To have and to hold, for better or for worse, for richer or poorer, in sickness and in health, ‘til death do us part…
Not even three weeks into being twenty-six years old I’d lived all parts of these vows that many of my peers are saying for the first time as many of them are beginning their lives with their life partners. While I may still be here I guess I can say someone has spent their life with me. While I have taken many steps in moving forward in no way, shape, or form has it been easy. This and she has been on my mind a lot recently, or should I say a lot more than normal.
A few nights ago I had another dream about my fiancé. Actually, this happens pretty often. In my dreams we talk a lot about and are hands down some of the most vivid dreams I’ve had have been about her. I’ve had dreams about me being diagnosed with cancer and her telling me one of us gotta make it for Cydney, having dinner and being afraid of her dying, to just kicking it and watching movies. Normally in my dreams she’s perfectly healthy, has a full head or hair and is usually in an outfit that I actually remember her wearing. The other night she had short hair. It was around the about as long as it was last fall around this time of year when her hair had started growing back from chemo. Of course as I’m writing this I can’t remember what we were talking about. Maybe at this moment that’s not what is important as much as it is that we talked about was a conversation and it was one of those that we were having around this time of year last year in making plans for what we were going to do next as a family.
When I wake up from these dreams I tend to have a heavy heart. The feeling isn’t in a weighed down way but more like as if she was laying on my chest as she would many sleepless nights I would have. I don’t sleep on my back and would only lay that way on stressful nights and her laying there would I guess be her way of bringing comfort and ease to whatever is on my mind.
The thought that has been on my mind recently is that I’m going to get older and she won’t. Before I know it I’ll be middle aged and be looking at the twenty five year old that I had a young love with that we both thought we’d grow old together with. She’s always going to cross my mind and when she does whether I’m twenty-seven or seventy-two at the oldest she’s going to be a twenty-something old to me.
I’m mentioning this as a part of the Adventures of a Single Dad because we have a little girl. Cydney’s getting older and has quite a personality. I’d like to take credit for her good looks and I guess technically I can take 50% of the credit but she’s a spitting image of her mother and her smile is just like hers. Being that I have this little girl with all of her likeness I just keep it moving. I look at the little things she does that look and remind me of her mother and smile which is not something I’m accustomed to doing (I had to hear about that a lot).
I’m asked a lot how do I just keep it moving with all of this on me. The answer is simple: I have to…
Gtn.blgvoß Words from our guest columnist, Ms. Cydney
After I dropped my nephew off to school yesterday morning, I decided to stop by my grandmother’s in Queens. My grandmother is a very interesting person. She was an engineer at the Brooklyn Naval Yard in the 1950’s until their closing which makes her a pioneer in her field. Not only was she an engineer, she has also been featured in Ebony Magazine because she invented some kind of electronic device. She didn’t go on to be some famous pioneering engineer, though. She chose family. The Brooklyn Naval Yard closed and moved its operations to San Diego. As opposed to going with the job, she stayed in New York because my grandfather was established and my young father was happy here. In Hollis, Queens she is a local legend. She may not be as big as Run DMC is but more than likely if you’re in your late thirties to early fifties she probably was your math teacher. Everywhere we went growing up everyone knew her walking down the street and would say “Hello, Mrs. Milner!” with a smile and she’d get things like bread for free from the store.
She’s eighty-five now and she doesn’t walk around the neighborhood as much but to be that age she’s still very healthy. No major sicknesses just arthritis and some senior moments here and there but that’s about it. She’s still pretty sharp as well as she spends most of the day “keeping her mind together” by watching the Game Show Network.
She is a very positive person and the most selfless person I know. All the kids used to call her “Grandma” and she’d give her last and think nothing of it. She doesn’t take care of herself very well but she will do anything for anyone else. She always has a big smile and says the same positive and happy things all of the time.
