Thankful Thoughts and Things…

Well. In the spirit of keeping up with holiday topics and whatnot… and trying to get back into the swing of blogging things… Suppose now is a good time to reflect lightly over the last year and make you sappy about loving your family.

This time last year I was still living in Maryland, Marie and the kiddos had already moved across the country to be in Washington but I was job hunting while maintaining the job I had out there, teaching photojournalism to the military, a job I wish I had blogged more during, as it was a ton of fun and produced a lot of great memories.

But, being 2,200 miles from my daughter and hitting the start of what turned out to be the end of a relationship around the holidays was, well, terrible.

This is one of those times where I write and delete 12 different facts about how crappy I felt, deciding which facts to share and which to keep to myself. I was unhappy, missing mainly my little girl, who’s birthday party I also missed just a few weeks prior, save for a 5″ phone screen and Skype… and was about to be alone for Thanksgiving.

I was hitting an emotional life low. Then something pretty cool happened.

Some friends from work invited me over for Thanksgiving. It was a real kind of turning point for me in dealing with the distance. People I worked with became family. Bennie Davis, who has become a very good friend since, offered me a spot at his family’s table for the holidays.

We went from being work friends to, in the months that followed, becoming pretty close friends.

I learned to reach out to those around me. Which is something I don’t do often. I’ll normally keep things kind of hidden, maybe talk about things a little with those close to me, but, I try and put on a pretty good charade and not push my problems off on other people. It’s just part of who I am. But I needed people to be around, and the people I worked with stepped up, probably somewhat unknowingly, and were there for me. (For the record, that’s not a creepy, “I was in their bushes” kind of unknowingly… just so we are clear)

It has been a rough year for sure. But even as I go through the stressful days here and now dealing with everything I am going through and learning to be a part-time dad, I force myself to keep those memories close. The nights sitting alone in an apartment dwelling on my solitude, drinking more than I should have, missing my daughter terribly… That sucked a lot.

Getting to spend time with good people, that wasn’t so bad. And it got me through an otherwise terrible time.

So, onto the less dramatic and more positive thoughts… cause just writing about it is bumming me out:

Out of that down slope of a time came some really good friends, people I am still very thankful to have in my life, even if they are on the opposite side of the country, we made some great memories and I’m sure I’ll see them all again at some point.

As a lot of my friends and family know, I took a job in Seattle that has had its challenges for sure. But in the end, it has taught me a lot of things, good and bad, about working in the corporate world. It gave me the chance to get to the West coast and get back to my little girl and my family. It pays me pretty well and even though times are tough, the paycheck is keeping me afloat. Whether I stay or find other employment that maybe suits me better, I’m still thankful for getting this position.

After the separation, I went hunting for my own place, and realized that the cost of living in the Seattle area has gotten just ridiculous. So much so that it was cheaper to just buy a house than it was to rent… So I did that.

20151116_171709.jpgGot my own house, where I can do whatever I want, and if, say, a dog named Fletch wanted to wreck up the downstairs bathroom when he is kept in it for a day because he can’t stay off the counters…. I wouldn’t have to worry about the repairs, I can just do them myself. Like, patching torn up drywall spots and wrecked blinds and door molding repairs…. Just in theory of course.

 

I wanted to murder him just a little bit…

I digress.

I’m thankful for the support system of a family I have out here. I wish my dad could be closer, but I’m planning to make some trips down in the spring and summer next year. At least I’m on the same coast as him now.

In light of all the craziness that has been the last probably 8 months, I managed to meet this new lady in my life… who is pretty amazing. I’m really thankful for her. She’s Canadian, but not the “12-year-old boy imaginary girlfriend” kind of Canadian. Being Canadian doesn’t actually matter, I just like to point it out and crack a joke whenever possible.

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That’s Kyla. My selfie game is not as on point with an actual DSLR… but I still really like this photo. An older lady stopped us in the wine store while I was up there visiting to tell us we were the most adorable couple she had seen in weeks. So, we are gross like that. It’s pretty awesome.

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More on her later, but we met at a time when I needed a strong shoulder to lean on… and I’m pretty sure she works out.

Man, my dad jokes are getting better.

Anyways. Getting to the point and wrapping everything up, it has been a really rough year, and for the most part I’m glad it is almost over. I think things are starting to be on an upswing, although there are still lots of challenges to overcome; that’s just kinda how life works.

