Prompt 116: Describe an unexpected gift. One that didn’t come in a brightly colored package.

Prompt 117: Describe an unexpected gift. One that didn’t come in a brightly colored package.

The best-unexpected gift I’ve ever received is my two youngest children. I prefer not to give their names.

My son is one of the smartest people I’ve ever met in my life. He was reading at two years old and at three taught us all the way to turn the vacuum on. He’s always been somewhat of a neat freak. When the children lived with me he would always thank me when the cleaning service came to our house,

His younger sister was always a bit slow. While he was walking at 14 months, she did not walk until she was 18 months. She speech and toilet training also came much later. She is shy and timid. Her three older siblings much more outgoing and extroverted.

When she was a young toddler and other three were being typical kids, rambunctious interacting and having fun, she would often take a book go in the corner and “read”. She is one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met. Although not necessarily affectionate, I don’t ever remember her being mean or very defiant.

Getting pregnant with the twins was a shock. There mom and I were in denial for probably two and a half months. We didn’t find out she was pregnant until about 14 weeks. We had just had a baby and it was hard to deal with for both us.

When we had our first child it felt like it was for us other than giving him life. Our second child was to give him a sibling. The twins we just a bonus. My hope is that all four kids will be each other’s best friends for life.

My ex and I often wondered how the relationships would play out. We figured that it would be the boys and girls or single births and twins. It turned out that number two and three were the closest.

They had a very special bond when I had custody. Due to an extremely contentious divorce, I have not seen them in over two and half years. Any of the time I had with them and will have with them in the future will be an incredible gift.

There is nothing better than having a child that is not expected.

Prompt 115: This is the one thing you’d change about your best friend

I don't have one best friend. I am fortune enough to have a few that check in on me. One calls everyday and another once or twice per week.

The one thing I would change with most of my fiends would be to see them more often. The one that calls once or twice per week I see only a few times per year.

We only live about 20-30 minutes from each other. He's busy with work and his family. It would still be nice to see him more.

My other friend I see about once per month. He's always on the road as a salesman so he can talk on the phone a lot while he's driving in between appointments.

My truest best friends I used to get to see everyday. That was my children. Losing them was devastating. I would desperately want custody back and to see them almost everyday.

I wanted their mother to be my best friend. Her sister would always seem to intervene with anyone in her life that would be closer to her than she was.

We would have disagreements and my ex would say her family or my family. I would always respond I care most about our family.

Looking back in never really felt like we had our own family. Influence from both sides was heavy. I would have loved for us to move somewhere to be able to be ourselves.

She said she couldn't do that to her mother or friends. They always seemed to have priority over me and our children.

The biggest thing I would change is the ability to be in a strong relationship and have my partner be my best friend.

I really hope to find love again. The next time I want to experience what a true best friend and life partner means. I'm often negative but not when it comes to love. I try and believe we all have someone out there to share life with. Someone that loves us for who we are and not what we might become in their mind.

Nothing would bring me greater joy than being able to find that and having my true best friend in my life everyday. I hope to reunite with my children as well.

Prompt 114: How would you be different if you had grown up in great wealth?

Prompt 114: How would you be different if you had grown up in great wealth?

I was very fortunate to grow up in a fairly affluent family. We were far from great wealth, however.

I was very fortunate to grow up in a fairly affluent family. We were far from great wealth, however.

I was lucky enough growing up to not really want for anything that money could buy. My perception of great wealth goes beyond that. I look at some people who come from families that allow them to do the things that drive them or they want to do.

If I had grown up in great wealth it’s likely adulthood would have been impacted greater than my childhood. I would have liked to have started some businesses and set up some charities.

I’ve spent a lot of time throughout my life being involved with charities as much as I can. I haven’t had much wealth as an adult to be able to donate money. I have often donated my time since I didn’t have the money.

I would like to get back to that more. I also wish I had the money to be able to start businesses and to be able to market the services I have.  Having great wealth would almost always put any of us in a better chance to succeed.

Getting the chance is the first and often biggest step to being successful. Money doesn’t buy happiness, but it can often make life easier.

I’ve always been a person of many ideas and have a mind that is constantly going. One of the first I ideas I had for a business post college was to start a fantasy football website. I often wonder if I had pursued it where I would be now.

With great wealth, I would have been able to pay someone to help me develop this. My lack of assertiveness has also hurt me throughout my life.

