Yesterday Was My Birthday

From my journal earlier this morning.

The highlight of my year was meeting up with my son Ben in June.

He’s 11, will be 12 in May. He lives in Florida. We became separated from one another when he was six months old. The last I saw him before June was when he was two years old back in 2008. This separation has been the single biggest hurt spot on my heart. It has impacted my life in so many profound ways. The real work has been guiding this significant life event into a meaningful, fulfilling and happy ending. Our meet up in June felt like a big win for us. Yesterday, Ben texted me to say Happy Birthday and let me know what he was up to (fundraising for his travel basketball team). Then just 10 minutes later, my other son Lucan called me from his mom’s house to wish me happy birthday. That was a symbolic and tremendous good feeling in my heart.

Here’s a picture of my first born son Ben and me last June.

My daughter Ella and son Lucan had artwork on display at Kalamazoo Institute of Arts (KIA).

The Kalamazoo Institute of Arts is a nonprofit art museum and school. They offer art classes, exhibitions, lectures, events, activities and a permanent collection. It’s an appreciated institute in our community. Ella and Lucan’s art teacher selected their work to be featured for this special exhibition.

I picked up the kids fr0m my ex Kaitlin’s house. She had to walk her dog and followed behind us by about 25 minutes. At the KIA, my mom and step Dad were there. We found the kids’ artwork, took pictures and enjoyed the free refreshments. Then we did it all over again once Kaitlin arrived. I so appreciate where my relationship with Kaitlin has arrived. Just two birthdays ago, I remember dealing with court about custody for our youngest daughter Ada whom Kaitlin was pregnant with when we broke up.

Kaitlin helped the kids get me a toaster. It was wrapped and Lucan was so excited for me. For as long as I can remember, I haven’t had a toaster. I always make eggs, toast (or bagel) and bacon for breakfast, and SO OFTEN I burn the toast. I make toast in the oven. I turn the knobs to broil and toss in the toast. The kids are always hollering at me that I need a toaster. Kaitlin helped them make that happen. That felt good for all of us.

Afterward, Lucan and I went to Food Dance for a brownie bus stop dessert. We played tic tac toe and had good laughs together.

Here is a picture of Ella, Lucan and me at KIA.

Here is Lucan and me at Food Dance having a good time

I wish I would have taken a picture of my coworkers bringing in homemade tamales and cake for my birthday at work yesterday.

It’s greenhouse season so we definitely work on Saturdays. But yesterday I said we could all go home at noon. Gloria made tamales for everyone. Gloria is from Mexico. She is the one who most helps me with my Spanish. Chilla brought in the cake. They all signed a birthday card for me. Mark got me a six pack. A couple of others slipped me stinky green nuggets of marijuana. Tayshawn was like, “Damn Eric I can’t believe you’re 41. You’re old enough to be my Dad.” I said, “I might be.” Everyone laughed.

I sincerely had every intention of going to Salsa Night at Papa Pete’s bar.

I have had this playful fantasy with a couple of my friends about meeting a latina. So I’ve been telling them that on my birthday I was going to a “latino bar” to meet someone. The glamorized premise comes from an unrealistic desire to meet a woman who doesn’t have first world concerns yet is present to the gratitude of the first world.

Anyway, I found out that Papa Pete’s offered Salsa Night. My thinking was to go and dance the Salsa and discover the experience. But alas, I found myself 40 pages into Hemingway’s memoir, A Movable Feast, and three beers down the gullet and it was only 7:45 p.m. I know enough that the peak times at Salsa Night aren’t until 11 or 12. I didn’t go. Another time.

I slept well. Woke up for push ups and sit ups then went to the corner Coop for a breakfast burrito and coffee. I texted with a few people including a thank you for the toaster to Kaitlin. Then I opened up this journal and began the day.

In one year, my relationships with all of the most important people in my life has blossomed.

Tony Robbins says where the focus goes the energy flows.

Nobody in my life is more important than my children. #1, 2, 3, and 4. Which means Sheila (Ben) and Kaitlin (Ella, Lucan and Ada) are #5 and 6 in my life no matter what. I spoke with both of my ex’s yesterday. It might be too much to say we’re friends, but there is love, appreciation, respect, meaning and depth. My focus has been on these relationships. That is where my energy has flowed. Consequently, that’s where I feel a considerable amount of gratitude. These relationships are going well.

It has taken time to arrive at this place of peace?!

At the greenhouse we grow potted flower combinations and hanging baskets. I know very little about growing flowers. They don’t let me touch the hoses too often. They also know that I grow people. That’s my thing. Yesterday, I saw that reflect back at me. My focus has been on transforming the culture of day to day operations at the greenhouse. That’s where my energy has flowed.

Same concept for my relationship with myself. I was perfectly content with Hemingway and cold bottles of beer in my recliner. I no longer feel compelled to turn over every stone on the path. Thank goodness. I have to recognize a mindful meditation practice for the increased peace and contentment I feel today.

Some days really offer a glimpse about where your focus and energy flow. Yesterday, my birthday, offered a glimpse. I am happy with what I saw reflect back at me.

I’m still on a partial writing sabbatical catch me on Facebook.

Facebook is like a blog of my “B-sides”

My Sunday newsletter is still the best place to hang out if you want insights into life that will move the needle forward.