Monday, May 27, 2013


The free download offer is finished for now, but you can still get your copy for the unbelievably reasonable price of $4.99  Even if you don't have a Kindle reader. Amazon offers free downloadable apps to read it on your iPhone, iPad, Android or Laptop. Here is the link: "Sometimes Daddies Cry: What a Dad Really Feels About Divorce"
If you like this blog, you'll LOVE the book!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

All I ever Wanted was to be your Dad...Anticipation

I found out I was going to be a dad on my 33rd birthday. I suppose that's ironic. Or cathartic. It was frightening...I know that much. You spend your adult life thinking about the day you become a dad, and you are convinced you will do a great job. But when you find out it's actually going to happen you aren't so sure. Suddenly it became more important than ever that I make enough money, that we have a nice place to live, that we drive a safe car.
I knew instantly that I was going to do it differently than the examples I had growing up. My daughter would never fear me. Never. She would never feel dread when I pulled into the driveway at night. She'd never be afraid to speak her mind around me or to tell me what she was thinking or feeling. She was going to be totally free to be herself...because it was God who determined who she is and who she was going to be...not me. And my daughter was never going to chase me like a phantom. She would never beg to know me. I would not be a mystery and I would not reject her.
I had set to work years before -before even meeting her mom- working on my own fatherhood so I'd be ready. I read books, listened to seminars and worked on becoming a great dad. Because I knew that if I didn't create the habit of great fatherhood, I would simply revert to the model I had growing up. That would become my default. I couldn't do that to my daughter.
Every day, as that tiny little form grew bigger and the bump in her mom's belly became more pronounced, I was preparing my heart. I was imagining holding her in my arms. Singing to her. Telling her about God, about her mom, about her daddy and how much he loves her. There was a moment when Holly was about 7 months pregnant that I will never forget. Each night, I had been in the habit of placing a paper-towel tube against Holly's belly and talking to Morgan. I always said the same thing: "Hi Morgan, it's your daddy. I love you and I can't wait to see you!". One night, around that seven months mark, we were lying in bed and I did this again with the tube and as soon as I said "Hi Morgan it's your daddy..." She kicked...very pronounced. Holly and I both laughed and cried. Our daughter was not even here yet but she knew her daddies voice and she knew what it sounded like when he told her he loved her. Something neither of us had heard ourselves.
Morgan entered this world wanted and expected. We anticipated her arrival. She was a blessing to us.
My own arrival was scandalous and shameful for my mother and father. It demanded his abandoning his plans and spending 30 months in the hell of Vietnam, when he really wanted to finish his college degree. For my mother, it was humiliating and embarrassing and it didn't end at all the way she'd hoped. I was born to a couple of Twenty-year olds who didn't want kids yet. Each had plans. Both had to rethink them.
My daughter was my plan. She is my dream. She makes me who I am and who I was always supposed to be.
Many times during those long 9 months waiting for her arrival I would imagine the conversations we would one day have. each would begin and end with "I love you". because that is the only foundation a child really desires.
          "Dear Morgan,
                The day is getting closer. I can close my eyes and feel you here with your mom and me. I can picture what you'll look like. I can't wait! I am so excited I just want to jump out of my skin! You are everything I have been waiting for since I was a young man. I've worked hard to become a dad...long before I found out I would be one. I don't know how well I'll do the job, but I promise I'll do my very best. While God is knitting you together in your momma's womb, I am praying He makes me the best dad I can be...the dad He wants for you. I love you already. All I ever wanted was to be your dad"

Thursday, May 23, 2013

New blog series..."All I Ever Wanted Was To Be Your Dad"

