Prompt Ten: What’s the First Time You Realized Adult Aren’t Always Totally Truthful

While I don’t remember how old I was when this happened, the first time I remember realizing adult aren’t totally truthful is when I saw my father on TV at a baseball game.

I was in grade school at the time this happened. No older than 11. The likelihood is that I realized this far younger, but this is the one I remember.

I was at home with my mom and brother, watching baseball on television. I remember saying to mom Dad is on TV. He was supposed to be somewhere else and I did not realize that. He was with my grandfather at a baseball game instead of wherever else he was supposed to be.

Not long after that, my mom used the grocery money to take my brother and I to a football game. This was her way of getting back at him. Its something that still makes me chuckle to this day.

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Prompt Number Nine: What’s the Biggest Leap of Faith You’ve Ever Taken

This is the easiest one I have written from this book so far.

I was dating for two years. Numerous times for various reasons I felt like I should break up with her. I had broken up with other women I had dated or didn’t go out again after a few dates. I knew if probably upset some women and maybe relieved others.

It was different this time. She might have been the first person other than a family member to tell me she loves me. It was fairly quickly only about three weeks after we started dating. Some would say that’s too soon. Some say they know instantly.

I’ve had to learn through some very difficult times that we cannot judge what works best for others. Every time I thought about ending the relationship all I could think about is what would it do to her? I used to ask her how she would feel is something happened to me. Her answer was always devastated.

I couldn’t stand the thought of hurting her. It took me years before I realized how deep my love was for her. All I knew at that time was that my feelings for her and not wanting to be the one to cause her pain was something I could not get past.

It’s often talked about what the difference between loving someone and being in love with someone. This will be analyzed for infinity. No one can truly know.

After we had been dating for about 18 months I was given an ultimatum that we had to be engaged by our anniversary or it was over. I wasnt sure I was ready.

At the time we began dating, there was another woman I had waited for two years to ask out. We went out once with a group of mutual friends for drinks at the beginning of the relationship I had with my then girlfriend.

I wasn’t unsure if my girlfriend was the one I wanted to spend the rest of my life with. It felt more about not wanting to be without her then wanting to be with her.

There were countless red flags. Her mother (who I got along with for the most part) heard a rumor I was adopted and instead of coming to me or my parents told her daughter. It took a year of therapy for my eventual wife to talk to my mother about it.

Her family treated me and my family extremely poorly. Her sister took offense to everything and often of petty disagreements. I was once kicked out of a family event of their’s because of money I supposedly owed.

I took the leap of faith to ask her to marry me. I always figured once we got married that she would realize what we have should come before anyone else. It never did, often in difficult times, she put everyone else in her life first.

 

Prompt Number Eight: What’s the One Thing No One Believes You Can Remember

There are two things in my life I can remember that my family says are not true.

The first was when I was applying to college. I wanted to got to a private school that was located where I have a lot of family. Another school I was looking at was located in a different part of the country in a city I was completely unfamiliar with.

The that is located where we have family is a private school. The school I was looking at in the unfamiliar city is public school. The private school was twice the cost of the public school. They were fairly even academically at the time.

My mother said to me at the time if I wanted to go to the public I would have to make up said to me at the time that if I wanted to go to the private school I would have to make up the difference in cost.

My youngest siblings wound up going to two of the most expensive schools in the country. I wound up being happy with my “choice”after a rough beginning.

The other thing that is denied that I can remember revolved around my father’s birthday. My parents invited my siblings and I plus our spouses over one year the night before my father’s birthday to celebrate. The night before was to be his birthday celebration.

The night of my father’s actual birthday I was the only child that did not have dinner with them. My mom as she usually does made up some story to protect everyone else and deny that it happened.

To this day both of these are denied by mother as existing.

Prompt Seven: Write About a Lesson You Learned or an Insight you Gained At the Time, I felt/thought/acted…Now I understand/admit that…

Most of us search our entire lives searching for love, our partner, the person we will share life with and in many if not most cases raise a family with. I thought I had found that in 2001.

