Divorce, Single Parenting, Dating, Sex, & Self-Recovery

Just Being Dad Is Enough: A Hot Summer and a Ghost Horse

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the off parent talks about the road ahead

Living at the crossroads of sainthood and bullshit

Since my divorce, in August of last year, I have been rebuilding my life and my relationship with my kids. Too much time at work, too many economic ups and downs, too much stress, have all brought me to this point on the journey. Today.

As I was walking alone in my new neighborhood this morning the slowness of the activity and the drowsiness of the heat had me recounting summertime with my Dad. And the contrast between those very sparse memories and the more generous memories I am working to create with my kids on Fridays and alternating weekends this hot hot summer.

My new neighborhood is very conducive to bikes, so when she is here, my daughter and I ride every morning, “before it gets too hot.” And I have seen streets and areas we might never reach on foot. And we zoom together around the quiet streets. Fearless. Explorative. Together.

And my son and I often go for walks, since he does not like bike riding at this point. We mostly walk to the lake/pool neighborhood complex, and occasionally to the convenience store where he partakes of his favorite summer drink, the mango slushie. The last time it was just my son and me, and we were walking along up the hill in the picture above when he noticed a horse.

“Dad, that’s a horse in that yard over there.”

Sure enough, there was a large brown horse staring at us as we puffed up the hill in the heat towards the mecca of slurpiedom. We stopped and said a few words to the horse. He said nothing. And we walked on.

On our return, the horse had moved out of sight and we talked about how wild it was that a horse was “just standing there.”

Now every time we pass this place on the road we look for the horse. My daughter and I ride by the field looking for him every day she is with me. She was disappointed not to have seen him. We are both hopeful, but so far the horse has not reappeared.

So this magical moment reminds me of the optimist’s Christmas joke when the child is given a bucket of horse poop as a Christmas gift. He opens the present and laughs, “I knew there was a horse in here somewhere.” A nice summary of making the best out of a bad situation by keeping our perspectives on the positive side.

And here’s one other thing that I find entertaining. The name of the street to my house is San Juan, or Saint Juan. (As if…) And even better is the cross street that accurately marks this crossroads in my life, is de vaca, or “of cow.” Or as I refer to it, at the crossroads of sainthood and bullshit.

the off parent - san juan

UPDATE 7-29-11: This morning, Friday, the three (plus dog makes 4) of us trekked to the local taco trailer for breakfast. And along the way we saw:

the off parent - ghost horse

Again, the horse said nothing, but we are almost certain that we saw an actual horse and not some mirage from the heat. My son said he saw the horse breathing.

We were blessed with one other creature (our dog Scrambles, pictured below on his favorite chair) who enjoyed the walk as much as his ride back on my daughter’s shoulders.

We’re pretty sure the dog didn’t see the horse. There was no acknowledgment of either one by the other.


The Off Parent



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