Don’t Stop Believin’

I just had the worst day ever. My team went down in the worst way. We won 73 games this season. No team had ever won more than 72. We had come back in the conference finals from a 1-3 deficit against a team that everyone said had two of the best five players in the world. We were up in the final round 3 games to 1. No one had ever blown that big of a lead in the championship round. We had this! The champagne was on ice. But right after halftime it all fell apart. We lost. Everything went down the drain. I sat silently in despair. It didn’t get any lower than this.

 

…until we lost our baby. Again.

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How could this have happened? We had gotten past the tough part; the first trimester. We’ve endured more miscarriages than we care to relive. Each time we lost our baby in the first three months. Our son Donny was the only one to make it out of the first trimester. He was our benchmark. We knew if we could just get our fragile little baby past that point we were home free. And then we did. We had our appointment at fourteen weeks and we heard her heartbeat beating fast and strong. She was moving around and very much alive. We celebrated. We had pie. I should note here that for us, celebrating and eating pie are not the same thing. We love pie. The celebration was eating out. The pie was the normal part of the day. Banana Crème, in case anyone wanted to know. We were happy. I was happy. No, I was ecstatic. For the first time I was looking forward to this baby from the start with no worries or fears.

I’m still trying to figure out what went wrong. Maybe we got ahead of ourselves. We were starting a whole new chapter in our lives. We moved to a bigger house in the suburbs with central air –`cause we fancy now. The place even had an extra bedroom for our growing family. We moved to a real suburb where there’s no traffic and people say good morning when you pass them on the street. One of those types of neighborhoods where you feel like you don’t belong because everyone else on the block is an adult. I mean, we’re adults too but our neighbors are all adultier adults. The kind of adults that probably play tennis and pronounce GIF, “jif” like the peanut butter. Everything was going well and nothing could stop us. We announced our pregnancy to the world! The congratulatory messages and well wishes poured in. And then it all ended.

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I was numb too. How are you suppose to feel when you’re faced with the exact same disappointment you’ve felt over and over again? The feeling of numbness eventually gave way to embarrassment. How could I be so stupid as to get my hopes so high? The feeling of embarrassment soon became anger. Why is the world doing this to us again? I was mad at life. I felt betrayed by it. How could it take this baby away from me? THIS baby? I wanted her so dearly. I wanted to break something. I wanted to throw my fist through the wall until it looked as shattered as my heart felt. But I was an adult now. A father. And with age comes maturity and the knowledge that my frail aging bones could never absorb the punishment the wall promised to give back. I stood there staring at a wall that suddenly felt like it was mocking me. Saying, “Go ahead. Take a shot, punk. You’re not even close to your deductible.” I conceded. My anger turned to sorrow and I did what any reasonable adult does. I ate. Everything. I started with a few slices of watermelon and then some chips. I chased them with a handful of grapes and a few carrots. Then I slathered some hummus on a couple of stalks of celery before getting out the crackers and dipping them in this exquisite artichoke and jalapeno dip we had bought from the local farmers market. Then it was back to watermelon and more chips. The combination of salty potato chip and sweet melon was so damn good it was magical. With every bite I took I could feel all my sorrow and pain and anger come together to give me the strength to tell my wife the craziest thing I could think of,

“Let’s try one more time.”

IMG_8787She was not on board. She told me that she thought this was life’s way of telling us to stop. That we had Donny and another child simply wasn’t meant to be. I couldn’t argue with her. This was our [redacted] miscarriage. [Redacted] times now we have made plans to welcome a life into this world with no one to show for it. Too many times now a dream has come true only to end in tears and confusion. No answers, just questions about how and why this keeps happening. I’ve had to watch my wife swallow one foul pill after another in order to force her body into giving birth to nothing way too many times. How could I be so selfish as to ask her to continue to endure this? How could I sit beside her and watch her struggle again and again to come back to me as she laid recovering on a hospital bed? I couldn’t. I decided I wouldn’t ask her to do it again. She has already fought so hard and given me her most precious gift, the miracle that is our son.