All of us have decisions in life that change the course of our life. These are usually big decisions. Where we go to college, where we decide to live, the kind of work we do and who we decide to marry.

Getting there can often involve smaller decisions. Dating was always extremely difficult for me. The advent of the internet gave me far more confidence to date.

In January of 2001 I sat at my computer with my AOL instant messenger box open debating whether or not to send an instant message to a woman. I had grown tired of dating in general and internet dating specifically. I thought what do I have to lose. I sent the message and there was an instant connection.

We messaged for a few days before we spoke on the phone. It would be about two weeks before our first date. I decided to go out on the date with the goal of having fun and not worrying about the future.

My more relaxed attitude probably had a lot to do with the success of the date. We dated for two years and got engaged on the second anniversary of our first date.

We were married for two and a half more years before our first child was born. We went through a lot to get there. She had been sick beginning about eight months into our relationship.

The various illnesses would have changed most people and made them more appreciative of life. It didn’t seem to do either for both us. Ours was the epitome of a love hate relationship.

None of those illnesses compared to what was to come years later.She contacted a life threatening illness. The prospect of losing her made all the fights, arguments and disagreements seem pointless. I cried myself to sleep every night for two months.

One argument that preceded her illness by a month or two seemed particularly pointless.  As we were having a beautiful dinner outside in the summer I had forgotten to boil the corn to go with dinner.

The insight I gained from her illness is that almost all of our of arguments, disagreements and dissension seemed so trivial. Many of us get caught up in the minutiae of everyday life. What class your kids might take, whose family are you going to spend the holidays with or what are you going to eat for dinner.

When she got sick it made everything else feel pointless. In spite of our contentious marriage, I wanted to show her despite her illness I still loved her and hoped we could put the past behind us.

I learned a lot from a heartbreaking situation. Her illness clarified my love for her. More than anything I wanted to show her how much I loved her.

We were not always nice to each other. She would often call me names, particularly in disagreements with her family. I compounded it by teasing her early in the relationship and occasionally saying things about her family that I could have chosen different words for.

It took an inconceivable tragedy for me to realize how fragile life is. The lesson I learned and insight I gained is how fragile love is. What truly is love? How do we nurture a relationship? How do you put your relationship with your spouse/partner first while still keeping those in your life important.

One of the lessons I learned through all this is that the family you create together needs to come first. She would often say in her arguments “my family” “her family” my answer was always what about our family?

The insight I gained is that the importance of a living will, will and life insurance cannot be understated always have a plan in case you cannot speak for yourself.

 

Prompt Six: What Year Was Your Maximum Year of Coolness?

Wikipedia defines coolness as: “An aesthetic of attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance and style which is generally admired. Because of the varied and changing connotations of cool, as well as its subjective nature, the word has no single meaning.”

I’ve never thought of myself as cool. I have been fortunate to have been able to do cool things throughout my life. Its hard to pin down one year as coolness. I have hiked the highest peak in Rocky Mountain National Park, Masada, been to the Grand Canyon, Final Four, US Open in Tennis and the Orange Bowl game amongst many other things.

Three years of my life stand out as maximum coolness over all the others.

In 1994 I volunteered for the FIFA World Cup. I was able to volunteer for two games working as a photo runner on the field. Remember film? Before the advent of digital camera’s and cell phones I ran the professional photographers completed rolls of film back to their tents.

The six weeks of volunteering was one of the coolest experiences of my life. I met numerous people that are still friends 22 years later.

I began volunteering for the World Cup about two months before the games began. Because of my early work I was asked to be the volunteer coordinator of our deparmtent. I turned it down because I didn’t feel ready to handle so much responsibility. It is one of the biggest mistakes and regrets of my life.

