Read about the misadventures of a sped high school teacher in Savannah, GA as he sails through the exciting seas of committment, marriage with step-kids, some tour guiding while he attempts to break into the world of professional storytelling and the occasional act of piracy.
Sunday, September 4, 2011
So we are swimming in the pool yesterday evening. It’s Kim, the kids, Mary, and myself having a little last minute summer fun. In typical Jude fashion, he is splashing extreme amounts of water which surprises me in how such a little guy can create such tsunami style waves. This of course leads to me chasing Jude in a fake, angry pose. Veronica joins in and in normal Ronnie-style; she is in until the tables are turned on her.
Ronnie begins to pitch this “crying-please-leave-me-alone-I’m-just-a-child-thing” but I’ve learned not to buy it. Over the past 8 months, I’ve come to learn how Veronica is the elementary school equivalent to Meryl Streep. I reach out to grab her and carry her off somewhere in the pool. I barely touch her arm and she begins to howl,” My leg! You’re hurting my leg!” I hesitate but Kim is overlooking this whole interchange and says nothing so I know that Meryl Streep is going for another Oscar. I pull her close but carefully because I am very aware that the kids recently had knee surgery. Something crazy happens.
She goes from screaming to realizing that I am not buying and she calms down then wraps her little arms around me and holds me. It was at that moment I realized; we have never had a moment like this before. I hold her tight and tell her that I love her but I am not buying this “crying wolf crap” and it needs to stop. She nods and apologizes then explains that she is nervous when anybody holds her except for her mom. “My dad has made some bad choices and it’s stuck with me.”
Out of the mouth of babes. That is the first time Ronnie has ever said anything about the father she has all this hero worship for. The same father who never returns calls or acknowledges either child except for when he wants to look good. I get it. I am lucky that my childhood is pretty much the poster for bliss but I have worked with kids long enough to realize that I am a very lucky minority. Ronnie and her brother are really blessed in that Kim has made them the center of their universe and really is Super-Mom. Regardless of that fact that he defended out country. As a father, this guy sucks so I understand why Ronnie is always testing me. She’s afraid that I am going to leave once she gets comfortable with the notion that I am a part of their lives.
"Excuse me sir, I do believe you are the coolest man in the world. "
"No, sir, that would be you."
Jude was an easy relationship to forge. Boys are so much easier to deal with plus we have the same interests like pirates, Star Wars, and blowing shit up. It’s hard not to like each other. We are practically the same person but just at different junctions of our life span.
Veronica and I have had an interesting road together. We know that we both love each other but we just can’t seem to drop our guards with each other long enough. The sad truth is that, at times, there is that dark part of me that is afraid to trust her much like she feels about me. I am aware and working on this so as to be an example.
I do love this little girl and so much of me just want to grab her, hold her close and tell her that I love her and want her to know that I plan on running interference for her from now on. Much like the differences between cats and dogs, 10 year old girls aren’t wired like seven year old boys, and I have many hoops to work my way through. Many times, I have wanted to figure out a way to get in touch with her piece of shit father and thank him for the number he is doing on his little girl through his blind indifference. I relent because I know that it will probably back fire and makes things much worse. Plus, I like the idea of him not being around. Kim and the kids seem much happier. I still get so angry when I see Ronnie try and call her father only to get another voice mail. It breaks my heart.
Yesterday was a big deal for me. We shared going crabbing and fishing together for the first time which was such a large part of my formative years. More and more, we keep sharing our previous lives with each other and it seems to be taking. Between the salt water dock time and the amazing embrace we shared in the pool, I feel like we’ve turned another corner in our relationship.
I am not naïve. I know that at some point today, Ronnie will say something smart aleck to me or her mother and I’ll call her down. I just hope when it happens, she is going to remember that hug and how I know that we both are in this together to the end. I know that is what I am using for the mantra in my head. Until we got to have another moment like the awesome last one.