August 10, 2009

A Man's Life

I've been reading a lot of blogs lately about life as a woman, mother, wife, etc, and was inspired therefore to write about life as a man, father, husband, etc.

I've been a man (at least in the legal sense of the word) for twenty years now, and a husband and father for almost as long, and I have felt in the past that writing about everyday life would be a boring read for others, as I felt they had lives very similar to my own, and would not find such material appealing.

Now I see that everyday life is very interesting, especially when seen from another person's perspective.

So, here goes, life from my perspective.

First, my wife.

Her name is Catherine, but when she was a very young child, her father nicknamed her Carrie, a name she goes by to this day.

She and I met in February of 1992, on Valentine's Day no less, the perfect day to meet the love of your life.

At first, it did seem so, I saw her, and in my 20 year old eyes she was a goddess, she was beautiful, smart, and did something no other girl I had ever known did, took an interest in me, going out of her way to make me feel comfortable in her home. We laid on her bed in her room (she was 17, still living with her mother,) on our stomachs looking through picture albums. It was completely innocent, just making friends, talking about whatever came to mind. There was just something about her, the way she moved, the way she was so friendly, it really drew me to her, I liked her immediately. She was dating someone, so at the time, I didn't even make an attempt at trying to make a move or anything, but in my mind, I just knew she was "the One". I even went so far as to call my mother on the phone a week later and tell her I had met the woman I was going to marry.

To make a long story short, the next nine months were an exercise in getting her to go out with me, trying to steal her away from all the other men who had an interest in her, which to me seemed like every other guy she knew. I should mention at this point that I met her through a mutual friend, my best friend who like me was in the Navy at the time, a man a year younger than I who two weeks after I met her, married her mother. They had been "dating" since shortly before Christmas the year before, and decided to marry on the strangest day, February 29. As such, they have only had 4 or 5 "official" wedding anniversaries since, but anyway, to each his own.

I treated Carrie as I thought of her, like a goddess. I did everything I could to go out of my way to be nice to her, help her out, to give her gifts, but nothing worked. As the old saying goes, nice guys finish last. Finally, on November 19, 1992, we finally officially started dating. Our first official date was a trip to KFC, and it was wonderful. The only trouble was, the person she was dating wasn't me, it was the guy I had created to "get her to like me", because I was afraid if i didn't, she wouldn't like the guy I really was. More on this later.

We dated for almost 4 years when lo and behold, on June 11, 1996, my daughter Elizabeth Ashley was born. I found it ironic that I was about to turn 25, and my father was about to turn 50, so it was now a quarter century thing going on in the family. For some reason, I have always found it difficult to remember how old my dad is, and ever since she was born, all I have to do is take her age, and add 50, and I can figure out how old he is.

But I digress. Elizabeth, or Liz, as she would soon be known, was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Becoming a father for the first time is a lot like getting the Christmas present you've been dying for all year, and then finding out when you open it that it was even better than you could've ever imagined. But I do have to say, I was not sure I was ready to be a father. I was scared to death, what if i drop her? What do I do if she wakes up crying, and I can't figure out what's wrong? It has been said that the bond between a mother and child is much deeper than that of a father, but I feel it is just different, because in my mind, we bonded forever the very first time I held her. Holding her in my arms, I thought I could feel her relax as I said to her, "Welcome to the world, I'll show you everything".

Two years later, a group known as Creed made a song with very similar wording in it called "Arms Wide Open", and to this day, Liz calls it her "baby" song.

If you have not heard the song, here is a link to the vid on YouTube.
(It appears the sound is not perfect, but I turned my volume up just a hair and it's ok)

Carrie and I married on December 6, 1997, the day after her birthday, which actually, looking back on it, was probably an insidious plot on her part to make it impossible on my part to forget either date. At the time, she was pregnant with our second child, Eugenia Alexandra, who made her appearance in July 31, 1998.

I was happy to welcome our new daughter, she was just as gorgeous, just as precious to me, but part of me was as disappointed that she was not a boy. One thing I think all men want, is to have a son to carry on the family name. My father is Polish, 100%, and I felt my "obligation" to carry his name to future generations. I have an older sister, and two younger brothers, so I felt when Liz was born, "ok, we got the girl out of the way, now on to the boys". This was not to be the case for me apparently, so I put those feelings aside, thinking, "there's always next time".

The years passed, the girls grew, and then, November 1, 2002 came and brought us Teagan Briggs. She seemed so tiny, as my other girls had grown so much, but she was just as beautiful as her sisters had been. By this point I had given up on the "carry on the family name" thing, and accepted that "I just can't make a boy". Let that responsibility fall to my brothers. More on that later too.

Teagan was different in that she wasn't like either myself or Carrie. She turned out to be a combination of both of us, carrying traits of both families. She was greeted warmly by her sisters, and did most of the "firsts" before either of them had done, mainly in my opinion due directly to their "help". I found it interesting how each of them had been so different, having the same parents, genetics are fascinating in how many possibilities can arise.

Now Liz is 13, a teen, Alex is 11, and Teagan, a very precoscious 6, going on 7. I have had many moments when I just watch them play, interact, and am amazed. I feel very blessed that they have been generally healthy. I see others with children that have not been as fortunate as I, and my heart goes out to them.

Anyway, things have not been all wonderful, especially with Carrie, and other issues have come about, but these I will discuss in future posts. It's 4 in the morning, and I'm ready to go to bed.


Tracy said...

One of the things I enjoy most about blogging and reading other what others have written, is that it gives one a glimpse into the lives of the writer, making them feel like friends.

In my humble opinion, raising girls is a lot more challenging than raising boys. Careful what you wish for!!!

Blessings to all of you!

Rayden Darklighter said...

Thank you for the kind words, I would like to think of you as a friend.

The things you write are thought provoking and very insightful, I can't wait to see new posts.

Thanks for reading, I hope to continue this story soon.

AmyK. said...

I love the way you talk about the ladies in your life!

My favorite thing about the blog world is "meeting"new people that one would never meet in real life!!

Rayden Darklighter said...

Thanks Amy, I love your blog!

I am still new to blogging, but I agree, I love to "meet" new people too, and I'm happy to have "met" you!