My wife is a Warrior. She’s so tough and doesn’t even know it. I’m just speaking about her physically. Mentally, she can not be defeated. She may see me as her rock and the foundation of our family, but she is without the question the engine that drives us and carries us through this wild unpredictable ride we call life. She has tried so hard to give us another child and never feared the consequence of failure because she’s so damn tough. She fights for this family with every fiber of her being. That’s why it came as no surprise when a few hours later she said,

“F— this. Let’s try one more time”

That’s my girl! She may not have said, “F— this” because she’s a classy lady but that’s the way I took it. This woman can’t be beat. So try again is what we’re going to do. We’re both getting older so it’s not going to be easy. We’ll get in better shape, eat better, live healthier, and take all the professional advice we get. There are no guarantees in life and we know this could end in heartbreak again. However, it is said that fortune favors the bold; bold we shall be.

We lost our child. It sucks, but we’re ok. We’re better then ok, we are determined. Determined to not let this destroy us and determined to not let our failures define us. What will define us will be our strength and resilience in the face of everything life has in store for us. We don’t require your sympathy, what we do desire are your smiles. Be happy and hopeful for us. Happy for our present and hopeful for our future.

 

 

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“Everything depends on what is in our hearts. Heartfelt prayers will definitely be answered. If we decide that something is impossible, then, consistent with our minds thinking so, even possible things will become impossible. On the other hand, if we have confidence that we can definitely do something, we are one step closer to achieving it”

– Learning From The Gosho

 

 

 

 

Daddy Day By Day – No. 22

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Dick Soup

I went for a swim last night. It was nothing impressive. Nothing brave or manly like taking a swim in the ocean or the malaria infested L.A. river near my home. Instead I flailed and kicked and struggled my way up and down the slow lane at the gym pool for an exhausting and unimpressive 20 minutes. To reward myself for not drowning I decided to end my evening by relaxing in the communal hot tub.

I thoroughly enjoy exercising. maury copy copyAfter a hard 60 minutes of sweating on a treadmill and straining to push weights that would impress no one, I like to reward myself with a nice long steam bath. Occasionally I step into the sauna. After my swim yesterday I decided to remain in my swim trunks and unwind in the hot tub. I am a member of a new fancy gym. It’s three stories tall in the heart of downtown with all the services you can imagine. Expansive locker rooms, pool, indoor track, basketball courts, even massage rooms. In the lockeroom there is also a steam room, which I love, sauna, and whirlpool hot tub. At first I thought putting the hot tub in the locker was genius. It’s there to provide relaxation and nothing is more uncomfortable than sitting in close quarters topless with someone of the opposite sex. Hell, I even get bashful taking my shirt off around my wife after a big meal.

“Take it in babe, look at all this beautiful gut you married.”