Anxiety has held me back. I get nervous when I had to do anything that might involve rejection. Whether it’s asking out women or in a business setting it’s myself I am often afraid of.

With “great wealth” I might have been more confident in many aspects of my life. It would have hopefully led to more confidence, more assertiveness and maybe more success. The reality is that most of us are not that fortunate.


Prompt 115: You Awake in Your Childhood bed. You just had a nightmare. What did you dream about?

Prompt 115: You Awake in Your Childhood bed. You just had a nightmare. What did you dream about?

I have generally had a hard time dealing with abstract thoughts. I deal much better in reality. The second of my four divorce attorneys told me I was living a nightmare.

Little did he know how much worse it could get. At the time I lost him I still had custody of my children. Losing them was devastating. I often have dreams about my in-laws. They have destroyed me. Life could certainly become much worse than it is now. I feel like I am living a nightmare.

In many ways, my life is a nightmare. It’s hard to imagine waking up in my childhood bed and it being a nightmare. If we are only talking in terms of the bed specifically I would not want to wake in my childhood bed versus the bed I sleep in now.

I presently sleep in a queen size bed. My childhood bed was a trundle twin bed. Other than my last year of college I slept in a twin bed until I was 29. I can’t imagine having to go back to sleeping in a twin bed.

I was a very heavy sleeper as a child. I can’t visualize nightmares that I had. I remember one storm we had. My bedroom overlooked the patio in the backyard. I looked out in the morning after sleeping through the night and all the patio furniture was strewn all over the place. It’s amazing I did not wake up.

Things that would have kept me up at night as a child was anything that involved being assertive. Stepping out of my comfort zone heightens my anxiety. That remains true today.

Although I had a good childhood a lot of my thoughts from then have faded. I can remember being teased often by schoolmates.

I was told my epidermis is showing, pushed to do things I that made me look and feel foolish and generally felt like an outsider. Having to wake up in my childhood bed and going through that would ultimately be what would cause a nightmare in my childhood bed.

There are some events from my childhood I would love to relive. On the whole, I don’t want to go back there.

One of the biggest things I am proud of is going rappelling off a 100-foot cliff in Israel. It was totally out of character. I was then and still am afraid of heights.


Prompt 113: Write the jacket copy (brief cover description) for your memoir

Prompt 113: Write the jacket copy (brief cover description) for your memoir. I specifically bought 642 Things to Write about Me with a memoir in Mind. The exercises regarding memoirs I have either written already or thought about them extensively.

I specifically bought 642 Things to Write about Me with a memoir in Mind. The exercises regarding memoirs I have either written already or thought about them extensively.

I have written three chapters of a memoir thus far. I have published a synopsis of what my life has been like and partially how I got to where I am now on the website Wattpad. The title of my memoir would be Paralyzed.

That describes the paralysis that my ex-has and what having anxiety does to me. I often feel paralyzed in my thought and actions. Almost frozen and frequently numb.

The summary I wrote for my memoir on Wattpad is:

“My life the last seven (now eight) years have been almost too dramatic to be believed. It began on Father’s day 2009 when we brought our second child and oldest daughter home from the hospital. The following Mother’s day we were back having twins. Fifteen months later my wife became a quadriplegic. She filed for divorce 11 months after that. In May 2015 she gained custody of our four children.

Things were not always easy in our marriage. We had two families for the most part that didn’t like each other. We both came from big families. There were people who were very controlling on both sides.

All I ever wanted from her was for our family to matter the most. When we would fight she would almost always say my family, your family. I responded all I cared about was our family.

I went to see her at the hospital six to seven days per week at the hospital for months. I thought by doing that and being there for her I could show her how much I really loved her.

It never seemed to matter. Her friends and family of origin seemed to matter more. She often crushed my dreams on a daily basis.

More of the jacket copy will someday potentially include how controlling her sister was. Certain things that were said to me by my ex, her family, and my family.

There are many complicated layers to the story. A publishing company may or may not want to include that. It’s a story that needs to be told. Divorce is a devastating thing that tears families apart.

Sadly the family we created was being torn apart long before the divorce.

Prompt 112: That Time you Ran Away From Home

Prompt 112: That Time you Ran Away From Home. I only remember running away from home once. I went to my grandparents.

I only remember running away from home once. I went to my grandparents.

