You mean I’m NOT the only one in the entire ‘verse that’s thought Bamahawg was a good name? Of course I lived in this delusional world for many, many, many moons. That is until today. So I was reading one of the fine blogs that followed me that’s got outstanding new blogger advice. So after reading an article about mistakes I was making, I did a google search. Now, I’m here in a blubbering mass of raw emotion because I thought I, and only I, was the one person in the universe who wanted to be BamaHawg.

I was understandably crushed in my own little narcissistic foolishness. For those of you old enough to remember, or to have a common enough name, if you weren’t the first person to a name then you had to add an infinite number of seemingly random numbers to your screenname. I mean, who remembers JohnSmith12344321? If you’re not John Smith and ONLY John Smith, then you will be lost to the neverending quest through pages of search results for yourself.

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I thought (rather foolishly it turns out) that I am the only BamaHawg. I hope he doesn’t mind what I post here, because honestly I don’t know how to change my wordpress username. I can change my blog title all I want. (At least I think so. I didn’t really read ALL of the EULA. Who does? That’s a lot of lawyer sounding jibber jabber). I suppose though that it really doesn’t matter if he likes it. We are now inexorably linked in the world of search results and name recognition.

Here’s an example conversation upon being found to be the Bamahawg:

Other person (OP):Oh! Are you the twitter Bamahawg or the WordPress one? We like the twitter one, not so much the wordpress guy. He’s kinda wordy.

Me (sheepishly): I’m the wordpress guy. Aren’t I supposed to be wordy? I mean you only get 140 characters in twitter. I can write all I want with WordPress.

OP: Well, the twitter guy is witty and succint. You kinda ramble on and on and on and on and …..

Me: I get it. I use too many words. Maybe you just don’t understand the nuance available with WordPress that you can’t get with Twitter.

OP: Are you saying I’m not smart enough for your blog?

Me: NO! That’s not what I meant. I meant that there are shades of meaning available with the use of more words you can’t get with Twitter.

OP: OH! Now you’re saying I don’t get shades of nuance? That’s why we like the twitter Bamahawg better. He’s not condescending and rude!

Me: (Hands to my face, talking through my fingers). That’s not what I said. I was just saying…Oh, never mind. You’re too daft to get it anyway. I suppose if I explained it in 140 characters you’d understand! (walks away in a huff).

Anyway, I’m not the only Bamahawg. I’m sorry I’m too wordy for you. Maybe you can go to twitter guy and he can comfort you in short blasts of platitudes.

 

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Am I doing it right?

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Life is challenging. Anyone who says it isn’t is being well taken care of and has NO responsibility or accountability. (Deep exhale). Ok…I’ve gotten that out of the way. I wonder sometimes if I’m doing life correctly. More specifically, am I a good dad? Pictured above are my three kids. (It’s throwback thursday, so I thought a 3 year old picture was throwback enough). I’m a divorced, single dad who feels inadequate.

People tell me from time to time that I’m a good dad. I think people say this because I manage to get them to the activities they are involved in as well as church and other things and they are fed and clothed and make it back to school the next day mostly unscathed. (All children get scathed from time to time. It’s virtually impossible for them not to). Scathing is a whole other topic and should be addressed sometime in the future. (Shakes head and clears brain to focus on topic at hand). Ok…so people think I am a good dad because I keep a schedule and the kids are still alive. Success!

Is that enough though? This brings us back to inadequacy. I’ve dealt with the feelings for most of my life. I feel like I’ve lucked my way through it by being at the right place at the right time. I would consider myself fortunate at my station in life and comfortable. That is, except in my parenting skill department. I’m a little bit of a control freak, and lazy to boot. I like to control my circumstances and I don’t like to clean, except I don’t like a filthy house. (Your definition of filthy may differ from mine, but we can argue about that later). Kids are hard to control and they’re getting older, so I need to start letting (making) them do things to help. That’s a challenge for me.

On top of that, I’m expected to teach them and mentor them and help them grow to be responsible adults who contribute to the good of all mankind. (That seems like a rather tall order, but I think that’s the standard definition of parenting). It all makes me feel a little inadequate. Having a judg-y mom and father in law (cause really, what do you call the grandfather of your children who happens to be the ex’s dad?)  who don’t think I’m quite doing it as I should makes those feelings magnify exponentially.

