Defending Dads

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That All You Got?

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Crates of old mail line a wall of my garage like buffers along a pier. This mass was accumulated over several months at a time when I could scarcely open my mailbox, much less examine its contents. Before divorce, the idea that I could be phobic of mail would have sounded to me like a storyline for Curb Your Enthusiasm. Then, lawyers, creditors and court clerks commandeered my innocent little mailbox and morphed it into a portal to Hell.

It started out with the initial serving of the divorce papers. I don’t know anyone who would be thrilled to see her/his name on a legal document preceded by the word “defendant”, but I had been warned and thus prepared. What I soon learned, however, is that divorce is like a steam engine…it takes time to build sufficient pressure, but once primed, that engine can drive a freight train. If the action of divorce can be thought of as the work produced by this engine, then the blizzard of mail that fell into my mailbox is the exhaust. That figures because trying to keep up with it all began to exhaust me.

After a while, I couldn’t go within a few feet of that sinister semi-cylinder at the end of my driveway without breaking into hives and hyperventilating. “My God”, I thought, “is it possible that I am afraid of my own mail?” I never had to answer the question; the reactions were real. It got so bad that my children, aware that the box was often crammed to capacity, would periodically empty it and dump the long‑neglected missives onto the dining room table.

Interestingly, the same mail that, while in the mailbox, evoked in me sweaty palms and heart palpitations simply became a nuisance when sprawled onto the table. Though I still had no interest in browsing it, I wanted it out of the way, so I started to chuck it into boxes. When the boxes piled up, I moved them to the garage. I stacked them along the wall. Where they remain.

Some of the mail in my garage is old enough for preschool, but if you’ll pardon this awful pun, it’s about to be addressed. I’m ready and, thanks to some foresight, I don’t even need an intervention.

At the outset of the marital issues that led to my divorce and subsequent aversion to mail, I made a very good decision: I sought counseling. I did this because, if my marriage was falling apart, which it certainly was, I wanted to make sure I was handling the related stress in ways least harmful to myself, the children and anyone else. I write “least harmful” because the nature of a failing marriage is generally disruptive – there will be some harm done. Optimal management of said harm is critical to optimal rebound. But before there can be any rebound, there must be a bounce.

My bounce is well documented. Over the last four years, I salvaged whatever I could and set all else aside, especially mail regarding bad news of which I was already painfully aware. So, while I rebuilt Rome, I hoarded mail. Now that I can touch the stuff again without throwing up lunch, it’s time to turn it into confetti for the victory parade. When it snows this winter, I’ll have a place to park my car.

To think, there was a time I considered adopting a dog to chase the mailman away. Now, when I see that funny-lookin’ little truck ambling down the block like a sick albino cockroach, I go to my mailbox, flip it open and stand beside it with folded arms. When the letter carrier pulls up holding out that once-feared bundle of Bed, Bath & Beyond coupons and up-to-date bills, I cock my head to the side, look her/him dead in the eye, twist my lips into a snarl and scoff “that all you got?”

Six Year Custody Battle Ends In Tragedy

His name was James Shields Jr. Never met the man, but media reports indicate parallels in our lives: Divorced father? Check. Non-custodial parent? Check. Desirous of more time with the children we love? Check, check, check! We each even know the level of desperation that would prompt a proud man to set up a GoFundMe page to stop a slide down a greased tube into financial ruin.

I should write that I know that level of desperation. As of July 30, 2018, Mr. Shields knows nothing because on that date, he chose to end not only his life, but those of his wife, ex-wife and son.

Though Mr. Shields and I had much in common, what we did not share is the ability to fully adapt to life as a non-custodial parent. That is no judgment. Losing custody of my children simply because I am not their mother has been the single greatest crisis of my life. Any hands on dad who has been chewed up and spit out by this nation’s pathetic family court system knows the searing pain of that struggle. Thank God the majority of us learn to cope. But even of us, there are many walking wounded, to say nothing of what the children endure.

The Shields tragedy seems to be a spin on a tale told too often these days; a devoted father determined to love his child in the face of mounting debt, systemic sexism and public apathy to his plight implodes under pressure and does the unthinkable. One distinctive element of this story, however, is the GoFundMe page. The media has covered it extensively, but only for its evidentiary value to a case already closed. What I have yet to see, hear or read is how the page is an allegory of what a father faces when battling for the right to be…a father.

