Back in September I was ending my unemployment stint with a new job and up until that point I had used my copious free time to help direct traffic at my school. That had to stop when I started working an hour and a half away and would still be driving when the traffic needed directed. I cleared it with the school and made sure that my boys got something special from me to make it easier once I wouldn’t be able to wave to them every morning. I hand-wrote twenty-five note cards with messages letting them know that I missed them and I loved them both very much.

The teachers handed them out once a day for five weeks and they loved it. I should have kept it up but work took its toll and it, unfortunately, fell to the wayside.

Last weekend I got three of them back. My youngest son handed me three of the cards and told me “Dad, I wrote you back!”. On each card were five words in his blocky, mismatched scrawl with capital letters thrown in seemingly at random:

“I love you too, Dad”

Best present I’ve ever had. I’m going to keep them with me for as long as I can. I’ve got a fire safe that will probably keep them for a while.

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Today Was A Good Day

In the span of an hour there was a great deal of information exchanged between my ex-wife and I. We solidified the summer schedule, I now know that my oldest is switching cheer-leading  groups, my youngest will be playing tackle football (no teeth-pulling required) and that they might be switching schools because of the administration’s inability to help and accommodate my sons’ emotional proclivities (a nice way of saying “anxiety and ADHD”).

The most refreshing part of the ordeal, aside from collapsing in bed after being up for nearly twenty hours straight) was that for the first time we were both acting like adults. I think we finally realized that we both want whats best for our sons and the constant head-butting (guilty!) was getting in the way of it. We joked, we talked, we got things done. We laid concerns out on the table, talked about them, resolved them and moved on. She even admitted that it’s very easy for her to go from “zero to bitch” in no time flat, by comparing her temperament to my oldest’s when dealing with a bully that likes to press his buttons.

It made for a nice afternoon.

Additionally, we’ve got a line on several locations closer to my workplace that meet our needs and our price range. We’ll be looking at one as soon as it’s been cleaned and painted that we THINK is the right one but we’re not going to get really excited until we’ve signed a lease. What I can tell you is that it’s in a small town (village, really) with a good school system and a less-than-killer commute to the city where I work. That means we’re going to do a bit of driving when we go grocery shopping but it also means that I’m going to get an extra two hours of time with my kids on either side of my shift.

It was a good day. Hopefully the first of many.

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This past weekend I almost had to murder someone. Not literally of course, but my jimmies were most certainly rustled and Papa Bear was a touch on the grouchy side.

Let me explain:

The apartment complex that I live in has a large circular drive with inlets to each of their buildings. If you’re a kid this makes for not only an awesome race track but a uniquely safe riding area free from traffic. Speed bumps keep the speed of the car traffic to a minimum and most of the tenants drive safely anyway because there are kids out from sunup to sundown when the weather is nice (or when it’s raining, ’cause puddles are fun). My boys have the privilege of riding around the complex as they please so long as they are respectful of other people and mindful of traffic.

My oldest wanted to go for a bike ride before dinner and was out for less than ten minutes when he skidded to a stop in front of the window and said that he had enough biking for the day. I pulled his bike in (I live on the ground floor of an apartment, half of which is actually underground so it’s easier to pull the bikes through the windows and not risk the drywall by taking the stairs) and asked why he was coming in so soon and he told me that someone was mean to him.

An adult.

Cue hackles rising.

I asked what happened and what I got was this:

My son was riding around and often rides in the covered parking area because… well… that’s what he likes to do. There was a car (a maroon Chevrolet Malibu with custom rims and tint so dark you can’t see inside) parked inside one of awnings (I don’t have a better word for them) and its driver talking on a cell phone. My son, ever conscious of the trouble he would be in should he damage someone else’s car, stopped a full parking spot away and made to leave the awning.

“Oh no,” the driver said, “Get away from my car.”

This, my son told me, was a reasonable (if rude) way to make sure that he (my son) stayed clear of his (the driver’s) car. With paint that slick I can understand being a little paranoid about stray gravel. My son left and slightly after the driver existed his car. My son was watching the man walk to his apartment when the driver uttered the following:

“Keep looking at me and I’ll…”

My son never heard the end of the sentence; he rode  away as fast as he could and came home.

In a way he’s lucky that he wasn’t outside when I went over there to check. I’m not a physically violent person by nature (and I can’t fight worth a damn) but I was more than ready to go upside his head (reference) for threatening my son.  I don’t care what he was going to say or what he said, though I would have gotten his side of the story before deciding whether a mauling was in order. It’s just… you don’t threaten a nine-year old (or any kid) just because they’re looking at you. If you’re so insecure that you can’t stand a child looking at you then you’re probably better off locking yourself in your apartment and never coming out.

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