Forgiveness and letting go…

Family, Life

So before I even begin, let me start by getting the obvious out of the way.

I am a huge hypocrite.


I can hold grudges until the end of days.I will remember the time you screwed up. I will throw it back in your face years and years down the road.

But it’s time to let it all go.


I am on a path in life now where I can’t let the past linger any longer. I have been hurt in the past. Deceived, used, mistreated, lied to, put down, the list goes on and on.

And I am a good person, but I will be honest, I have hoped for some bad things to happen to people. Not like psycho bad, just karma bad.

I can be resentful. I can be petty. I can be downright mean. My, usually carefully selected, words can cut through like a dull knife, slow and painful.

But I have these three beautiful children who look up to me as a role model. They watch my every move, they mimic me. They idolize me. And yet I don’t teach them. I instruct them, but I don’t show them. I don’t lead them.

Just to get a couple of things out of the way. I have never done anything truly “bad” in life. Never been in trouble with the law, never done drugs, never physically harmed anything (other than spiders!), never even had a drop of alcohol in my life. In fact, I don’t even cuss. Ever.

But I can be a hypocrite. I can be a liar. I can be mean. And I’m trying to teach these kids not to be these things. How can I expect my children to actually learn these things when all I’m doing is saying words. I am not mean to my children, I am not mean to my wife (although, again, I will be honest and say I have been in the past, whether intentionally or not).

I am probably one of the most respectable and polite people in public, especially around strangers. I am a strong believer that you just don’t know what someone else is going through and to never judge. I even leave full tips for terrible servers. Maybe they are just having a bad day.

But to people I know personally, where I know a little about their lives, their mistakes, their effects on those around them, I am highly critical.

And it makes me a bad person. And my kids can see this. And I have to stop.

So I am going to work on forgiveness.

I need to forgive myself for the things I’ve done. I need to forgive others for the way they have hurt me.

I have mentioned before that I am an introvert. I have, literally, no friends outside of family (which even that is very limited). Anytime I have let people in in the past they have hurt me or my family one way or another. So today I am forgiving you.

The words of my parents echoed softly in the past, but today they are ringing loud in my ears. Mom – “Choose your battles.” Dad – “It’s not worth it.”

So the battles have not been won or lost. They have been forfeited. They are gone.

“Most of us need time to work through pain and loss. We can find all manner of reasons for postponing forgiveness. One of these reasons is waiting for the wrongdoers to repent before we forgive them. Yet such a delay causes us to forfeit the peace and happiness that could be ours.” – James E. Faust

I forgive you.


I forgive you.


Those who have hurt me and my family will likely never, ever read this post.

But I still forgive you.


I am letting go of the disdain, the hatred, the pain, the suffering. The cruelness from my heart is going away. I am a good person. I need to show my children.

And I ask for forgiveness to those who I have hurt with my words and actions.

I apologize.

I apologize for the pain, for the tears, for the hatred, for the cruelness, for the intentional and unintentional consequences that have stemmed from me.

I am truly sorry.


I am more than that man. I am a loving father and husband. I try to give when I can. I try to help when I can. I make regular trips to donate items to the homeless shelter. I work on an employee committee at work that gives back to the employees and the community.

I am was a hypocrite. I will be a leader to my children. I will teach them with my actions, not only my words.

I will be a positive role model. I will be a better father. I will be a better husband. I will be a better son. I will be a better brother. I will be a better uncle. I will be a better friend (if I ever have one of those again someday). I will be a better person.

My boss said something to me a few weeks ago that has really resonated with me. She told me that even though I’m not a highly religious person I have an incredibly strong moral compass.

And I agree with her. But in the past I have always seen the world as either white or black. Shades of grey didn’t exist. But they do. The lines aren’t so distinct. They are subtle. They are discretionary. And what I may see as “right” or “wrong” may not be , and is probably not always, right.


There is good and bad in this world, but not everyone falls into being a “good” or a “bad” person. Mistakes happen. Life happens.

Forgiveness happens.

“It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself, to forgive. Forgive everybody.” – Maya Angelou

Today is a new day. And a beautiful one at that. Today I cleanse my heart. I will wash away the pain. It’s a fresh start.


I will make it count. I will do something good with it.

“It’s not an easy journey, to get to a place where you forgive people. But it is such a powerful place, because it frees you.” – Tyler Perry


S(ensory) P(rocessing) D(isorder) – how those three little letters (and words) have changed our lives.


