I’m going to talk about the things I did today (Friday). Yesterday was hard. Another day of pointless court. So, I had a few drinks and stayed up too late. I woke up with a headache this morning at about 10. My mom invited me to lunch, and instead of going to the bowling alley in town, we drove to Laramie. My mom and I have a good relationship where we often chat about life for hours. When I was out of commission after my gallbladder surgery many summers ago, my mom helped take care of me for a few days. We might have had the TV on for a few hours and the rest of the time we just visited. I’m lucky that way. It wasn’t always that way with us. When I was married, I was made to choose. Nobody should ever have to make that decision.
We should be allowed to love all of our family, otherwise it isn’t love. Anyone who forces you to make a decision like that doesn’t love you. My mom was out of my life for five years. And her grandkids were out of her life too. They still are, as they are out of my life too. But the powers that be don’t consider things like that in their infinite wisdom. And I say that with sarcasm. Like I said, nobody who makes someone choose really loves them. Like me, my mom has a lot of love to give, and hasn’t always had the opportunity to give it. And there is no justice in a system that keeps children away from those who truly love them. If they don’t like me saying that, then maybe they should do better. Maybe they should think about what they are doing, because it is going to affect people for generations.
Today, we drove an hour to get Chinese food. I’ve been down for a little while. Lately, I had forgotten what I wanted to do and instead have been focusing on what isn’t happening in my life. It’s a struggle. I am working on getting my career going as a full-time professional writer. Some weeks are better than others with pay. This last week, I have been sending out queries to literary agents for my book. I’ve sent out 12 so far. One rejection has come back already. It made me think that the work I spent the last two years on isn’t good enough, even though I know that isn’t true. But it’s hard to not believe that sometimes.
At lunch, my mom and I ate lo mein and General Tso’s chicken. Our waitress was in her early 20s, and she hung out with us as we ate. She was telling us all about her trip to China with her university’s study abroad program. I think she was surprised that we were so interested in what she had to say. The way she lit up about the whole thing was adorable. She was continuing to learn Chinese and had a very good accent when she spoke. It reminded me of someone I knew…me. Back when I was that age and had so much enthusiasm to get out and see the world. She was fearless (even though she admitted to having social anxiety). We chatted with her about her adventures, and I mentioned some of my own. My mom talked about her growing up in Southern California. We had a new friend for about an hour and she comped us some chocolate cake from the kitchen at the end of lunch with a hand-written “Thank you!” on the lid of the box.
We got coffee and took Penny to the park to throw the tennis ball for a while until Penny ran out of steam and we headed back into the mountains. I’m lucky to have days like these with my mom. Even though times have been hard sometimes. It’s a work in progress.
I have been thinking about all sorts of things today. When I got home, I didn’t take a nap, but instead I busted out a cigar I had been saving for the first nice day of Spring. Today wasn’t it, but it was close enough, and as the sun went down, the wind died down. My fingers got cold and I held that cigar in my left hand as I wrote, nodding to passing cars and waving passengers. I rarely smoke. The scent of it helps conjure up memories, because scent is powerful when it comes to rekindling things we’ve nearly forgotten.
Lately I’ve been thinking about the past. My kids. My former girlfriend who left two years ago this week. She had her reasons, and they were valid. It was a memory heavy week. I did many of the things that reminded me of her over the last week. I got Dutch Bros. Went to Fuzzy’s tacos. Drank some Bread and Butter cab sav. And tonight, I finished off the ritual with a cigar and a coffee. Just like we used to do every Friday night.
As I smoked my cigar, I wrote in a leatherbound notebook someone else had given me a little over a year ago. I’ve nearly filled it up. I thought of her too. I thought of how Mothers Day was hard for her because she had to make a choice that nobody should have to make. But she made the right choice, even though I think it still rips her up every Mothers Day and always will. But she made the right choice, because what she went through wasn’t love. She’s trying her best to do right by her own kids.
I told a story in my notebook tonight. The words that I wrote were clean and true. I decided to stop worrying about whether or not my book is good enough for an agent. It’s good enough for me. I’ve been pushing ahead with the support of some very important people in my life. I’m not an imposter. I know this. Maybe the agents and publishers are the imposters because they don’t know a good story when they see it anymore. 😉
Unlike yesterday when I was in a dark place, today I found a lot of spots of sunshine. I was reminded that things aren’t always going to suck. That I still had passion for my dreams. That I have family who loves me and I get to spend time with them again. I have good friends who are caring and supportive and put up with my shit, even on my really dark days. And as a dad, there are other ways to be a good dad and I am doing them.
This weekend was another anniversary. In 2014, I got into an argument with my soon-to-be ex-wife. I drove three hours to spend time with my folks and just get away from a house that had no love left in it. At my folks’ house, I got snowed in. The roads were closed for three days and I couldn’t go back home and start that honeymoon phase with the wife all over again like all the other times we had fought. My mom gave me money to use to help me get the hell out of that marriage. It was all she had saved up in a secret stash. I used the last of it to file my divorce papers a few months later.
The following Monday after that Mothers Day weekend, I checked out of my hotel room in Estes Park (having spent another night away from that house I dreaded going back to). The mountains were dusted in snow still and I sang along with Nina Simone. The sun was shining that morning as I drove to work in the Thompson Canyon.
It’s a new dawn
It’s a new day
It’s a new life for me
It’s a new dawn it’s a new day…
And I’m feelin’ good.
My life was just beginning again. I had my mom to thank for that. My life is still beginning. Changing all the time. Sometimes it is hard to navigate. Sometimes you just feel so alone.
I got to spend the afternoon with my mom today. A lot of people don’t have that luxury anymore. I’m lucky.