While the last couple months or so have been full of wonderful events and happy memories, there is something that is bothering me. I have found that it has always helped to write about things when they bug me, so I am going to just throw a few thoughts out there to get them off my chest (in a round about way).
I’ve been able to really shut a lot of this out of my mind. I have been good about staying focused on the things that I can control and ignoring (in a sense) the things that I cannot control. I have put the negatives away (as much as possible) and tried to enjoy the positives. Every now and then, something happens and things “bubble over” and can make you break down. That happened today.
I was hurt today. Ok, I’ve been hurt quite a few times in the past few months. Let me say, that’s ok. I get it. I understand why and the catalyst behind it. I understand the way things are twisted and turned to make things seem like something they are not. Today, all the stuff just kind of hit me.
Today, as I held my one year old daughter before work. I looked into her eyes as she sat on my lap. She smiled as I put my hat on her head. She giggled as I sat with her. In that moment, I was reminded that this beautiful little girl has an unlimited amount of unconditional love for her daddy. I am perfect in her sight. I make her laugh. I am silly. I will be there to hold her when she hurts herself. I’m her hero. I’m her daddy and she loves me unconditionally.
As she grows, and there are rules to follow and disagreements, I know dad might make her angry. I hope that she will understand that those things are there to keep her safe and because I love her. I pray that she will never ever get to the point where she doesn’t want to see me or not be a part of my life anymore. That is a pain that is unbearable. It hurts terribly.
I don’t even know how to mend that fence. It’s kind of like the Biblical story of the prodigal son. I guess I just continue to love them and hope that one day the “prodigal sons” will return. One thing is for sure, my unconditional love for my children will never cease.
The saying goes, “Hindsight is 2020,” and many of us are rejoicing that 2020 is really truly behind us! I often wonder if you were to make a list of positives and negatives of the past year, would one outweigh the other? What about 10-15 years ago? Was that just as bad, but we only choose to remember the good things from that year? I don’t know the answers to those questions.
In talking with my youngest son this weekend, he was talking about the last year and listing all of the bad things from it. I told him that is really is easy to see the bad things, the negatives, or the sadness we experienced. I challenged him to try to find some positives among the negatives. As we drove back to my house, we were able to do that. I told him it isn’t always easy to find those positives, and sometimes there may not be any, but to always look for them.
December 31, 2019
As the world awaited 2020’s arrival there was great excitement. Many said, “This is going to be MY YEAR!” Others looked at the new year as a clean slate from 2019 (which they wanted to be over). I recalled the quote from country singer Brad Paisley, who said, “Tomorrow is the first blank page of a 365 page book, write a good one.” We looked at 2020 as a year of happiness, recovery, new opportunities, new adventures, and so much more! 2020 had other plans.
Looking back at 2020, the absolute high point was the birth of our daughter, Ella. NOTHING tops this moment! The blog announcing her birth was one of the most read of the year.
My first daughter. Daddy’s little girl. My wife, Sam, was just amazing throughout the delivery. It was the first time I had witnessed natural child birth and I was in awe of everything. My heart was overflowing with happiness. What a day!
This month, Sam and I were talking about what to do for her first birthday. With Covid, there is not a whole lot we can do. We are probably not going to throw the big party we wanted to, but we are working out plans for something special to mark the occasion.
I can’t even imagine if Ella had been born a few weeks later. By the time March arrived, the whole world was talking about Corona virus and Covid-19. Everything started to shut down in an attempt to “flatten the curve.” Our sleep labs closed and we were deployed to the hospital Labor Pool. During my time there, I heard stories and witnessed things I will sadly never forget. With a new baby at home, my constant worry was that I would bring it home to her. I eventually snapped. The doctor called it Acute Stress Disorder and she took me off work. I was out on FMLA for 6 weeks.
Finding the positive in a negative – I got to spend 6 weeks with my daughter. There are countries that allow both parents to stay home with their newborn child for a year when they are born. I wish the United Stated allowed that. There are so many wonderful moments that happen in that first year. It is a shame that we have to go back to work while our babies are still so young.
Another positive: As the curve flattened, I officiated my first wedding for my friend, Theresa from high school. To say I was nervous is an understatement, but all went well and I didn’t mess anything up too bad. It was nice to see other friends from high school at the wedding, too. It was a bit weird, as there were many masks in the crowd, but that had kind of become the “norm.”
Division and hate
2020 brought more division and more hate. There has always been division in politics, but it seems that both parties hatred for each other was over the top. I’ve heard a lot of mudslinging in ads, but the stuff being said was brutal. The politicians seem to have forgotten who they are supposed to be representing and working for – the people of the country!
Everyone was offended by everything in 2020. Social media was full of arguments, name calling, and much more. Really, the media just continued to “feed” the public and make everyone more angry than they were to begin with. Jim Morrison of the Doors once said, “Whoever controls the media, controls the mind.” Noam Chomsky takes it a little further:
I had to finally stop watching the news, and scroll past so many posts from friends. I couldn’t take it. It is totally ok for you to be passionate about your beliefs and your political stance. If it is different than my stance or beliefs, that’s ok, too. You and I can agree to disagree. I was saddened that so many friendships were broken because of the difference of opinion. Friendships that have lasted 30+ years ended because of this, and that breaks my heart. If only more people thought like Thomas Jefferson:
Blog Milestones and Hits and Misses
In 2020, I celebrated two years of blogging. I wrote my 300th blog. I still wrote many movie blogs and music blogs. The music blogs slowed as I started to neglect Tune Tuesday. I tried something new with Friday Movie Quotes, but that didn’t seem to go over too well, so I stopped. Most of my blogs were ramblings about my life and of course, my daughter.