Good morning dads.
I'm beginning a new series this morning and I have the feeling that this will become a new book somewhere down the road.
I don't know how long I'll be writing this...each idea seems to yield a dozen more. But I'll write this until I feel like I'm done writing it. I don;t know where it's going...but I can tell you where it began.
My daughter turned 15 two weeks ago. 15 years have come and gone in the blink of an eye. That's true of all parenthood I suppose, but more so when you are divorced and your time is segmented and reduced by the order of a court and the inequity of visitation laws. Once a week and every other weekend is not equitable. You can't turn off your fatherhood on the days you don't have your kids. So you hold your breath on the days in between, listening to the time as it escapes your grasp and noticing how much they grow from week to week instead of the day-to-day that intact families experience.
My daughter's life is the greatest thing I have ever been a part of. She is the finest young woman I have ever known and there has been no point along this 15 year journey that she has not been the apple of my eye and the joy of my every day.
All I ever really wanted was to be a dad. From as early as I can remember, I knew that somehow being a dad would make up for not really having one myself. There was a man in my house. The man my mother married. But we wasn't my dad.  He merely married my mom and there wasn't a connection. There wasn't a bond. There wasn't love. My father is yet another story. I've spoken to him twice in my life and that's the way he wants it. I have cut him slack for 23 years while his stories changed and he avoided me, I'm all done excusing his shameful behavior. That's not how a man behaves. Period. I have accepted the fact that a man can be someone's father and not be their dad. That's my father. I won't mention either man again in this series. I am not writing this to explore my childhood, but my fatherhood. But in order to set up the background to my fatherhood, this stuff needed to be understood. When I became a dad I stood at a crossroads where I had to choose whether I would continue the pattern of fatherhood that was modeled in front of me as a child, or whether I would do the job the right way.
I chose to be a dad. I started learning how, years before my daughter was born and years before I even met her mom. I read books, watched seminars, read magazine articles. I also made mental notes about the great dads I had come to know. The fathers of friends of mine and men in my church. Sports coaches. I wanted to be a great dad when the time came.
     I was married for 7 months when my wife discovered we were pregnant. We were going out to dinner with some friends, celebrating my 34th birthday. Holly had been feeling "odd". The woman who was going to dinner with us described some of the things she felt when she was pregnant and Holly said "That sounds like me" I pulled into the nearest Walgreens and bought a pregnancy test kit. We continued on to the restaurant and Holly went to the ladies room and took all three test strips with her. All thing came back positive.
We tried to be cool and calm but we were scared. We had only been married for 7 months and had been practicing birth control like religion. We definitely wanted kids...just not right then.
By the next morning, we had accepted it and we were excited. I was calling all my friends and getting ready to start being a dad.
In hindsight, I became a dad that very soon as I found out I was going to be one. From that day forward, everything I did and planned and hoped and dreamed was for this future child and the world I would give her. Had I known right away that I was having a girl, and had she been able to hear me and understand me, I think I would have told her...
     Dear Morgan,
          "Tonight your mom and I found out you were coming and we were going to be a mom and dad. I can't even begin to tell you how I feel tonight. How excited I am. How I already have begun dreaming dreams and planning plans. I am already praying for you and for that I will be the best daddy a little girl could have. I am scared. being a dad is a huge thing and if I do it wrong, you will pay a higher price than I will. But if I do it right, your life will be exactly what God has in mind for it to be. I promise I will try. I will pray for you every day. I will never leave you alone. I will do everything I can to see your dreams come true...even if I have to surrender my own dreams along the way. I can;t wait to see you, to hold you in my arms, change your diaper, rock you to sleep, watch you while you dream and pray for you on my knees next to your bed. I wonder if you'll have blonde hair like your mom, or dark hair like me. I bet you'll be tall and beautiful like her. I know this much...your mom and dad love you already.
I love you so much and we just found out about you. I can't imagine how a lifetime will feel.
I know this much...God made me with a heart that loves children and desires fatherhood. God chose you for us. Nobody else on earth could have come together and made someone exactly like you and who you'll become. I can't wait to see you. I'm already happier knowing you'll be here soon. Because all I ever wanted was to be your dad."

Until tomorrow...

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Sometimes you just don't know what to do...

I have no idea where this article will go. I just know I need to write.
I'm struggling. Like so many of you out there who read this blog and email me privately or comment publicly. I feel lost. I feel like I am spinning wildly through my life. I feel like the fixed end of my compass has come loose and I can't find True North anymore.
My daughter turned 15 last week. You want to know how long a blink is? It's 15 years. Five years ago I became a homeless dad. I lived like that for almost 4 years. I found a place I could afford and I stayed there for a year from January 2012 until February 2013. Then the work I was doing ground to a halt at the same time my landlord decided to sell the condo I was staying in and since February 3 I have been homeless again.
I am embarrassed, humiliated, losing hope, and feeling my dreams and my life slipping right through my hands. I can't stop's like sand.  There are no jobs here for an almost-50 year old man who has been "out of the work force" for 5 years. I have been working. But they don't count self employment. You work a hundred times as hard when self-employed, but try convincing them that.
Meanwhile my daughter is growing up and I am missing important time with her and my heart is tearing open because of it. What am I supposed to do? I have always...all my life...been a hopeful, optimistic guy. My glass was always half-full and ready to overflow.
Now I fear the future. I wonder if this is never going to change. What is the impetus? There is nothing to look to and build on. And I live in a town where almost everyone could care less. There are a few exceptions, and I love and appreciate them, but for the most part, this town is full of arrogant people who see themselves as better than anyone else who isn't wealthy, famous, beautiful and connected. Even the church is like this.
The folks who have shown me kindness and encouraged me have been wonderful. But the cutting, hurtful words of the others have broken what little remains of this once successful man. The only thing worse than the vicious, arrogant, prideful remarks of the Dave Ramsey-followers around here, has been the deafening silence of the rest of the bunch. Especially the church folk. The "gawd-fearin' Chrus-chunz" who are quite certain that their life is as good as it is because God loves them and loves their life and therefore He must not love you if you aren't successful. Pastors who suck-up to rich, famous people because it makes them feel better about themselves and it's some sort of declaration of God's satisfaction with their ministry. That and they love to name-drop and they get a real rush having famous names in their speed-dial. It's almost impossible finding a church not in this mold.
Meanwhile me and my daughter almost never spend any time together and she misses me and I miss her and my heart is breaking and none of these people give a crap.
I just don't know what to do anymore. Where to go to find a job. How to plan for Morgan's college in a few years...or even how I am ever going to sleep indoors again.
Sometimes you just don't know what to do...
I've always been a resourceful guy who found work, found a way to make a paycheck and made a way. Now I can't apparently.
Guys reading this blog understand...they get it. A good man grinds himself to the bone to protect his family and provide for them. When you have days like the ones I've been having, and when they stretch into months and then into years, you keep going because your family is there when you get home at night, looking to you for hope and they give you hope in return.
But when you are divorced and those faces are somewhere else and you can't come home to them...your reason to press on is lacking. It's broken. And sometimes you just don't know what to do to find it and fix it and get it back.
I love my daughter. More than any words could ever say. I don't know how I am ever going to be able to take care of her again. That's where I am tonight. Most times I can figure things out and I have the answers.
But sometimes you just don't know what to do...