Saturday, October 10, 2015

Hopeful Birthdays

Next Tuesday marks the sixteenth birthday of my daughter. An epic birthday for just about everyone. I’m happy for her. She is seemingly well adjusted. Has good relationships with myself and her mother as well as just about everyone in her life. She likes school, has friends and is involved in several extracurricular activities. In other words, she is a lot more advanced at her age than I was.
            All of this is makes me feel like I’ve accomplished something. I mean, after all, as parents, all we really want is for our kids to have it better than we did when we were at whatever particular age they are. I like to think I’ve been somewhat successful in this goal. After all, when I was her age nothing in my life was concrete. Most days, I didn’t even know when or if I was going to eat, let alone where I was going to lay my head for the night.
            As for my birthdays, they were never really anything special and I don’t remember very many of them. However; for my child, I’ve tried to always give her what she’s wanted for her date of entrance into this world. I like to think I’ve been successful with this. Of course, I’ve always had help in doing making her special days come true.
            This year, her wish was quite simple. She wanted a girl’s weekend in a hotel at a beach. Since her birthday is in October it is off season for most beach front resorts. Now, financially, I really can’t afford for her to go off for a full weekend, or even one day. Yet, when I thought about her request I really couldn’t come up with a reason to say no. Aside from the bills. On the heels of that thought was maybe the maniac of my conscious saying “Do it. Damn the bills. Let her have her weekend.” Of course my pragmatic side attempted to skewer the maniac with a flaming spear gun. The maniac ducked, laughed maniacally and shouted “LET HER GO!” he then bum rushed the pragmatist in my head, kicked him in the junk and then proceeded to stomp the level headed imaginary sense of self into a greasy, bloody puddled of primordial ooze.
            Yup, the maniac won, and in doing so, my daughter won.
            She, my offspring, two of her friends and the mother of my child are all going on a road trip starting tomorrow. They have a beach front hotel room, a swimming pool, a metric ton of snacks, music and boy talk to catch up on over the next forty-eight hours of estrogen fueled reprieve.
            I couldn’t be happier for them. If not a bit jealous.
            I mean, I can’t imagine how much fun they are going to have. I can imagine what I would have done at sixteen with two of my best pals and my father or father figure in a hotel room at a beach resort for a weekend. Especially since where they are going is going to have a ridiculously large car show going on all weekend. Not that these girls are gear heads. Although my kid loves Harley’s and Mustangs, I’m sure she will see a few motorized transports that will catch her eye. Not to mention, she has her learners permit and wants nothing more to do than drive all day and all night. Yeah, I’m sure they are going to have a blast.
            I’m glad I could do this for them.
            Which brings me to this past week.
            I met a man and his mother this week. When I met them, they looked as if they’d been run through some sort of medieval torture device. I saw the stress and pain on their faces and in their eyes. So I talked to them. What I found out was tragic.
            I’m not going to go into too many details of their situation simply because I don’t have permission to do so. What I will say is that the man with the help of his mother are from another state and embroiled deeply in a custody battle for the man’s four year old little girl. It seems this battle has been going on for several years and across several state lines. Somehow, they ended up in my adoptive burg I like to call home. Also, oddly enough, they ran into me, the semi-self-proclaimed “Prince of Portsmouth”.
            I say semi-self-proclaimed because I never used that title until a good pal of mine called me it one day. That, however; is a story for another day. Regardless, once they laid their burden upon my shoulders I knew I had to help them in any way I could. When they informed me of their local attorney’s name, I recognized it as one of the best family practices in town and told them so. I also informed them that I knew the attorney’s personally and when they meet them again, tell them I said hello.
            When the mentioned the judge who is handling the case, coincidentally enough, I knew him as well. I assured them that they were in good hands and he is a just and fair man. Which is about the time the grandmother of the child pulled out her phone and showed me pictures of her grand-daughter. A small, curly blonde haired, blue eyed cutie, playing in the snow. Making snow angels, snowballs and hugging her grandparents. My heart leapt with happiness to see such a wonderful moment in life. Then it tore apart. Thoughts of this young lady growing up without the influence of her father or grandparents and all the joys of frolicking in snow, baking cookies, making hot cocoa or even just enjoying a walk amongst the fall leaves while holding hands of the ones who care for her was almost too much to bear.
            So I gave them more information about my fair city. I told them who they should speak with in the court system and who would help them. Gave them the names of the people who make sure the proper paperwork gets filed on time and filed properly and without mistakes. I encouraged them to look up these people and I also informed them that if they were religious and thought they needed prayer, I could help them in that aspect as well.
            They were grateful for the knowledge and then asked me where they could get pictures of the child printed. I readily told them.
            When they departed, they didn’t seem so distraught, so oppressed or even so hopeless. No, they actually seemed happy. Which is cool.
            Not twenty-four hours later, I got word that they in fact had gone to court, met with some people I had advised them to meet with and everything went off pretty much without a hitch. Also, I received a friend request on facebook from the father of the young lady.
            I don’t know why I did all this for them. Not that I really did much really. I just tried to help them work their way through southern politics and paperwork. Most days, I’d just wish them well.
            Maybe it is because my daughter is so near and dear to me. Maybe I can’t imagine a father not being able to have a healthy and wonderful relationship with their kid. All I know is that something inside of me compelled me to help them. So I did. And now, I hope for the best outcome for them.
            After all, there is no greater joy in a parent’s life than when they are able to make the dreams of their children come true. If you don’t believe me and you are a parent, just wait until Christmas morning when your offspring open that unobtainable gift that youscoured the internet for, fought other adults at the toy store for or even called in more than several favors to obtain.
            The joy, the love, the sense of accomplishment and the unadulterated bliss a parent feels at those moments is more than one human can humanly contain. Nope, it has to be shared. Shared with friends, family and passer-by’s. It’s what we do.
            We give the gift of small miracles in the hopes that one day our children will be able to do the same for their kids. A lesson they learn from the feet of their parents.
            Goose, Happy Birthday! I hope you have a great weekend and that you have a hundred more miracle birthdays ahead of you.
            For the rest of you, you know what I’m going to say…

            Have a great week.

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