Being a Parent – Ser Padre

Para la versión en Español, oprima el ultimo enlace de este post

Today was Ty’s first day of school, he has just started 3rd grade. He has had a pretty good summer and by the end of it I think he actually started enjoyed going to summer camp while Cielo and I were at work. That was something he was dreading like having a tooth removed.

He has experienced a great deal of changes in his life over the past 9 months. His mother and I starting a relationship, having to move, switching schools, his Dad being in Iraq, having his new friend that lived in the house behind us move about 3 weeks ago… at times it seems like the kid can not get a break. A lot of the changes came with some positives, but remember that when we were kids changes at times seem to be negative just because they are changing our little world. We all feel safe even at precarious situations because that is just what we are used to, and change is a difficult thing to deal with even for adults.

Last year he got into some trouble at school. His teacher was not the best, and she labeled him a troublemaker, so even if he sneezed he would get in trouble. Now, some of the trouble that he got into was his fault, but it was hard to determine what was something he started vs. something he was just a part of. Now being in a new school we are hoping that he can shed some of that skin and create new relationships with both classmates and his new teachers. We are also looking forward to him meeting new kids around the neighborhood.

I must admit that I had no clue what I was getting into when I made the decision to enter a relationship with someone that had a child. In the past always, I had avoided relationships with people that had children, not because there is anything negative with being a single mother, but because I thought that unless I was ready to make a commitment to both the children and the mother I had no business dating someone in that situation, even casually. Even though I had that in mind, and had also always believed that you should always put kids before you in life, it still did not prepare me for the daunting task that it is being a father.

I struggle even today with being a father to Ty, mostly because he already has a real father and I do not want in any level to compete with the love that he has for his real father. His father has remarried and has his own family. Even though he has another family there, Ty is with us most of the time. Especially now that his father is in Iraq, and he needs that strong male figure and craves discipline, I feel a sense of responsibility to be a father figure to him. It is also difficult to come into the picture laying ground rules when 9 months ago everything just revolved around the relationship between him and his mother with little or no outside influence. They have a beautiful relationship and love each other, and I have tried to make sure that I enter a circle and not form a triangle.

It has taken a lot of work to get to some levels of understanding and balance in the relationship we have. I feel it has a long way to come, but I think that in any son father relationship there are changes as people grow older, change and experience life. While it has been a difficult change for him, it has also been a difficult change for me. I thought I had experience with children because for a year I lived with my cousins when I first moved up here. They were 2, 5 and 8 at the time, but that was not even a glimpse at full time parenthood.

There is really nothing I regret about the decision that I made. Cielo and I went into a relationship full force early on, but I now understand that we needed to. We had a child’s best interest before us and did not have the opportunity to do just casual dating. We had to enter a fully committed relationship and all the responsibilities that come with it or date while placing Ty in the back burner. It has been a big task, but I think we are now seeing the fruit of our commitment and our hard work. I think Ty has gathered a lot of new tools to deal with things at school over the summer and is ahead of things emotionally vs. where he was 9 months ago.

Today he starts 3rd grade, I have faint memories of those years. While I still remember most of the people I went to school with, I could not tell you what really happened during those days without looking back at a book that I wrote as a school project remembering those days. I went to a very small school where we all did our first 5 years together, even though I did not keep in touch with anyone beyond that, I know that they all went to become productive members of society. So much is being formed right now in his mind, values, morals, and outlook on education. I was so blessed to have wonderful teachers; they did a lot to shape who I am today. We just met his teacher last week, she seems like a good person, I can only hope she is also an excellent teacher.


Versión en Español, oprima -> Read more Being a Parent – Ser Padre

Hotel Rwanda (****)

Who needs aliens when humans can exterminate each other. It is almost beyond comprehension that we as intelligent beings can still live in a world where such atrocities are happening. We let people die of hunger every single day; we turn our backs to people being killed. Ethnic cleansing is not a new thing; it is a lesson that the human race has not learned. Genocide is a word that we all now know… what’s worse is that it is not a word that is only used in textbooks but something that is happening even right now.

Hotel Rwanda is a film that I had wanted to see since it was in the theaters, and to my surprise it was even hard to find in the video store. Now that I have watched it I feel sad because of what I know has happened in the world I live in, but it also fills me with hope that there are still people out there trying to make this a better place to live.

Don Cheadle has always been one of my favorite actors. He always delivers a great performance; this one however was a difficult task for him. He was not portraying a fictional character, he was playing a man that had to survive the killing of thousands around him but managed to save 1200 lives. Cheadle was able to really make us feel the man’s anguish and pain as he had to make decisions that would not only put his life but his families at risk. It also painted the picture of how a man sometimes has to think of his family first before he can think of other people, I am not sure what I would be able to do in that situation if I had to chose between saving my family or saving my neighbor.