The page had been up since April and Mr. Shields received not a single donation. This man cried out to the public for help to be the opposite of the kind of deadbeat dad the public so loves to vilify, and that same public—who would fall all over themselves to help a mother in a similar situation—could not be bothered. Nobody gave a damn, not even to share the post like they would some clip of a kitten batting around a toy mouse, let alone donate. And once the mess is all cleaned up in Astoria, most people, especially the troglodytes running our “family” courts, will go right back to not giving a damn…until it happens again.

About two years ago, I had set up my my own GoFundMe page for reasons similar to those of Mr. Shields. Even tried to raise the same figure: $30,000 (which I reduced to $10,000). That seems to be the going rate to cover the cost of unethical lawyers, thoughtless judges and support figures based on cryptic formulae. I had a little more luck than him, but not much. Had I known about his page, I would have donated. His cause was at least as worthy as sending a cheer squad from Sandusky, Ohio to a national competition in Honolulu, but somehow, it didn’t go viral.

I might reopen my page, but not for money. The only donations I seek are public acknowledgement of the utter failure of family court on a national scale, the damage it routinely does to otherwise well-meaning parents and their innocent children, and a sweeping overhaul of the entire mess.

From Rubble to Reboot

An afternoon errand recently brought me by the World Trade Center. Perfect day for it, too; I had come out of the subway at Broadway and as I walked along Fulton Street toward Church, I had to shield my eyes from the sunlight that bounced off the shiny, new buildings and lit the place up like white sand on a tropical beach. Once I hit Church, I waded into a throng of dawdling tourists that blithely blocked the paths of determined commuters in that day’s session of the Rush Hour Waltz. I had no trouble finding the beat. I had spent ten years darting through the herds on those very streets. Now, I know the world could do without another “these eyes have seen…” spiel that says more about the narcissism – and age – of the deliverer than anything else, however…

Starting in 2006, I worked for ten years on the 33rd floor of an office tower across West Street from the World Trade Center. Not a working day passed that I didn’t peer down into the hole that had been the foundation for the twin towers. Though the rebuilding process was well underway, the place was still a canyon surrounded by sheer cliffs of glass and steel, very much a “Ground Zero”.

The site teemed with thousands of people, all manner of vehicles, every variety of heavy equipment, tons of building materials and heaps of debris. I marveled at the sheer volume of tasks, workers, plans, managers, education, expertise, experience, vision, coordination, cooperation, agencies, contractors, investors and all-out effort involved in transforming a scene of tragedy into what is now something H.G. Wells could scarcely imagine, resplendent and transcendent.

I wasn’t the only person at work transfixed by the construction. My colleagues and I often chatted about the progress we observed, but we never had to mention the collective, unshakeable conviction that the World Trade Center must rise again. When those towers fell, we as a city, a state, a nation had suffered a devastating blow to our equilibrium, and this crater in the heart of New York’s Financial District was a daily reminder of that. If we could feel this uncanny ethos 300 feet up, the people in the pit actually doing the work had to be immersed in it.

By 2014, work on the Freedom Tower had just begun when I suffered a life‑altering catastrophe of my own: My 10+‑year marriage came to a very abrupt end. Per the unfounded order of a petulant judge issued August 15 of that year, I was legally barred from the home I bought for my family and denied unfettered access to my own children. These eyes have seen many things, but nothing that shook me to my core like this.

I started this blog in part to help manage the pain of having my children ripped from me by an unsympathetic, archaic and sexist family court system. These posts merely hint at the difficulties I faced while adjusting to life as a part-time dad with a full-time “support” obligation. On my darkest days, I would think of the people in that pit and their resolve to erect a monument from a pile of dust. In that context, it was clear what I had to do for my kids and for myself.

I stopped blogging to fix my mind, body and wallet. This was my wholesale reconstruction project. Now that the hard work is done, I realize that everything I found remarkable about the transition of Ground Zero to the new World Trade Center is exemplified in my personal recovery.

I felt some kinda way revisiting the place. It is a spectacle, a man-made miracle and a testament to things that cannot be seen, touched or even accurately described…but even the World Trade Center has nothin’ on me.

Hi, Joss!

