January 17th, 2009The mugging goofball pictured here is my partner Susan's grandson Darien. Before he could even walk or talk, before he even could crawl, I had started calling him Mr. Personality because of how expressive he was. He is my godson and step grandson - and his presence in my life is one of the greatest blessings of my recovery - one of the greatest gifts in my life. He is a precious, sweet, beautiful Spirit in a little boy body. He has brought great Joy to my life - and has taught me much about Love. He is a treasure.
The idea of of putting up a web page dedicated to him had been coming up in my mind for awhile because I want to leave him some evidence of how special he is to me. I don't know that I will be around long enough to see him grow up completely - and the thought of that makes me very sad. In fact now, when I think of how much longer I might live, it is always in the context of how old Darien will be by that time.
When we had a health scare with him in January, I decided that I definitely wanted to get this page done. Just below is the announcement I sent out to my Joy2MeU e-mailing list about the terrifying experience we had in January when he got really sick.
Special Joy2MeU & RobertBurneyLive Update
Hello Magnificent, Powerful Spiritual Being,
I am sending this out to announce that we have launched the third of our new web sites . . . . But first I wanted to share with you a terrifying experience that we had this last week. The easiest and shortest way to do that is to share with you the messages I sent out to my yahoo mailing list this past week.
Subject: Asking for some prayers for Darien
Date: Tue, 13 Jan 2009 11:49 am
I wanted to ask you all to say some Prayers for my precious little godson / step grandson Darien. He woke up Saturday complaining of a sore neck and then later of head aches and was running a fever some of the time. It got worse on Sunday and when I took him to the doctor yesterday they sent us right to the emergency room of Children's Hospital. The doctor was afraid that he had an abscess in his neck. Once we got there they started him on IV antibiotics and scheduled him for a cat scan. Turns out he has strep throat and an infected tonsil and was developing an abscess. I think we caught it in time that he isn't going to have to have surgery (surgery on his little neck does not sound like a good thing at all.) He was such a good boy that he was able to do the Cat scan without anesthesia.
It had just been heartbreaking this weekend to watch our exuberant little man who is always dancing and skipping and running, walking really slowly and not wanting to be picked up because he was hurting so much (he did require lots of kisses on the affected areas however.) So, I spent the night with him last night after Susan relieved me long enough to go home and get a shower and take care of some e-mails and such - and she relieved me this morning. I will be going back in a couple of hours. Hopefully he doesn't have to stay too long but I think we are really blessed that we seem to have caught it in time. It was a life threatening condition.
So, a few prayers sent his way would be helpful probably. Will let you know how things unfold.
Subject: Darien is back to being himself
Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2009 10:28 am
Our precious exuberant little boy is back to being himself. When I had left yesterday morning he was still having trouble turning his neck because of the pain - and though I could see some improvement, he still wasn't himself. He had slept really late yesterday and then didn't get his nap, so by last evening I could tell he was quite a bit better but he was tired and cranky - and kept saying that he wanted to go home. Well he came out of that with a vengeance shortly after midnight - and then just kept chattering away to me until 5 am. This morning he is moving his head around almost without any problems and really his exuberant, playful, sweet, mischievous little self again. I haven't had much sleep - but am just so very, very grateful that this beautiful little soul is back to being himself. The IV antibiotics and prayers did the job. Thanks to everyone who sent some Love our way. He should be coming home today. I am just so very, very, grateful that we caught this in time.
He got out of the Hospital on Wednesday afternoon and was well enough to go back to school on Friday morning. We are just so grateful that the Doctor recognized what he had so we could get it treated in time. The thought of potentially losing him was unbearably painful. (Just before he got out of the hospital they brought in a dog they use to cheer up kids - he is smiling again as you can see in the picture, but pale and not really healthy looking yet.)
It was a reminder that things can change in a blink of an eye - and it is important to really enjoy the blessings in our life today and to not let worrying about life stuff (like finances and such) get in the way of being present and finding as many moments of Joy in today as possible. Darien has brought Susan and I countless moments of Joy - he is such a blessing in our life.
The new website is focused on Alcoholism and the Twelve Step Recovery process. In getting this site ready I rewrote the introduction page to that section - now the home page of this new site: http://www.twelvestepmiracle.com/
To to celebrate Darien's recovery and my 25th sobriety birthday on January 3rd, as well as take some action on the financial front, I am offering some special deals on phone counseling, upcoming Intensive workshops, and on my book. . . .
I have often said over the last 25 years that Gratitude isn't nearly a big enough word to describe how blessed I have been to be in recovery. Take that to the nth power and multiply it by infinity and it comes close to how much Joy fills my heart at having this beautiful Spiritual Being that is Darien back to being his effervescent little self again.
