Saturday Oct 21, 2017
Grab and drink and a comfy chair; going to ramble.
Love. Is there any better feeling in the world than someone lying next to you with their head nestled on your shoulder, arm around your chest, just dead weight in a deep sleep after a day and night spent doing things together, smiling and finishing each other’s thoughts and sentences, not caring about the next minute but exhausted by the happiness of the past hours?
I’ve been blessed by God to feel this way sometimes in the last nine years, and each time it reminds me of the four people that this feeling was 100% every day of our lives together. I first think of my daughter Sarah. She’ll be 24 in a month, a world champion in her sport, a beautiful smart giving person who works as a firefighter just as she dreamed; the biggest deepest laugh in the world. I used to cry every night when she would climb into my bed and sink her head into my shoulder, arm across my chest, tell me she loved me whether we had fought or not that day, and fall fast asleep. She did that every day from the time she was a baby until she left home in 2008. She was only a few months old when her mum left so my life was pretty simple; make sure my kids turned out awesome instead of suffering because of a failed marriage. Baby Sarah lying on my chest, tiny open mouthed warm breaths on my face, falling asleep exhausted like we only had each other in the world…indescribable. She is my soulmate in the world and I stopped looking for another one after she was born as nobody could give me that feeling.
Sarah. During the early days of the internet I had quit my great job for my wife then a week later she left and I was broke and scraping by on accounting work that I would do at night after the kids went to bed. Sam had just started school and Sarah was two or three and she’d get out of bed sucking on her blanket and look up at my with big loving eyes and lie down by my feet as I worked. She followed me to midnight hockey games while Sam slept, played every sport that I registered in and took every bit of instruction like it was gospel and jumped into my arms every game… even at age 13, in front of her friends, no words just hugs. Later years she would call me from her mum’s house every second weekend, saying that Margareta and Sam were being mean to her and she wanted me to pick her up and I’d tell her just to tell her mum she loved her and go to bed and then I’d get her mum on the phone and tell her to chill out and not let Sarah’s strong character get her riled up. She’d tell me she knew I was lonely without my kids and not to cry – wise at age 5 or 6. Eventually she gave me her teddy bears to sleep with, and told me to take 1 every time I went away overnight. (Still doing thatJ). I took a job below my level so that I could attend their school every couple of days for whatever sports team game they were playing, and biggest to volunteer to hand out pizza to Sarah’s class on biweekly pizza lunch day. I did every one for both kids for years. I was the only Dad. Sarah felt so special. I knew and loved all their classmates so it went both ways… I’d bring a big bag of candy and tell the kids not to tell anyone. On those days I’d hang around at lunch recess and Sarah would hold my hand the whole time and she’d be the princess of the playground with other kids trailing around her. I still cry when I think of her age 8 or so taking my mum in her wheelchair to the bathroom, just so much love in her heart.
One time when boy bands became popular she started a girl group with her friends and wanted me to take them to Vancouver’s Stanley Park to sing as that’s where one of the boy bands had been discovered. I wrote up a letter to the other parents but as expected at age 8 it wasn’t going to happen. When I started dating when she turned 13 she was so mad, she didn’t want to share me even though it was only every second weekend when she was at her mum’s house. Friday after school she’d ask me with a knowing grin and mad face, arms crossed, what I was doing this weekend, and then Monday after school I’d get 20 questions. She was so mad and it changed our relationship a bit but it was time and I left it in God’s hands for outcome. When my business got audited she wanted to help and we spent many hours every day doing bookkeeping together. She’d take a box of receipts and enter them into a spreadsheet, do bank reconciliations, I’d ask if she wanted to go play and she’d say no she wanted to do bookkeeping. She loved Martin Havlat then Chris Neil of the Ottawa Senators and Denis Hamel of the Binghamton Senators and we’d go together to sometimes 3 games a week in both cities while Sam stayed home and did homework. So many birthday parties, sports weekends away in the same hotel room, camping holidays at the lake in our 17feoot trailer where we’d just do things and no need to talk just read each other’s minds and hung out. I will never have that love again, and every time someone nestles into my shoulder I am reminded of the 15 years God let me have raising my Sarah and how she taught me what love is.