Never get ahead, always gettin’ kept down by the man…

It can be really hard sometimes, but ya gotta find the good in the bad and learn to reach out to and lean on those around you. That’s what I am most thankful for and kind of the whole point of this post I suppose. In my shitty dark days, even when I didn’t want it, there have been people there for me. And I’m thankful for them.

Even though I can’t enjoy all of their company, like all my East coast friends and family, my pops, Kyla’s family, all my friends here at home, all the people I’ve known and become friends with throughout my time in the military; I could fill a banquet hall with all the great people I have met in the last almost ten years of life… and how great would it be if we could all hang out at once?! Anyways, even though I can’t be around them all this Thanksgiving, I’ll be thinking about them more than usual, they have all had a hand in shaping who I am and how I’ve gotten through some bad times, and helped create some really great memories in the good times. Thank you all for being there for me. I love each and every one of ya.

Alright, enough sappy crap. Go eat turkey and drink beer.

Stay close, more coming soon///

 

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The Best Feeling Ever? Being a Dad.

This is going to be a hard post to write. How do you explain the experience of becoming a dad? Amazing. Intense. Emotional. Awesome. All of the above for 500 please, Alex.

So, if you are keeping track of every post, you know Amelia Renee Williams is finally here. If you aren’t keeping track of every post…. Amelia Renee Williams is finally here. Now you know. And she is amazingly perfect. Healthy, cute and coming in at 9.3 pounds when born and 22″ long, she is a “my sized” baby. Keep in mind, I’m 6’5”… big is normal. Poor Marie had to deliver her though….

   Marie went into labor about 11:30 at night on Wednesday. At 3:07 PM on Thursday, November 8th of 2012, Amelia finally decided to make her grand appearance into the world. I would like to proudly say that I ended up getting a pretty front row seat to everything, the midwives at the hospital had me kinda holding a leg and being RIGHT there, so I watched her…. pop out, for a gently put description. I handled it like a champ, it really wasn’t as gross or dramatic (ok, well, it was dramatic, it’s BIRTH, but grossly dramatic is what I mean) as everyone makes it out to be. They wrangled her out, the cord got caught around her neck (just like her daddy when I was born) flipped her around like baby wrangling pros, and set her on Marie. I lost. My. Mind, people.

(sorry about the shirt, this is what happens when she goes into labor at 11
at night, pajama top and jeans over pajama bottom… it’s a cartoon reference
of the movie Braveheart, for everyone’s understanding…)

   I have never experienced such emotion in my entire life. There was an overwhelming flood of love and excitement. I did everything I could to keep it together and remain “manly” but within a few seconds I was crying. They asked me if I wanted to cut the cord and even though I know it’s not going to squirt blood everywhere and flail around like a fire hose, I decided against cutting through veins and organy stuff. My response to the midwife was “I’ve done pretty good with everything else, but that’s not really my thing.” or something very close. She chuckled, but I was dead serious. That’s the only thing that totally weirded me out through it all… cut the cord….. eeesh.

   As they picked Amelia up to take her over to the table to clean her up and check her out, one of the midwives told me I could go over to her if I wanted. Of course I did, but I was still holding Marie’s leg. So after sorting out what to do with a leg post-birth and no stirrup… I headed over to her.

It’s interesting that mother nature, or God, or science or whatever, creates such an emotional response in a man. The woman has to go through labor and all that, so you would expect some sort of a chemical trigger or emotion that would cause them to bond on sight. But I wouldn’t have thought that kind of a process happens in a man. Going into it all I knew when I saw her for the first time that I would be excited and filled with love, but I had no idea what I was in for. It was the most intense experience of my life. I stood there staring down at a life that I had created. I am responsible for. This tiny little person (for lack of a better word) belongs to me. The nurse guy wrapped her up and handed her off to me. And I was a step away from bawling. Completely overcome with excitement, love, joy, contentment, amazement…. I suddenly understood exactly what a father’s love for his daughter meant. Unexplainable, overpowering and insanely intense emotion. Holding her for the first time, I was overcome with a sense of peace and happiness. I was absolutely instantly in love with her.

   We are now five days in. I have changed all but three of her diapers, I figure I shouldn’t short Marie of all the fun. I did, however, hog her the first day home though. Marie’s mother Kathy is staying with us visiting from Hawaii, she’s all but drop kicking me to free up her granddaughter for a few minutes to be able to hold her.

   Holding my little girl is already when the universe becomes still for me. Every time I look down at her in my arms, my soul is quiet, happy and content. She may be in the middle of a crying fit and it’s 2:30 in the morning, but I’m happy just holding her and getting to go through being a dad. Being her dad. It’s an unexplainable feeling and the more I try to find words, the cheesier it seems to get. But the seemingly intense cheesiness is as close as I can get. Like everyone who has kids had told me about the feeling I’d get the first time I saw her and every time I look at her, you just have to experience it.

