Thursday, October 30, 2014

"Where the Red Fern Grows"

    My favorite story of all time has to be "Where the Red Fern Grows". I remember having my third grade teacher Mrs. Summers read this to us each day at school after lunch. I could not wait to see what happened the next day. This story has inspired and touched me over the years. When William's sisters and brother moved into my house seven years ago we sat down each night so that I could read them the book that had touched my life so much. We would read one chapter each night and I really knew that William's oldest sister would identify with the main character. She wanted a dog so much that I could tell it hurt.

    As we progressed through the book each night I could see that the kids were really waiting to see what happened next. They identified with the character and wished they could have been there watching him with his dogs. The best dogs ever. I remembered that the end was sad. I never knew as a kid why the end was sad. As I have grown older I have come to respect that the author showed us that ending to show us what real love is.

   I remember having William's brother sitting next to me the night we got to the end, and as we got to the ending, I started to cry. I remember him seeing me cry and seeming puzzled that a book could touch me that way. I also remember that night that an eight year old girl told me that she was glad I was going to be her step dad. William's mother that night told me that she was glad that he got to see me cry. She was glad that he had someone in his life that wasn't afraid to show how he was feeling. I am glad that I could give that to his brother. Now when I read that book I will have those memories to go along with one of the greatest stories of my life.

    I gave the copy of the book I had to William's oldest sister so this week I bought a new copy for him. I bought a hard copy of the book so that William and I can have that same adventure too. I hope he grows up loving this book and he hands it down to his children. Our adventure will begin right after we finish the book we are currently working on but I can hardly wait.

I hope to have many more adventures with you,

Your Loving Dad

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Halloween for US

    So this week is Halloween. In our house that is a fun day for William but not so much for the parents. William has type 1 diabetes and if that wasn't enough to deal with with all of the candy that he gets with no labels that tell you how many carbohydrates are in them, we have celiac disease to deal with too. So not only do we have to worry about the carbohydrates, we have to worry if the candy that he gets has gluten in it as well. That is all on top of screening for the dangerous stuff too.

    William was very excited about going to pick out his pumpkin. Jen and I took him to pick it out and there where too many choices for him to choose. He originally wanted one that probably weighed more than my car. After being told he need to find one that could fit in the car, the real hunt began.

Look the nose is the saw. Isn't that funny daddy.
   We try to have some fun along the way too. Here is William carving his pumpkin. I was helping him cut out the face. I heard him start laughing and when I looked up this is what I saw. The knife was poking right in the pumpkins face and William saying isn't that funny daddy.  Jen was scooping out the guts and William and I were carving away. William's pumpkin has a ninja turtle face. Jen and I went with something more traditional. Jen even added ears to her pumpkin. I tried to make mine look a little more scary. We all had fun and then it was time to put them outside.

Adding the lights
    William lugged the pumpkins to the front porch. We bought some little strobe lights to put inside of the pumpkins. We were worried that they wouldn't look good but they actually look great. William wanted the multicolor strobe and it looked a lot better than I thought it would. In the picture it only shows red but it is also blue, green and white. lighting them up for the first time was a lot of fun. How about the ears on Jen's pumpkin? They turned out really cool.

What they look like at night
    My Pumpkin is the one on the left with William's pumpkin in the middle and Jen's on the right. Do you see the ninja turtle face on William's pumpkin? It was a little funny when I took pictures with my phone William's pumpkin was always green and when Jen took pictures it was always red. Now if we can just keep lucky from eating the lids. When we looked out a few nights ago all of the lids were missing and lucky had them in the front yard. I guess he likes Halloween too.

Look out for me on Halloween
    William couldn't wait to show off his new look for this year. A slight difference from last year. Last year he was a blue ninja. This year he got double swords though. A much cooler pose don't you think. He did tell me that he didn't like his new costume because it made his tummy look fat. Funny coming from a six year old ninja. We are looking forward to passing out candy and going door to door. This year will be a little different but the fun is still there. We will get all of the candy. Sort it all out. Figure out if William can eat it and then use it as treats when things are going well. 

    Halloween is fun for us all we just have to take time to let it all sink in and just enjoy it. Letting go of what might scare us and looking into the future. I guess our future is going to be a ninja.

