Wednesday, June 25, 2014

It's Not About a Lawn Mower...It's Much More Than That

For those of you that follow me on the facing book, you know about two exciting things happening in my life.  We are moving, and the Pizzmeister and I are taking on a new project together!

We are restoring an old old Dynamark Lawn Tractor!


Because, buying new is super expensive, and I thought it would be a great opportunity to teach the lad about the value of a little work.

You know, the whole "Not everything old is worthless" type of thing.

Thus far, it has been a great experience!  

We've worked the last few days on cleaning and fixing it and putting our own special touches on it.  The Pizzmeister has even named it "Cutter Racing Tractor," and, suddenly, this little old tractor has become more than a lawn mower.  

It's something that makes us smile!

It's something that already has a tremendous amount of sentimental value, and we've had it only a few days!

But, how could it not?  It's a project that I get to work with my super excited 4 year old on! 

Whatever trepidation I felt at the beginning of this undertaking melted away the moment I brought "Cutter" home and saw the look of pure joy on the Pizzmeister's face.

His enthusiasm and his constant chattering to it while we are working on it is more than worth the initial expense and gives me confidence, knowing that this project was absolutely a good decision, and I can't help but look forward to spending more and more time fixing it up with the boy.  I even find myself enjoying doing all the super tedious stuff, like cable adjustments and rust abatement, a lot of rust abatement.

But, it's worth it because it is something we can look back on with fond memories and a real sense of accomplishment.  This project gives me something to share with my son and an opportunity to learn and teach some valuable life lessons I might otherwise never have learned let alone been able to teach.

What started out as merely a means to get an inexpensive mower, turned into something more.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Another Dirty Little Not so Much Secret: Handicapable Dad!

So, I'm sick!  

Not just sick.  

I am diseased!  

For real!

I have a genetic disease classified as one of the cerebellar ataxia's. I don't talk too much about it here because I don't like to make a big deal out of it.  Like everyone, I have better days and worse days.   

On a good day I can almost do anything I would like to, just slower than I want to.  On a bad day I can't even make a sandwich for the brats and Mama Bear has to use a sick day at work. 

That's a total bummer, but it is what it is, and it's not likely to ever change.  It's a play the hand you're dealt kind of thing. 

Yes, it is super frustrating!

Yes, it makes me feel like the worlds' worst dad because there are so many times I can't take care of the brats the way I want to.

Yes, I feel like a burden. I feel ashamed of my weaknesses, and I constantly worry that my boys are going to grow up resenting me because their dad is always going to be the sick dad, and I don't want anyone to see me as that, especially my kids.  

So, I force myself to compensate for my shortcomings.  I play with the brats rambunctiously,  I run around like a crazed lunatic laughing and shouting just like them, and it's all  in an effort to keep my illness from them as long as possible.

No, it's not a secret!

They know I walk with a cane, but they don't think anything of it because I try so hard to make nothing of it and to be as active a father I can be.  That, and they are still young.  

I get asked all the time, "Don't you just wish you could wake up one morning and be healthy?"

Yes, I kind of do, but I have to acknowledge that I wouldn't be the dad and person I am today with out my disease.  

As much as I feel like I am a terrible dad because of all the times I can't physically do things with my kids, I think that I am a pretty good dad too because my perspective is different than it otherwise might have been.

Does that make sense?

Let me explain it this way. 

I honestly believe that all the years of shame and humiliation I faced as a kid because of my piss poor genetics was really a good thing for me.  I know that at the time I felt much different about it, but now, as an adult, I look back and see it all as it really was, preparation.

I learned at a young age to take advantage of my good days.  I had to improvise and adapt because I was determined to not let my ataxia stop me from doing anything any one else could do.  There is nothing I hate more than limitations, so I always pushed my self hard to over come them.  I learned what it was to be sick and different.  Therefore, I tried extra hard to be more accepting and compassionate and sympathetic.  I learned a certain degree of patience because of all the hours I spent motionless, unable to move because my body really wanted me to stay in the position it was in. Most of all, I learned to cherish and truly appreciate those I love and care about and to not take them for granted because I often felt abandoned.

These are all life skills I had to develop because of my disease, and I still practice them everyday because they still need honing.  I'm probably a better dad because of it, and I hope these are skills I can teach my kids.  They don't need some disease as a mentor.