Somewhere in America There's a Street Named After My Dad

Houston. Phoenix. Colorado Springs. Chicago.
That's the list. That's been the list for a while.
Minnesota was on there too for a spell -- and I guess all things considered it's still in play, but ..not like it was before.

The list is the whittled down short list of places I would move to if I could. Places I list on the job hunt sites as "Willing to Relocates." Places that according to my (admittedly lazy) research feature similar costs of living to where I am now. Chicago and Houston more for their outlying suburbs, Csprings because as much as I'd love to -- I apparently couldn't afford any kind of Denver without a considerable salary jump, and I ain't going back to Longmont.

The list used to be longer. Brooklyn was on there, but it was never something I realistically could envision affording. I know losing the car (which would be a weird transition for a Jville native, but would be the inevitability if I were to go there) would help balance the cost, but clearly not enough. Besides, as much as I loved NYC from the moment I first set foot in that town I've always quietly known that it would be a tough place to survive on my own. I've long held ideas about how romantic it would be to bite and scratch every dime to carve out a life in the apple -- but there's child support to be paid, and that has to come first. Maybe my math is pessimistic, but I can't see doing both for very long.
But in that lies the issue.
Any move. Anywhere. Even if it were as close as Orlando (which was on the list for a while) would mean making a decision about my son.

Now here's the thing: I know plenty of people who's fathers weren't there. I know people who never knew their father (I also know plenty of people who wish they'd never known their fathers, but that's another story). I've known people with absent fathers, and I've known a people with actively asshole-ish dads. I know guys who's dad lived in another country.
And all of these people, every one of them turned out FINE.
In most cases better than fine. Hell, it's entirely possible that part of the push that helped drive these people to success has a partial basis in proving those absent fathers wrong. I can't speak to specifics -- because those are their stories not mine, but what I can say with certainty is that every person I know that went through this experience is someone I flat out know I can count on.

But what I don't know -- what I've never met, and frankly hope never to meet is the kind of person who could look their child right in the eye and say, "I'm leaving."

Maybe it's just me, but I can't even conceive of how someone would do that. How they could friggin' live with themselves.

I love my kid. More than anything. But more than that -- I like hanging out with him. We have a good time together. He reminds me of good things in me that I sometimes forget to see when I'm down on myself. He laughs at my jokes, and he cracks me up CONSTANTLY. But above that, the kid's got a good heart -- despite all he's been through with the divorce and all the fallout, his spirit just doesn't break.
Which is why -- regardless of any ambitions, desires, or even any lists I might have researched
or written down -- I sometimes can't really see how I will ever be able to leave this place.
I hate writing that. But if leaving here means leaving him, then I don't know how I'd ever do it. Even if it were close enough that visitiation would only change a little. A lot of this is of course tied up in the ever-shifting politics between me and my ex and the way I handle them, but I'm not going to get into all that here because honestly you don't really want to hear it, but more importantly that's not really what this is all about. It is a prime factor in all of this of course, but I guess the point I'm trying to make here is that even if it weren't -- If the lines were more clear between the two of us and the tensions and issues weren't always getting in the way, and somehow the two of us were at peace -- I'd still have a huge problem moving away from my son.

My dad didn't move. He stayed in town, close enough to be there -- even though it would have been really easy for him to leave. I have no real evidence that he ever considered moving or ever wanted anything other than to be near me and my brother -- but I sometimes wonder why he didn't. Especially later, once we were both doing our own thing and in college.

Part of that I suppose is my Dad's nature. He could have easily gone back to Colorado, or even shifted to Lakeland where his sister lives -- but I'm not sure either one of those were places he was driven to go. Or perhaps better said, I'm pretty sure my father wasn't in any big hurry to move closer to his relatives. Plus, he tends to get set in his routines. Not to speak ill, but my dad can be really passive sometimes.

It's also probably worth mentioning that despite the fact that my father and I are very similar personalities -- he's never exhibited the kind of wanderlust that seems to constantly run through me. I want to go see places. I constatnly feel like there's something more to find, to be a part of.
I fall victim a lot to feeling like I'm missing out on something.
But whether it's a sense of duty, a comfort with where he is, or a fear of the unknown -- my Dad's never been that guy. And even if he actually is that sort of person, he's never really shown it. What I do know, what I've always known -- even longer than I've known that I was adopted -- is that my dad is there.

I want to move. I want to leave. I've lived in Jacksonville, Florida on and off for over 20 years. It's not the worst place in the world, but I've simply been here too long, become too comfortable and accepting of it's limitations and shortcomings. I need a change of scenery. I need a clean slate. And let's face it -- I could probably use the fire in my belly of having to make it somewhere without a net if I ever want to achieve something more than not getting fired from another corporate gig.
I NEED to go.
..But there's no way I'm leaving that kid.

[Listening to:  Black Label Society - "SDMH" ]


Tricia said…
Aw.....this post made me sniffle.

Home is where your family is. The rest is just a zip code.

And P.S.? Minnesota sucks ass from October - April every year.
Bef said…
you feel guilty just thinking about moving because of your son...I know you...

think of it like this....when your son goes to college...he will be a "man" making his own decisions...

he won't "need" you in the sense that he needs you now...

you will be "free"...

so sit tight...find some happiness in where you are now...but also know that this won't last always and the time will come when you can do what Hex wants to do...

parenting is about know I've told you a million times how my life as Beth ended when I became Dorian's that's he's grown...I have to find me again...all I can say is don't get as lost as I did...but sit the father you are and want to be...when the time is right (soon after he graduates high school) what you feel you need to do for you...
Bef said…
and another thing...if my memory serves me right...Minnesota AIN'T EVER gonna be on that list!
Satorical said…
Your tweet said you had a question, but you don't. This is a statement. A statement of purpose, with a conviction that such things rarely have.
Hex said…
Tricia -- Aww, thanks girl.

Bef -- It's just a point of frustration, I feel sort of caught in the middle of myself, you know?

Bef II -- actually I have an old buddy who lives up that way too who works for a really cool startup that I'd love to find a way to be a part of. And if that doesn't work out, there's always the Minnesota Vikings, who apparently love my twitter feed.

Satorical -- Heh, I guess you caught me there. I had the question in mind when I wrote it, sort of driving the words -- and I do have a conviction like you said, but I guess what I'm wondering is what do people think? How would you approach a similar situation, especially if you're familiar with some of the circumstances described from one angle or another?
Werdna said…
Enjoyed this one. I think it would be better for you to be someplace else in terms of career or happiness- but not as a dad. And somethings are more important than others.

I feel you on doing what you have to do to be a dad. It isn't easy.
Anonymous said…
What if you move after he graduates high school? I know that's a long time away.

I do think you would enjoy living in Houston though, just saying :-)