaming, or fearful of with regards to becoming a new zombie dad. I in turn wrote a story about my own feelings towards fatherhood. I was scared and excited and in a bit of a fog, but never did I imagine being where I am now. It makes me sad often, like this very moment only hours from having said goodbye for another week. Looking out the window at our small pool awaiting a child’s play, laughter, banter, and the family dog in its second life leaning over the edge waiting to be splashed too with tongue dangling like a rabid lunatic.

‘Single’ life ‘aint all candy bars and rainbows. Sorry it is candy bars; and lot’s of strong coffee like the paste my partner concocts each ‘mor. I mean mmmmm. ‘I love you honey.’

I am so grateful for how close these years have brought me to these girls and mostly proud of my accomplishments, but I have missed and will continue to miss, so very much.

I guess you could say my heartache has inspired me to at least help others avoid similar paths. Whenever they aren’t here, all I do is think of them. At least I can be doing something in their absence that they have inspired, because that is what they have been to me since the moment I first held them or even talked to them in their mommy’s belly. My inspiration. My purpose.

Where once I fancied being famous, called crap on social media, or to be chased by neurotic photographers, now all I want is to be a dad and anything in life that provides me the freedom and peace of mind to be a better father to my children.

I was at the family court house the other day – my nightmare away from home these past few years. As I entered, an elderly woman, perhaps a grandmother or 30 something mom who hasn’t slept in years, said to the police officers as she exited, that ‘this place might just be the most depressing there is.’ I couldn’t agree more.

Why does it have to be this way? All parents deserve better. The children especially.

I love you girls. Sleep well. Virtual kisses and hugs.

Let’s Begin (Again) ♪

Day 1

Part 1 – Who am I? But not totally.

Chapter 1: Ramblings

Listen to the Audio Track

Because I am rather drawn by stories narrated in an English accent, I imagined this tale as if red oh by say Hugh Grant or the lovely Emma Thompson. Well, since I have always loved the name Emma, we’ll go with Ms. Thompson then and assume me a girl instead of a boy because well, it is my imagination and with it I can do whatever the bloody hell I want right?

Let’s carry on then, Ms. Thompson.

I’m a girl.

~

Usually when one reads a tale identified as based on true life, those events have already occurred. A writer hears of something that catches their attention, they seek the rights to said story and the rest is history. Er the past.

I have always been a peculiar girl. In my head. I started talking to animals at a young age and could easily spend hours alone with nature or with plenty of drawing materials, letting my imagination run wild. I’ve learned to mask my peculiarity as I have grown to seem mostly normal, but to do anything in a ordinary fashion still bores me enough to be a little more open to being thought the fool. Age and all of our impending dooms seem to do that as years pass and dreams remain locked up in ones bored brain.

So in the spirit of my lifelong oddness and in a fashion traditional to my life’s story as it has thus far occured, this tale based on true facts, has not yet happened.

I have long dreamed of being so many things. A professional hockey player, an animator for Walt Disney, a teacher, a coach, a famous actress, a regarded writer, an inventor, entrepreneur, someone who others would be inspired by, but mostly as my 20’s were coming to an end, I dreamed of being a husband and a father.

Well, there you have it. We must pass the auditory baton over to Mr. Grant because well, it is important that I tell this tale as a father because as a former husband, it is the struggles of fatherhood that have brought me to where I am today. Imagining my future as if it has already happened to well, determine if this dream that I carry is a good fit for my girls and our futures together as father and daughters.

I am a boy.

As I make my way to the mid-forties mark, I have long come to the conclusion that the most important beings on this earth that I want to inspire or be regarded by, are my two girls. My eldest is almost 11 going on 16, and my youngest is soon to be 9 and thankfully, for a dad embracing two childhood’s slipping away far faster than I would like, going on 9.

As early teenage years sneak in, I am also quickly realizing much to my dismay, that I would rather ensure I raise two respecting, caring and giving girls than a couple of little bugger’s. So, being liked all the time is something I am slowly coming to grips with not being as concerned about. I think I am winning that argument and perhaps it’s the only confrontation I will triumph over in the next 10 years. I am sure at some point they will tell me they hate me not unlike similar words spoken to my own mum, which of course translated to I loved her more than I love you could possibly portray. I hated her for caring and sticking by me always in spite of me being a little explicit b-word. I always had a little trouble communicating my feelings.

Did I mention a house full of girls? Right. I’ll get to my now extended family a bit later then.

I am a boy. Yes I know I said that already as well as saying I was a girl. I know I am a man and an aging, greying, slower moving one at that but the greatest gift aside from the pure, forgiving and absolute love my two beautiful girls have given me, is helping me find the boy inside again.