I am happy to be posting again. I never wanted to stop, but I had real world problems to address. Meaningful posts require time and thought, particularly when the subject matter is advocacy for alienated parents. I knew that “mailing it in” would not only tarnish my reputation as a fledgling activist, it would also be a disservice to any readers looking for genuine guidance during the worst times of their lives.

The real world problems I mentioned have been relative to the foolishness typical of post-divorce support and custody issues. Imagine that working out when and how I see my children is predicated on petty manipulation at the level of what my children experience with their peers as rites of passage.

I’ve grown accustomed to the utter stupidity. In fact, I’ve grown numb to it. I’ve shifted my focus from trying to reason with those incapable of reason to putting my affairs in order once and for all. As an uncle often reminds me, I cannot take care of my children if I do not first take care of myself.

So why did I pick today to resume posting? My daughter mentioned to me a few days ago that she occasionally checks my blog for new posts. Done.

If memory serves, I last posted around Thanksgiving of 2016. Though circumstances for me as a secondary parent have been far from ideal, the kids and I have managed to make the most of our limited time together. For that, I am most grateful; I’ve heard horror stories. Still, I strive for more time and better opportunities to be active in my kids’ lives. The problem is I am unwilling to do so on terms dictated by bureaucrats who neither understand nor appreciate the strength of my bond with my children. Family courts have proven woefully deficient at serving the best interests of broken families.

I’ve spent my time away from the keyboard adjusting to what divorce literature refers to as “the new normal”. The thing is, I’m not a lock-step kind of dude. I want no part of this new normal. I am self-aware enough to know that this is unlikely to change.

My position is not a product of stubbornness so much as contempt for the growing ease with which our society dismisses violations of basic social contracts. The concept of “personal responsibility” is vanishing with the speed of a falling star on a summer night.

Had I never become a parent, I’m certain this unfortunate development would mean nothing to me. But I DID become a parent and I have no interest in raising children with diminished capacities to appreciate the real value of family as I understand it.

The “system” has temporarily inhibited my ability to be the kind of father I aspire to be. That’s fine, because the father that I aspire to be would never accept that. Rather, I choose to push aside the emotion that had clouded my judgment for months. I have embraced pragmatism and a willingness to do whatever it takes to be a genuine father to my kids.

My love for my children has not changed. My approach to being their father has.

Hi, Joss.  It’s great to be posting again, but better yet that YOU are my inspiration.

Can I Get There from Here?

Last year was a blight on my personal history. I’m not sure that I have ever lost so much in so little time.

I lived.

What now?

Stability: My life has been in near free-fall since 2013. I need peace, routine, structure. Not just for myself, but for the kids. Achieving new stability is Job I.

Prosperity: According to the USDA Calculator, raising my 2 children this year will cost $18,718 and that just covers the basics. There is no budgeting for the physical and emotional enrichment of a child. She/he develops interests and parents must provide as they are able.

Well-being: I have had to cope with a freighter’s manifest of issues. The effort has taken its toll, but I leveraged the damage with some fun times, great people, eating well, regular exercise and plenty of rest. Keeping myself mentally and physically fit is good for the kids and great for me.

Organization: Some fourteen months after moving back into my home, I need to sort through months of mail, set up a filing system, secure my important papers, clean up my e-mail and save all my personal pics and vids to the cloud.

My Home: The place is fairly new, but there is plenty to fix and clean. Fresh interior paint would be nice. Proper landscaping in the front and back yards will make a huge difference. Comfy furniture, eye-catching art, knick-knacks…we need it ALL!

The Future: Ahh, my plans are no secret. No need to rehash.

I closed out last year with a string of moral victories. I’m absolutely pumped for 2017. When things get murky and I need a lift, I’ll remind myself of the following:

  1. The kids have endured tremendous upheaval. They’re young and there is plenty of time for them to recover, but I cannot rest on that. The sooner I am able to execute a five-year plan, the better their chances for stable adolescence.
  2. I want to resume the activities that have been a cornerstone of my relationship with the kids. Before the proverbial roof caved in, the three of us really got around.
  3. I want to LIVE again. I like movies, shows, concerts, camping, dining out, dancing, travelling and moving this body! I ain’t built for hard times.

The one thing I haven’t had of late that makes these things possible is disposable income. We’ll see about that, but I mustn’t forget that time with the kids is not to be sacrificed on the altar of the Almighty Dollar.

Oh, I’m excited. While the worst of times seem to be behind me, there is yet a long hike back to base camp. The dreams, the promises, the goals and the great payoff all lay dead ahead.