A couple of weeks ago I was taking him to the local Barnes and Noble which has a Thomas the train track set up that kids can play with. As we approached he started singing (something he does a lot - usually just LaLaLa or something of that sort but sometimes with words), "Thomas the book store, Thomas the book store." (This is to separate it from Thomas a toy store - for a toy store locally with a Thomas the train set up.)
I said something to him about singing a song, and he said, "I sing a song for you because I know it makes your heart happy. And that makes my heart happy."
Darien Truly makes my heart happy. Please enJoy the people, animals, and things in your life that make your heart happy - because we never know how long they (or we) will be around.
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Darien FullerIn my April 2008 Update Newsletter, I did a review of my issues and history with romantic relationships as a way of trying to help anyone who was being driven by relationship addiction behaviors to stop judging and shaming themselves for those behaviors. My deprivation issues dictated my patterns in romantic relationships - and judging myself for those issues and those patterns did not help me to stop them. If we are shaming our selves for our feelings, issues, patterns, compulsions, addictions, and obsessions, then we are just beating up on the wounded parts of ourselves - and we are not going to learn to Love ourselves by shaming ourselves for being wounded and codependent. As I say in my book:
"We need to become clear internally on what messages are coming from the disease, from the old tapes, and which ones are coming from the True Self - what some people call "the small quiet voice."
We need to turn down the volume on those loud, yammering voices that shame and judge us and turn up the volume on the quiet Loving voice. As long as we are judging and shaming ourselves we are feeding back into the disease, we are feeding the dragon within that is eating the life out of us. Codependence is a disease that feeds on itself - it is self-perpetuating.
This healing is a long gradual process - the goal is progress, not perfection. What we are learning about is unconditional Love. Unconditional Love means no judgment, no shame." - Codependence: The Dance of Wounded SoulsBelow is an excerpt from the end of that Update Newsletter in which I give a short history of my relationship with Darien. I am going to include that here for context, and then below will trace that history through quotes from my Update Newsletters and messages to my Yahoo list.
A short history of Darien & Pappa
". . . As I shared with my yahoo e-mailing list in January, there was indeed a powerful karmic connection for me in this relationship - with Darien.
"January the 23rd marked the 3rd anniversary since Susan and I met. A record for me for sure. I am so grateful that Susan came into my life - and this relationship sure has drastically changed my life. In my June 2005 Update I explained how "It took a cosmic "coincidence" of pretty monumental proportions for us to even connect at all" - and how on the evening of January 23rd 2005 I got a clear message from my Spirit that I was supposed to surrender to the experience of whatever my interaction with her would entail.I got choked up and teary today rereading this quote above:"That night I surrendered to whatever ride the Universe had in store for me with this woman. That night I realized that I needed to ignore the red flags, let go of any preconceived boundaries or expectations, and go wherever this adventure led me.And it is certainly true that Susan is very actively in recovery, and that without that we would not have had a chance for a relationship to last this long. But even with that, I think my fear of intimacy would have sabotaged the relationship long ago except for the factor that I really didn't know anything about at the time I wrote that June 2005 Update. That unknown factor is Darien.
"So today, I am grieving once more for the eight year old who was trapped, and for the man he became. I am grieving because if I don't own that child and his feelings - then the man will never get past his terror of allowing himself to be loved. By owning and cherishing that child, I am healing the broken heart of both the child and the man - and giving that man the opportunity to one day trust himself enough to love someone as much as he loved Shorty." - Grief, Love, & Fear of IntimacyI can see clearly now that Darien is the first human being - since my parents when I was an infant - that I have ever opened up my heart to completely. Because of my Love for Darien, I am gradually opening my heart to Susan.
Recovery is really an incredible journey - I highly recommend it.;-)Be kind and compassionate for your self today - it is not your fault that you are wounded and have been deprived. - Robert" - Joy2MeU Update April 2008
Joy2MeU Update Newsletter June 2005
"As I explained in that March Newsletter, I spent years living a serene, Joyous, and pretty isolated life writing for this web site - and that is not my priority any longer."A major goal for me in 2005 is to be more involved in life. I have taken steps to be more Alive and involved with other human beings this year. My time of living in isolation in a beautiful place I Love, focused on my writing, was a wonderful, wonderful chapter in my life. But I entered this year knowing that I wanted to be more involved in the experience of living from now on than in writing about it from an intellectual, theoretical perspective." - Joy2MeU Update Newsletter March 2005"When I entered this year, and took steps to get more involved in living, I had no idea what was to come. The opportunity that has manifested in my life is such an amazing and richly textured experience that I don't think I could have imagined it in details anywhere close to the reality that has materialized. The steps I took in early January actually turned out to be symbolic because my plunge into life is not linked to any of them, but the actions I took were important in setting the energy in motion to create the kind of experience and opportunity I was asking for. (In my article on the first 3 steps The Miracle of The Twelve Step Recovery Process: 1, 2, 3, and a 1, 2, 3 - The first three steps I talk about how working the third step involves putting out my request to the Universe - asking for help in creating what I want - and taking action towards that desire. By taking action to plant the seeds - while letting go of the outcome - I aligned with metaphysical law of sowing and reaping, something I talk more about on my Love Offering page that is linked below.) . . . . .