My grandfather often talked about keeping in touch with the child within and himself, enjoyed an occasional cartoon to his end just a few days shy of his 99th birthday. Like the time we re-lived seeing Song of the South together when I was a child, after I found a copy on VHS via the internet. We sat in his 16th floor flat and watched it together like a couple of school boys, before grandchildren made their way into our lives.

I believe I am man enough when called upon to be a mature and leading adult, but I like the man I am becoming more as I remember the boy and how imagination, hope and belief in self ran rampant in his otherwise randy little loins.

Of course, being a man means you need a job and any one at that to keep a roof over our heads, peanut butter and jelly on the table and clothed enough not to appear a ratty mess. One just can’t quit to pursue far-fetched dreams. I have no regrets for the employment position I find myself in as a mostly uneducated 40-something. I actually have a really good job. Two in fact.

Divorce is grand.

Freedom of Succession

Day 1

Part 1 – Who am I?  But not totally.

Chapter 6: Freedom of Succession

At what point can we justify to ourselves that it is okay to move on – quit something if you will? Whether marriage, employment, friendships, volunteer work, or just about anything else.

The joke at a party usually heard is ‘nobody likes a quitter’, when they ask you if you’d like a fag. “Oh no, I’ve since quit.” Of course, no longer coughing actual lung bits into the loo is a good thing.

Not waking up in random places unclothed is rather desirable when one decides to quit drinking. At least a two-four, as they call it in Canada, over a game of cards.  Your liver loves a quitter.

Our bodies also appreciate a giver upper. Like  that moment we show it a little love and axe the breakfast of champions in exchange of fruit and a glass of O.J.  rather than a chocolate bar, a bag of nacho chips and an extra large double double.

Your heart fancies a quitter I’ll bet, that moment one exchanges lounging in a lazy boy for months on end watching romantic comedies while slurping from a Big Gulp full of cola after a hard breakup,  for a walk to the park with a friend even to oogle dreamily at some passerby who might suit your fancy.

See? Quitting is grand.

I guess as maturity has set in, at least I think it has aside from writing in an English accent or dancing in the mini-van like an idjit with my girls, I have come to realize that the only time quitting is a bad thing for us is when we do it because of poor planning, or our own disbelief in ourselves whether in our abilities or our worth.

I have little regret really. I am of the belief that things in life happen for a reason and in the end I have had a great life so far, but there are decisions I have made that have somewhat haunted me a bit and remain reminders should I find myself in similar situations.

I was once accepted to one of the best schools in the world for studying animation. I had to work at it for a year in a course that helps you build up your portfolio, but I was focused and made that long time dream of studying that magical artform a reality. However not long into my studies, I let poor planning and disbelief in myself get the better of me. That and the thought of moving 2500 miles away from my family has served as a recurring theme in my life of fearing the unknown.

I visited a friend in California who had graduated from the same program that very year, who landed a job with Dreamworks – indeed a tale all of its own, smashing my rental car to bits and all. I spent 9 mostly memorable days in California exploring much by myself, realizing now far too late that I would have loved that working adventure so very much. I would have met many new people as I always do and hey, I enjoy my alone time anyway. What a time it would have been because being there, helped me paint that unknown picture.

Quitting a job is simple. That from someone 19 years into his current employment role. You find another job and quit the other one. As long as you are set for finances and have done your best to judge the longevity of that role, it’s all you can do. What makes quitting hard is not having confidence in yourself to move on. Not seeing your worth and some companies have a way of assisting you with that lack of value in self. Like suddenly needing a college diploma for a role you have done for most of your adult years. I am not sure what college teaches you about clicking a mouse but it does have me quite curious.

The lack of a certificate or diploma can really play on you.  That is something I would like to alter.

I want to do more with my professional life but how those decisions affect my family must be top of mind. My elected position has certainly helped guide me down the path of a possible next chapter.

There are many other things I need to quit. I need to quit the van with the VHS player because well, it’s played its dues and it has a VHS player. I need to quit this house and start new memories with my extended family but that’s been a hard move to make. I love my neighborhood and my first home and money is yet to be growing on the stately trees on our old street.

Most of all, I must quit getting stepped on and be more assertive. There is being a nice bloke and then there is being walked all over by a gaggle of running mustaches.

I have worried about what others thought of me all of my life too so there is that. I think I have put that to bed with my Tops and Trends teddy bear and Mickey Mouse clock though. It’s nice to finally be in this place.

Bugger off then. There is enough judgement in my own noggin’ never mind nonsense from you.

I am trying really hard to listen for my souls succession but it isn’t easy. This summer was to be about reflection for me so I will let these remaining weeks play out, and listen closely to the many voices crowding my cranium.

Is that a running mustache?

Running_Moustache