You are my sunshine (Part 2)

Part 1 is here but other than the subject, there isn’t really much of a thread connecting these two posts.

It’s weird how different life is to my expectations of what it would be. Some of my earliest memories, of times that made me who I am as a person, are memories of my father. I remember when I was a baby, he would sing to me, “You are my sunshine, my only sunshine, you make me happy when skies are grey…” I didn’t know where the song came from or anything about it other than my father sang it to me. It made me happy and helped me to fall asleep, even though it is a weird sad song, if you actually think about it. (Please don’t take my sunshine away?) But my father’s voice soothed me.

My father would tuck me in every night… walking around the bed, he’d tuck the blankets in, then kiss me goodnight, and for some reason I do not understand, Jerome the toddler assumed that he, the Daddy, the protector, would be the last to go to sleep, so whenever he said goodnight, I’d respond with, “Say goodnight when Mommy’s sleeping”, meaning that he should come back and say goodnight again once my mother had fallen asleep. Both my parents found this response endearing and amusing. They even tried explaining to me that he was the first to fall asleep but I wouldn’t have it. And in winter, as he tucked me in he’d always say, “Warm as toast”. Somehow his words warmed me. Even if I was cold, his words were enough for me to feel comfortable, warm and safe.

When I grew up, all I wanted was to have a son and emulate my father. I recalled my own special memories of my Dad and somehow, in naivete, thought that I would sing “You are my sunshine” to my baby son just as he did and tuck him in just the same, and that my son would feel just what I felt. But it doesn’t work like that.

I tried to sing to him when he was a baby, but it didn’t feel right. And when I tuck him in, I can’t use my father’s words because they are his words, not mine, and it would be alien for me to say “warm as toast”.

It took me a long time to figure out, but my special memories of my Dad are my memories, my experiences, and Josh will have his own memories, his own experiences that have meaning to him, and I can not force anything. I cannot impose such things on him. All I can do is love him and cherish him, and be there for him as my Dad was for me. I wasn’t always the best father, but I think I’ve gotten a lot better over the years and I hope that Josh will remember me as fondly as I remember my Dad.

Sometimes we need perspective

Lately I’ve been angry. Every day it’s been this way. Things just haven’t been going my way. But earlier this evening I went to an NA meeting for the first time since 2014. I went there to share that I’m six years clean, but also to share my feelings and frustration with others who might understand. And by pure chance, the topic of the meeting was perspective.

Sometimes life is shit. It has been for me, what with the death of my mother, the only person who stood by me in my years of struggling with addiction, and it’s been difficult to cope with my financial issues. Plus there’s that feeling that she who shall not be named has left me in the lurch once too often, such that I am often caring for two children on my own while having to endure the most pressure I’ve ever faced at work.

Add to that… today at around lunch time, someone I know showed up at my work claiming to have received a call from Child Welfare, after an email to Child Welfare sent from my son’s school alleged that I am back on drugs again. (There is no conceivable reason anyone at my son’s school would claim that I am back on drugs. I drop him off there in the morning and collect him in the afternoon. No one there has any context to make such a bizarre claim, so this implies that somebody who has an issue with me “pulled some strings” at the school to make such an email happen. Or the whole thing is a fabrication.) In shock, I took the allegations at face value, and complied with his absurd request for a drug test. So I went to the toilet with him, and pissed in a cup, taking extra care to shake off hard enough afterwards to get some piss on him. (Oops!) Test me all you want… I’m clean so it doesn’t matter… It only occurred to me much later that, if I am accused of using drugs, why didn’t anyone call me and request a formal meeting, or do an official test? Anyway, this is all very strange and pointless because I have been clean since September 2013 and will remain so for the rest of my life. Still, it made a shitty year even shittier.

By the way, this isn’t the first time such a false accusation has been made. Someone made such an accusation when I was two years clean as well. I suffer from rosacea, a chronic skin condition that causes inflammation on my face, including redness, sometimes pustules, and a burning sensation. At face value (pardon the stupid pun) it vaguely resembles the type of marks one can get from “picking” on meth, but only vaguely. The pustules in particular are small, yellow, and hard, unlike pimples. This is not a characteristic of meth sores, which are a result of picking at dry, itchy skin and typically include obvious scars, open wounds, and infections. So someone made such an allegation back then for this reason, and I have a recent flare-up of this skin condition again, so this is a possible reason for the accusation. Yet I’ve had the condition since my twenties, ten years before my meth addiction, and I’ll be 48 next month. (The condition was only correctly diagnosed around two years ago. Before that, doctors prescribed various cortisone concoctions that only gave temporary relief.) Unfortunately the medication I have for rosacea is 300mg of tetracycline every day, on a six month repeat prescription. It’s expensive and I have skipped it for a couple of months because my finances are tight. My point is, I am not convinced that anyone believes I’m using… more like they’re making deliberate false accusations for other malicious reasons.