I don’t even remember why I ran away from home. It likely had something to do with my father. He was never really compassionate with me. He seemed to be troubled by and never understood me I after I turned 13.

My mom was compassionate with me until the last few years. Both of my grandfathers were very compassionate. My grandmothers far less so. In their generation that completely bucked the stereotype. It was my maternal grandparent’s house I went to. They lived about 15 minutes away from me.

I was fairly close with my grandparents until I reached adulthood. I kept more to myself and my friends as an adult. This one particular night I relied on them. I don’t remember much.

It might have been news years night.  I remember watching football in their living room. My dad and grandfather had a cordial relationship. Underneath that, it seemed as if they didn’t like each other much. The tolerated each other and were cordial for the sake of my mom.

I wish I could remember more about that night. There were times my grandfather seemed to understand me more than my father. The running away was most likely due to a disagreement with my father.

My mom used to be my biggest supporter. No one seemed to understand me more than she did. She is incredibly smart and definitely got that intelligence from my grandfather. They are both Northwestern graduates.

Neither of my grandmothers graduated from college. My paternal grandfather was an attorney.

There were many times I wanted to run away. Even now life seems like it could be better if I could start over somewhere else. I would love to be able to do an American version of Eat, Pray, Love combined with Wild.

It would be more like Eat, Love, Wild. I love cooking and trying different cuisines from a multitude of ethnicities. Cooking soothes me. Religion has become less important to me. I felt deserted religiously. It’s interesting to explore different kinds of spirituality. I will always hope to find love.

If we have nothing keeping us in one place being able to explore and get out of ourselves can help us learn more about ourselves. In the last couple of years, I have thought about that a lot. The ability to move somewhere else or travel and explore life, get out of myself and look deep into myself is appealing. In a way that’s running away and leaving the place that has been home for most of my life.

The ability to move somewhere else or travel and explore life, get out of myself and look deep into myself is appealing. In a way that’s running away and leaving the place that has been home for most of my life.


Prompt 111: Describe the one thing you wish you had said and the moment you wish you had said it

Prompt 111: Describe the one thing you wish you had said and the moment you wish you had said it

I have frequently chronicled my issues with anxiety. There is not one thing I wish I had said or a moment I wish I had said it. It’s more the general idea of often being afraid to say things.

My anxiety and lack of self-esteem have held me back from so many things in life. I have had fears about necessary phone calls I need to make, asking out women I like or taking care of things that need to get done.

My life is a constant daily battle of having the confidence to tackle things that need to get done. I often have difficulty getting out of my comfort zone. If I am unsure of something or it makes me feel uncomfortable I very likely will avoid doing something.

This is something I am constantly working on. The strength and weakness of my personality are to be able to focus on a task directly ahead of me. I thrive with day-to-day activities that need to get done.

The irony is that the courts saw this as a detriment to me as a parent. It was far more my strength. Taking care of children requires the ability to get things done. Under a deadline, I thrive. Children force you to constantly work under a deadline.

Getting them ready for school, sometimes preparing their lunches, getting them to activities and appointments are all essential in taking care of them.

I wish I could narrow this down one thing I wish I had said. In general, I just wish I could be more assertive. This applies to most aspects of my life. The two biggest ones are being more assertive with women in public and people at a career networking events.

I am a different person online versus in person. At events, whether it’s a social or business event, I am more likely to wait for someone to talk to me than for me to talk to them.

I am frequently not sure what to do say or consciously and sub-consciously face the fear of rejection. I am working on my confidence and anxiety on a daily basis.

I hope and wish to be able to able to be more confident to be able to get the things done I need to do. This includes phone calls that need to be made, talking to people in a physical setting and the ability to say things when they need to be said.


Prompt 110: What Delighted You as a Child? What Disgusted you. Recreate a Scene with you In It Where you Feel One of These Ways.

Prompt 110: What Delighted You as a Child? Recreate a Scene with you In It Where you Feel One of These Ways.

The things that delighted me as a child were sports and being with my friends. It was more about being with them and enjoy common interests than one specific scene.

It’s hard to figure out a scene to recreate that I felt delighted. Sports in general and being with my friends were more than one specific scene. I can think of a few of these moments.

The first was watching the Major League Baseball All-Star Game with friends that came over. I did this for a few years where my friends would come over to watch the game. We had to stop as the game became the day I left for camp.

