Posted in advice

The Need for Forgiveness

Today is my dad’s birthday, so I went to the cemetery to put some flowers on his grave.  His death has not been easy, and the breakdown he and I had 4 years ago makes it even harder.  It is one of the reasons that I write so much about forgiveness and patience.  We had a falling out from what I believe was a misunderstanding that got out of hand.  I lost my temper and said things I wish I could take back, all because it didn’t seem like what I was saying or texting were being understood.  After I blew up, my parents were mad at me, and made it clear through my brother, kids, and my friends that never wanted to see or talk to me again.

Over the years that passed I felt like I was trying to reach out to apologize.  My kids would always go over to visit them, which I did stop for a little bit, because my kids were coming back with stories that were not true, and I had proof to support it.  I would send my mom a birthday gift every year, and the gift I would get was to keep up with a tradition we started before our fight.  I got my dad a gift for his birthday about 4 weeks after our fight, and because it was from me, he sent it back with my kids.  Two years later I got him another gift, and he kept that one.  He did not make it another year, and he passed away on my 40th birthday.

When I went to the hospital he had already passed, and that was the first time I had really seen him in 4 years.  When I saw my mom at the hospital, we agreed it was time to put everything behind us.  Just to be clear, I was responsible for that fight, and I should not have lost my cool.  I just wish my parents would have accepted my olive branches and forgiven me before my father passed.  I don’t know what I could have done differently because I felt like I was respecting their wishes by staying away. 

While I do not feel guilty, because I believe I did everything I could to patch things up.  It doesn’t change the fact that I wish I had a better last memory of my father alive.  All of the places I looked for what to do, really only addressed parent and grown children problems, from the child cutting off the parent and not the other way around.

I tell you this story, because if you are the parent of an adult child seeking your forgiveness, please do.  Because tomorrow is not guaranteed for any of us.  You may pass before patching things up with your child, or worse, your child may pass before you.  Unfortunately, time machines do not exist, and the only time you really have is now.  Leaving this world with anger on your heart is no way to go, so just let it go, what do you have to lose in rebuilding a bridge instead of leaving the rubble.  My dad is finally at peace, it just would have been nice to say “Hello” on last time.

Posted in perspective

Stronger

Life isn’t fair, and sure as hell isn’t easy.  But we are not defined by the obstacles, but by the triumph, or failure.  Failure is a lot harder, and when we fail, rarely do we do we acknowledge that we just weren’t good enough.  Humility is rarely the response to failure; the response tends to be excuses.  Not that the opponent was just better, but that we weren’t playing at our hardest, we were tired, we had a lot on our minds, or whatever we can think of.

But what if we accepted that we just weren’t good enough, and in the acknowledgement, we got back up, trained harder, studied more, or practiced intensely.  We can only get better by first accepting our short comings and work to build ourselves up, no matter what the problem.  Excuses only allow us to stay the same and never get better.  If we never get better, we will never grow and we will never move on or up.

The harder the trials, the more we have to work, and once we beat one trial, life will throw another one at us.  It never gets easier; it only gets harder.  Yesterday was easy, today is hard, and tomorrow will be a beast.  No matter how hard it gets, we can never give up, there are other people counting on us.  Whether they be a spouse, kids, friends or co-workers, we are not islands and everything we do ripples to someone. 

The good news is that we are not alone, we have friends and family, who may not always be able to help us, but will be willing to try.  And in dire situations, there are hotlines, volunteers, outreach associations, charities and first responders that can be called.  No matter what life throws at you, never give up, and never be ashamed to ask for help, because you are loved.

Posted in perspective

The Minivan Contraption

In my mind this blog is not just a one-way street, where I post what I am thinking from day to day, but also a place where I may solicit advice or perspective from you, my readers.  I can dig my heels in on my thoughts and opinions, but I want to open my mind to be changed about things that I failed to see from the other side.  This will be the first, of many, of this type of post, and I think I will be calling this one “The Minivan Contraption.”

Back in 2006, our Ford Expedition had its transmission completely crap out, and it just made sense at this point to buy a new car.  And here is where I really stepped in it, I thought a minivan would be the perfect vehicle for our family.  A little bit of context, we had 4 children at the time with a fifth on the way, along with a mortgage, credit card debt, among all of the other responsibilities that come with a large family.

I never realized how much people hate minivans, apparently minivans are the chariot of the devil, or something.  I think there must have been roving bands of soccer moms just terrorizing neighborhoods with snacks and drinks.  Because somehow soccer moms and minivans go hand in hand, and no one wants to be associated with soccer moms.  Were these moms hosting soccer games in everyone’s front yards?

But I digress, I made the suggestion of a minivan, and my thinking was as follows:

  • Wife is pregnant, with kids aged 11, 9, 4, and 1 and minivans are low to the ground, so getting them in and out will be easy.
  • Minivan fully loaded costs as much a base model Nissan Armada or Toyota Sequoia (my wife’s preferred vehicles).
  • The gas mileage is about 10 to 15 miles more per gallon.
  • While the third row is up the trunk space is amazing (you can get 2 weeks’ worth of luggage for 7 people in there).
  • And the most important, the 11 and 9-year-old will be sitting in the third row and minivans in 2007 were way more comfortable than any SUV where you get the total exhilaration of having your knees in your chin while the car goes over every bump imaginable.

Now I did ask for a different perspective on this and the only answer I ever got is, “I don’t want to be a soccer mom.  Needless to say, we ended up with the minivan, and my wife drove it until I wrecked my Honda Civic in 2010 and I have had the Odyssey ever since.  This car is damn near bulletproof, and I love it, when I am done with it is going only to the crusher.  I went to the extent of re-painting it, re-upholstering it, and upgrading the sound system.  Honestly, for a sound system, this Odyssey is excellent for balancing the sound evenly around the car, and you can centralize the sub-woofer in the middle of the middle row.

But help me out, in the comments below, please let me know why there is so much hate for minivans, they just seem like a really practical car.