Tuesday, May 31, 2011

I'm not a nag, I maintain a consistent message.

I realized today how much I sound like a broken record. (And why is it called broken when if it's broken you couldn't play it? It's scratched that makes it skip.) Anyway, parenting in itself can be repetitive when it comes to verbal communication. Get five kids together who seem to have no problem distracting each other, or what I could almost believe to be on purpose, and I for certain can etch a list of daily phrases in stone. Get one child to do something out of sync and any number of them are sure to follow.

I hate repeating myself. It's expected for toddlers. Try it for 3 tweens and see how long patience lasts. Like my daily routines so are my broken record of reminders, corrections and tired incentives. You may call it nagging, by now I've come to think of it more as maintaining a consistent message.

Oh, I know I'm not the only one. I hear of parents complaining of saying the same things over and over. My kids aren't toddlers. So if I am nag I find comfort in knowing I'm not the only  one.

Things I actually say on a daily basis:

"Stop asking me."

"I'm tired of telling you."

"Why haven't you brushed your teeth yet?"

"Who was the last one to use the bathroom?"

"I'm tired of telling?"

"Shut the door when you go to the bathroom!"

"Why aren't those beds made?"

"Didn't I already give you an answer?"

"Put the remote down. It's not a toy."

"Did you flush?"

"Pick your dirty clothes up."

"What happened now."

"I'm tired of telling you!"

"If you ask me one more time the answer's no."

"Answer me."

"Look at me when I'm talking to you."

"You have ten more minutes?" (Wii or computer games)

"Keep your hands to yourself!"

"I'm tired of telling you!"

"Are you the parent?"

"Did I ask you?"

"That's enough!"

"That's nasty."

"Would you like me to find you something to do?"

"Close your mouth when you're eating!"

"I'm waiting."

"When I ask you a question I expect an answer."

"Why are you arguing over a stupid......"

"Gross, you just used the bathroom. You're not gonna wash your hands?"

"Why do I have to tell you the same things every?"

"I love you (too)."

Thursday, May 26, 2011

A Father's Miscarriage

Father's Day is approaching. For many it's celebrated. For new dads it's that long awaited finality as if it's that stamp of completion..."you've arrived, welcome to the club." Father's Day is a bit more complicated for me so I don't think much of it. You would think I would considering how big of a father's heart I carry. Then again I'm not big on holidays where appreciation is the expectation.

As much as I cherish all of my children, biological and step, being with them and even crossing my mind when we are not together, shortly before Father's Day my mind begins to remind me of the three I do not have.

I think, and I may be wrong, that most people view miscarriages as something that only affects women. Contrary to that perception men in a devoted relationship are impacted by such an event; especially three of them.

Looking back I see that for the most I didn't let myself grieve like I should have. Loss due to death has seemed to have shown up frequently throughout my life. The first experience, we were in our teens. We weren't prepared or mature enough to handle something like this. Teenagers, young, scared and excited. You're in love. Well, you think you are.

Friday, May 20, 2011

If tomorrow were my last day on Earth,

Another nut has made a prediction using numbers and math the Rapture will happen tomorrow May 21, 2011 in spite of the fact that Jesus clearly stated no man would know, "that day and hour, not even the angels in heaven, except the Father alone. Matt 24:36."

More than anything this man stirred up a short internet frenzy of controversy than anything. No movement of revival of anything. Just chalk him and add him to the rest of the list of those think they know more than God or somehow think they are the "exception to the rule" and God will go against his own Word for their "calling" in life. News flash! are not the next Moses or Elijah!

If anything I wonder if these kinds of predictions ever help us to stop and look at our complacency in our lives and in our relationships. To stop and evaluate our priorities. Sure it's easy it's laugh and blow it off and say, "Just another quack with an end of the world rant." But what if it was the end of your world? What if it was the end of one of your loved one's world?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Pole dancing: sport, recreation, or vocation...who will decide for us?

I've never been a sports fan, nor a fan of dance. So maybe I'm not the right person to rant about this subject. I don't know rather to laugh about it or think, "what nerve?" I don't even really know why this issue gets on my nerves. Maybe it's the motives behind the scenes. Yea that's it. It's not about sports or dance, or even the Olympics.