Since she does rattle the same positive one-liners over and over again sometimes my family misses the insightful gems that she says. Since she wears any gift she’s given until it bursts at the seams she can look a little like a mess. She always wears this sequined hat my mother bought her from New Orleans about fifteen years ago. My mother said to her “Is that the same hat I bought you all of those years ago?” She replied “Yes! I use the gifts I’m given until they’re worn out!” That was one of the biggest words I’d ever heard in my life: Using your gifts until they’re worn out. While she was just talking about items of clothing she meant much more than that. It’s her lifestyle. Her husband has been gone for nine years, her mother who lived until she was ninety-five passed seven, and her sister who she talked to every day until she passed away two years ago. She lives a pretty lonely life but is happy. She’s happy to do any help anyone. When I ask her how is she doing she just says “Hangin’ tough! I’m just happy to be here.” She means that. She is the truest meaning of riding until the wheels fall off which is something I will try to adopt. Not in the sense of just “You only live once so do it up big,” but in the sense of giving everyone who means something to you your all until God says your time of service is up.
Mind you, this is not what I meant to write about but it just happened that way. I will have to continue at another time.
I’m very close to my sister. We’re twins. Of course I’m close to my nephew as well. He’s a good kid. Really bright and in many ways reminds me a lot of myself at six years old.
Unfortunately his father isn’t in his life. It’s not unfortunate at this point for my nephew but for his father because he’s the one who’s missing out. He’s got five kids and lives around the corner from my grandmother in Queens. He’s alright though. He says he has two dads between myself and my father. We both do as much as we can that even though he knows his father exists he’s only seen him once and he was only a few months old.
He’s happy with what he has. My dad and I do all of the dad things. I’ve taught him to have a pretty mean jumper, dribble with both hands, and all that; every Sunday since I moved back home my pops would order pizza and we’d watch the Giants game (good thing his first year watching they won the Super Bowl) so much when the season he didn’t get that football was over. For better or worse I’ve made him a Knicks fan so that was the next thing we did in the winter and spring. We do it all. We shave and do guy stuff.
Today was Dads Take Us to School Day. He goes to the same school my mother works at. But I took him today anyway. Ive done it a bunch but today it was good to see a bunch of men taking their children to school, holding their children’s hand, kissing them at the door, and telling them to have a great day. Luckily in spite of his father not being around he doesn’t have to miss out on that and can do the same when its his turn.
When your child is born you can’t wait until they can sleep through the night. Then you can’t wait until they can eat real food. Then you can’t wait until they can crawl, then walk, then talk, then become adults, etc. They always say enjoy the stage that they’re in because once they start _____, it gets real. That is very true. While I am in no rush for Cydney to grow up I do long for the simpler days.
Cydney is the sweetest little thing but she’s quite a handful for one or two parents. Once she started walking she started running soon after. She was already an expert crawler to could scurry across a room with ease but she walks on her toes so she has a little sprint more than a run.
She’s very quick and likes to get into anything she gets her hands on. Many things that she gets her hands on she has a tendency to break (R.I.P. to one of the Tiffany Lamps). She takes all of the books off of the bookshelves and throws them around, she loves to put objects in the toilet, run the bath water, sneak and eat cat food (I promise that’s another post) and just about leave chaos and destruction everywhere she goes. She means well.
She likes to play rough as well. Once again I may not help the cause much but she loves to be picked up and swung around, count to three and be tossed onto a bed, climb, and all of that. I would do some of these things anyway but I definitely do it more because she loves it. Bedtime is just time to use me as a jungle gym/punching bag until she falls asleep to Dora the Explorer on TV providing a soundtrack.
For the most part she doesn’t put up huge fusses or displays that epic temper she has in public. Well, except for when we go out to eat. She does not want to sit in the booster seat for long. She wants to sit on everyone’s laps, she wants to drink water and feed you ice cubes, and if she had her way throw everything on the floor. When you limit that activity that’s when she’s ready to throw a fit. All I can do about it is pull up one of her shows on Netflix and hope for the best.
Unfortunately, there isn’t much that I can do to reprimand this activity or try as much to correct it. There’s the classic “No!” or “Don’t do that!” which she knows what they mean and continues on with the program anyway. Most of it is just a period I have to wait out. While I am waiting I will be romanticizing about the next stage and when that comes be wishing that things were as simple as the days that she would want to just tear up books as opposed to mouthing off.