Happy Halloween my wonderful son,

Your Loving Dad

Monday, October 27, 2014

Unless

    This morning I was standing looking out my bedroom window just before going to work. I have a tree in the front yard that has been there for twenty years. I remember when I used to look out my window and see it in the bottom window. My bed room is upstairs so I used to look down on it. Now when I look out my window I have to look up to see the top of the tree. It never really hit me until today that tree is very close to the same age as my oldest son.

    The thing that came clear to me this morning as I stood there was that nature really doesn't care what happens in your life. The tree just quietly keeps growing unless I change what the tree is doing. I have had many good times and many bad times and that tree still grows. It just seemed to remind me that no matter what happens in my life that time will keep going. Every day that passes is not up to you. When you are gone that tree will still be standing watching over that yard. It will be keeping someone else cool in the summer and what you did in your life will not matter any more unless.....

    I guess I am stealing that from Dr. Seuss. The unless in this case is unless you make a difference in someone else's life. There may not be many people that remember who I am when I am gone but I do hope that the peoples lives that I have touched changed who they are and in turn made them better people and they change others lives for the better. We have one life to live. We can choose to be selfish with our lives or we can choose to give even when the other person does not deserve it. Just like choosing to care for the trees in the story, you can choose to care for the people around you or you can chop them down. I just hope that I change at least two lives in my life. I love you boys.

Are you going to choose to care for your trees?

Your Loving Father

Friday, October 24, 2014

Just trying to get everything out

    With everything that happened this last year and a half, my goal has been to put my feelings here for you to read. I hope that one day you come back and see the pain and the joy of your life through my eyes. I want you to see the pain and joy of my life too. I want you to see how much I care about the people around me. I want you to see the sorrow of the ending with your mother and the love that I had for her. I also want you to see the new beginnings that happen for us too. I want to put them here so in a few years you can look back and see them from a different perspective. Your brain is 6 years old and processes things different than it will when your 16 or 26. I want to give you my perspective on things that happened in your life so you can look back and laugh at some of the things that you had totally wrong in your head.

    My greatest gift to you other than loving you is to give you my heart. I put it out here every time I sit down to write. I want to tell you the things that I am afraid to tell you in person. I want to tell you the things that you would not understand right now. I just want you to be able to look back and read through these words and get to know the man that is your father and your friend once you are an adult. If you sit and read even one of these entries and you can say to yourself "I never knew that about my father". Then I was successful. If you can say that "I never knew you felt that way", again I was successful. If you see the pain that lives inside me because of my father, my uncle and your mother, then I was successful. If you see the joy that you brought into my life then I was successful.

    Life is like climbing a mountain. Every person has a mountain to climb. Not everyone makes it to the top. Some people have bigger mountains to climb than others and you started with a bigger mountain than most. Sometimes you fall down the mountain and slide down its face. You will get bumps a bruises. You might even get a scar or two along the way or you might even get broken along the way. Some people fall off or give up on climbing and that is sad to be a part of. The struggle to get to the top is overwhelming at times. I have seen big boulders fall toward my head. I have had days where I didn't want to climb any more but I pushed on anyway. I have had people try to push me off of my mountain but I am still here and I am still climbing. There have been times when it was cold and it felt like I was the only one climbing. There have been times when it felt like no matter where I grabbed I was on ice and was ready to fall, but the summer will come. The ice will melt and you can continue your climb. Your mountain is going to be high. Your struggle will be tough too. Just don't be afraid to keep climbing. I'm sure if you look around you are going to see me pulling you up for as long as I am alive. I'm not sure if we ever get to the top and enjoy the view or we just die climbing. I want to see if there is a top and I know the times in my life when I have looked to see the view it has always been better.

I hope to be standing on top looking at the view someday with you,

Your Loving Father

Thursday, October 23, 2014

What would I want you to know today?

    There are so many days that go by where I wish I could tell you the things that I know and show you the things that I have learned. There are many days when I would gladly let you see the pain that I have been through so you never have to live it yourself. I hope that you will never have to feel some of the pain that I have felt. I know our life experiences and what we do with them is what makes us who we are. I have tried my whole life to take the horrible things that have happened to me and try to use them to make someone else smile. I was not always successful but I still try.

