Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Remembering What Gave Me My Strength

As I have blogged recently, and as I narrow the days until I reunite with my dad, I have been through the gamut of emotions.  But more importantly, I have been reflecting on how and why I got to this moment in time and what gave me the strength to stay on course.

I believe we all learn at an early age in life; the age is probably very different for all of us; to do what is right for us, or to do what may not be right for us. Perhaps we choose to give in to peer pressure in order to gain popularity or even to just be accepted.  Like many of you, I would imagine that we all gave into peer pressure once or twice down the road.  I certainly know that I did...once or  twice.  I digress.  Regardless, when I was at that juncture in my life, I chose part of both paths.   I am very glad I did because that is what ended up molding me into the man and person I am today. 

Life as a child is a welcomed distant memory for me and the one I find myself reflecting on most these days.  Those memories that have come crashing back are so unbelievable and at times that I do not know what to do with them.  Talk about a light bulb going on.  Why would this be a welcomed distant memory you ask? Because it scared the hell out of me on most days.  For a little boy, I found myself in the grown up role many times, protecting myself, being the big brother and making sure everyone was behaving just to keep peace and the volatility low key.  I will leave it there for now.  This is when I learned how to be strong and to endure the unimaginable.  I needed someone to help me, but I knew that wasn't going to happen, so I helped my little sisters and mother, because I could. At the time, this was a story of desperation and I am not blogging about it because I am still sad by any stretch of the imagination.  I am blogging because I am embracing what turned out to be a very positive story because I learned how to be strong, believe in myself and protect the ones I loved.

Those experiences along that way, good, bad and indifferent catapulted me to young adult hood.  Then decided somewhere during my award winning military career that no matter who I would grow up to be that what was right was to be a good person. 

Then came the birth of my daughter, Chenin.  We can all agree that our children teach us many things along the way.  They may not realize it (because we do not share it with them), but their unconditional love and devotion to us should mold us into loving, caring and decent human beings. This is what happened to me.  It may not have hit me like a lightening bolt the day she was born, or even the day she turned four, but I knew it instantly the day she turned five was moved to another part of the state and would be away from my daily contact and assurance of my love.  I knew then, that I would move heaven and earth to be a good dad and be with her whenever I could.  Of course, having no role model for such an endeavor, I never even knew what that really meant. 

Along the way, I surely gave into more peer pressure and experimented like any young person who might have the temptation staring them in the face.  Some good, some not so good and some down right bad for me.  Nevertheless, despite having to endure the experiences of bad choices, I learned that some of those choices were not the smartest ones that I should have made and why.  Probably the most important part was the why.  So, my message today is that I learned from my mistakes, missed opportunities and misfortunes because I was able to muster up the strength to do so, focused on the love for my little girl, the fact that she needed me to be strong for her, I needed and wanted her and that I needed to stay focused and on a healthy path.

In retrospect, I suppose I am remembering all of these things now because I am preparing to reunite with my dad and I am painfully aware that there was so much that we both missed out on along the way, through no fault of our own.  But, I focus on that I did make my way.  Yes, I had many diversions, obstacles and hazards to overcome, but I was able to get through them and over them by applying the strength he and my mother gave me in my DNA to be a good and successful person, a good dad, friend and partner. 

So, while I have been reflective and emotional too, I am thankful for my journey and that it got me to this healthy place today in order to be ready to reunite with my dad, embrace new family and an unbelievable second chance at having a dad at age 52!

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