   Well, I suppose it’s time to go get some sleep while I have the chance. We’ll be up in a couple of hours trying to get a five-day-old infant through yet another life shattering dirty diaper crisis. Honestly though, lucky for us, she is pretty mild-mannered. She only gets bent out of shape long enough for us to figure out what’s wrong and fix it, then she’s back to being happy.

   Time for bed. Can’t believe she’s finally here. It’s awesome and I am already trying to savor every second of it. More coming soon, stay close…

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The Cheetus Fetus and a Quick Recap

 

Well, it’s been three weeks since a real post here on Doing It Daddy Style. I guess a combination of vacation, general life busyness and a severe traffic jam of ideas in my brain have all kept me from making real progress here… Which is kinda also what this post is; that idea traffic jam spilled onto the screen. We’ll call it a quick catch-up.

 

The progress of our wee-fetus? Currently at 20 weeks. . .  We have come up with some great names based on my iPhone’s app telling us all the technical happenings in the week-by-week development.

 

Last week we found out that there is this “…cheese-like substance starting to cover [our] baby…called Vernix.”

 

Armed with this knowledge, a conversation ensued that ended with the new nickname “The Cheetus. The cheesy Fetus Mom-to-be’s know and love.” To be read in the (no pun intended) cheesiest sales announcer voice you can muster.

 

It has also been brought to my attention by Marie that Noah is apparently out of the running for a boy name. We made it five months under the premise of this being the name. And now it’s out. Cue my mother’s ‘I told you so’ on the never-ending name game. I thought we were doing well with such name desiciveness so early.

 

The biggest issue that surrounds this picking of the boy name is that it has to flow verbally with the middle name Dale. It’s become a pass down along my father’s side of the family… So, I am casually doomed to using it. Not that I mind in anyway, it’s just kind of a crunchy name to pair with something else when said.

 

And now that our wee-cheetus can hear, I have been giving it updates on the world every once in a while. Mostly I inform s/he of the things that it won’t be doing, such as talking back, not eating vegtables, throwing tantrums. . . . My kid is going to be a perfect angel. I tell it all about the latest events around the house, like the dogs licking their butts and such. My kid is in the know in the most local of news.

 

Another week and a half and we’ll know the gender. More than excited to know either way. We should have found out by now, but thanks to the Navy medical system and an “employee” that sits at the scheduling desk with the phone off the hook….. it took two and a half weeks JUST to get an appointment scheduled.

On the plus side, when they do look to see what’s happening in the Cheetus Nether regions, there will be much less question one way or the other.

 

Here in the U.S. we had Father’s day this past Sunday. It was awkward getting texts and phone calls with people telling ME happy Father’s Day.

 

“Oh yeah, that’s right . . . “ was my average response. It’s not that I forgot my kid, it’s that I forgot this day finally applies to me.

 

The father of a Cheetus. Wonder if I could get a bumper sticker or a shirt with that on it. Instead of “Proud Dad-to-be…” I could advertise my “Proud Parent of a Wee-Cheetus” status. Like an honor roll, but cheesier.

 

Well, having not really said anything useful thus far, I suppose it’s time to wrap this post up. Back to the name drawing board (BOO! sound effects from the crowd in my brain… ) and counting down the days until the 26th when we get our ultrasound. Gender defined shopping, here we come. Keep close, more coming. . . .

 

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Sweet Emotions, Like an Onion in My Pocket . . .

So.

   Gonna be a DAD. It keeps hitting me at random times. And when it hits me I am forced to swallow the pit I get in my throat and try not to get all teary. I’m a man. The only time I cry is when I’m dicing jalapenos and onions with karate chops for a delicious dip. (That’s not even true, I have an AMAZING chopper/cutter/dicer thingie-ma-doo that I LOVE. Seriously guys, this thing rocks, but anyways, back to the point)

   I have never had an experience where just the thought of it gets my eyes all watery. I am so overwhelmed with love and excitement for this kid already. But it can come at the, not best, of times.

   I am a wedding photographer. Well, I am an anything people photographer, but I was shooting a wedding this weekend and it hit me again, while shooting the parent/children dances. The mother/daughter, mother/son and in particular, the father/daughter. I watched as both of them in every dance are overcome with emotion and love for the other.  It didn’t help that they had songs like “Butterfly Kisses” playing and all I could think about was holding my kid for the first time. My eyes were getting all watery, my chin was wobbling like an elephant on a tight rope. It was a sudden madhouse of emotion in my head. The people watching hopefully didn’t notice  ME…. “I think the photographer is a little unstable. He started crying during the dances . . . . . a little odd, that one. . . .”