I never anticipated that the same aspect of jacuzzi exclusivity I once thought of as genius would have a dark side. Before entering the whirlpool I always shower. Not a full soap and lather shower but enough to rinse the sweat and gym funk off my skin. It’s a shared hot tub, I’m sure the common courtesy is appreciated by my fellow gym rats. The moment I stepped into the empty spa I could feel my troubles drift away. Once I was knee-deep I could feel the stress of parenting a spirited two-year old release itself from my pores. Once I was waist deep I could feel the argument Mommy Moneybags(MM) and I had about the lack of gas in her car– drift away. Once I sat down chest deep in the steaming hot water, I could feel the constant stress of watching daily televised klan meetings masquerading as political rallies– evaporate away. Ahhh, I was relaxed. I closed my eyes. I had found my moment of zen. Then there was a disturbance. Something large and clumsy splashed about beside me. It sounded like a drunken hippo had stumbled down the stairs and splashed into the corner area across from me. When I open my eyes another gentleman was also chest deep in the water and looking right at me. He gave me a wink and smile. He seemed friendly. A little creepy but friendly. I decided to name him Buddy. I kept an eye on Buddy for a minute or two until I trusted him enough to drift back into that zen-like state. Before my eyes could fully close my tranquility was shattered. Not long after Buddy sat down he was followed by another man. I only saw him coming out the corner of my eye. I decided to take Buddy’s approach and welcome the new comer in with a wink and a smile. Hey, maybe that’s how they do things at this gym. So I turned my head with a smile from ear to ear only to be rudely greeted by a pale uncut dick! I couldn’t move. I was stuck in a state of shock. Like when you go to quench your thirst and mix up your glass of water with the glass of vodka sitting right beside it. C’mon, I can’t be the only one drinking vodka by the glass with an ice water chaser. Either way, there I was stuck watching some dude and his bare penis disappear into the same body of water I was sitting in. I was outraged! This wasn’t his personal bathtub. This wasn’t some clothing optional pool party from the 70s that could break out into free love and cocaine at any minute. This was the public spa at the YMCA damnit! I couldn’t even make eye contact with the guy. I just stared at my new friend Buddy with a smirk. One of those “can you believe this guy?” kind of looks. Buddy just kept on smiling, always the optimist. I frantically searched the many signs covering the wall looking for a “no-nudity” rule to gesture toward when a third gentlemen entered the small enclosure. He stepped over toward the coat hooks on the wall and proudly removed the towel around his waist only to reveal, yet again, nothing. As in no bathing suit. He then gleefully stepped into the now overcrowded whirlpool and sat down right beside me. I was again outraged. I felt violated. I looked angrily at the two naked men. The first seemed peaceful. He had closed his eyes and found his happy place. Just like me before I was rudely interrupted. I wondered what he was daydreaming about. Probably some Caribbean nudist resort where prudish bartenders like myself had to serve mai tais all day in uncomfortably close proximity. I peeked over at the second guy. He looked deep in thought. Probably pondering the negative consequences to his sperm count by allowing his bare balls to boil in a hot tub full of other innocent men. I looked over to Buddy, he looked back over to me and then over to the submerged staircase. He too was planning his escape. With a quick nod he stood up and made his way over. Buddy, like myself, was surely thinking, F#@% this, I’m out. I would soon follow. He gave me one last wink when he reached the stairs and began to make his ascent. I looked upon Buddy fondly. Like an ally and a friend. Someone that also saw the ridiculousness of the situation. That was until he reached the third step and his bare hairy ass was revealed to me. C’mon Buddy! Has the world gone mad!?! Not you too??? The gravity of the situation hit me like a ton of bricks. This whole time I had been in there marinating with a bunch of guys and their johnsons hanging out. It’s like we were making dick stew or something. The only thing missing was some Looney Tunes character standing over us slicing carrots and onions into the pot. OMG I was cupping some of that water in my hands and splashing it on my face!!! Needless to say, I stood up and quickly left.

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I accept that I work out at a busy  gym where people feel free to walk around the locker room in their birthday suits. It’s all good, man. Do you. I don’t turn my nose up when guys step into the sauna without rinsing off in the shower even though there is clearly a sign on the door instructing gym members to do so. I’ll even forgive the guy** that passed gas in the steam room. Maybe the gas was really cramping up his stomach. And I guess letting it out was a better option than shitting himself in front of strangers. The point is, I have no problem sharing space and facilities with other strangers so long as boundaries are respected. Call me childish, immature, call me a prude if you want, but that will be the last time I step foot into that jacuzzi without deep sea scuba gear, or at least a wet suit.

**it was me

THREE  THINGS:

  1. Thing I learned today – I still have body image issues. It’s something that began when I was just a teenager. I was never really fat or anything, I was just fat enough to be teased. Teased by not only my classmates but some family members. Those are the ones that hurt the most. Please, think before you speak. That sharp hurtful little joke that provided you with 5 seconds of laughter can have consequences that last a lifetime. The one you hurt could be someone you love.
  2. Random Thing – Donald Drumph is clearly going to win the republican nomination and promptly lose the general election. So what happens to all his passionate and angry supporters? They certainly aren’t going to feel any better. Scary times ahead.
  3. Sports Thing – It’s a great time to be a Oakland sports fan!

 

Thank you very much for stopping by. This is the eighteenth Daddy Day By Day. This was definitely my most immature post to date. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. If you have any questions, rants, feelings, anything positive, please feel free to email me at daddydaybyday@gmail.com or simply comment below. Please click on one of the two “follow my blog” links on the right. For you mobile users the links are at the bottom of the page. Talk to you soon…

Wicked Game

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She got me. Again. I believe the current score is Mommy Moneybags(MM) – 31 Me – 2. She got me again with a total setup question. She would later dispute that there was ever any type of setup, but I know better than that. It was something about how I would describe my life to a practical stranger blah blah blah I wasn’t totally paying attention. My answer was nonchalant and uninspiring. The traditionally stupid husband I am sat there smiling afterwards. Quite content with my doomed response. Like a mouse eating cheese off a trap. Calm and carefree, never hearing the snap or seeing the lever closing down on its neck.