    This year I met someone that seems to have been through some of the same pains and tribulations that I have been through. I have learned a lot about me and her at the same time. This year I have also had someone in my life that I loved and trusted show me how little everything I did mattered to them. In both cases I have learned to be a better person. One taught me to love, the other to forgive. Love is a natural part of who I am. It was easy to love even when I was being hurt by the one I loved. It seemed that the more she hurt me the more that I gave and none of it ever mattered. This is where the forgiveness comes in. I had to first learn to forgive myself for feeling bad about unintentionally hurting her. I had to forgive myself for letting her hurt me. Then I had to forgive her for hurting me so many times in the most horrible ways possible. This is one of the pains that I hope you never see. I know that you have a different perspective on this pain and I wish I could take that away.

    I guess if I could tell you one thing today it would be...... that even though everyone tells you things will get better, part of that pain will follow you the rest of your life. The pain is like sandpaper. If it rubs off one layer of skin maybe there is no scar. If it digs in and remove a big part of you it will heal but there will be a scar to remind you to be smarter the next time. I guess it is good we don't wear these scars on the outside. I am afraid that I would not be so pretty but maybe more people would understand me.

You choose who you are going to be,

Your Loving Dad

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Life with Diabetes this Week

    This week has been a really tough week for diabetes control. On Friday morning around 7:30AM William's blood sugar was very high. When school checked him at 10:00AM for his snack he was good and then when they checked him at 11:30AM for lunch he was very low. It made for a really bad day for William. With everything that is going on in his life, having his blood sugar jumping all over the place was tough on his little body and mind this day.

    When he got home His blood sugar continued to be high. Normally his blood sugar control is very good and way below the target for his age group. This is a very unusual event. After a few readings over 300 and correction doses that seemed to do nothing, I decided that it was time to take action. I started on the normal routine. I replaced his site and gave him a correction dose and checked him. His blood sugar just kinda winked at me and stayed strong right where it was. After a few hours of that I tried new insulin and a correction dose but there was that wink again. Blood sugar was continuing to stay right where it was in the upper 200's and low 300's.

    Sometimes when his blood sugar is high it means he is getting sick so I checked. I could not find a fever. Sometimes when he is growing his blood sugar is high. He has been eating a lot lately and is complaining about his legs hurting. That must be it. I really hate to make big changes on his pump when there is a sudden change like this. Most of the time these changes have been temporary so making a big change on his pump is only troublesome. I decided to give it one more day to see if things started heading back the other way. I made a few changes to his numbers that I would have made anyway. I sat back and waited. After a day and a half of being high I finally saw his number starting to drop back down. He was near normal for his 2:00AM check but back to 212 for breakfast. He has been hovering around the 180 range for a while. I am still going to refrain from making changes until after his site change tonight to see if thing are still getting better. If not it will be time to make some changes on his pump.

What a crazy world to live in,

Your Loving Dad

Monday, October 20, 2014

Trouble at School

    The last few weeks have been trying for you at school. You have punched your friends and have turned over desks. I talk to you everyday to see how you are feeling and I know that you are mad about everything that happened. You have told me that you are mad at mama and that you want things to be like they were before. I wish I could tell you the right thing to make your pain go away. I am mad at mama and her choices too. I wish I could just hug you until it didn't hurt any more and I wish that you could do the same. We didn't choose this pain but we will get through it together. I love when you cuddle on the couch with me. I love reading to you and you reading to me every night. It is so exciting to see you reading things. I really like it when you asked me what that said on TV when you could not read it quite fast enough or when you point out something that you have read. I thought is was awesome that you and your friend were reading the map when we went to the zoo last week. You got most of the words correct and were very close on the ones that you didn't.

    I am excited about meting Ryan when we went to the zoo. He is your age and also has type 1. I am glad that I could help out and help take care of him so he could go. He parents seem very nice. I am hopeful that we will get to schedule some of the play dates that they suggested. It will be nice for you both to have a friend that understands what you feel. Someone that you can talk to and knows what it is like to have diabetes. He has other problems like being allergic to peanuts and grass just like you and celiac disease.

   Things will get better. I hope better choices are made and your life gets better soon. I know the hurt will not go away soon but I will be there holding your hand and crying with you until we get better. You have the right to feel mad. You deserved better and so did everyone involved. I love you and I will show that to you everyday for the rest of my life. Make smarter choices at school. Choose joy not hate. Choose friends and not enemys. Choose to forgive and not anger. Choose peace and not fear. Choose to love and not hate. Choose to be big and not small. Choose to hold on to the ones that show you love and let go of the ones that take you for granted. Choose to hug and not hit. Choose to smile and not cry. Choose to fly.