On Saturday my mother and I took Cydney, my nephew, and my youngest cousin to go the see the hottest show currently touring the country: The Fresh Beat Band. The Fresh Beat Band is a tv show on Nickelodeon in which “teenagers” solve problems together through catch music and dance moves. Sounds silly, right? Kids LOVE this show. My daughter watches it everyday and sings along to it. The tour is so big they’re constantly adding shows.
We bought the tickets to the show in May. They hadn’t been on sale very long by then. However, all four shows in New York City, nearby in New Jersey AND Philadelphia were sold out. We bought tickets to a show upstate in Bethel, NY (about two and a half hours away). Even those tickets were almost sold out. We had to sit pretty far back. The kids wouldn’t have cared so we went for it. When we originally told the kids about it they were TOO excited. They’d been counting down the months, weeks, and days until the show.
We made a day of it. We took the two and a half hour trek up there with ease. We put movies on for the kids so that they wouldn’t fight and ask the dreaded “Are we there yet?” question over and over again. Cydney slept the whole way. By the time we got there we had to literally walk about a half mile uphill to get to the pavilion. By the time we got there, everyone was ready to have a seat (or so I’d think” from their calves burning. Not the case. They were on their feet and singing their hearts out (I did too a little trying to get Cydney to sing). Cydney sat on my lap the entire time and just soaked it all in. The show had her attention and she pretty much wouldn’t blink the entire time. I knew she had a good time because after the show she was very talkative and excited.
After the show we stopped at Denny’s and ate before heading back home. Cydney slept the whole way home from about 7-9PM which made for an interesting night. All in all as the Fresh Beat Band would say: “It Was a Great Day.”
I don’t believe saying my daughter “is” so I will say that she has been spoiled rotten. She never stood a chance. She’s a cutie, she can’t help that and that it makes people want to spoil her. She spent the first four weeks in the hospital because they were nice enough to keep her in the nursery while her mother was being tested, diagnosed, and treated for cancer days after she was born. Normally children are there for two days so as long as Cydney was at the hospital people really got attached to her. They used to tell us all the time that everyone just wanted to hold her whenever she got upset. She became everyone’s baby.
By the time we got home, she was quite a handful at night. My fiancé and I didn’t get it or understand at first why she needed to be held because for the most part we didn’t have that problem especially because she was in the nursery during bed time. No matter how hard I tried she would not lay in her bassinet.
Due to a created hostility and plot to keep Cydney to themselves I did not see Cydney between November 2011 and April of 2012 (I’m sure one day there will be a post about this in detail). The last time I’d seen her she was nine months old. She was still a baby with only a couple of personality traits. One of those being a short fuse and explosive temper. As soon as she didn’t get her way she would spazz by falling out and crying. I and all f us around would do all that we can to try to correct this by doing the classic walking away and eventually children will stop but that doesn’t work all of the time. Knowing where she was for five months I have a good idea of where this came from. I could tell she was held all the time, kept in a walker for too long, and my fiancé’s mother is famous for throwing a fit when she didn’t get her way.
I know I give in sometimes. But I’m supposed to let her get away with bloody murder. Its one of the perks of being daddy’s little girl. Its part of the training that comes along with all the boys who will try to have a very hard time and to come correct. I tend to solve problems by trying to find the root of it. So the two aforementioned reasons have played a role in it but I know there’s more. Her mother and myself can be pretty combustible people where agitated (her mother REALLY had a temper when pissed off). I wonder how much of what she’s gone through in the last eighteen months have played into this. Your brain doesn’t forget anything. Whatever enters it stays there in what is often called the emotional brain (limbic system). Everything is lodged deep into there and causes our unconscious responses to things. While she will never remember her mother, living in various cities, or even the stress of her prenatal environment I often wonder how much of these things have caused her response of spazzing out an is she really crying out for more than just what I think she is.