Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Well THAT was awkward...

Tonight's blog was intended to be about family in a totally different sense. I made a phone call tonight that changed the tune...

It's 9:32pm on a Tuesday night and I just got off the phone with my father. Yep, you read that right: my father. After 18 years, the only word I can think of to explain the 7 minute conversation that just ended is: AWKWARD. Those of you that know me well know that I haven't had any relationship with my father since June 16, 1998...the day I graduated from high school and also his 42nd birthday. (Those of you that didn't know before, welp, now you know!) Before that sunny day in June of '98, the relationship could only be described as tumultuous at best.

A few weeks ago my aunt let me know that my father found my Bat Mitzvah proofs and he wanted to know if I wanted them. I don't have too many memories from my childhood but my Bat Mitzvah is one I hold in my heart. My mom worked her ass off to make that party special and it was an absolute blast! Of course I want the pictures! All these years I thought they were lost in a move and to learn that they're not was really exciting.

My aunt graciously offered to "arrange" for me to get them. I appreciated the offer but I want to get them myself. I want my father to be man enough to face me after all of these years. I want him to see the woman I've grown up to become. So I mustered the courage, after several weeks of contemplation, and made the call tonight.

Obviously I won't call him dad so I just started with "Hi, it's Amanda." It took him a second and then he responded with an excited "Oh, hi." I thanked him for finding the pictures and cut right to the point: "I can come pick them up this weekend." He was a little taken aback but he said he'd be home and gave me his address. He tried to make small talk and said, "so, what have you been up to?" I was silent for a few seconds and he said, "wow. I guess that was weird." Ummmmm, yeah. How do you ask your daughter after 18 years what she's been up to? Really? How was I supposed to respond? We talked for a few minutes about my living in Horsham and him calling me a "suburbanite." He said he'll probably be BBQing on Saturday and that I could have a hot dog but it wouldn't be kosher. He asked if I was coming alone and I told him my boyfriend is likely to come. He said his girlfriend and neighbors may be there. He was watching hockey (no surprise) and I could tell he'd been drinking. He asked what I did for a living and I gave him a snapshot. He said last he heard I wanted to be a journalist. Yes, father...when I was 17. Childhood dreams change. I wasn't interested (or ready for that matter) in small talk and it was getting more awkward. I answered his questions concisely and softly and ended the conversation pretty quickly.

As soon as I hung up, the tears poured. He's missed so much. He doesn't know me and I fear he may not even recognize me when I get there Saturday. I literally have zero expectations for how it will go. I have an idea of what it's probably going to be like but I don't want to make too many assumptions and psych myself out. I'm going to be nervous all week but I know I can do this. At least I'll have my Bat Mitzvah pictures! ! !

Saturday, January 30, 2016

Life is a Sport but it Sure Ain't a Game

I've been trying to write this post for a few weeks now and I just haven't found the right words. Hell, I'm not sure I have them now but, as per the norm, I'm exhausted and wide awake so I'm hoping this helps make me sleepy.

Adulthood is a trap. We spend our entire childhood wishing we were older so we could "do things." If someone had told me that those "things" centered around working and paying bills, I would've begged to stay a child forever. Bottom line, this shit sucks. We aren't meant to work, pay bills, and die, right? There's something out there that give us purpose, right? How do we find it? The better question is, how do we know when we have found it? I honestly don't know.

What I do know is that life doesn't come with a rule book because it's not a game. We don't get a playbook that gives us the appropriate move to make at the appropriate time. We don't have a coach who can pull us out when the direction of our game changes. We don't have coordinators yelling out which plays we should make and when and how. We don't get a booth review when we think someone screws up. There aren't any challenge flags we can throw or penalty flags to toss. We don't have alternates who can step in and take over when we need a break. We don't have trainers on the sidelines waiting to fix our wounds to get us back to being play ready. We don't get to rewind the clock and replay a down. We don't have legions of fans sporting our numbers and cheering us along (almost) every step of the way. What we do have is friends. And if we're lucky, our friends don't boo us and switch their allegiance when we screw up a play, a game, or a even a season.

The truth is, we're going to screw up...a lot. We're going to make mistakes and we're going to live imperfect lives. We're going to have good days and bad. We'll have highs and lows. We'll have successes and failures. We will be victorious and we will fail. We'll be happy and we'll be sad. We're going to fight for too long and give up too quickly. We'll have fortune and we'll have hardship. You're going to be proud and you're going to be ashamed. It's all a balance and we have to figure out the best way to make our way through. We're not always going to do it the way that everyone expects or wants us to, and that's okay. The truth is, this is your life and you only get one shot at it and you have to life it your way. No matter what!

I have highs and I have lows. And, since I promise to always be honest in my blogs, I sometimes have more lows than I like to admit to myself or anyone else. When I need to be, I can be a really good faker. It's not a quality of which I'm proud but I've been doing it for far too long to not know that it's a part of my make-up. I also have a tendency to beat myself up and then question why I'm bruised. I try to manage it but it's not always easy and then I feel like I've failed and the cycle of highs and lows repeats itself. It's a little crazy but it's my kind of crazy and it's my comfort zone.

I'm trying to find my way off of that wheel but I'm afraid that if I slow down my run the wheel will come out from under me and I'll fall. I'm going to have to find the courage to jump off and see where I land. No matter how long it takes me to find that courage, I know it's there and it'll come when the time is right. When I jump, I hope my safety net is up and read to catch my fall. I'll need it.

As a postscript: Remember when I said I've been trying to write this blog for quite some time? Well, here it is and it's completely different than what I originally intended to post. It just kind of morphed but hey, that's what this is about. I just need to get back to writing on a regular schedule and I know I'll hit all my topics. :) Thanks for reading!