I'm sitting in a chair that I've finally moved to a productive part of my living room. The Christmas tree is up, and there are unused ornaments strewn everywhere. I'm listening to music I've recorded in the past wondering if any of it might be considered to be salvageable. Of late I have not been taking any of the music-making seriously, and I'm hoping to change that.
Next May will mark five years since I've lived in this house. My children will be spending more time here in the future. They're about ten feet behind me at the moment, separated by the wall between my living room and my bedroom.
They don't have a dedicated place to stay yet. I have a housemate who lives in the other upstairs room, but he'll be moving out at some point in the near future. At that point, that room will be transformed into a space for them to live and grow up.
I get sad when I don't know for sure that they're doing okay. They spend so much time away from me, but they're always happy to see me and re-enter my life. I spend a lot of time waiting for them to come back into mine.
Right now they're here, and my dog Billy is here, too. He's frustrated at the moment because I can't take him for a walk because the children are here. Later on I'll take him in the front yard, and tomorrow we'll take him on as long a walk as we can with the kids. That will mostly mean we go to the park, where they will want to play on the playground, and he will sit patiently waiting for something longer.
I had the best Thanksgiving I have had in a very long time. I went to two feasts. One was at the family gathering of a former co-worker and the other was slightly more formal and involved talking with strangers and getting to know them. I had people around me, and I wasn't alone.
Tonight I am not alone, because my children are slumbering here. We'll wake up tomorrow. I'll make breakfast, we'll play, we'll swim, and then they'll go back home to their mother's house for the week.
Meanwhile, their half-brother's mother just got married in England, just a week before his birthday. I am hoping I can make it over to see him as soon as possible, but international travel is expensive and I have a hard time imagining how I'm going to get over there anytime soon. I keep thinking I'll build working relationships with English journalists, but it never comes to pass. I'm at a point in my life where I'm trying to figure out how to make the things that I have better as opposed to looking to expand into ventures.
Like this house, for instance. I keep thinking that I will rid myself of it, but this is a place that I am finally beginning to feel is home. I'm beginning to imagine what it would be like to slowly transform it. How to make it more livable. How to actually build new memories here. How to have the best possible life that I can have.
When my children are around, I am more or less at peace. Tonight I read them the Christmas books that I put away the first week of January. They remember them, and they're part of our tradition. When we put up the tree today we ate appetizers and listened to Christmas carols, just like we used to when I was a child.
That's what I mean by this whole idea of making the things that I already have better. If I can just focus on a few things, I can actually broaden my horizons. I can choose to have a better life.
There are things I want to do that I am not doing. I want to find a way to write more about my community outside of the narrow focus that I currently have in my job. I want to write a good song. I want to write dialogue. I want to encourage my daughter to become an acrobat. I want to encourage my son to do what he wants to do.
I want to be a good father to my children. All three of them.
And in typing these words, I can capture that feeling, that need, that absolute desire to do right by them. There are times when I feel lost, and I feel lost because they feel so far away. I messed up once and one of my sons moved across the ocean, back to the place my parents left almost half a century ago.
And here I am, in my community, doing the thing I wanted to do when I was 21. I want to do it better. I want to become an even better journalist than I have been. I want to expand my coverage area. I want to help people better understand things. I want to better understand things myself.
I've moved this chair to this location, right by the vent, so the heat spills out over me. I look around my living room and I finally feel this is a room where I can live. So many memories in here, good, bad, and positively traumatic. Two in particular haunt me if I allow myself to bring them full into any given current moment.
But I won't. That's the past. Not the current, and I have already chosen how I will deal with my future with that information in mind.
(as an aside, I leave you with a link to a recording from March 2012 that I edited into something slightly less raw http://soundcloud.com/sean-tubbs/commonwealth-remembrances)