Do you believe in fairy tales?

I mean the true concept of the creation of the story and the story teller. The story teller themselves need experience in order to tell the story or is the imagination so grande it can spin a tale that one might feel it was for them?

Can ones experiences written just right,  insight change in the very darkness the idea was drawn from?

I guess this would depend on the reader.

An endless gaze of eyes of all shapes and colors. Hosted by culture, experience and geography. Each one intricately different and yet still so much the same. Some looking to the hero for answers and others to the villain with empathy for their cause. Some of our heroes are even the bad guys as we change cultures and the elite elevated to gods.

As a child the stories my dad told were not your average fairy tales. He had a silver tongue that would turn bar fights and flantering, into battles and distressed damsels. An eviction notice into survival camping and scams into plans. My dad was my fairy tale, he was unique and sweetened any situation with words. Most of all he kept the bad away regardless of how close the devil was. Our journeys took us to so many places that schools out numbered fingers on my hand and the word “step mom” had more faces than i can remember.

This was my life and the only thing I ever knew. Painted by an artist who’s brush stroke gave courage and pride.Took our hardships and pain and made them drinking songs and bragging rights. He was and still is the hero of my story no matter how complicated of a man he could be the dad he was protected me from his demons.

The dark isn’t safe.

It was when he was gone that danger would close in. When people would transform into the very creatures that terrify us in the dark. You see the stories that I was told are the same stories that took him away. When Robin Hood became the thief and the Sheriff was just in his conquest. For thieves the law isn’t the only fear, it’s your comrades and most trusted.

My earliest memory of the darkness was just a taste. My father had gone to prison, what would be a cycle to come. His wife whom I’d like to call my mom was left with my brother and I. She was the safest I felt away from my dad in all my life. As a child I wouldn’t know this but writing with experience, she is the model of the word mom and not all would treat me like she did.

As the father I am now I look back with admiration for some, being left alone with kids and all the debts and responsibilities. Life in the shadows creates debts to scary figures, with rules of collection that are not kid friendly. I remember the pounding at the door as she yelled to the men on the other side. Watching her move frantically and making phone calls as the men kept trying to get in.  Words blur and in all the commotion I’m in the basement clenched by my mom until the noises subsided.

Later in life I would learn she called a bigger darkness that came first in line on debts, the reason why the noises stopped.

Better days.

I’m not clear on the circumstances but I do know two things happened before I was back with my dad. She took us far from the dangers and my time spent with her are some of my best childhood memories. She also gave me a gift in life, a brother.

There where many in between places before our next stop.

Regardless of the shadows my dad made it fun.

He came from a generation where single dads did not get assistance. Although his choices as a man might be considered faulty, his moments as a dad where remarkable. His life choices are also the link to the women in this blog I called mom.

We went from townhouse block to apartments and from towns to towns. Like bandits we’d even hide out at family. Bedtime stories in grandpa’s basement or fire tales at our cousins. From city life to farm but the three of us where unstoppable.

On the farm was more about bonding brothers, we went everywhere together. Snow forts to egg fights, even showering in the rain.We’d helped our dad strip cars down. At eight years old I could drive a car well enough to drive my dad home on a bender. Some days after school when no one was home my brother and I would take the cars for a spin. It’s amazing what two brothers could do with the ability of not needing a key.

The stop.

The freedom in which my brother and I lived was due to the man not the dad. Through those journeys he brought home a stripper. Wild and crazy with hardcore crashes. She let us break all the rules and was left with us most the time. Her life was a party and that didn’t matter whether we where around or not. The first song i remember was a David Wilcox song. “Life for me is a river boat fantasy,  watching the sun go down. Cocaine kisses and moonshine misses , that’s the life for me”.

She would throw bottles and run through the house naked chasing our dad with knives. She didn’t scare me, it was more a fear for my dad than of my safety.

When I say she let us break all the rules, that’s because so did she. Late nights while my dad was boosting cars she would tell his secrets. She told us of our older brother and that my mother was someone different. She took away the fantasies of his stories.

She also called all our moms when my father went back to prison. This defining moment has caused me more pain in life than I have the words to write. As an adult I understand but as a child i didn’t just loose my dad, I lost my brothers.

My dad had his demons, but my mom showed me hers.

