Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Reflections

Hey! It's Christmas Time, a year ending with a New Year about to begin. Yep, it's just around the corner. This time of year is a time of reflection. Looking back over the course of the last year and looking forward to, hopefully, a bright future.

Don't Laugh at me! I know, with a blog I tend to 'reflect' on things all year long right? I don't know if this blog will be any more or any less than the multitude of blogs I have written over the course of the last year. I do know that, like always, I've got some things to say. :)

I've been thinking about a lot of things lately, I suppose I should say 'reflecting' so that I can maintain a sense of continuity in my text, but then again I'm not exactly writing a novel here. Though it is shaping up to be quite a memoir, its amazing to think that I've chronicled my divorce, in a very personal way. Who I was, what I went through, and how it all changed me.

As much as it felt like my life ended in March of 2006 when my wife left, taking my children 2000 miles away from me, it felt like just two years later my life began anew. The two year custody battle/divorce took a lot out of me, physically and emotionally and it all paid off in the end.

Sure, I am rehashing a few things that I've been talking about for what? Years now? Well, I am reflecting on 2008 right now, and this is the year that all ended. This is the year that I finalized my divorce, this is the year I maintained primary custody of my kids in a very permanent way, this is the year I moved back out on my own, the year I really dated for the first time, in a very strong sense, in 2008, I took my life back.

Wow, that was a crazy ton of commas.

I've said this before, but I must restate it. I do not regret anything, and I would not change anything about my life. Sure, having tons of money would be great, a college degree at this point perhaps? As hard as it is at times, and as much as I don't appreciate some of the things that have happened in my life, I love who I am, I love who my kids are and I love the potential we have.

One thing in particular has been on the edge of my thoughts this year. My Dad. It feels really weird to say that, even in conversation when chatting with my brother online, I say 'your sister' before I correct myself and say 'our', or 'your dad', before I say 'our dad'. My Dad.

I'm not sure what the future holds, and if we do get back in touch, I'm not sure where it will go, if anywhere. Having only met him twice so far in my life, and the last time being 14-15 years ago, I’m going to say it’s not looking too good.

Just recently I heard a story that reinforced my desire to develop communication between my Dad, Brother and Sister. This happened to my Friend, or more specifically his wife, and I obtained permission to retell the story in my blog.

Let me start by saying this is mostly 2nd hand information, having heard most of it from Russ and not directly from Yvonne, so if someone who knows better than what I've said, forgive any errors. I am mostly retelling it because A) Its a very interesting story and B) reminds me how important it is to not let time slip away.

A little background, Yvonne's parents are crazy, as is her sister. By parents I mean her Mom and Step-Dad. From what I garnered while we were in high school together, they sounded ridiculously unbalanced and it only seems to have gotten worse over time. Well it seems like Yvonne really liked her real dad, but her mom didn't let him be in her life. Recently, having moved back into the area, she looked him up in the phone book and sent off a Christmas card to someone she thought 'might' be him.

Ok, that’s some background information, it was approximated that Yvonne hasn't seen her real dad in 20 years.

Well, Russ works at FedEx Kinko's in Moscow. A Woman came in the other day that wanted copies made of her husband's scrapbook that was used at his wake. He passed away in 2005, of cancer.

While they were copying this, they were looking at some of the things this guy had done and he had started the local board gaming club (which still goes on every Friday nights) and he helped start a local Renaissance fair of some kind. He seemed pretty cool.

Well, as they were finishing it Russ gets a call from the woman that brought in the work. She indicates that she is at Russ's house talking to his wife and wants him to just bring the stuff home with him.

Yep, I think the rest is obvious. This man, coincidentally, was Yvonne's real dad. While she was getting these copies made she went to meet Yvonne for the first time, because she had gotten Yvonne's Christmas card in the mail. This was Yvonne’s first time meeting her step-mother that she probably never knew existed.

Now, I think this is a pretty amazing story. But the inherent tragedy in it is unfortunate. Yvonne's dad passed away three years ago. On a lighter note, considering her dad's achievements and interests I think we can all understand how Yvonne fell for a huge gamer geek like Russ!

So like I said at the beginning of that story, its important to not let time slip away. Sad that it can slip by you so easily.

My brother just got his drivers license, my sister graduated from high school, I believe she is pregnant now. I can't picture my dad's face, and when I see pictures of him I am looking at a stranger. I saw a picture of, who I can only imagine is my dad's mother, my Grandmother. A woman I have never met. Like I said above, I don't regret anything and I would go back and change anything in my life. But imagine how much more I'm going to miss, just how much more can slip away, if I don't do something about it? And if I don't step up and do something about it now, will I finally have a regret, will this time next year, or five years from now, will I be wallowing in self pity because of my own inaction, saying I would take my procrastination back for anything in the world?

This is getting kind of long and it’s getting kind of late. Its officially been Christmas Eve for 2 hours and 10 minutes (at the moment I wrote this paragraph anyway). I just finished wrapping the presents.

I am holding everything hiding from friends, family and Santa, and late tonight when my kids fall asleep I’m going to move it all down under the empty tree and perform some Christmas magic while they still believe.

We started making sugar cookies tonight; we will bake them tomorrow and make red and green frosting to frost them with. I bought a collection of cookies cutters to help us out too. Aside form measuring the ingredients they did all the work, from pouring stuff in to using the mixer. It was a lot of fun. I can't wait until the messy part when we do the frosting!

Santa's got to have his cookies YO HO HO (Pirate Santa Claus?)

I've done something crazy to mark our first Christmas in this new phase of our life. Instead of spending Christmas Eve with my grandparents we are doing our own Christmas Eve here in our own place, doing Christmas morning here as well and then going down to my grandparents if the weather permits.

I planned out Steaks for our Christmas Eve Dinner; they are in the refrigerator marinating as I type this. A very basic breakfast on Christmas morning, something easy to cook, yet delicious (thank you Jimmy Dean). Then hopefully dinner at my Grandparents, but if not, then we will have some stir fry because that’s what I've got lol.

I love my children very much, and I love all my friends and family as well. I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas.

Jason, Lord of the Dance

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