One Last Time
2021 in a nutshell? If I knew how to use my keyboard to make an emoji, I would do that. It would suffice as both a representation of the current status of my life, and the progression of the year as a whole. It would be a round face as usual, but it would be a more withered and battered expression, with bloodshot eyes, a slightly bent nose, and a few crooked teeth. Boom. I’ve just described my actual face. I am an emoji of myself.
The last time I had time to write, I had slept normally, eaten regularly, and I had delusions of how running a restaurant would be. Three months later I am running on fumes; my muscles begging for a break. I can’t stop. This is just the beginning.
When this all first started with a random phone call in October of 2020, everything seemed like a distant impossibility. You see, for the majority of my life, I had failed at everything I had tried. More accurately, I rarely tried to do anything of accomplishment. For most of my adult life, I battled alcoholism, addiction, and all of the damage that is the result of doing so. I started early on in my teens, and it just kept getting worse because I loved the feeling of not feeling, and the chemicals that made me who I thought I wanted to be. Five years, seven months, and eight days ago I was released from a minimum-security prison treatment program with the shirt on my back and a few measly dollars to start life over, again. Today, my wife and I are signing the papers that make us owners of a restaurant.
Next, Again. The Next Time.
When I quit my executive job at the club a while back, I did it with my family in mind. I was killing myself with long days, hardly seeing my children, and falling asleep when I was actually home. I took a position that had me at work only four shifts per week, and I would be at home with my family on four nights. For a cook/chef, whatever you want to call it, those are hours that are unheard of, and I left for it in a hurry.
In a world peppered with negativity, some pretty amazing events have occurred in our lives since the last time I wrote. Our little girl has turned four months old, and she is all smiles and squeals, quite unlike the colicky first seven weeks we survived. I’m pretty sure she said, “Da-Da,” but it may have just been gas. She eats, sleeps, pees, and poops a lot, and she is growing at what seems to be an exponential rate. People say over and over that you should enjoy these moments, and we are. We love all of the time we get to spend with the girls, and we are growing ever closer together. What a beautiful life.
Booger Bear, Booger Bird, Tweetie Pie, Lil’ Poops, Chonko, Chonko Chunk, Chonko Chip, Tubby Buns, Little Baby Booger Bear Belly Boopie Butt. Those are just a few of the nicknames I routinely use for our little Elsee Anne. There are more, they just involve words that I can’t spell because they are not real.
I Get My Smile From Her
I’m losing my mind. In the past four days I’ve lost a jacket, $100, and a new prescription. To be fair, I believe the jacket and pills were stolen from my vehicle while I was working, and I only think that because none of my camera footage at home shows anybody going into my vehicle at night. The $100 I think worked its way out of my back pocket at the post office when I went in for mail on the same day everything else went missing. I assumed I had misplaced all of it and couldn’t remember where because of my complete lack of sleep and a combination of said new medicine which makes me feel a little loopy.
Three Weeks In
I’m nearly three weeks into fatherhood and I have been covered in puke, pee, and poop almost daily. Not necessarily all three in a day, but I have had the hat-trick twice now. The three P’s all have their own stinky or sticky attributes that make them special, and equally difficult to remove from my human skin and clothing. If anybody else threw up on me as much as Elsee does, I’d be like, “Hey, bro. Don’t throw up on me that much.”
What I didn’t expect is that something, somebody, could make me feel like this. Every squeak, every smile, every little wiggle she makes pulls the heart strings as if she were my emotive puppeteer. Up and down I dance for her, my tears of joy and pride illuminating my blush face and my reflection of her little life from mine. She can do no wrong. She is my light, but I am glowing.
It’s been well over three years now since the first time I saw the woman who would become my wife. I’ll never forget that day, and I am forever grateful for the circumstances that put me in that moment. In the beginning, she tried to push me away. After several coffee dates, we both knew we wanted to take things further, we just didn’t know how. She was married, albeit unhappily. Every time she tried to break up with me (even though we weren’t dating), and thus break my heart, I uttered only one simple response, “No.” I knew she was special; I knew it was her. It was never perfect, but from the start I battled to keep her hand in mine, and I went to all ends to fight for her, and to take her away from anguish, to lead her to a life of love. Things moved quickly.
I remember the bad man well. He was short, stocky, balding on top, and had the most calming smile. He was the type that would smile more the angrier he became, and foam would build at the corners of his lips. He turned red when he was at his worst, and he made life miserable for anybody with whom he came in contact. His name was Bob, and he was the single worst human I came into contact with in the prison system.
Up until this point, it's been much preparation for the arrival of our baby. We painted the room and decorated it in a Dr. Seuss theme throughout. There's Horton here, Who there, and The Cat in the Hat brightly shines down from above. One fish here, Green Eggs, an Eye, The Grinch, an Ear, a Wocket, and a book I had never even heard of called, "The King's Stilts". We found it on Ebay; it's from 1939. It isn't written in Dr. Seuss or even Geisel style, but it is fascinating. All in all, we have a hundred or better books in this room already. We have many hundreds of trinkets and toys-some cool retro stuff, as well-for Elsee to train her mind with when she get here.