I met my mom at the age of nine turning ten.  It took me the better part of a year before I’d even entertain the thought of uttering the word mom. She was small and quiet like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, with beer bottles instead of beakers.

There is no right way for me to write about her. No gift my dad may have bestowed on me to sweeten the experience with fantasy. She brought fear for the first time in my life. The fear for my life and more so the fear for hers. This small woman had a tenancy of hearing things wrong and attacking the biggest guy at the bar. She was like a caged animal at five foot four and if she believed it watch out!

Our second home was the bar which had a grill to allow that family friendly atmosphere. Lifers sitting at the counter and patio for sunny days. We’d switch between them according to whether or not we’d been kicked out or not.

This was my life: from working on the cars my dad stole to bouncing for an alcoholic.

Not all was bad with her as Dr. Jekyll would show remorse and guilt. The words “sorry it wont happen again”. Sometimes it would last and we would play mother and son. At these times I would learn the best of her. She would smile and try to act like she was ready to have a son. I say this as an adult as living with a child and without are very different things and that is a lot to get used to. She introduced me to family and through those family members a life time of memories.

The sins of the father.

After time I studied her, started to understand the triggers. How much alcohol and pills before the bear would came out. If I should come home at night or stay at a friends. If she got too drunk it got bad, but if she saw me as my dad it got worse. Mrs. Hyde would come out swinging and I’d be paying for her memories of my dad. I am my father’s son and because of this during her black outs, I felt what darkness really was.

You changed me and I am stronger now. I understand who you are and I forgive you.

I’ve learnt as a single dad what its like to earn, struggle and where to draw the line. Everyone of you taught me and from that I understand

” Think like a parent, not a MAN/WOMAN”

The complexities of the person can interfere with the training of the next generation.

I left the man I was to be the dad I am. Creating real memories that form good lives.

The moral of this story is……..

Kids remember everything!

I do, and I just turned 40!

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A lesson of Parenting

Being a Dad you learn a lot about grown ups.

Being a Dad with 6 kids you gain a greater understanding of group mentality.

I’ve come to realize that there is no vail between the ages.

Adults act like little children all the time!
To the point a person could really make a funny parody about it.

Most off though as a Dad I’ve learnt how to not allow it to affect me as I still need to do my job and carry on with my responsibilities.

Being a parent is the second stage of learning.
The dynamics you learn from raising children is phenomenal.

The growth as a person and how it changes your views as well as choices.

I want to give a big shout out to all the Moms & Dads that have taken that lesson seriously.
It’s like high school some study and others skip school!

Just remember though it’s everyone’s first time at #parenting

So give it your all whether you be single or coupled, it’s your effort that makes all the difference!

Teach your boys to be Dads not Men

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There’s a disconnection with men, an animal kingdom mentality where only the strong survive. Ingrained into the culture with a thousand year code mistaking strength with power. It can be intoxicating and at times even blinding.

I sat with my oldest son the other day and we spoke of this subject. He had asked me why so many of his friends where being raised by moms and not dads like our situation. The only answer i could give was one that was personal.

“I’m not teaching you to be a man as you will grow into that position. I’m teaching you to be a dad as not many men where taught to be dads”

I remember all my children’s births, held each one with joy. I was part of this miracle of life. This surreal phenomenon that no words can explain, but it took time for the man to become a dad.

What father goes to jail? What man chooses work over family? Why would any dad put their son in any life where drugs and sex are the example?

These where the thoughts that went through my head while I held my first born.

Flashbacks of violence and fear, with mixtures of helplessness and shame. As a man these same thoughts empowered me. Created defense mechanisms that allowed me to bully my way through life. I’d hit before I got hit, as they deserved to be taught a lesson. I was taught to growl like the king of the beast, to be the last man standing.

I went through that life using anger as strength like a badge. I wore it proud and followed in his footsteps. Family meetings at strip clubs where all us brothers basked in his glory. Women adored his persona like the drugs they craved. They would sell their souls for a moment of his time, only to be indebted for life. We where taught notches on belts over loyalty to women. A testosterone mentality that broke hearts along the way.

Guilt did not exist as this was the way of man, backed by my fathers disciples; makeshift uncles that helped him teach us to fight. Examples that took us in when another woman left us out of home. That backed his stories of how crazy they where and helped him on his quest for another notch.

Never once did I question these teachings and defended my hero tooth and nail.