As if that wasn’t enough love for one person, God gave me Sam as well. You are so terrified on the day of birth of your first child but Sam was the perfect child from the day he was born. Sam was the first grandchild for both families, so everyone fawned over him from day 1. On bi-weekly 4 hour car trips to Ottawa to see my mum I’d teach him songs and math and he was just so enthusiastic about learning from day 1 it was amazing. At three we put him in Montessori and he said the sign says registration this way Dad… he already knew everything they were going to teach him so he was made teachers assistant and that carried through 2 years of KG as well. He loved learning about life, we’d hike and watch TV and hang out in downtown Toronto with homeless people and he’d hang up social activism posters about smoking and not cutting down trees to build housing, and designing the city around natural features like rivers and not around cars… he took every single thing I said to him about how the world worked and worked out himself that most people did things wrongly. He loved Sports and cars growing up. His idol was Blue Jays World Series hero Joe Carter so I promised him to see him play and it’s a long story but we did it and he got a signed baseball as well. Everything he wanted to do I backed him, I did every school trip with his class and kids would try to get in my group because I’d sneak them out of the boring museum or whatever and we’d go play hide and seek in the trees instead. Sam would bring friends to Sens games, he’d be my partner in two consulting businesses, he wanted to go to all the tech company head offices for his high school grad so we had a great father son trip in 2008 to San Fran to see Apple Facebook Google etc. When my ex went nuts in 2008 he stood by my side, dropped all his personal stuff and hung out with my every day for 4 months until he went to college in the fall. We’d go mountain biking and play tennis and solve world issues, he knew I was hurting still from my dad’s passing in 2006 and couldn’t take two body blows at once.
Sam loved to achieve, was great at all sports scoring some unbelievable goals in hockey and soccer, and of course winning Whitby Idol in 2006 was a turning point. He wrote an incredible song, I’ll never forget his face when he played it the first time, I said Sam this is your calling, you are amazing and the judges said the same thing. While he didn’t pursue further Idol competitions I recorded every concert he did for two years, we produced his first CDs together, the happiness of seeing your child do everything they want their whole life and smiling at you as they know you will do everything for them… that is love. Even in high school, Sam would hug and kiss me in front of his friends, one time by mistake when he was 16 I kissed him on the lips and it wasn’t even uncomfortable. What he has achieved at age 27 is so incredible and our phone calls are still the same, so full of energy about his projects and world issues that I cannot believe he is like a supersized version of me, much better, which is what every parent wants. So blessed to have Sam’s love, I always dreamed of having a son but it’s so much love between us I can’t describe the feeling.
Feeling loved came first from my amazing mum and Dad. My Dad supported everything I ever wanted to do, coached many sports teams, he bought me my first set of golf clubs at age 13 when I said I wanted to try, he paid for my private pilot’s license when I was 15, he got my a UN scholarship to university, we hung out for a month in Indonesia when I was 20 and discussed life. He taught me to follow your own desires, I backed him on everything and he backed me on everything. I was his best friend until he got remarried, he had me talk to Shehnaz on the phone to Pakistan before he got remarried, he was a great grandfather to my kids, we had so much in common attitude wise. I learned so much from him. My Mum, the most beautiful woman in the world, her laugh and devious eyes whenever I wanted $5,000 to start some crazy business and she’d take it out of her property tax savings account and trust that I’d repay her in a few months. Every relationship and job I’d discuss with her, and she loved her grandkids so much I spent a dozen years taking them to her every second weekend instead of having a girlfriend. She did so many amazing things in her own life, that once she got bad rheumatoid arthritis she lived through her kids and taught me to make memories for when you are older so you can relive them. She loved me and the kids sneaking her out of the nursing home in her last years, to the Hersey Chocolate factory or Tall Ships in Kingston, she never lost her sparkle and loved her kids. At our last visit, she told me exactly how much she loved me and more incredibly it was in front of Sam who recorded it.
Nobody deserves to be loved as much as I have been, but I love love and try to give what my kids and parents gave me in case they haven’t experienced it. 4 perfect loving relationships is such a blessing from God, but looking for another chapter.