Here’s something we don’t talk much about, but has such a great impact on our daily lives.

A little backstory first. We aren’t ones to watch much TV, but we will occasionally binge watch shows on Netflix. This takes us back to roughly 2 years ago when we discovered arguably one of the greatest shows ever made, Parenthood.


Now this show wasn’t doing anything radical, but it was pushing boundaries and approaching topics that have rarely been discussed. A major aspect of the show is how one family handles their son being diagnosed with Asperger’s. It was a slow introduction into the topic. The family begins noticing little “quirks” about their son, that he is a little “different”.

And while we are watching this show we notice these similarities between our own son. Just recently hitting his two year birthday we were inundated with “he’s just a boy”, “it’s just terrible-twos”, “it’s just a phase”. Granted, we fell into this trap for awhile. We had two girls, he was the first boy out of all the grand kids. Maybe it was just a stage.

But as we continued to watch this show, the similarities just kept jumping out at us. They weren’t subtle clues and hints, they were bold signs smacking us in the face.

And there’s one part of this show, in the very first episode, that hits me every, single, time and will bring me to tears.

The dad is confronted by his own father, and he finally just breaks.


“Dad, there’s something wrong with my son.”

And that was it. No, my son isn’t just in a phase. He isn’t like all the other kids. There is something “wrong” with my son.

And the naysayers told us we were being ridiculous. I remember vividly sitting at my own dad’s house trying to have a conversation with him about what was going on, and he just wasn’t hearing it. And those words literally came out of my own mouth. “There is SOMETHING wrong with my son.”

So we did what any parent would do. We got him tested, we went and saw therapists, we spoke to our doctors.

We were sure that he had some form of autism. I remember the day we were finally put on the right path and the pieces literally started to fall into place.

We were sitting at an autism specialist’s office in November. She wanted to observe him and spoke very little to any of us. A few questions to Bud to get some interaction. After awhile she finally looks up at us and says “he definitely does not have autism, what made you think that he does?”.

And the way she talked to us she made us feel like we were being stupid. Like we were making the whole thing up, that we were looking for something to be wrong with him.

So we told her everything that was going on. How he would break down from going outside. How he had to cover his face with a blanket while driving in the car because the sun hurt his eyes, even if it was in the heart of summer and 90+ degrees outside. How certain sounds, textures, smells would affect him.

And then she saw it. As we were talking to her and she was still observing he was trying to walk and he kept misjudging his steps. And she started to put all the pieces together herself. And it hit her.

Sensory Processing Disorder

Sensory Processing Disorder (SPD), a condition that includes people who are overly sensitive to what they feel and see and hear, but also those who are under-sensitive, and still others who have trouble integrating information from multiple senses at once. SPD is not an official diagnosis. It isn’t included in the newest edition of the “Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders” (DSM-5). Children with the clinical label SPD also have a lot in common with children diagnosed with autism.

We weren’t crazy after all.

And everything started to make sense from that point on. This was related to that. It was a reaction. A domino effect.

Bud spent a year in therapy after that point with a therapist who would come to the house and work with him on his needs. He was very non-verbal, had a lot of tactile problems, and his proprioception was way off. And his progress went through the roof. By the time he was three he began to self-regulate. He knew his triggers, he knew what to do to calm himself. And so did we.

Our 2-year old was figuring out the world and how he could fit it into his needs. So we changed our lives to match his needs. He will have this his entire life, so we need to do our part, as a family, to support him.


And two years later he is extremely high functioning. Most days you won’t even know there’s something just a little different than the rest of the kids.

But the SPD never goes away. And it will rear its’ ugly little head whenever it feels like it. Doesn’t matter the location, doesn’t matter the time, doesn’t matter who’s around.

And that’s when the meltdowns happen. Just a brief overview, a meltdown is not the same as a tantrum. A tantrum is generally controllable by the child themselves. A meltdown is complete sensory overload. When the body is looking for escape.

Bud has been doing really well this past year. A few meltdowns and sensory overloads here and there, but nothing too extreme. But I think the past few weeks, with our schedules being so chaotic, he has regressed quite a bit. His sleeping habits have gone back to what they were before. Up all night, refusal to sleep, getting back into bed with us. His potty training is taking a step in the wrong direction. His attitude has been something to be desired ..