Men don’t cry we are stronger and better than that.

Like most couples we came home and showed our son to the world. Friends and family came to see my boy that I named after my father and brother. A baby shower thrown by my brothers mother and even a visit from mine. Lots of conversations of the future and life lessons that I was in no way prepared for.

This was more than being a man and i couldn’t shake those thoughts. My son was so fragile and innocent. A being of love and jubilation that we had brought into this world. This dark and scary world that has no guilt or clemency. I remember rocking him to sleep vowing that i would protect him against any harm that may come his way. An oath I took seriously and still live by today.

I confronted my father like the man he raised me to be. A serious conversation of missing money and his drug use, that in no way did I want that life for my son.

Like men we fought, fist to cuffs. Both of us growling like the king of beast with an audience of my brothers. I’ll never forget the sound it made right before my hero fell to the ground. That moment of being disconnected as my brothers drug him to his truck and drove away. It wasn’t if I was right or wrong any more but that I had just lost the one person that was there for me in this dysfunctional world. No matter how many times he went to jail and I was ushered off to a new home. He was the anchor I always came back too.

I sat and cried while I held my son.

When they say a community raises children, it’s not a lie. 

My father had wronged many but one woman took interest in me. Through hate of my dad she whispered the words “He took my son from me so i will take his from him”

She showed me how everything my father taught me could be used legally. Gave me work fixing houses and cultured my tongue to sales. She pushed me in ways of bi-laws and business. Helped us to buy our first home and called herself my mom. This small Muslim woman showed me where people come from and broadened my pallet.  An understanding of why people fail and reinforced family ethics.

I had three more children in those five years and still the man in me forbid my father into their lives. It wasn’t family at those births but friends and my mentor. That anger still fueled me and as we would drive past each other, the same animal growl. Like an ex addict, learning to be a father was casting out those vices. Those reminders of what things I had seen or been taught.

You don’t realize your becoming what you fought until it’s put in front of you. 

This moment crushed my existence. That man that stood up to my father didn’t quite leave me but left a bad taste and gave new questions. Thoughts of my love for him and guilt of those five years tortured me.

My dad had died of a heart attack and I was called to the hospital to pay respect. I had no idea what admiration i should of had and stood there in a daze looking over this man that had done so much for me. Thoughts of my love for him and guilt of those five years tortured me. Questioning every moment and through it all repeating over and over “I love you dad”

Anger turned to rage and the blame was laid.

Something happened like a switch turning on and that boy that defended his hero was reborn, baptized in fury.

Why would his family enable him? How could i do that to him?  Why would mentor take me from him?

Obviously my addiction to anger passed down to me mixed with the guilt of my own doing blinded me. The dad writing these words now realizes this and has grown past the man that uttered those thoughts out loud. I can’t take them back as words are like daggers and leave scars in the soul. That’s exactly what I did and like the out of control child he raised I defended his honour.

A new place and a new beginning.

We sold our house and left all that I knew. A new beginning on the other side of the country and for a brief moment that’s what it was. Within less than a year my wife had left and I was my father. A single dad raising children on my own.

This was my journey and the true realization of when a man must become a father.

I am writing this ten years past his death and in this time I’ve realized he was two things. I share the memories of that loving dad that cared for me with my children. Not only for them but also for me, I have learnt to separate the two. I have shed the anger in creating rules to live by. A code I teach my children as i never want to make that mistake again and more so don’t want that man teaching my children.

I have come full circle.

Now my oldest is fourteen and my response to his question is in fact a true answer.

We as men don’t get taught to be fathers. We are taught to be men. This is wrong and I’m breaking this circle and asking you all to do the same. Being a dad is harder than being a man, but there is no better respect of strength than that of being a dad.

TEACH YOUR BOYS TO BE DADS AND BREAK THE CYCLE!

I love you dad.

#normaverage

The Dating Dad

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It’s hard enough dating and even harder as a parent!

I remember the teenage years fumbling around along side friends and every kiss felt like love. A euphoric time where societies constraints hadn’t quite set in yet and the only thought was that of how you felt. A phase in our existence that now twenty five years later feels more like a dream.

