Friday, April 8, 2011

Feeling good about being 40

On most birthdays, I am reflective. I look back on the past year and find fault in nearly everything I have done and promise not to make the same mistakes.

Not this year.

I turned 40 yesterday and it was undoubtedly the best birthday I have had as an adult. Instead of reflecting, I sat back and enjoyed my day at work, enjoyed my four daughters, and had found great peace in the time that I spent with Jen.

It couldn't have gone any better. For the first time in my life, I can honestly say that I am truly happy. I have everything that I could possibly want at this time in my life.

Despite major budget concerns, I still have a great job. I have great kids that still drive me nuts, however, I wouldn't want it any other way. And, I have a meaningful, loving relationship with a woman who allows me to be me.

As great as all those things are, the most important aspect of my happiness falls directly on the fact that I am content and happy with myself as a person. There is no better feeling to have.

I recently ran into a friend who used to read my blog when I posted on a regular basis and he ended our conversation with a question. His question was simply, "Coach, why don't you blog anymore? You used to write all the time and I really enjoyed your shit."

Seems like an easy enough question to answer, however, I was stumped. It is isn't because I am too busy with work or being a single father. I probably have more free time than ever since I stepped down as my school's head football coach in December.

The answer came as I was driving home and it was answer that I hadn't expected. Simply put, I don't post as much now because I no longer need the affirmation that I received from the readers with their comments and emails after I finished a post.

When I started blogging, I was in a relationship with a woman that I loved dearly. However, the relationship was unfulfilling for us both as we never seemed able to find time for each other. There were other issues, however, it came down to the simple fact that neither of us were truly getting what we wanted or needed in a relationship.

Also during the start of my blogging experience, the constant losing in football made others and myself constantly questioning my ability as a coach and left me miserable more times than not. It was ugly for me in every sense of the word, as my feelings of self-worth centered around what we did on the football field and how people thought of me as a coach.

While myself and a lot of the other people ridiculed me on a daily basis on my team's performances, people who read my blog had no problem complimenting my writing and complimenting me as a father, and with it, I felt good about myself again.

I fed off the comments and would run to the computer at all times of the day, hoping someone left me a comment. It felt good to feel good again about something I was doing.

Two years later, I don't need any one else to make me feel good about myself. All I need to do is look at the relationships I have with my kids, my students, my co-workers, and with Jen, and that is all the affirmation I need now.

If there is anything that I would like to change from yesterday to my next birthday, it is this: I want to blog again on a consistent basis. This time around, I am going to blog because I enjoy writing and I enjoyed getting to know so many of you who I would still consider friends.

Hell... this time around, you don't even have to leave me a comment.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Giving the bird to Mother Nature

Dear Mother Nature,

Let me to take a minute to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. You picked the day before my girls were to go back to school to blanket my Southern California desert town with snow. Thank you so much for that. I was so looking forward to driving them to school, opening the passenger door, throwing them out, and heading home for a day of quiet and doing nothing. But, no. At 8 p.m., the school called with an automated message confirming my fears that there would be no school. And, with the way California schools react to the oddity of snow, they will more than likely cancel school again Tuesday. I cannot wait to have them come in and out of the house all day long, bringing with them wet clothes, snowballs, every kid on the block, and requests for hot chocolate. Ahh, and to do it on a day that I already had off. You couldn't wait till next Monday, the first day I was to be back in the classroom. Nope, you decide to really mess with me. So, thank you. Thank you very much you selfish bitch.



Friday, December 24, 2010

Finding perspective just in time

It's time to start writing again. It has been too long.

A lot has happened since I last posted with any regularity. Life changing events that I may or may not get into at a later date. What I will say is that I am glad to be back.

It has been too long.

Christmas is tomorrow and I couldn't be happier. All four of my daughters, my brother and sister-in-law, two of Jen's kids, and her sister and mother will all be at my house for dinner tonight. Jen and I no doubt will be going nuts with all the company, yet, neither of us would have it any other way.

The fact that Jen and her kids will be over is a huge victory for me. I almost lost her two months ago. Seems she could no longer handle my inability to handle coaching football in the no-win situation I was in.

I got so bad during this last football season that I alienated every one I worked for, with, and those who worked under me. And, in the process, I forgot those who were most important, my girls and Jen.

My girls never really complained. They continued to go to practice day after day with me and put up with my yelling at them for not leaving me alone while I coached. They did it in weather that ranged from hotter than hell in the late summer, to colder than shit in the early winter.

And, they have done it their whole lives while never complaining that my career has kept them from playing youth sports, taking piano lessons, or cheer leading for their schools with their friends. To them, me coaching football was what WE did as a family. But, it shouldn't be that way.

I should be the one in the stands watching them.

It took looking over at my girls during a practice in late October that it was time for a change. They were bundled up and huddled together while trying to do their homework. And, that change meant that Coachdad was about to be just Dad.

Ironically, a week after I made my decision to walk away from the only job I have ever wanted, Jen informed me that she would be moving out in November. I was told I allowed the job to affect me to the point that she can no longer handle being around me and that for her own sanity, she had to leave.