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I love my wife. I really really do. She’s in the running for Most Amazing Fantastical Thing I Can Call Mine award! She has a relaxed demeanor, she’s supportive, and above all else she’s smoking hot! She’s also brilliant, so when she decides to lure me into saying something stupid, its masterful. She picked the perfectly worded question. Not something simple and easy to navigate like, “does this dress make me look fat?” Do women still ask that question? We, men, over the decades have developed a catalogue of appropriate responses to that oldie but goodie. No, she threw me a curveball as gorgeous as she is. A question that had only two answers, my answer and the right one. When my answer was given, BOOM! She went all girl on me. A pretty girl, but girl. I paid for my simpleton answer for the remainder of the weekend. With each passing hour I tried to understand the difficulties of a beautifully crazy woman loving a charmingly stupid man. Thankfully MM likes me again. I think she even loves me. The least I can do is learn from these moments…

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But I just can’t! Not this one! I still can’t wrap my head around the correct answer. Its been a week. Instead of trying to understand the un-understandable it would probably serve me well to stop writing about it and just enjoy it. It, being my sexy forgiving wife. The incredible woman who I somehow convinced to marry me. She may still give me some crazy girl behavior every now and again, but more often she gives me the perfect wife I always wanted. Peaceful, sensitive, loving, radiant and ravishing. My Valentine every day of the year. I kind of get why she was upset over the weekend. Sorta. Not really. I will screw this up again. I think if I just keep loving her as much as I do today, as much as I have everyday, she’ll keep me around forever.

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I do think she’s setting me up again. Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, two days away actually. I haven’t gotten her anything. Not because I’m a complete idiot but because she told me not to. I usually do flowers, chocolates, cards, blah blah blah whatever is being sold in shades of pink and red. However, a few months ago we decided to stop giving cards altogether. They’re someone else’s words that just end up in the trash anyway and have you seen the prices for those small pieces of cardstock? Regarding the flowers and chocolates, she told me she doesn’t want them. The flowers, don’t get her started on that ridiculous Valentine’s Day special (2 dozen roses for $103.52 – yeah she did a fake order) and as for the chocolates… I ended up eating all the chocolate last year and past years. I was glad I bought her the good stuff: Godiva. I didn’t eat them right away of course. She just wasn’t that interested. This Saturday is Valentine’s Day and I’m doing what she told me to do. Nothing. Again I find myself content and carefree. Like a bear with a belly full of salmon, smiling and walking through the woods with his dumb unknowing nose breathing in his last breaths. Completely unaware of the trap ahead…again

 

'Boy, you're lucky it's the same leg as last time...'

 “Life proceeds along a path, though the path is invisible. There is definitely a path for human beings that leads to absolute happiness…If we continue to advance along this road without abandoning our faith, we will definitely come to savor a state of life in which all our desires are fulfilled both spiritually and materially.”

-Daisaku Ikeda

 

THREE  THINGS:

  1. Thing I learned today – We’ll know by Sunday if I’ve learned anything at all
  2. I used the adjective “crazy” to describe my wife in this blog. And I meant it. Almost as much as I meant “Amazing Fantastical Mine Relaxed Supportive Smoking Hot Brilliant Gorgeous Pretty  Beautifully Crazy Sexy Forgiving Incredible Perfect Peaceful Sensitive Loving Radiant Ravishing.” She’s pretty cool.
  3. If you’re reading this MM, I just want to point out that I seriously have nothing for Valentine’s Day. Sooo…tell me now if I need to make any corrections. Please.

Thank you very much for stopping by. This is the fourteenth Daddy Day By Day. Yeah, it’s a V-Day blog. If you have any questions, rants, feelings, anything positive, please feel free to email me at daddydaybyday@gmail.com or simply comment below. Please click on one of the two “follow my blog” links on the right. For you mobile users the links are at the bottom of the page. Talk to you soon…

Ebony & Ivory

IMG_3373                          “Is he yours?”

This question came from our new housekeeper. “Why is he so white?” That was posed to me by a coworker. “Can you believe this is his baby?” That beauty was uttered by a family member as she presented my son to her friend. This in small part has been my fatherhood experience. I’ve tried my very best not to let statements such as these bother me but how do you react when someone asks whether or not your son is yours? Or whether or not your wife is white? As if it matters. Or as if it is even a possibility that she couldn’t be. Look at the boy! As frustrating as it can be to navigate through these conversations I must remember to focus on the important things. The things I need to learn immediately to raise and protect my very awesome and pale child. Two things in particular stand out to me.

