Sometimes I get scared. I stare at my son and as you have probably heard before, I want better for him in his life than what I had in mine. That being said, it is going to be awfully hard, because my parents were freaking amazing.
My father is a man’s man. Big dude, looks like Mr. Clean. I don’t think he could pull off all white though. He works with his hands and the clothes he has are torn. He’s a contractor. That’s by day. By night he wore a different uniform and headed into a Max Secure prison where he was a Correctional Officer. Key word here is was. He put his time in that hell hole long enough to retire…..young. I always took the things we had or could do for granted. You’re told not to take things for granted growing up, but you can never fully understand appreciation until you need to put blood, sweat and tears into creating your own empire. More importantly you gain appreciation from going without and building it from the bottom. That’s exactly what he did and that’s exactly what it took me a while to see.
So let’s get this straight. Started at 7am got done at 3-3:30pm depending how the job went during the day and always left around 10:15pm to relieve the guy working a little early from the second shift at the shit hole. For 20 plus years he had 6 hours a day to get stuff around the outside of the house, see my two brothers and myself, and I forgot SLEEP! He did have Saturday and Sunday off from building houses, but the Prison had a weird schedule that always changed.
My mom. Good god she is an angel. While my dad busted his ass at work my mom busted her butt at home making sure that the house look liked a set of a Martha Stewart cooking show. Three boys tearing apart the house, dirtying every piece of clothing we had and eating like Vikings. We were a busy group and constantly into something. We never went without. Food was always perfect and to be honest is better than most restaurants out there. Clothes were always cleaned and put away neatly. In between all of that she always loved us with her whole heart and to this day is 100% fair between all of us boys. I’m 34 and to this day when I don’t feel good I just want my mom. You could say I’m a Momma’s boy. In-between all of this she had a side hustle. She was a transport service for my brothers and I. Charity I suppose with the payoff of us having smiles on our faces.
I played Basketball, ran track and x-country, band and rock band outside of school. A lot of my sports had leagues in the off seasons so I doubled up on what I was doing. X-country in the morning. Basketball game at night. Then travel Basketball. Then Track. Then band practice….and on and on and on.This was just me. I had my two younger brothers, but at the time I was only concentrated on what was going on in my world and not how my parents were holding it all together.
Where am I going with this? My parents never missed a single event that I can remember between myself and my brothers. Games, Concerts, Art shows, Matches, Meets you name it at least one was there. And if both couldn’t make it it was because the other was at one of my brothers events.
I had the perfect childhood and upbringing and I still fell to Alcohol. Fuck addiction. Sometimes there is no reason for it in your past like all the counselors try to find out. Sometimes it’s just as simple as, shit I like to drink or use. I’ll never forget my parents asking me after I quit. “Josh where did we go wrong?” My heart sank. I can assure you that no one or nothing would have stopped me from what I was doing.
What helped me put me back on the right track was appreciation of the things above. All I had to do was be reminded of who I was and to Stay True. I had to believe in my future self. If you tell me that you have nothing to be appreciative for then, fuck you think harder. Even at your worst you’re still breathing.
I wrote this in part to thank my parents for reminding me to believe in my future self and in part to promise to do as much as my parents did for me, for my children with my wife.
Thanks and love you all