   It made me realize that while I would love my child regardless of its gender, ( well, regardless of anything but for the sake of my next statement we’ll go with the simple statement of regardless of gender)  I am incapable of wrapping my head around how much I would love and in a sense fear for having a little girl, and I think it’s one of the reasons I want a boy.

   With a boy, you want them to get out there and experience the world. Fall off the bike, eat the dirt, ask the girl out, “learn to accept rejection, boy, that’s called the harsh reality of life and unless you want to be a pansy your whole life, you better learn to deal with it.”

   Toughen them up for the world. It’s rough out there and you have to get ready for it.

   But, with a little girl, it seems to be such an opposite concept. I’ll want to run next to the bike to keep her safe, put a blanket over the dirt for all her dolls and keeping her clothes clean and dating isn’t an option until she’s 20 and even then they aren’t leaving the house until I’ve gotten the background check on that boy back from the FBI. (It’s ok, they can leave now, I’ll just wear a dark outfit and sit in the back of the theater with a flashlight ready for that hand to creep up in a stretching position. “HANDS OFF, BUD. . . .”)

   I think one of the reasons, maybe subconsciously, that us guys want a little boy is that, at least the way I see it, the fear of that extra emotional need to shield a little girl from the harshness and hurt that is, or can be, life.  That’s a terrifying responsibility that you HAVE to fail at if you want your kid to grow up and function in the world. The only way to call it a success is how you allow it to happen; if you manage to make it to certain ages before certain realities occur.

   Either way, boy or girl though, I can’t help but get a little choked up every time I think about it. I am going to be a Dad. I have looked forward to having kids since I was like 14. It’s an exciting thought. Yeah, there’s the first year where it’s just changing diapers and being up for, well, what I hear is pretty much the entire year. But then you get a little buddy to do stuff with. Someone who thinks you are one of the two coolest people in the whole world.

   See, even now, getting all emotional over it.

   Dammit. I need to carry an onion and cream cheese in my pocket at all times.

Co-worker: “What’s wrong with you?”

Me: “Oh, nothing, these onions get me every time”

Co-worker: “You keep onions in your pocket?”

Me: “Never know when you’ll need to make a good party dip…”

Co-worker (walking away): “So weird. . . . I hope he doesn’t take ME hostage when he loses his mind…”

   Jokes aside. I am still discovering my excitement. I think I am excited, and then I realize, I hadn’t even realized, and that keeps happening over and over.

   But when things around me happen that involve my thinking about it being a girl, I get extra choked up. I have come to the realization that I do want a little girl, even more than I want a boy, BUT . . . I don’t know that I am ready for that extra feeling of responsibility. Boys are hardy. They are more like a test run for parenting a little girl because as a man I can relate more to him, he’ll be his own person I’m sure; but a boy is more like me, and a boy can handle a scratched knee and learn to outwit the kids when they make fun of him at school. A little girl, I’m going to be on the doorstep of those kids’ houses demanding apologies because no one is going to treat my little girl like that.

   Every kid gets put on a pedestal by their parents, boy or girl. But, the boys are more apt to fall off, take the pedestal apart and figure it out. A girl will sit there and proudly be.

   I’m not ready to have a daddy’s girl. Because I am too emotional I think. I’m never going to be able to say no to my little girl, and she’s going to get spoiled rotten and I’ll happily let her wrap me around her finger.  

   They say (you know, they, the all-knowing people we learn from on the internet) that when looking for a boyfriend or girlfriend, life-long kinda parter, we subconsciously look for someone like our opposite gender parent. I will want to spoil my little girl because that’s what her future husband should be compared to when she thinks of how she was treated as a kid and wants to be treated her whole life.

 

   If, by now in the post, you are still here, thanks for listening. This is a rambling post for sure, more meant to be a documenting the process and capturing my feelings in the now, kinda thing. It’s part of this blog’s purpose.

   So, as I continue to realize the concept that I guess is “A Father’s love . . . “ I’m sure I’ll have a few more posts just letting the world, mainly my family and friends, as well as those looking for a new Dad-to-be’s views and opinions, into my brain. I’ll make a “ramblings” category so you’ll know what you’re getting into before you even start the blog ;) Stay tuned!

 

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