As a teen dating I’d get a lot of comments of how I was just like my father, followed by demeaning opinions like I wasn’t in the room. It took years to comprehend the paradox’s adults spoke. When my father was around women praised him and when he was gone they hung him like dirty laundry. I went through many step-moms, some soft like a sing-song Walt Disney voice and others mad and frothing from the mouth. Hard to understand that my dad was a man as well as a father.

At moments in life I vowed to not leave a path of tears behind me and at other times I could not fathom why it didn’t work out.

At the age of thirty it happened.

The separation!

After ten years and four children it was over. A surreal moment where nothing makes sense and almost every habit or pattern in life needs to change in order to move on. Courts and arguments like a UFC event that divides family among the bleachers picking sides and taunting your choices.

The loneliness sets in and it hits you harder then ever before in life. Either all your friends are still married or like me you made life decisions and moved across the country for your spouse. It’s even harder if your one of those children that has had the phrase burnt into your head “Your just like your Father”.  Now I have  come full circle and looking into my children’s eyes I hear the voices talking through them, asking the same questions that I myself was confused about. This has got to be the hardest moment for a parent. Helpless and vulnerable. Then after the kids go to bed it’s dead silence. Even on the good days you turn, in joy, with no ones there to share.

So you reach out!

This isn’t the teen age years and dating isn’t even close to the same. This very moment is when most people are angry and hating the opposite sex, whether they want to admit it or not. That innocent gaze is replaced with scrutinizing defenses which raise alarms that you may be just like their ex. Paying for sins on both sides of the sex’s due to your amour being just as strong. No one wants to go to that point again.

Meeting someone has changed exponentially. No more high school social or easy places to mingle. People wear their scars for you to see and have either started to self medicate or drown the pain away. At times it feels like you’re anchored if the person is without children and have to say no too many nights for the greater good. While you watch others spend more time out than with their kids. The days of meeting someone through a friend have ended and dating APP’s are the new introduction methods. A feeding frenzy of lonely fish swimming in a cyber sea.

My father had passed away years ago but i had never felt more close to him than now.

As a dad dating you meet many types of women and if you are unaware you may get caught up in the many webs they weave. I don’t say this lightly and with no malice. I have learnt from every woman that has come into my life whether that be a good example or a bad one. Some people just don’t want to move on and live in circles chasing their tails with the fear of getting hurt creating reasons of why this won’t work. Others don’t have the coping mechanisms to live on their own and jump from one partner to the next in a self destructive denial. I’ve met women that couldn’t or did not have kids and you realize that it’s not you they want but who you are protecting. Truth be told everyone’s raised different and connecting is like figuring out a combination lock with thousands of possibilities but only one code to open.

Cliques 

My father lived through the first generation of single dads as a main stream and I have so much respect for how many hoops he must of jumped through to keep me safe. The government gave out a mothers allowance and the system wasn’t ready for the mass numbers of divorces. Most dads went with societies picture and left the home creating a stigma of dead beat dads. This stained men and the critical opprobrium they have generated.

I am the second generation of single fathers. The dad that goes to school to pick up his children and stands alone, or the customary head nod of men walking by each other. We don’t circle in groups or plan play dates, meet at the park after school or car pool as moms go for coffee. Mom’s bond together in cliques. A support system that’s been there from the dawn of time. Even in dating and if that man isn’t exactly what they want, he’s ostracized across social media as a narcissist or worse. Heaven forbid it wasn’t just the wrong combination or in my case too many children.

When the man and the dad become one.

I understand.

Raising children does something to you. When you give yourself to it a growth happens. For the first time a true relationship. It educates you in so many ways and at the same time it builds a strength like a Jedi brain, with the constant bombardment of “dad”through out the day. You get to be a part of the learning possess which creates a better comprehension of people. I became soft and loving in front of others and most of all understood that the bro code did not exist. I would do anything for my children and think through this process I’ve gain the appreciation for the Golden Rule- “It’s not about me”. Men don’t understand this but dads do. There is a difference between the two.  I’ve seen full grown men throwing tantrums like a child to get their way or an under appreciation for their wives and how much of themselves that they give on a daily basis.

And through dating I’ve seen this on both sides.

The happy ending 

Everyone has a Cinderella story and everything will work out in the end. Don’t chase or compromise who you want to be for your kids.