I never cease to be amazed how some people try to make something more than what it is. We even dress up the names to make them sound more sophisticated and inviting. I recently read an article regarding the attempt to make pole dancing one of the Olympic sports. WHAT?! So I looked into it.

A petition held in London quotes, "After a great deal of feedback from the pole dance community, many of us have decided that it's about time pole fitness is recognized as a competitive sport and what better way for recognition than to be part of the 2012 Olympics!" I didn't realize there was this "community" of pole dancers. Talk about jumping head first.

Apparently dancers with a pole are now no longer "pole dancers." They are "athletic artists" or "aerial dancers." What a nice way of calling something, something it's not. They need to make up their minds. Are they dancers, athletes, strippers, fitness, or what? Cuz there's going to be a lot of confused lonely men out there. There's even a U.S. Pole Dance Championship. But that's been around for a while. Even more surprisingly, there actually is currently a bid to enter pole dancing as a test sport in the 2012 Olympics in order to make it official for the 2016 Olympics. And many people thought including the trampoline to the Olympics was a stretch.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Who Am I?

Wow, who am I? This was actually an easy question for me to answer. I have bipolar, but I'm not a label. I have Parkinson's, but I'm not a disease. The reference in my blog title defines me and I'm happy with that. I'm a Recycled Dad. I hope it's ok, but I used the following from previous posts that I had actually wrote about who I was. I edited it though to fit the format for this contest, but none the less, it is true to answer the question.

Think about what recycled means: "to reuse or make available for reuse for biological activities, to adapt to a new use, to bring back, to make ready for reuse." Ask any number of divorced dads and step-dads you're sure to get a consensus, "recycled" is how we feel..."reused, adapted." Out with the old and in with the new. Roles and relationships are redefined when it comes to biological children in spite of the fact they shouldn't be. They are your children. No one should be allowed to tell you your limits. But when the mother walks away it produces cause for change.

Step-parenting produces its own special line of challenges of feeling recycled. You wrestle with the question, "are you recycling your role as a father to your own children?" "Are you recycling your role as a father and trying to replace their father out of some need to fill that emptiness that was created in the divorce?"

Exhausted Recycled Dad

This past weekend visit with my kids was a complete disappointment. I was so exhausted I was planted on the couch most of the time I was able to be home with them. Much of that time I could hardly keep my eyes open. To top it off, I worked all day Saturday, which probably has a lot to do with me being worn out on Sunday.

Exhaustion: it's one of those hidden, non-motor symptoms of Parkinson's. One of those symptoms where people say comments such as, "You look fine." If they know you enough they see the exhaustion in your face. I feel blessed to have had the many friends at work ask me if I was feeling ok. It means they've come to know well enough to tell something is different as well as show their concern.

My concern though, is that I short am changing my kids and our relationship during the limited time we get together on their weekend visits. I'm going to have to adjust my work schedule again. There's no doubt about that. Working all day long on Saturday is just too much for me. Besides, after only getting to spend the better part of Sunday with my kids after church on my weekends I want to anyway. That's just not enough quality time with them.

My oldest didn't feel well, so he laid around most of the time as well. My two little ones though played as normal. I feel guilty watching them play outside and run around. You would think I would be able to just suck it up and join them. But the exhaustion and fatigue is relentless. Parkinson's exhaustion is not the same as that of without Parkinson's. It is a deep exhaustion so life draining, the idea of collapsing is almost appealing. Rolling your body over to one side takes more energy than you have so you refuse to even try. Even holding your eyes open takes more work than you can muster up.

And even more guilt ridden, I see my wife do all the work all weekend while I sit or lay on the couch. She does a great job while I at the most ref an argument or show my "ogrely" daddy rule enforcing self.

I get cranky and do my best not to get snappy. Most people get cranky when they get fatigued. Try not to be pissed at your chronic illness when it's the cause. You go through the stages, Parkinson's has 5 and I differentiate among 3 and 4,  except you go through them over and over, every time it flares. The exhaustion is a reminder of each one. I get angry and disappointed.