One of the two games I worked as a photo runner was for the opening game between defending champion Germany and Bolivia. German Chancellor Helmut Kohl, the Bolivian President and President Clinton were all at the game. Amazingly I had a better view that all three of them.

I also got to see the opening ceremonies from field level. It was a brutally hot day. The temperature was about 95 degrees and extremely humid. Diana Ross was about 15 feet from me and her dress did not leave a lot to the imagination.

Oprah Winfrey was the emcee and Jon Secada also performed. He nearly fell through a hole in stage, but nothing serious happened.

My other memory from that summer was going out with my fellow volunteers and wathing the OJ SImpson chase at a local bar.

My second year of coolness was the first year my ex and I dated. We went on five trips during the first seven months we dated. They were all amazing. The two best were going to the Final Four in Minneapolis and a trip to Florida.

We laughed all weekend in the Twin Cities, especially at the Mall of America. The trip to Florida, especially South Beach was incredibly romantic. I made a gesture at a restaurants on Ocean Drive about it being a perfect time and place to propose even though I did not intend to do so.

My ex and I spent our entire lives wanting children. Having a child and begining a family was a year of maximum coolness very different than the first two.

I remember when her water broke I asked if she was sure. It was blatently obvious what had happened and we looked at each other like is this really happening? Are we really about to become parents?

The drive to the hospital is as vivid as if it was filmed. After nearly eight hours, our first child was born. We loved having a child in our lives.

Four and a half years later were back in Florida on his first birthday. We went to the cafe at Joe Stone Crab and had lunch just the three of us. I remember her joking that we were getting only the best for our son.

Each experience was amazing. I got to accomplish and experience cool things in three very different stages of my life. One was doing something on my own, the second was with the love of my life and the third was co-creating and nuturing a life.

Prompt Five: Write About the Natural Disaster Experience You Had, Never Had and/or Wish You’d Had

The worst natural disasters I’ve ever been involved in were floods a couple of times to two different houses.

The damage was between $10,000 and $15,000 combined from the two floods. Dealing with flooding was difficult. A lot of personal mementos and things that were close had to been thrown out. Some can be replaced while others were heirlooms that are irreplaceable.

On the whole, a flood in the basement that did not affect the rest of the house is minimal. Seeing earthquakes on the west coast and others parts of the world, the wildfires that took place in the Smoky Mountains, tornadoes that happen every year throughout the midwest and southeast, Hurricanes that have impacted the Gulf and East Coast are far greater natural disasters than a flood in the basement of one’s residence.

I have avoided the aforementioned natural disasters a few times. While on vacation in the Bahamas a Hurricane hit the western part of the Caribbean. The cruise ships bound for the East Coast of Mexico and other parts of the western Caribbean were diverted to Nassau. The ships docked in Nassau for a few days before they were on their way after the Hurricane passed.

My other near brush with a natural disaster came when I left a trip to Los Angeles a day before an Earthquake happened. It was a bit unnerving, but thankfully it was not a major one and it had little effect on Los Angeles.

Prompt Four: What is the Biggest Position of Power You’ve Ever Held? How did it Change You?

The biggest position of power I have ever had, was running a local sports league that had about 120 teams. The games were played from Sunday through Thursday nights. Friday nights were make up games for rain outs. The two summers I was in charge were the rainiest summers ever locally

I was in charge of doing payroll for the umpires and staff, setting policy for the league, updating the standings and keeping in touch with the captains and their needs and the needs of the players.

The position gave me more confidence in myself. Being in charge of other people in the hardest thing to do in any job. Not only are you in charge of your own work, you are also in charge of any work of the employees you supervise.

I remember one particular instance when one of my staff members made a mistake. My boss and his bosses asked me if I reprimanded them for it. When I told them I had already discussed it with the staff member they were pleased that I had already worked with the staff on the issue.

Being in a position of power, authority, responsibly when things go well is very empowering and when things go well is a huge confidence builder. It didn’t propel me to higher positions, but at the very least, I knew that I could do that job and do it well.