I think though, I’m doing ok. This morning I woke up, checked twitter and was directed to the link of Emma Stone lip-synching to DJ Khaled. I did what any self respecting, responsible parent would do. I woke up my oldest boy, found the video on youtube and chromecasted so we could watch it together. (Is chromecasted the proper verb form?). In turn, after he was properly entertained, he shared with me America’s Got Talent’s Nick Cannon pranking the judges as a mime contestant. We shared that five minutes. I don’t think I particularly taught him a valuable life lesson or anything. I did however share time with him. I really think that’s what right parenting looks like. I won’t be there for every moment of his life, but I need to be there for enough that he knows I love him and his brother and sister. I want him to feel safe in that knowledge.

I am inadequate. We all are. Who’s bright idea was it that we were supposed to raise our own children? I make mistakes, I fail and I teach my kids my bad habits. Overall though, I think I’m doing it right. That’s enough for me.

 

We need to live in a child’s world.

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Maya Angelou has passed.

I’m not able to quote any of her poetry, but I remember the soothing lilt of her voice. I wrote elsewhere in response that our voice needs voices that rise above the noise of a chaotic world. We lost one of those voices.  I believe it’s true. There are few distinctive voices that sooth and encourage simultaneously in today’s world. Three voices come to mind for me. James Earl Jones, Morgan Freeman and Maya Angelou. I think the commonality for them is that they use their voices to tell stories.

Our society is losing it’s storytellers. We’ve lost the ability to share our experiences in all but a shrill, piercing voice. We feel like it has to be that way if we want to be heard. I’m sometimes the same way. I tell my stories with passion and excitement and volume because I feel that’s the way to be heard. Sadly, experience has taught me nothing. If I want my children to listen, I don’t need to shout and yell, I need to get on their level and speak softly.

I feel like that’s kind of the way of a storyteller. They get on our level and speak softly. They draw you in, trying to get you to hear. As you get more involved, the intensity grows until it reaches the climax and then gently lets you back down to the end. That’s something we’ve lost in a society saturated with visuals and background soundtracks. In a world of big budget action and overwhelming emotional scenes. We’ve forgotten the simple pleasure of sitting around a great storyteller and allowing them to let us into their world. We’re in danger of losing the imaginative spark of storytelling.

I’ve sat down with each of my children as they’ve learned to read. I’ve  watched the wonder in their eyes as they learned first how to listen to a story, asking questions and then began to read them to me. This is why we need to live in a child’s world. We need to regain that ability to listen to the stories of others. After we’ve heard the stories of others, then we can share our own. I hope today, you’ll take the time to enter into the child’s world. Listen to a storyteller, then find your voice and tell yours.

Why the picture? I’d like you to use it as a springboard to a story.

I’ve lost control.

Love this lady’s writing.

The Bloggess

me:  The control button does nothing.

Victor: Hmm?

me:  My life is spiraling out of control and this button on my keyboard is sitting here taunting me.

Victor:  You’re supposed to use it in conjunction with other buttons.

me:  I know, but it’s like a secret potion that no one ever remembers the ingredients to.  Except for “Control/Alt/Delete” which just says “FUCK THIS. I WILL DESTROY EVERYTHING.”  That’s not “control”.  That’s “devastation“.  Might as well just take a hammer to the monitor.

Victor:  You should take a computer course.

me:  And why is there a “Command” button?  Everything I press is a command to my keyboard.  If I press “p” that means I command you to write “p”.  Why do I  need “command”?  Is it like “Simon Says”?  At the end of an essay am I going to hit “save” and the computer is going to be all…

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What is up with all the emotions?

So…yesterday was Memorial Day, which means that the weekend was Memorial Day weekend. I grew up in a military family and I remember that about the age of 14, I figured out that Memorial Day was a solemn occasion that should produce some sort of reverential attitude. Having served for a while in the Army, I began to revere the day even more. I remember what it felt like to grow close to people because you spent time together in what most likely was an overall unpleasant or restrictive (for my safety) environment.

All that was ok. I did the math today and I’ve spent about 4 years and 3 months not in the United States serving the US. Loved most of it, hated who I’d become after Haiti, but that was offset by most of my other experiences. Being a Soldier let me go lots of cool places I wouldn’t have been able to otherwise. Panama was hot, but a good experience. Honduras was a pretty good time, except for shifts sitting in a guard tower alone for hours in the middle of the night. Afghanistan gave me the chance to get out and be an encouragement for other Soldiers. Memorial Day though, never hit me before like it has this year.