I understand no parent can protect their child from each and every disappointment. Like the little things we adults try to convince ourselves of when we quote, "Don't sweat the small stuff." But when I see the disappointment on my son's face when I tell him for one reason or another that I can't ride bikes every single time, I could make a list of the negative emotions I feel. We have other activities we enjoy together. Mostly sedentary. Not the active one's we would like to do. But none the less things we can do.

The more I involve myself with others dealing with Parkinson's I've learned it comes with this oppressive chronic condition and it knows no boundaries. When it comes to exhaustion we bear the burden of the following, all of which lays upon us a heavy weight of guilt.

  • Not being physically able to do "everything" all other Fathers can do
  • Not being emotionally stable enough-due to slowness, tremor, instability-to handle loud or hectic days-resulting in outbursts, short tempers or actions; all of which I'd love to take back
  • Sometimes physically unable to run, play outside--usually it's a choice I don't have a say in where to expend my energy, work or play
  • Sometimes I live in a "fog," simple tasks like reading and writing are difficult, which is why it takes me so long at time

These things can wear me down. Most of the time I can do a good job of burying it and pretending it doesn't affect me. Out of 5 only one of my kids reacts out of concern. I feel as if I give more of myself to my job than I do my own kids. Rest at home to expend my energy at work while the kids get deprived. And I as well. Deprived of their time and presence.

This is no "poor pitiful" me. My concerns are the kids. It's always about the kids. They are young. Exhaustion is invisible. I can feel it. They can't see it. They live with it just as much as I live it, but in a different way. Quite the contrary is it feeling sorry. I had my time when I let things get me down and that was in the past.

Instead of beating myself up for being sick, I should will use it as a parenting advantage - not to beat myself up over it. The fact is, given my personality, I wonder if it wasn't for the Parkinson's if I wouldn't be as engaged as a father. After all, it is because of it that I'm lucky to be a stay-at-home dad.

There's a saying, "The days are long, but the years go by quickly." I haven't been a parent long. My oldest is 11. But gosh, 11! It wasn't long ago I was rocking him to sleep, or rocking my middle one, or changing my daughter's diaper. And I can't believe my wife and I have been married over 4 years now. So I must engage myself in my kids lives in the here and now and not worry about what might or might not be.

I don't stress a lot. I'm not a stressor. I do like to prepare for the future. For a long time now I've been trying to get my wife to start a savings for emergencies and one so we can move out of this town. I prefer to plan meals a week ahead of time. We all have medical and life insurance. And I don't worry about our future. What I do worry about are our relationships. Maybe I worry too much about them instead of doing something about them.

You could ask me, "Do you think you are a good father." I don't know. I try to be. I guess I would answer, "Ask me when they are 20, I won't know 'till then."

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Parenting with Parkinson's: It's not as easy as you think I make it look

One of my many facets as a Recycled Dad is living with Parkinson's. More specifically as a dad, parenting with Parkinson's. I'm realizing it's more challenging as my symptoms continue to progress.

When people think of or hear of Parkinson's, especially in my case young onset Parkinson's, their last thought to come to mind is "parenting." More thought or attention is given to the caregiver or partner of person with Parkinson's. It comes with focuses on their spouses burn outs from care giving, disappointments, fear of a bleak future and high divorce rates.

School's almost out for the summer and the kids are excited. They've already laid their demands on me and proclaimed their expectations. "Why isn't the pool up yet?" (It was still April and in the 60's and 70's!) They're excited and can't wait. Ready to play. Summer months means that for each of the three months I get my three kids for the first two weeks of them. My wife's kids and my kids love it because they get to be together longer. They get to watch TV, swim, jump on the trampoline (that's another of our demands, order a new jumping pad), stay up late, sleep-in. What was I thinking? Our kids don't sleep in!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

I shaved my mustache for this?!!

My wife and I were having this discussion about this article I had read the other day and I got to thinking about one of the comments she made in response.

I was complaining about those insulting articles written by women about men about how to shop, act, dress, behave, comb your hair, stand up & sit up straight, say, "yes, ma'am, no ma'am." No I made last those three up. Seriously though, I'm sure you know what I'm talking about. Those TV commercials, sitcoms, and women's advice articles to men for this and that.