Can I get there? No doubt, but they say it’s all about the journey.

Leah Remini’s Scientology and the Aftermath

Leah Remini, best known for her portrayal of Carrie Heffernan on the CBS sitcom The King of Queens, co-produces and stars in the limited A&E series Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath.

The show documents alleged abusive policies and egregious misconduct by Church officials, including a practice known as “disconnection”, which dictates that active members of the church cut ties with family members who are not.

As Ms. Remini states in the premier episode’s introduction, she thought she would simply be “documenting stories of families that were torn apart by the Church of Scientology’s policies and practices”, but, she continues, what she uncovered was much deeper and darker than she ever expected.

Though the intro is compelling, I was into the show 10 seconds into the advanced promo I saw weeks ago. In that promo, Ms. Remini boldly stated her goal of exposing the church as a well-financed cult that, as cults are known to do, asserts control over its members by isolating them from their families.

Let’s see: A powerful institution purporting to be something it certainly is not that destroys families? The analogies between the Church and family court should be manifest to any alienated parent or divorced dad.

For your consideration:

I. The Self-Anointed Lording it Over Hapless Peasants

SCIENTOLOGY: Ms. Remini and former Church members allege that Church officials routinely abuse their authority and lower-ranking members of the Church, going so far as to commit acts of physical and sexual battery that go unpunished because they are never reported to law enforcement.

FAMILY COURT: Divorced dads and alienated parents express daily via social media our frustration with the monolithic, often corrupt family court system, the constituents of which routinely make formulaic, arbitrary and/or uninformed decisions on matters of custody and support that go largely unchallenged by victims ignorant of how to navigate the system.

PARALLEL: Some Church and family court officials suffer from the delusion that they have absolute power.

II. The Casual Severance of Family Ties

SCIENTOLOGY: Ms. Remini and former Church members allege that the Church destroys families by forcing active members to cut ties with relatives not involved with the church, including parents and siblings.

FAMILY COURT: Divorced dads, alienated parents and our children have for decades lost incalculable, invaluable time to thoughtless custody decisions. The resultant emotional devastation suffered by non-custodial parents and our children often goes unaddressed and contributes to the steady decline of the nuclear family and related values.

PARALLEL: Neither the Church nor family court demonstrates genuine regard for the natural family ties or long-term emotional health of the people over whom they hold dominion.

III. The Mainstream News Media Ignores Victims

SCIENTOLOGY: Ms. Remini and former Church members express that the media has underreported or ignored mounting evidence that all is not well in Gilman Hot Springs, California (Scientology headquarters), and its satellites.

FAMILY COURT: Divorced dads, alienated parents and our children suffer in silence as a Google news search for “family court reform” will show the lack of mainstream news media coverage of the growing outcry for exactly that.

PARALLEL: The Church and family court officials have long enjoyed the luxury of acting in a media black hole.

IV. Conclusion

Ms. Remini has taken a step that we divorced dads and alienated parents have not yet managed: She brought her fight to network television. She has done so with the spirit of a street fighter outnumbered, outgunned and determined to go down swinging. But unlike that street fighter, she’s got resources: She is savvy, has credible allies and the backing of a network.

Ms. Remini’s direct involvement in telling the stories of ex-Scientologists is an indictment of the news media’s continuing failure to expose major social injustices taking place in plain sight. Unwittingly, she is blazing a trail for those of us living under the heel of a terribly flawed system that affects too many and is called to task by too few.

I have no idea how to make inroads to network shot callers, but there have to be alienated parents or divorced dads who do. People, what are we waiting for? let’s take our fight Hi Def.

 

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Last Thanksgiving, many members of my family gathered at my late grandmother’s apartment for a one of a kind feast. It was everything any of us could have hoped for, but for me, it wasn’t a party until my babies got there.

Sometime around 7 PM, the kids arrived. My Thanksgiving began the moment those little arms locked around me.

I led the kids into the building to the elevator. With each step we took, I stoked in their minds the flames of anticipation. On the elevator ride, they peppered me with questions about how many people were attending, what kind of food was there, what we would be doing, etc. I was gently evasive. I love to surprise them. Once I present to them the pot of gold I’ve hinted at, the wonder in their eyes is totally unaffected and reflective of a joy I have seldom known as an adult.