Thankfully, she didn't leave. I was able to convince her that the Brett that she fell in love would be back. The Brett that had perspective, that was able to put family and loved ones ahead of everything else, and the Brett that was able to make her laugh endlessly.

That Brett is still here and isn't going anywhere. And, like I said earlier, I am glad to be back.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Happy Fathers' Day, Dad!

My father with my girls and !

Thank you for everything, Dad! I love you and can't thank you enough for teaching me how to be a single father. You truly are my hero!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Valentines' Day

(My post from 2009... I am poet, and didn't know it. Glad to say that I am one of the ones with love.)

Those with love
Smile in the joy of having what so many of us desire
Embrace this perfect gift and remember what brought it to you
Every detail and loving gesture that lit the heart's fire
Should be continued through and through by you two

Those without love
The hope of love can be the greatest love of all
Beating inside you with what you seek out
Never compromise youself, never fall
For one day you will find love, there is no doubt

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Help us all

(I have been super busy with work and working on another project to write lately. So, here is an older post that relates to the weather we are currntly experiencing in Southern California.)

If you turn on the local news in Southern California the last couple of days, you would think that we were under attack.

News vans in every suburban city, residents rushing to the local Walmart to grab supplies, conversations in line at the bank yesterday centered on how long the suffering would continue, and cable/satellite and internet services flickering off and on had it's customers wondering how long it would it last.

What's going on in the land of movie stars, surgically-enhanced body parts, and just your every day quacks that reside with me in one of the most populated regions in our country?


That's it. Fucking rain. I am embarrassed to even admit it. Rain is turning Southern California into a scene that resembles one you would find in the movie Independence Day.

It started on Thursday and has continued sporadically ever since. In my desert community, we even had some hail. I even had to pull out a jacket with a hood last night when I went to my basketball game.

Where is Barack Obama and government assistance when you need it?

Already a bitch to drive in and around Los Angeles, the weather has made local drivers even harder to handle. A trip that normally takes five minutes to take, now takes 30 minutes as drivers limp through every intersection at the first sign of rain.

Throw in the want-to-be NASCAR drivers who continue to drive 20 miles over the speed limit and you get a reported 104 accidents in Los Angeles in the first nine hours of the storm. Makes you want to just stay home and watch TV.

The news is what entertains me the most on raining days.

The first 15 minutes of the newscast is dedicated to the weather. The economy and the Senate's impending vote on the recovery plan would have to wait. Forget about getting any real news.

Thanks to TiVO, I couldn't help but continually rewind reporters interviewing residents and how they are dealing with the phenomenon of water falling from the sky. Here is my favorite:

Reporter: "How are you handling all the rain?"

LA resident: "We are trying not to go out in it. I know we need it, but it has just been so much. I am afraid to even go out and drive in it. My husband has been in the garage making sand bags just in case we need it. We just hope we can make it through the weekend."

Reporter: "Well, thank you. Good luck to you and your family."

Make it through the weekend? Are you kidding me? It's rain and according to the Los Angeles Times, LA has had a grand total 1.47 inches in two days. Reports are a new storm is supposed to hit Southern California some time Monday.

Please pray for us as we go through this tough time.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Girls will be boys?

There are times as a single father that I think God is looking down at me and laughing his butt off. In so many ways, he really did play a cruel joke on me.

Four girls. Four of them. Not one little boy in the whole litter.

When I found out that I was going to be a father for the first time in 1997, I continually daydreamed of playing catch with "little Brett". Day after day, me and the little guy outside laughing it up while throwing around the pigskin.

Then, after nine months of playing out this fantasy, came Kern. A beautiful, healthy, blue-eyed girl. Disappointment was non-existent as I was thrilled to be a father. Besides, I had plenty of time to have a boy.

Then, came Savannah. Followed by Shelby, And, finally, Alani. Four girls for the football coach. There would be no more trying for the elusive boy. I was done after four.

I'd like to think that I have done a pretty good job of raising girls on my own. I do as much as any man can be expected to do to allow girls to be girls. The last thing I have wanted to do was to try and raise my girls as boys by only introducing them to what would typically be classified as "boy" stuff.

I have let them apply make-up to my face, have played Barbies with them, and have watched endless amounts of fashion shows. I have even participated in a conversation with them over who would be a better a boyfriend, Troy from the High School Musical trilogy or Jackson from the Hannah Montana television show.

I picked Troy because he was the better athlete, while they picked him because he was "cuter". Whatever.

So... Sunday morning I stood in the hallway watching my girls pretty themselves up on their own while getting ready for Church. They were facing a full-length mirror on the closet door, admiring their outfits and hairdo. It was one of the cutest things I have seen as a father.

With a great sense of pride, I continued to watch while thinking that I was actually playing a role in raising girls who would one day grow into beautiful women. I finally turned around and began to walk back to my room when Alani said something that made me stop.

"Hey Vannah," she said.


"Fart on my face, then I will fart on yours. OK?"


Damn. Looks like there is more work to be done.