I’ve been back from Afghanistan for almost 2 years. Perhaps, spending the last 2 weeks with Soldiers and developing new friends has something to do with it. Perhaps it’s because 3 years ago on Memorial Day weekend, my battalion lost 2 great guys to traffic accidents and they were the first memorial ceremonies I’d taken part in. Either way, yesterday was kind of emotional. (Warehouse 13 Spoiler Alert) I probably shouldn’t have watched the last episode of Warehouse 13 in such a state, but it kind of told the story of how it feels to have to move on.

I’ve spent my whole life meeting new people, just to have to say goodbye to them later. It became easy to just not grow especially attached to everyone, because they were going to leave (or I was). It was also easy to grow attachments to people I can relate to in a relatively short time. And then I saw Pete struggle with having to say goodbye to something he’d grown to love, something that had become the majority of his identity. I spent the whole episode crying because I would miss these fictional characters who I related so well with. I especially cried during Pete’s defining moment(s) as he talked about the love he had for everyone. I know how that feels, having to say goodbye to the best friends you’ve ever had because it was time to move on. It’s not cool.

Memorial Day is a good day to remember not that you had to say goodbye, but that you had the chance to say hello. So whether it’s running an obstacle course through the jungles of Panama, or watching aircraft take off in the middle of Afghanistan, friendships are good. Moving on is good too. It’s not pleasant, it’s not easy but it may be what you need to get the most out of life. I’ve got some great friends wherever I go, but I meet new great people and so in the end I’ve been blessed. I hope you will be too.

Mommas be crazy

So, today is Mother’s Day. Whether we love or hate them, we wouldn’t be anything without the mom in our life. We wouldn’t be alive so that proves the truth of my statement. Our moms carry us as part of themselves before we ever see the light of day. So yeah, moms are the reason we are here. (Father’s Day is next month, so let’s not worry about the part they play in our existence).

My mom and I have had a slightly antagonistic relationship. We butt heads a lot, even now when I’m 25 years out of the home. She has though, always been a huge part of my life. She carried me to the hospital bunches growing up as I woke up in the middle of the night for spastic colons and during the day for stitches (lots of stitches). She played a big part in my decision to join the Army (run away). She was there on the day I got married and it was to her and dad I went to on the day my marriage was over.

Mommas be crazy though. They are the one who thinks you can strive farther then you ever imagined. They want you to grow up, but they don’t want to let you go. They want you to get married, but they want to be the number one woman in your life. They want you to be successful, but not to get a big head. And…they are the rock upon which your successes are built. They are the taxi drivers, head chefs, teachers, companions and so many other things as we travel the path we choose.

My mom is crazy as they come and even though we see the world from a different angle, I love her. I know I’m blessed I still have momma. And even though she be crazy and drives me crazy, I hope she’s here for the long haul. Happy Mother’s Day momma.

I’m kind of new at this…don’t judge too much

Hi there. I’m not new to writing, but this is kind of a scary step.

So, I’ve thought for some time about making a blog and actually writing in it. It’s been a thought in my head for some time and I just kind of put it off. I write a lot for other things, but I do it in short blurbs that really don’t require much thought. At least not on my part. People seem to enjoy them and find them helpful, but I won’t do that here.

Important stuff to know about me. Single dad with 3 kids. Home is a nice place to sleep in, but most times I’m not there. My daughter said I have a cheer dad problem this week and my oldest son seems to think I shouldn’t place such high expectations on him. My youngest boy is a great big ball of awesome and joy (except when he’s tired or doesn’t want to do something and says he’s tired). I have friends all over the country, just not any really close to me. They say long distance relationships don’t work, but I think long distance friendships do a pretty good job. Ummm…I do love God and I do my best to please him (sometimes I’m a miserable failure there). My newest life verse comes from Romans 15:2 “Encourage your neighbor for his own good.” I think it goes very well with the Golden rule and the Ten commandments. I consider myself educated and smart, but that as always is a matter of debate.

I’m not sure what kind of blog this will be yet. Generally it will be a reaction to the events of my life and what’s going on in the world. Illogical much? I hope someone will like it enough to read it occasionally.

What profound thought should I leave you with? Really, I subscribe to the theory that no one else can make you happy. Only you can do that. I know it’s hard for some people to get to that point, but until you’re happy with yourself the people in your life are stuck trying to get you there.

Ok..that’s it for today. Be strong and courageous?