The din of our family celebration hit our ears like a sixteen ounce glove the second we stepped out of the elevator. The kids ran past me to the apartment door. I opened it to the sight of wall-to-wall family, the aroma of a home-cooked smorgasbord and a cacophony of conversation, unrestrained laughter and uptempo music.

The kids followed me single-file into the mix. I couldn’t calculate the number of eyes that widened or grins that spread at the sight of my babies. Within seconds, they fell in with their cousins of similar age and were lost to the night.

Yes, it was a night to remember held in my grandmother’s memory.

A year later, we no longer have access to that apartment. There will be no sequel to that blockbuster. My job is to create other blockbusters of different character but similar gravity. I can do that.

My mom and her close friend invited us to join his family at his daughter’s place. I happily accepted.

Holidays held little value for me before I became a father. Over the lifetimes of the children, this has steadily changed. This year, things that had never occurred to me became priority; things like knowing what time the kids and I were expected, a travel plan, renting DVDs for the kids to watch on the way, packing a travel bag with snacks, drinks and children’s ibuprofen and grabbing a few keepsakes to leave with our hosts.

The significance of this new kind of thinking only hit me after I saw how readily received each gesture was by not only the kids, but our hosts. For once in my holiday life, I got us every where on time, there were no last-second convenience store runs, no complications and I brought stuff to keep the kids occupied while I socialized with the adults. Wow.

I am too grateful that things turned out well to be cocky. Successfully managing a major holiday solo is on par with being named Super Bowl MVP.

Even better, the three of us managed to have an excellent time with several people we had only just met.

A very good Thanksgiving. Second year running. Different character. Measurable progress. These are leftovers I can gnosh on deep into the new year.

635834707472721570126526795_thanksgiving-leftovers

 

 

The Quest for Cheese

Rebuilding a life at middle-age is an unpleasant chore. This is a fact younger people cannot fathom, my contemporaries know all too well and older people try to forget. One has no choice but to schlep through each day like a lab mouse working its way through a maze to a hunk of cheese it can smell but not yet taste. The key to making it is to hold on to the grain of hope intrinsic to that statement: The mouse can smell the cheese. It works its way through the maze because it knows the cheese is there.

cheese_maze

Some days, I can’t detect a whiff of queso in the air. No swiss, no Muenster, no provolone. Other days, I think I might have a few slices stuffed inside my pillow case.

Cheese is tasty, wonderful and one of life’s great pleasures, but the metaphor grows strained. What I’m after is renewed contentment, specifically, a kind of freedom that can only come from carving out for myself a new career, new routines and new interests. What might the average day of this renewed contentment be like? I got it so cold, I can lay it out in military time:

0400 HRS: Wake up, pull back an 800 thread count sheet and make my way to the bathroom to wash up, slip on gym clothes and head out.

0430 HRS: Spend a good 90 minutes stretching, pumping and running my way to a healthy endorphin rush.

0630 HRS: Whip up a veggie recovery omelette and chow down.

0700 HRS: Blog, pound out prose, do research and promote my work via social media.

1000 HRS: Snack time.

1015 HRS: Back to the keyboard.

1215 HRS: Business calls.

1300 HRS: Lunch.

1330 HRS: Chores.

1530 HRS: Kid time. After school snacks, extracurricular activities, helping with homework and projects.

1900 HRS: Dinner time.

1930 HRS: Kitchen clean up, prep for down-time.

2000 HRS: Down-time. A neighborhood stroll, games with the kids or maybe some TV.

2200 HRS: Lights out.

Just a framework; Google Maps directions to MyNewNormal. It ain’t sexy, but after what I’ve lived through, just a month of days like that would be better for me than a stateroom on a seven-day Caribbean cruise.

I work toward the day when I can make my living doing what I love, taking care of my body and home and greatest of all, being a model of consistency and self-fulfillment to my kids and PRESENT for them. This is dreaming big for me.

Not there yet. Not even close. So begins another day of seemingly random events. As usual, I will exert whatever control I can and, pardon the backpedal, I’ll keep sniffing for that cheese.