And on Saturday he had enough. The five of us were making our way through Target doing some fall decoration shopping. Bud was pointing at everything he could see and kept telling us over and over that he wanted something. No. That’s not how we work. Fine, he calms down. But the more we walked, the more he saw, the more sights, the more sounds, the more lights, the more colors, the more people. His body was done. Let the meltdown commence.

And it was an epic meltdown. The ear-splitting scream that ensued made us want to grab the cart and run out of the store. So we headed for the exit, all while dealing with the stares and the comments under the breath.

You don’t KNOW the situation. DON’T JUDGE.

The people in the store see this kid just being a “brat”, not getting his way. We are the parents who don’t know how to “handle” our children.

You don’t know what not only WE are going through, but what HE is going through. You don’t know about the 20 minute drive home where was still in meltdown mode. Or how he finally, eventually, just crashed (usually how he ends the meltdowns).










But it was just a fun little reminder that yes, even though he has his good days, he will always have SPD.

So I would say I’m sorry to the people at Target who had to experience his meltdown on Saturday, but I would be lying. I’m not sorry. This is our life. We are doing absolutely everything we can for our children to give them a great life. We are good parents. Do not judge us on a moment of sensory overload.


When I look at the things my son goes through I see a lot of similarities between his youngest older sister, and also myself directly. I have a lot of sensory issues that I never really put together until my son was diagnosed. I have a lot of the same “quirks”. I just grew up with it and learned to self-regulate on my own. It really helps with my patience during times like Saturday. Because I have a sense of what he is going through. His mind and his body is screaming on the inside, “enough is enough!”

But it’s a new day. I took my son to daycare today and give his a big squeeze (his favorite, it’s a sensory thing) before walking in the door. Today is a new day, today is a good day for him. Today he is in control. But I know that some point in the future he won’t be again. I need to remember that he literally processes the world differently than the rest of us. He actually stops and smells the roses, and soaks up all the little things we take for granted, because to him they are big things.


So we all need to look at the world from his eyes, at least for a moment. Process things a little different than you normally would. Don’t rush through the day, savor the moment.

And live life a little differently.



Parenting, and how somedays you just feel like a failure…


First things first, I love being a parent. It creates some of the strongest emotions I have ever had to deal with. Everyone wants to talk about the great times, the highs, when the world is going great.

I’m not going to talk about those times.

I’m going to talk about the moment I felt the guiltiest I have ever felt in my life, and when I felt like I had failed my child.

This was two days ago, and it’s been eating me alive.

I’m not going to get into all the details, but the basic background is this, Bud got in trouble for something he shouldn’t have done. Now when I say he got in trouble, please keep in mind that I have certain strong beliefs and never harming a child is a huge one for me. My kids don’t get spanked, they don’t get their hands smacked, or whatever else. They get punishments such as groundings, going to bed early, no tv, phones taken away, etc.

So Bud had an incident the other night and had to go to bed early. Mind you it was only 20 minutes early, but that’s irrelevant.

Regardless of if our kids are in trouble or not one of us will tuck them in every night. So I got Bud ready and put him in bed.

And the whole time he was upset. Naturally.

When I finally got him all tucked in and had the blankets wrapped around I asked him if he was mad at me.

Some quick background on him. He is a very emotional child. Bud has SPD and he doesn’t always know how to deal with his emotions. When he gets really emotionally upset he will do this thing where he tries to talk without letting the tears come flowing out.

So he shook his head yes and fought back the tears.

And I told him I’m sorry and told him I loved him.

And he tried his hardest to fight back the years but a few snuck through and he told me he loved me too.

I turned my head, got up, turned his fan on, shut off the light, and walked out the door.

And my heart shattered.

I have never felt such guilt and failure from anything I have ever done in my life before.

I felt guilty for having to punish him in the first place. This kid has a way of pulling at your heart strings, and although he can be a handful at times, most days he is one of the sweetest kids ever.

And the failure set in when I realized that he felt like he couldn’t share his emotions with me. That he had to fight back the tears. That even though he was in trouble he was trying to be strong and not vulnerable.

Have I failed my children in the fact that they can’t be open with me? That they feel like they have to meet a certain standard around dad?

It’s weighed on me. Heavily.

Even though he assures me he is no longer mad at me and doesn’t even remember, I have this nagging feeling in the back of my head that my son is going to remember that moment. And he’s going to resent me for it.

I can’t be that parent.

I need to be there for them.

I can be better.

I WILL be better.

I HAVE to be.