Her response: "Well, if men would listen to their wives." Mine: "Whoa, whoa...I don't agree. I think if they wouldn't tell us so much stuff to do we wouldn't either forget it or get it jumbled up."
For a while now more and more so called "advice" articles instructing us men and fathers on the do's and don'ts on each and every holiday as if we are incapable bumbling idiots who aren't even allowed to succeed before we are deemed a failure.

Here's how they generally go: buffoon of a man, usually a husband, struggles to have a clue as to what something is all about. Sure enough, an all-knowing woman (usually the wife), rolls her eyes and shaking her head in pity, is there to help the stupid buffoon of a man not utterly ruin everything. And, by the way, did I mention that the man is ignorant? In an alternate version, the children who are all-wise, and they help the idiot father figure things out. And of course we’re all supposed to laugh: “Ha, Ha, Ha look at that stupid guy. What an idiot!” The pivotal role of every sitcom.

New Year's we're told how dress and don't embarrass you at dinner or the party. Valentine's we're told what to buy, where to buy it, what to wear, where to take you, where not to take you, etc and don't embarrass you. Thanksgiving and Christmas we're told when and we are going and what time to eat. And it's not that we men don't welcome your advice and suggestions. We just don't want to be talked to and treated like a bunch of dim-witted idiots.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The test of all happiness is gratitude

"This guys awesome." "Lupe, you're the best." "Lupe, I just want let you know we appreciate you so much." "Lupe, I don't know what we would do without you." "Lupe, is there anything you can't do?"

That's some of the brags I receive at work. Although I'm sure gotta be exaggerations. I'm not bragging on myself but to tell you the truth, it really feels good to hear them and it makes me feel grateful to know I'm appreciated and recognized. They are grateful for me and I'm grateful that they are.

I'm supposed to teach on Gratitude this coming Thursday evening at Celebrate Recovery and to be honest I don't feel very grateful for much. I'm having a hard time writing up what to say in spite of how much I'm praying about it. I know being grateful shouldn't have anything to do feelings, but if gratefulness was so easy it wouldn't have to be taught upon. My emotions seem to rule me rather than me ruling them. When it comes to gratitude, practicing keeping things in perspective is easier said than done.

For the sake of privacy I won't go into detail, but there's more than one relationship issue going on and my own personal life and questions about direction in my life. Not to mention my health. Things could be worse. Some things were worse a little over a year ago. But some things remain, while others are worse.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

A Dad's Point Of View: A Real Dad Is Only As Happy As Their Least Happiest Child

I warn you, this is another long post. But I believe it is well worth your time. It's going to focus on many issues and I hope it doesn't jump around. Any good parent is only as happy as their least happiest child. I can only speak from my personal experience and heart. 

One of my favorite songs that I literally take as a prayer to God is "Lead Me," by Sanctus Real. It is a real prayer written by the bands lead singer written out his heart after he and his wife had been experiencing a period of distance and misunderstandings between themselves and their children.  A few words of his prayer made into that hit song goes:

”I see their faces, look in their innocent eyes
 They're just children from the outside
 I'm working hard, I tell myself they'll be fine
 They're independent
 But on the inside, I can hear them saying...
 Lead me with strong hands
 Stand up when I can't
 Don't leave me hungry for love
 Chasing dreams, but what about us?
 Show me you're willing to fight
 That I'm still the love of your life
 I know we call this our home
 But I still feel alone”
 So Father, give me the strength
 To be everything I'm called to be
 Oh, Father, show me the way
 To lead them
 Won't You lead me?"

Where my inspiration comes from

A Recycled-Dad with Bipolar & Parkinson's, reflections on fathering and family life and other stuff thrown in'll love my Soap Box Rants

Blog with Integrity\\ Auhor Lupe Picazo

Why I call myself a Recycled Dad

I call myself a Recycled Dad because of the struggles with remarriage and being a step-parent and weekend dad. This is also about my life living with bipolar and how it affects me personally, my family and my job. It also reflects on the grace God has poured out on me throughout recovery from alcohol and an eating disorder. Recycled Dad is about my reflections on the wisdom God teaches daily on fatherhood and being a better husband in spite of being bipolar.

Please feel free to leave comments. I welcome them