Six Degrees…and 96 Pages

I went through three divorce lawyers. Attorneys 1 and 2 were rather ineffective and Attorney 3 is a promising relative newcomer. Attorney 3 eventually went to work for the office that employed Attorney 2. While Attorney 3 represented me, however, it was from this gentleman’s office:

(EMILY PAINE / MORNING CALL FILE PHOTO)

(EMILY PAINE / MORNING CALL FILE PHOTO)

Pictured is Mr. David Tidd, Esquire, former Saucon Valley District Judge for Northampton County, Pennsylvania. Mr. Tidd resigned his seat under fire this past summer. It seems Mr. Tidd’s conduct as a judge was egregious enough to warrant investigation by the Judicial Conduct Board of Pennsylvania.

A month after Mr. Tidd stepped down, the Board “filed a 96-page complaint replete with references to the F-word and other vulgar language, demeaning descriptions of defendants before him and allegations that he cut plea bargains in traffic cases behind the backs of the police officers who wrote the tickets.

The complaint charged that Tidd retaliated against staffers who documented his behavior, showed improper demeanor for a judge, had conflicts of interest and put his private practice ahead of his public post” (Riley Yates of The Morning Call, August 26, 2016).

To suggest that Mr. Tidd’s alleged behavior exemplifies what I observed during my brief contact with the judiciary of Northampton County would be an exaggeration, but that might only be a matter of sample size.

What I have observed is documented in this blog and in itself unsettling. Though not guilty of or even charged with any crime, the two Northampton County judges before whom I stood found occasion to evict me from my home and even jail me under highly questionable circumstances.

In what is by no means a happy coincidence, as detailed in the Board’s complaint, Mr. Tidd’s conduct was formally addressed as early as August 11, 2011 by Judge Kimberly J. McFadden, the very judge who ordered me barred from my home three years and three days later!

It would be irresponsible of me to impugn the reputation or motives of every judge in the county based solely on Mr. Tidd’s alleged behavior and my negative experiences. It is fair to say, however, that Mr. Tidd abused his authority as a judge. It is also fair to say that Mr. Tidd could not have compiled such a résumé of recalcitrance in a less tolerant atmosphere. Doubtless, he got away with plenty before he was checked, and by then, he had likely run out of friends willing to look the other way.

I have lived in Northampton County for five years now. I fell in love with the Lehigh Valley from the vantage point of Pop’s Kitchen and Taproom’s parking lot off I-78 on a sunny day. I relocated here from New York City with the intentions of raising my kids in a wholesome environment and making a positive contribution to my new community. That dream has become a nightmare due in no small part to the depraved disruption of my life by two Northampton County judges and, including opposing counsel, four attorneys, one of whom worked for Mr. Tidd, then went to work at the office that employed my second attorney.

A reasonable person might ask how I happened to come in contact with these legal eagles and their complex relationships. What could I have done to bring about such catastrophe? If, as I’ve stated, I am neither accused nor guilty of any crime in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, why would I be standing before hostile judges and requiring the services of three attorneys?

I was sued for divorce.

Six degrees of separation from 96 pages.

Back to Building the Brand

I had to step away from writing daily for a while. It’s good to be back.

Since the blog went live in April, I’ve posted 130 times. Most of these are Op-Ed pieces. I need to do more instructional/informational pieces on legal issues, practical fatherhood and managing the transition to single fatherhood.

I’ve started a Twitter account and Facebook page that mirror the blog and allow me to connect with users on those platforms who focus on similar issues. There is also a companion YouTube channel that’s been updated exactly once.

It takes a fair amount of work to generate fresh content for these outlets, promote it and monitor the efficacy of promotional efforts.

As things progress, the need for a more formal plan has evolved. Considering the workload involved with rebuilding my life, that’s going to be hard.

I see stories of people who overcome impossible odds to achieve great success all the time, but never thought I would be forced to join their ranks. And make no mistake: I have to become a success. It’s the only way I can ever recoup what divorce has cost me so that I can live well and provide for my children.

I’ve been getting around lately and in my travels, I’m encountering a fair cross-section of people. We converse and I like what I hear. It sounds like life.

At home, life seems to be standing still. Challenge after challenge, bad news followed by more bad news. Yes, I’ve been here before, but never have the stakes been so high. The kids are a key consideration in any move I make.

The kids. They’re growing and changing and evolving daily. I’m so overwhelmed with responsibility, it’s hard to imagine being as effective a father for them as I have been. Of course, I know I have to find a way.

Will this be a fun holiday season for me? I’ll do my best to make it so. I have options. When January rolls around, we’ll see where things are.

 

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