I still identify myself as a single dad. I still raise my four children and now my niece and nephew on my own. I still get up every morning and drive my kids to school and pick them up after. I am still that rock they call dad but this road has led me to a woman. A mother that does the same as me on her own. She has a strength that I admire, which i thought only existed in stories. A beauty that radiates from within and every time I kiss her its like I’m sixteen and that euphoria takes over. She can lip sync every Walt Disney movie and dance like an angel. She shows me a love that I have never experienced before. Loving what was created when the man and the dad became one.

Even though we live two separate lives and meet in the middle. Only get to see each other on planned days or because one of us just happened to have all our kids in the car and took a left after the trip to the store, instead of a right. I know this is the one.

A princess to this peasant and the shoe fits.

A Child’s Mind

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The brain is like a computer full of programs . A child’s mind was born a new slate always adding what you as the parent feed into it or the people you choose to look after him/her. As they go to school they add through networking of other operating systems and the out come of this is a growth in a new direction outside the family unit. Sometimes lies or misbehavior happens. This is ok because your child has not conformed to societies rules nor should they fully. They are growing and need to push the limits of there new found abilities. Intelligence is a beautiful design.
With time as parents we can install anti viruses which help direct the brain away from bad behavior.
With adopted children this is harder as some have come from environments that might have been unhealthy and this is a lot harder to do. It’s not impossible as people are not born villains they are formed through there surroundings.
Love and patients is the key in both scenarios and the understanding of how personalities are not all the same so not all approaches to install this anti virus are the same.
As a parent we are all learning and for everyone of us it’s our first time. Educate your self as we do not give birth to exact copies of ourselves and should be versed in other people’s ideas even though the end choice in how to parent is up to you.

What makes a super hero?

 

Is it something unnatural or created from a freak accident? Zeus’s son or cosmic radiations! Can this be passed on to your offspring or will they see you parish before you spread.

The word Superhero has just recently emerged but the idea hasn’t.Written into hieroglyphs, scriptures,literature,comic books,cartoons,movies and into the child’s mind playing with a Batman toy. It doesn’t matter what culture,colour,language or religion.

The Everyday Man/Woman can make a difference.

The Phantom in 1936 followed by Superman in 1938 are among the first in North America. In the 40’s Superman was a radio sensation and helped Stetson Kennedy to help bring down kkk members.
Stetson Kennedy used what was around him and harnessed his powers to bring down a large group.
Almost like David and Goliath? He used what was around him.

Would it be so hard to believe that an Average Man/Woman can make a difference?

My dad taught me “If people don’t understand you-It’s because you haven’t found the word for them to understand”

Could Superhero be that word?
It’s traveled the world to all corners. From all makes of people. The story doesn’t change or the meaning in other languages.

In my page at the top I used Gandhi’s quote “Be the change you want to see in the world” I believe that’s what it takes to be a superhero. You could look at Mother Teresa the same. Both average people by standards till they used there abilities to help change the world. Not an unnatural strength but the want to do good.

I started Norm Average to help my kids see this. The idea that a regular person like anyone of us could make a difference.
I created the rules to help guide them towards that.

“Anyone can be a superhero,it starts at home”

Crossing the Tracks

Train Tracks

What is the level of bad a person can be before crossing the tracks? Can good deeds out way the deeds of the past? Can a zebra change its stripes?
Or is there another side of the tracks?
Is it as simple as black and white?
The character Punisher was born of Frank Castle,when his family was killed by a crime syndicate.
Went from police undercover to vigilantly killer.
In Genesis 7:21-23, God drowns the entire population of the earth: men, women, children, Only a single family survives.
Is there a level of judgement or a control factor?
The Cold War 1947-53 glamorized the “spy” or “secret agent” who lied,stole and killed.
In what some people would say is good.
Being that there are always two sides to a story “tracks” where laid to ward from going the wrong way. A warning sign.
But tracks have also laid different cultures and beliefs. Countries formed and sense of right and wrong varies towards what side of the tracks your on.

Since we all as a people choose to be separate in our beliefs and cultures and countries. Choose to continue on like children fighting over Lego.
Keep pushing the line in both directions on what is good or bad.
And knowing I have to send my children into this chaotic sense of entitlement.

I teach my kids that there are only heroes and villains!
Those who give to the world and those who take.

I hope we can all agree on this and if not Know that at least this one man in this world is teaching his kids to be heroes. In hopes that more will catch on.
#keepstrong