The other blog that got a lot of views was my recent blog about the loss of my friend, and high school band director, Tom Shaner. I posted a link to this on my Facebook, and his daughter also shared it, so many people I didn’t even know read it. I received a private message from his brother who told me that he really appreciated my blog and how it enlightened him on the impact he had on his students. When I finished writing that blog, I didn’t think it did him any justice, but that private message proved otherwise.
As I look back on 2020, I see life’s “circle.” The high point of the year was the birth of my daughter, while the low point of the year was the passing of my friend, Tom. Life and death. A new life enters the world, while an old one leaves the world. Happiness and sadness. As life moves on, the circle continues. We see new births and new deaths.
A pastor once told me that birth is the beginning of death. You begin to die the moment you are born. There is truth to that. So as we look on the new “book” that is 2021, and we begin to write on the blank pages, let’s try to remember the words of actor Michael Landon:
I am not going to lie, this past week has been a roller coaster of ups and downs. Whether or not there was more bad than good this week, I really can’t say. It “feels like” there was a bit more negatives, though, hence the “funk” I was in this morning. I am hoping that this blog will act as a “redirection” in my thinking.
I read an article a long time ago that talked about the “five to one” rule. I want to say that it was about relationships. The basic thing presented in the article was that in order for a person to get over a single “negative”, there needed to be at least five “positives” to counteract it.
Recently, my therapist has had me do something similar. Focus on the positives. Think of five positives, or five things that make me happy. Rather than just “think” about those things, I thought I would benefit from writing them out. The following may be simply a positive, something that made me happy, or a mixture of both.
1. Waking up next to my love
After a particularly stressful early part of the week, my sleep was a bit messed up. When this happens, I tend to wake up earlier than I intend to. As I lay next to my wife, I found myself thinking about how lucky I am. I watched her sleeping soundly and I found lost in thoughts about just how beautiful she is. In my mind, verses of poetry started to come so fast, I had to grab a piece of paper to write them down. I made sure to write them out and give them to her the next morning.
What an amazing blessing she has been to me! I am so lucky that I get to kiss her goodnight and good morning every day!
My ex used to question why I had so many Facebook friends. My friends on social media range from school friends to college friends, friends who work/worked in radio and television and friends who I met through working in radio. Then there are friends from the record industry, author friends, and friends from the entertainment industry. Then I have some co-workers and former co-workers and friends who share many of the same interests as me (movies, music, etc…). The majority of them I have met personally, while some of them I may not have.
Many opportunities have come to be because of “who I know”. I have continued to work for many high schools and middle schools DJing their dances because the teacher knows me. I became the voice of Ronnie, the RPM Auto Sales Super Hero, because of my friend at Fox 66 who thought I’d be perfect to be his voice. I landed a voice over gig on a national TV program because the host heard my voice on something I did for some friends.
This week, another possibility has presented itself to me. Details are sketchy at this point and I don’t know too much about it. A friend of mine passed along my name to someone and hopefully, this will be yet another one of those amazing things that I can attribute to “who I know”. Stay Tuned…..
3. Family Time
The weather hasn’t always cooperated with us this summer. Friday, however, was just perfect. Sam and I decided to pack the boys in the car and head to the zoo. There are a few small zoos close by (Saginaw and Frankenmuth), but she suggested the Potter Park Zoo in Lansing. I had never been there before, and the boys had never been either. It’s certainly not as large as the Detroit or Toledo Zoo, but it was still a very nice zoo.
Unlike the Detroit Zoo, there was plenty of shade. Temperatures were not an issue, as it was sunny and 70 – perfect! I can see where the shade would be especially nice on those 90 degree days! What I really liked about this zoo was how close we were able to get to the animals. When we walked in, there was a sign that said the Lions were not going to be outside. They were, however, inside, and we could see them up close through glass. It was awesome! They are much bigger than I imagined. When you see them from far away, you really don’t get to see just how big they are!
We all had such a great time!
4. Radio Time
This week, I got to work at both radio stations. Being in the studio makes me happy. I get to be creative and talk with listeners. Monday – Wednesday, I was on for George. I got to do his all-request 80’s lunch show. It’s always fun to see what the listeners want to hear. I love when they ask for those “forgotten favorites.” Friday, I was on for Lisa. She was out an an appearance and I was on air.
Today, I was live on the Moose. “Moosin’ around” is often what I call it. Today I got to catch up with a couple listeners who used to listen to me when I was here the first time years ago. I think that’s how you know you’ve made an impact – they remember you. They remembered a few of the silly bits I used to do when I was here before and it made me smile when the one listener reminded me of my “Accordion Awareness Month Updates!”
Some say radio is a dying business – I say “only if you are doing it wrong!”
I miss it!!
5. Sam’s check up
The best moment of the week was going with Sam to her OB appointment. It was just a check up, and she told me since I was running on little or no sleep that I should stay home and sleep. I wasn’t about to do that. I wanted to be there with her. The doc was running a little behind, as he had to deliver a baby earlier in the day. He came in, asked a few questions, discussed a few things, and then he let us hear the baby’s heartbeat. The baby’s heartbeat was a strong 159-160 bpm. The doc looked at us and said, “If I had to guess, I’d say it’s a girl.” It will be a few days before we find out for sure.
The above is what the heart beat looks like on an ultrasound (this one is not ours, but I am going to ask for one of ours!!). I don’t care how many times I hear it – the sound of the baby’s heartbeat makes me smile! It never gets old! Sam’s sister had a fetal doppler she let us borrow. It will allow us to hear the baby’s heartbeat any time we want! How cool is that?!
So, writing this has helped me to feel better. Now, I am going to listen to our baby’s heartbeat ….