Friday, December 4, 2009

Creeping Towards The Autumn Of Life

I'm trying something different today so if it doesn't work, please let me know.

Of all the myriad subjects to write about, I have decided to write about the one that I've done my best to avoid. Myself. I know that many bloggers use this format to write freely about themselves, their friends and family members and the day-to-day experiences that help shape their lives, but I think I have been less inclined to discuss things like that for a couple of reasons.

First, I never thought my life was all that interesting, and as such didn't think my readers would enjoy reading excerpts from such a humdrum existence. Secondly, a part of me has been a little reluctant to share my private feelings in this public forum. However, since I have started following so many great blogs and seeing how others have been so at ease about inviting strangers into their lives, I feel inspired to do the same and see where it takes me.

Three months ago when I started this blog I was a middle-aged married guy seeking a creative outlet for his weird musings and political diatribes. But now I'm moving into a new phase of life that has me both intrigued and a little nostalgic for my younger days. I'm becoming a grandparent. Perhaps some of you can relate to this stage in life and perhaps not. But as a departure from my usual ramblings on this site, I wanted to share a little bit about myself that has led me to this point in my life.

Like a lot of people my age (I'm 47), my journey through life has had it's share of setbacks and defeat, including divorce, unemployment and financial crisis, but through it all there have also been those blessings visited upon me that made up for much of the past unpleasantness.

Key amongst these blessings have been my children, Bryan and Lissa, who have been the fuel that kept love burning in my heart, even in the darkest of times. Bryan lives in Texas and attends the University of Texas at Dallas where he majors in business and hopes to find employ someday with a professional sports team, preferably a football franchise. Lissa attends Columbia School of Film in Hollywood and is an up-and-coming screenwriter/film director. Both kids are amazing, spectacular and effervescing with talent and genius, though I may be somewhat biased.

Then a little more than three years ago came yet another blessing into my life. And on 07/07/07 while hovering 2000 feet above the Napa Valley in a hot air balloon, I exchanged wedding vows with as good and loving a woman as there ever could be, my wife Teresa. There, in the presence of her kids and mine, we began an adventure that just continues to get better and better with the passing of time.

Like me, Teresa brought a son, David, and a daughter, Shannon, to our marriage. David lives in Sacramento and Shannon, who is a medical assistant, recently moved to Southern California. Since my kids lived in Texas and both of hers were grown and out of the house, it made for an easy transition into the whole stepparent realm, sidestepping the whole "Brady Bunch-type" family intermingling a lot of families these days struggle with. Nonetheless, it has been very heartening to see how well our kids have always gotten along together and how accepted all of us have been by both our families.

I am proud of all of our kids for what they have accomplished in life, and for the fact that despite having had to endure a lot of adversity and misery in their lives, they never give up. They just keep marching on and reaching for the goals they have set for themselves. Looking at them gives me a sense of hope for the future.

Recently David announced that he was getting married to his girlfriend, Savannah, and that they were also expecting a child. Since Savannah already has a three-year old daughter and a 4-year old son, David is taking the express train to fatherhood. He is very happy and excited about this turn of events, and he should be. Having children can be one of the great joys in life. Though we hadn't expected to morph into any "grandma and gramps-type" scenario so soon, Teresa and I are both happy to embrace our new status. We met the new grandkids over Thanksgiving and they are both precious. And I'm sure the baby, David III, will be likewise when he makes his appearance in early Spring.

I'm proud of David for being the kind of man that rises to the occasion and not the type that tries to avoid the responsibility of his actions as many do these days. It wasn't that long ago when he was struggling trying to make a name for himself as a rap artist working with a group known as the "Hazmat Boyz" under the name "Handsome Dave" and working multiple jobs trying to keep himself afloat. And though he was a talented rapper, as you can see from the video below, he has really impressed me this last year by moving to a better scene, getting a good job as a credit counselor and getting his life on track.

It's hard for us to imagine ourselves as grandparents, but I guess it was inevitable. One saving grace is that we will henceforth be known by the grandkids as "Papa Tom" and "Mother Teresa," which I prefer wholeheartedly over "Gramps and Granny." The great thing about being a grandparent is that after we spoil them and have our fun with them, they go home! How cool is that?

I can't deny that being a grandparent makes me feel old. There's something about having kids that have kids that brings your mortality into keen focus. In truth, it is a milestone in life which makes you really feel like there are not that many more milestones left. But that's all a part of growing old, I suppose. But just because I'm growing old doesn't mean I'm going to grow up. There are limits to what I will do!

Even though life still continues to bring it's daily struggles to our doorstep, the patience and fortitude we've acquired through life and the blessings of our family, our friends and our lovable critters have helped us to meet these challenges and keep us on an even keel. As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, "What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us."


  1. Interesting Bio...

    Please tell Lissa that her younger version of Robert De Niro lives in Raleigh NC, and would make lots of money for her if she would just give me a chance.

  2. Tom,
    Your life is a treasure! You may think it's mundane, but your art is in the way you see it from an angle of beauty and anticipation, and that makes your life extraordinary.
    I will take this opportunity to express what I have not yet done properly, and that is sincere congratulations on your soon-to-be grandparenthood. I look forward to the stories you can tell here about that experience...a life's worth of wonderful material.
    Thank you for sharing the stories of you and your family. The personal is often universal...and lots of us will be eagerly reading on.
    Thanks for sharing!

  3. One of the great things about growing old is the opportunity to relive new adventures with grandchildren - Gods reward for living so long.

  4. Although I am not yet old enough to be a grandparent (or should I children are not old enough to produce grandchildren), I certainly can relate to what you are saying. I find a sense of nostalgia in watching my children in their day to day activities. Like peering over the fence to the other side of my childhood, leading me to a greater understanding of the how's and why's of my youth. I am eternally indebted to my children for these sudden bursts of knowledge. Such wonderful magic our children obtain, it makes me wonder what powers are contained within a grandchild. Congrats to you and Teresa...and of course Handsome Dave!

    Great post, I have enjoyed this glimpse into your life.

  5. Thank you, thank you, thank you! I appreciate all of your wonderful comments and for your encouragement to continue writing personal stories on my blog. I know now, after reading your feedback, that I don't need to worry about putting myself out there as I had, and that I can now embrace these types of articles as a part of my regular repertoire. You guys rock!


Please share your comments with me!

Blogs I Am In Awe Of