Goodbye, Old Friend

While it’s definitely true that I get really excited over buying a new car, it’s definitely not like me to get emotional over the car I’m trading in. This past weekend proved much different. My car was getting up there in miles, had some decent wear and tear on it, and was proving to have not enough storage space for everything we needed to haul on longer trips with our son and dog in tow. So we decided to go car shopping. I’ll spare you the details of the experience as car shopping is about as much fun as watching paint dry, but needless to say I purchased a new vehicle. Cause to celebrate, right? Well, yes, but it was definitely tempered by having to say goodbye to my old car.

I bought this car (2008 Chevy Malibu) brand new. It was really the first car I got to choose to buy as opposed to having only one option for financial or circumstantial reasons. My plan was to drive it until it died, but obviously having a child changes the rules of the game quite a bit. Regardless, I drove the hell out of it – 128,000 miles in 6 years and 23 days. I’ve hauled everything from bikes to drums to pets to moving boxes, and it handled everything with nary a complaint. But those experiences aren’t enough to get my eyes to tear up. It’s the other, life-altering experiences:

March 8th, 2009: After walking into Petsmart with the sole purpose of buying cat food, we fell in love with the cutest dog ever and brought home our first dog since childhood – our pitbull/pointer mix Sandy.

September 19th, 2009: I drove my then fiancé to our wedding at the courthouse. After the ceremony I was almost given a parking ticket for an expired meter, but the police officer saw that I just got married and decided to give us a break. I then drove my new wife off to our reception.

November 14th, 2013: After over 24 hours of hard but productive labor at home, I loaded up the car and carefully navigated the 20-minute drive to the hospital where our first son would be born in the wee hours of the next morning.

November 17th, 2013: We brought our brand new, first born son back to his home.

 

As I took a final glimpse at my old car in the dealership parking lot, completely emptied of all my personal belongings, reflecting back on all those life changing events that it supported, my eyes welled up uncontrollably. Goodbye, my old friend. You’ve been nothing but the best.

 

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The Littlest Fan

Blackhawks_LogoLast week we took my 5.25-month-old son to his first Chicago Blackhawks hockey game. In the playoffs. He’d been to 3 previous games in utero (all wins), so we were hoping for some additional luck here so we could even the series against St. Louis. Regardless of the outcome, being able to experience his first NHL game with him was magical. Here are my top 5 incredible, awe-inspiring, jaw-dropping moments from the game:

5) If you know anything about Blackhawks games at home, you know they’re loud. You probably also know the National Anthem is LOUD. He was a trooper for the entire thing, not batting an eye as mommy and daddy went partially deaf for 3 solid minutes. NOTE: He did have hearing protection. We may be crazy parents, but we’re not stupid. 🙂

4) All the fans we met in the stadium and around us in our seats (even the drunk ones) were respectful, courteous, and downright happy to see such a young kid at the game. In any other venue I can see this one going completely FUBAR with people whining and complaining about a young kid fussing, general looks of “he’s not supposed to be here”, or shock/disgust/general discontent over breastfeeding (see #3). But not at the Madhouse on Madison, proving once again that Blackhawks fans are the greatest fans in the world.

3) Speaking of breastfeeding, my wife was able to feed him during the game. In her seat. While the game was being played. All with no issues from any fans around us. She and I are of the same mind that we don’t care (kid’s gotta eat, right?), but we’re very aware that other people make it their business to care for some stupid reason. But again, not at the Hawks game. So BIG kudos to my wife and son both for making breastfeeding at a professional sports stadium during the game look like just another meal at home.

2) I mean it when I say this kid was a trooper. The stadium was loud for the entire game (as it should be), yet he fell asleep while mommy was wearing him in the 3rd period. And then he stayed asleep until the end of the game in OVERTIME. All while maintaining his mellow, laid back personality as if to say “as long as I have mommy and daddy everything is no big deal.”

1) Holding my son as the red lamp lights up, the horns blare, and over 22,000 of the greatest fans in hockey belt out “Chelsea Dagger”. There is truly no other experience like this in the world. He shoots, he scores. Go Hawks.

 

Epilogue: The Blackhawks won the game in overtime, 4-3. This kid now has 4 wins under his belt including 2 in the playoffs. Maybe you’ll see us at more games. 🙂

Five Fabulous Months

To My Son,

You are now an incredible 5 months old. As I type this you are sound asleep snuggled warmly against my chest in one of our carriers. It’s a wonderful experience watching you relax and slowly fall asleep while I’m wearing you, seeing the feelings of comfort, safety, and security in your eyes as the Sandman slowly lulls you into dreamland. Normally I talk about your development and how it’s outpacing any of our expectations, and to be sure there’s been some great developments this past month. But for me the major milestone this past month has to do with our bond. Specifically, I think you and I are both starting to realize that we are more than father and son. We are family.

It’s very obvious and yet breathtaking at the same time, to see you, so brand new to this world, form bonds and connections with others, to see the trust and understanding build on foundations of billions of neural connections. You’re clearly happiest when you, me, and mom are all together. You laugh, you smile, you flirt, you’re excited and exploring your world! Our weekends have been so relaxing and filled with so much fun and joy that it makes the meat grinder of the work week seem a million miles away. You and I have a great relationship, just as you and mom do. We both love you so much and would do anything for you. All the stresses, sacrifices, and tears just disappear when your eyes light up and you smile at us.

While I never had a completely clear picture in my head of what my family would look like when I started it, you are by far the best way to start one! Now that the brutality of the winter is behind us let’s fill your first spring and summer with some great memories as a family.

I love you.

Motivation.

Motivation

I’m standing here at the counter of a local sub shop wondering why I’m even here. I had plenty of lunch options at home but decided not to prepare anything. I already know that, despite the plethora of options to make a semi-healthy sandwich here, I’m going to choose my regular, most definitely unhealthy option: tuna salad on a pretzel roll topped with mayo, swiss cheese, and sweet peppers, a bag of Flamin’ Hot Cheetos, and a Mountain Dew. I wasn’t always like this, and it’s certainly not what I aspire to be. I used to be the epitome of healthy eating – lots of green veggies, lean meats, limited starches and sugars, and certainly no pop (yes, I call it pop. That’s what it’s called where I’m from, so deal).  I already know my current lunch choice is furthest from healthy yet I intentionall
y sought it out. I’m fully in DGAF mode. Why? 1 word: Willpower, or lack thereof.

I get up every morning with a finite amount of energy to spend before collapsing from exhaustion at night. Most of this energy is spent surviving the day – work, band practice, errands, taking care of my son, and attempting to maintain my marriage with my wife – leaving very little left over for willpower. You know that little voice inside your head that tells you not to do things you know are inherently bad for you and usually follows through with self-control? Today that voice barely lifts a finger, and I’m actually okay with that. I’ve expended a serious amount of energy looking back at the last 4-1/2 months. My wife and I have successfully started to figure out how to raise our first son, survived the longest and worst winter of our existence (seriously, check the record books), and are starting to win the war in the trenches that is parenthood.

But winning that war comes at a personal cost. I’ve gained weight, certainly more than I wanted. Eating healthy is a struggle at the present time, and some days are better than others. Long term I know this will turn around, but the energy needs to come from within, which means major changes. Maybe at some point I can focus on that. But for now, I’m trying to figure out the next few hours. And right now that has to be good enough.