But you know what? I have what is important to me. We all die. It’s inevitable. But we are not gone. We may live on in the memories of those whom we loved. I have Josh and Aishah, and at the end of the day, nothing else matters. I’m not going to let anger get the better of me any more. This family member, among other things, said that I think emotionally, like a child, not an adult… Yes, I do think emotionally. And I am proud to do so. It is why I am clean and alive today. I chose to stop using meth even though I didn’t really want to for me, for something greater than myself, for Josh and Aishah, for those whom I love. And then only after I had already stopped, being clean and sober became something I enjoy, but as a side-effect, a pleasant surprise.

We can be like some people and choose to value money over everything else. But the money you accumulate means nothing in the end if you are not loved, and do not love. I don’t give a fuck about money really, although it would be nice not being so broke all the time. I’d prefer to be more financially secure, but at the end, that’s not my priority. My priority is to be the best father to one child and father figure to the other, to love them and help them and build memories with them. Fuck everyone else and fuck anyone who makes ridiculous false accusations against me. (No really… I will comply with a request for a drug test any time, because I don’t use drugs.) I care about what is important, and that is… love. If that makes me childish, then so be it. Judge me if you want. I don’t give a fuck.

Oh Aishah, you leave me breathing like the drowning man

Dreaming like the drowning man… I thought I was finished writing about this, but I am not.

On Sunday, I dropped Josh off at his cousin’s birthday party, dreading the drive there because he and Aishah slept over there that last Friday night on 7th September before Aishah and her mother left. I didn’t want them to go, didn’t want to be robbed of that last night with Aishah, but Megan had arranged the sleepover, not I, and both Josh and Aishah wanted to go.

I spent most of that Friday night playing Diablo, even finding a Puzzle Ring with my hardcore character, a character I let Aishah play sometimes. She loved playing Puzzle Rings, which open a portal to a realm with treasure, and loved fighting the monster named Greed at the end of that level. She also insisted on leveling up my gems for me when my character had gems to level up. These are things I forgot to write last time. I saved that Puzzle Ring for her, intending to let her play it on the Saturday, but there wasn’t enough time. Driving there brought all that back.

After dropping Josh off, I went to Norwood Mall to get some cold medication from Dischem. That was a mistake. I’d forgotten that the last time I was there, it was with both children at the end of the month. Aishah wanted to climb up onto the counter so she could see. Then later on, Aishah wanted to go into the toy shop, not really a toy shop but a shop called the Crazy Store that sold toys, among other things.

When I got back to the car, I could not hold back the tears. Why must I be so sensitive? I am struggling to come to terms with this. Each day I think of her innocent loving smile, and how she asked when I could swim with her. Each day, I am the drowning man.

I would have left the world all bleeding
Could I only help you love
The fleeting shapes
So many years ago
So young and beautiful and brave
[Excerpt from: The Cure – The Drowning Man]

Then yesterday, Josh found a glowstick he left in the fridge, left there since his school Valentine Dance earlier in the year. I still sent a photo of him to Megan, with the purple spray in his hair, and she replied excitedly, “That’s my son!”. And now I’m blocked, effectively meaning she’s blocked him too. How did it get to this? I don’t understand.

How did we get this far apart?
We used to be so close together
How did we get this far apart?
I thought this love would last forever
[Excerpt from: The Cure – Apart]

Today I ran out of air time and data, an accident due to Josh having the XBox on while I shared my connection and used it on the PC… then the XBox went ahead and tried to update Assassins Creed and ate all my data as well as air time. And it occurred to me, the only person I ever called (unless I used my phone for work) was Megan. That call I made every day… she was the only one important enough for me to call. Now I call no one.

Sorry about this dreary post. If you haven’t heard it, I suggest listening to The Drowning Man, one of my favourite songs of all time.