Sunscreen. I know nothing about sunscreen. What isle is it on at Walgreen’s? What’s the better brand, Copperstone or Banana Boat? What does SPF stand for? MM has continued our vegetarian cloth diapering hippie style child raising way by buying him vegan sunscreen. Seriously. It’s fragrance free, vegan, contains no gluten, soy, oat or dairy. Is that stuff usually in there?!? Sunscreen sounds delicious. It also does not contain any harmful chemicals as defined by the EWG. MM is smart and does her research so I’ll have to trust that this is good stuff. It better be for the ransom they charge. That 6 ounce bottle of sunshine repellent cost about as much money as it takes to run this blog. It’s so rich that when I put it on him he resembles a wet powdered donut. I’m probably putting too much on him but I can’t help it. I’m paranoid. I’ve never had to think about skin damage from the hot sun. As I discover more information I’m learning that I should be more mindful of it. According to the Skin Cancer foundation, in African American skin, melanin, provides a sun protection factor equivalent to 13.4 compared to 3.4 in white skin. 3.4? That’s almost nothing at all. Needless to say I worry about the sun damage to his skin far more than I’ve ever worried about mine.

IMG_4538       Another big difference between he and I is our hair.

Look at it. It’s like a second child. Totally wild and independent of the kid it rides on. When he was born it was long and flat. Easy to manage. As he has gotten older, long thick looping curls have emerged. His hair is starting to become the perfect blend of me and his mother’s hair. But now what? I’ve never had hair like his. I don’t know what to do. I’ve never had to deal with curls this long. Mine are nice and tight. Wavy on a good day. My hair does what it’s told. When I get a haircut my hair will obey me for at least 5 or 6 days with minimal maintenance. His hair is different every morning. It tangles and snags on the teeth of the comb. There’s a section in the back that refuses to lay down. Then there’s the issue of getting it cut. Where do I take him? We can’t go to my barber. My barber is highly skilled and trained in all the latest styles and techniques of fine Black male grooming. He is an artist. When Saturday rolls around he becomes Michelangelo and my head the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. But that’s my hair. What about Donny? Has my barber ever cut a loose curled brunette like my son. It might be equivalent to asking Larry the cable guy to read Tagalog. And don’t even get me started on style. When I was a kid I rocked a hightop fade. I couldn’t possibly shame him like that. Not in 2014.

Sunscreen, hair, Black G.I. Joe vs. White ones. Very small and insignificant things to figure out. To be honest I’m not that worried about it. What I really think about are the questions he will undoubtedly begin to ask. Questions about his own identity. “Why is Mommy white? Why is Daddy Black? Why are you `different`? What am I?” The truth is he’s neither. He’s human. He’s an individual. The only one of his kind. He’s a being with a brain, a heart, and emotions. Capable of deciding to be whatever or whoever he wants to be. The world will always try to categorize him and file him as a certain “type.” For no other reason than, that’s the way it’s always been. I always hoped that it would be my generation who would change that. However, some days I feel we have moved backwards. Perhaps his generation will finally be the one to remove all the labels and skin color bull– and see each other as what we truly are. People. All struggling and fighting to attain the same thing, happiness. If he must be labeled in some way that the world will understand then like his mother and father he is an American. In nationality and ethnicity. “Mixed” is the way you describe a cake. Not a beautiful baby boy with all the potential in the world.

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THREE THINGS:

  1.  Thing I learned today – Did you see it up there?!? Sun Protection Factor. SPF!
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  3. Sports Minute – FOOTBALL SEASON IS ALMOST HERE. I know its fake football but I still love the preseason. So much hope and enthusiasm. When you’re a Raiders fan hope is all you got. Time to get Donny a new set of Raiders pajamas.

Thank you very much for stopping by. This is the fifth edition of Daddy Day By Day. Already working on the next one; Donny’s first bully experience. If you have any questions, rants, feelings, anything positive, please feel free to email me at daddydaybyday@gmail.com or simply comment below. And please follow my blog. I’d really appreciate it. Talk to you soon…