What makes me even sadder about this picture is that I did not know any details about the situation and it is a shame that I had to wait for Hollywood to let me know. I wonder how much can I really prevent something like that from ever happening again… I guess a good place to start is here

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Chicago Air and Water Show

This weekend the family headed to Chicago, and we also brought once of Cielo’s cousin’s (Ka-C) along with us. It was her first time in the Windy City and I hope she had a good time. We went to see the Air and Water Show on Saturday and wow… what an amazing thing is to watch and feel jets fly by. Those pilots are talented. For your enjoyment here are the pictures we took.

So what did you guys do this weekend?

Career Instrospection

“In order to succeed, your desire for success should be greater than your fear of failure.”
– Bill Cosby

Over the past couple of weeks I have been very introspective about my career. My workload has increased steadily over the past 6 months. More and more responsibility is a good thing but at times it can be difficult to handle. It is even more difficult when those around you make you feel like your effort is not appreciated in different ways. This has been one of the most daunting tasks of my professional career, to know the perception of the quality of work from your peers is not as important as the perception from your boss and customers. And more so when you have peers that are insecure about their own quality.

I have been reading JorgeQ for the last couple of weeks. It is an excellent looking blog with even better writing. To my surprise early this morning he posted some of the questions that I had been asking myself along with Bill Cosby’s quote. It was interesting that someone was having similar thoughts on the subject. I was planning on simply commenting on his post and just moving on, but then I thought it would be good to post here. I am not sure if people from work actually ever read this but at this point I don’t think I am saying anything outlandish.

In career like in life we must take risks to accomplish great things. I think the greatest successes and failures in life both come from the greatest risks we are willing to take. As life progresses it becomes harder and harder to take risks, at least at this point in my life it feels that way. Responsibilities are greater, expectations are higher and consequences seem bigger as you get older. This morning I heard a conversation about golf, someone had just beaten their boss at a round last night… jokingly the boss said, you just committed career suicide. I believe this was a total joke, but maybe somewhere else this quote while unsaid might be true.

Even though we are in a workforce where standards, rules, regulations and laws are supposed to protect us and make things fair, the reality is different sometimes. Egos, personalities and interpersonal relationships affect our careers more than they should. I left my first job on principle, granted I linger longer than I should have, but in the end I left with most of my integrity. A lot of what happened there should have never happened, unethical, illegal and immoral things were the norm and in the end I had all I could take.

Today I am much further in my career and I think it is in a good place. I do want to go further and accomplish great things but I have to keep focus. Most importantly I have to keep positive not only about what I am doing but how I am doing it. I need to be able to remind myself of the positive reinforcement that I receive when I feel like I am unappreciated. It is hard but no one ever said that a job is an easy thing.

El Que Dirán

Scroll to the bottom for the English version of this Post

Hace tiempo vengo pensando bastante en le concepto del Que Dirán. Es un concepto a veces difícil de discutir porque la mayoría de la gente no admite el dejarse manejar en muchos niveles de su vida por algo externo como la sociedad. Todos tenemos dentro de si mismos un innato deseo de ser individuos, de pensar por nosotros mismos, pero muchas veces terminamos dejándonos manejar por lo que la sociedad dicta.

Mi primer ejemplo de este tema viene gracias a mi mama. Cuando vino una prima a visitar desde Colombia, trajo con ella la pena común que le da a la gente, principalmente a las mujeres cuando salen a la calle. Mi Mama ya estado viviendo por estos lados mucho tiempo ha dejado ese miedo al que dirán y no tiene ningún problema salir a la calle sin pintarse o ir a comprar ropa al centro en chanclas. Su prima se mortifico al ver la tranquilidad con la cual mi Mama salio sin importarle el que dirán. Reconozco que aquí también hay mujeres que no se atreven a salir a la calle sin pintarse, pero a la mayoría incluyendo a mi Mama no les importa.

Me pregunte yo en ese momento, será que el que dirán es mas preválente en Colombia que por estos lados. La respuesta fue no, el que dirán es distinto pero todavía existe. En algunos aspectos de la vida los Americanos son un poco mas prácticos pero de todas maneras la vida cotidiana todavía esta dominada en muchos niveles por el que dirán. Sin embargo parece que acá la gente se preocupa del que dirán en una manera mas localizada. Utilizan el dicho “Keeping up with the Joneses” que se refiere al aspecto socio económico de que dirán, comparando las posesiones materiales con los vecinos. Es una de las cosas que yo creo que mueve a este país capitalista, el no solamente querer tener mas, sino mas que los demás.

Personalmente a mi no me gusta el que dirán, y siempre he tratado de vivir como si no me importara. En realidad si me importa, solo que de pronto no tanto el lo material pero si en lo social. Pensando en escribir otra vez en Español tome en cuenta bastante que pensarían mis lectores, de hasta mas de lo que debía. Yo creo que todos nos preocupamos del que dirán en algún aspecto de nuestras vidas, la única manera de ho hacerlo seria ser un ermitaño que viviría afuera de la sociedad. Vivir en cualquier sociedad es vivir afectado, queriendo o no, por el que dirán.

Read more El Que Dirán