I remember all of us celebrating one specific play that was amazing. The play kind of came out of nowhere. I don’t want to get deeper into what the play was. I don’t feel comfortable revealing when that was. It was far more about being with my friends and all of

It was far more about being with my friends and all of us being delighted by the play and being able to enjoy the game together.

Another love of my childhood was hiking. I was fortunate to be able to participate in that frequently throughout my tween and teens years.

Getting to the top of the peak with a group of peers was a major accomplishment. We all worked together to get to the top. When other kids lagged behind we would push them in a constructive way to get to the top.

It delighted me to be in nature and to accomplish things that made me feel good about myself for the time being. Most of my childhood when I would feel delighted it would be for a short time.

I always struggled with self-esteem. Being able to do things that delighted me made me feel good about myself in the short term. The long term was and is a struggle.


Prompt 109: Your Earliest Memory of Being Separated From Your Parents

Prompt 109: Your Earliest Memory of Being Separated From Your Parents

The earliest memory I have of being separated from my parents is when I was about three years old.

When I was three, I went to California with my mom’s cousin. We are not even in touch with him anymore and I don’t remember who it was.

My parents also had a housekeeper that began with my family when I was six months old. She continued working for my parents well into adulthood for all of us. She also has frequently cared for my parents ten grandchildren was well. That included my son twice per week for 18 months when he was a toddler.

I have very little memory of my trip to California. I can remember one picture of the trip amid the Palm trees. It was of me and the cousin. I also vaguely remember flying Pan Am. Eastern airlines somewhat creeps into my memory about that as well. That would not make much sense though.

How come there was an Eastern Airlines and not Western? At least as a major airline. There was also frequent time spent with grandparents growing up.

My maternal grandparents lived in the same area we did, while my paternal grandparents were in another state. I think I once went to visit my grandparents out of state when I was about six or seven. I remember going to a fancy party with my grandfather.

My paternal grandparents were much simpler than my maternal grandparents. The party was something special for my grandfather to go to. It was in the party room of their condo building. I remember having a nice dinner and that there was a band and dancing.

There was also frequent sleepovers at my maternal grandparents because they lived only a few miles from us.

When I was separated from my mom it was much more frequently time alone with my father. He would travel a lot and bring me with him. My brother had been ill frequently as a young child.

My mom had to stay behind to take care of my brother and at times be with him in the hospital. For the most part, we were not separated from my parents very often as children.


Prompt 108: What’s the Biggest Letdown you can’t let go of?

The biggest letdown I cannot let go of is my the battles in my divorce. It’s the nightmare that keeps on giving.

The biggest letdown I cannot let go of is my the battles in my divorce. It’s the nightmare that keeps on giving.

Nearly six years ago, my ex-wife became paralyzed from an illness. Eleven months later she filed for divorce. Nearly three years after that she got custody of our children. About two more years and the judge awarded her my house I bought when we were legally separated. At the time I had custody of our children.

In the nearly four years from the time of her illness her family got power of attorney over her, worked with her to file for divorce, got custody of the children and now my house. I am beyond devastated. Having my own house was the last thing I had of comfort.

Being at home has provided me more than shelter. It’s a place I can call my own. I love my neighborhood, town and the deck I have in the backyard. I have sat outside often this summer to write. On a beautiful summer day, it’s really nice to be able to do that.

I wrote earlier this week on my other personal blog about being numb. Her family, specifically her sister and brother-in-law seemingly won’t stop until they get everything and I am destroyed.

I do not know where I will live. No one in my ex’s family has even stepped foot in my house much less lived her. It’s hard to understand what the judge and the court system are thinking. Those close to me feel the same. The one word I have frequently used throughout the divorce process is illogical. That applies to many if not most divorce cases.

I have lost everything important to me. I don’t know what I will do next. I currently work part time in two jobs. I do courier work and always am looking for more clients. I also am a blogger.

I’ve thought about where my life will lead me next. I have never been comfortable in my own shoes. My lack of self-esteem likely hurt my marriage. I have been able to accept the end of the relationship. Everything else involving the divorce has crushed my mental health.

Losing my children and now my house makes me shake my head. I am just not sure where, when, what and how my life will hold next. It astonishes me how many divorces are more about vengeance than what’s best for the children and/or just moving on and being able to begin the next phase of your life.