See you in the wild blue yonder,

Your Loving Dad 

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Ghost in my Head

The Ghost in my Head

I know that you are not dead but your ghost still hunts me, and it feels like it is there just to taunt me.
I feel it slide past without a trace, and then without warning it shows me your face.
Sometimes it bring a kind memory of joy, other times it hurts and feels more like a ploy.
It is there just lingering inside, waiting to sneak out and remind me you lied.

It takes the smile away when I'm feeling happy, it takes away that and makes me feel crappy.
It makes me think about things that should have been done, but there never was a doubt that you were the one.
It shows me the ring that I got for your finger, but it didn't stop you from using your stinger.
It reminds me of the hole that you left in my heart, and the hurt and destruction that ripped us apart. 

It sneaks in when I lay in bed at night, when I think my heart is safe and out of sight.
I see flashes of it when I hear a song, and reminds me of how the day is long.
I feel it holding my hand and the cold hollow feeling, and it is hard to believe that my heart is still reeling.
I see it in William's eyes as they are looking at me, and I have no answers for the questions I see.
I see it in the pictures that hang on the wall, and the sad lonely feelings as I walk down the hall.

I really don't know what to say, but you left your ghost to haunt me that day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Moments of Crazy

    I get those moments when I know that I should not care about missing someone that you know is bad for you. The horrible things that I experienced over and over again at their hands and then the way things were left just seems impossible. I want to remember the person that I loved. The person that I gave seven years of my life for. I want to remember that day in the hospital when you were born. I remember that night when you and her were snoring together and it sounded alike. I remember the kids putting the reindeer antlers on your head. What an awesome memory. I want to remember the camping trips and the motorcycle rides. I want to remember holding her hand as we walked along the pier and watching sunsets together. I remember going to the beach and having fun. A day of sailing with the whole family. I remember having her lay on my lap. Those where the times when I got to feel close to her. I remember all of the campfires where we talked to each other. The hobo pies and s'mores. I remember the day we spent in the hospital finding out that you had diabetes. I remember all of the Christmases we had together as a family. I remember building the rooms for the girls in the house so they had their own space. I remember building a doghouse for lucky with your brother. I never saw him that interested in working on something or work so hard. I remember the robotics competitions and your brother getting so excited to go with me when we were building the robots. I remember the first time they let him drive the robot. What an amazing smile that he had that day. I remember going to Rosy Mound park and walking the steps with the family to the beach so many times. I remember picking blueberries and your older sister eating most of them before they could make it into the freezer. I remember that you would take the blueberries from my bucket and tell everyone that your bucket was full. I remember painting the rooms in the house and the crazy colors that the kids picked except your big sister. The blue for her room was very nice. I remember being part of the group that found out her dad had brain tumors. I remember telling him that I would be there to take care of everyone. I remember holding her hand and hoping that things were going to be OK even after I found out. I remember I wanted to believe even after she told me she would not do it again. I remember fixing Thanksgiving Dinner while they where at the hospital so we would have something to eat. I remember looking for the wedding ring we found. You really liked the blue and you told me that mama would love it. I remember it had six blue sapphires one for each one of our family. It was supposed to mean that all of us were coming together as one family. I was hoping that it was a healing moment in our life. I remember having to return it with tears in my eyes. Thank you for helping find it. You are a great helper and people noticed that all of the time. 

    I know right now remembering these things only hurts me but they are things that I think you should know about. I call them moments of crazy. I call them that because I remember and it still feels crazy how everything turned out. I went camping for the first time because of your mother. I found out that I liked it. I remember going to uncle Wally's cabin and being part of the crazy group that got together. I really enjoyed cooking and getting to know your mothers relatives. I loved your mother very much. It always hurt me that she never took the time to see it.I will try to jot down memories of us together every once in a while so that you have them to hold. We both love you never forget that.

I hope you read tease moments from your life and smile someday,

Your Loving Dad


A Story by William

William's letter about Lucky     William sat down yesterday an wrote a letter about Lucky our dog. He wanted me to publish it. So ...