|Joy2MeU Update October 2005
"Last night there was a perfect moment in my life - a Kodak moment. I was lying on the couch looking at my "step" grandson sleeping in his stroller, while above him in the loft his grandmother - my significant other - was working on her computer. I took a mental snapshot of the moment as one that I always wanted to remember. In close proximity to two people that I Love very, very dearly - a moment of domestic bliss if you will. It brought tears of Joy and gratitude to my eyes, as I thanked my Higher Power for the opportunity I have been given to Truly open my heart to some other human beings in a magnificent and profound way. . . . .
Here is a picture of Darien with his mom and dad at Christmas time 2005. When we lived in that house in Cambria Susan and I used to take him in his stroller on walks in the forest. It was so fun to make him giggle and laugh. I would skip ahead and then turn suddenly and he would laugh and laugh - he thought it was so funny. Or I would skip along singing "Lions and Tigers and Bears" or some such nonsense - he would giggle and laugh. He found me immensely entertaining.
When he start crawling it was on his belly not on all fours. He looked like an army guy crawling under barbed wire. He could really move on his belly like that. One day he was crawling across the room and the cat was strolling across the room perpendicular to him - and they had a collision right in the middle of the room. You know he was moving fast to surprise the cat like that.
John and Rose - his parents - asked me to be his godfather at some point when we were living in Cambria in the fall and early winter of 2005.
Joy2MeU Update January 2006
"I talked at our local CoDA meeting Wednesday night about what a beautiful day I had just shared with the two people I Love most in the world, my significant other Susan, and my godson and "step" grandson Darien. I Love them both so intensely. No way could I have ever imagined, when I met this beautiful woman on January 23rd of last year - that the amazing relationship I would get involved in with her, would include the opportunity to change diapers."
Update March 2006 Newsletter
"In the fall of 2002, in writing for my personal journal in the Joy2MeU Journal, I became aware that I had become too comfortable with living isolated and alone (it had been almost 4 years since I had had any type of interaction approaching a relationship) - and was not taking any action to open up to having a romantic relationship in my life. (That isolated period - that basically begin at the time I wrote A Wedding Prayer / Meditation on Romantic Commitment in late December 1988 - was a wonderfully creative time when I wrote a majority of the articles that I share on Joy2MeU. Those writings were a perfect part of my process in working through my fear of intimacy issues - the progression of those articles is something that I shared in my November 2002 Update.)
|Joy2MeU Update June 2006
"The major focus of my life for most of the time since the last Update however has been on the home front. Because of some difficulties, and a break up, in the relationship between my partner Susan's 17, just turned 18, year old daughter and her boyfriend - Susan and I were (have become) the primary caretakers for my precious (now 19 month old) step grandson / god son Darien for about 2 months.
|Joy2MeU Update August 2006
"I just got a newer car - with air conditioning of course. So now Susan and Darien - my precious step grandson / God son who just reached 21 months - and I can travel in much more comfort. I mentioned in my June update that Susan and I had been acting as primary caretakers for Darien most of the time - and that has now evolved into being the full time guardians and virtual parent figures to this amazing little man. Thus our family size is down to 3 now - and a lot of the energy in our lives is devoted to taking care of him."Joy2MeU Update November 2006
"At the end of my August Update Newsletter (a good one for new people who would like an overview of the recent history of my recovery adventure) I mentioned that it was possible we could be moving.
|Joy2MeU Update March 2007
5:08 AM March 7th: In order to write I need to get into a focused space during a time which I won't get interrupted for a period of hours. In the years when I wrote so much of the material that is on my site - the years that I was living alone in relative isolation - I would get up at 1 or 2 or 3 in the morning to write until 10 or 11. Now that I have a family - and a 2 year old to take care of - the early morning hours are the only time I have to really write. But I only have uninterrupted time until about 6:30 or 7 when the baby wakes up, and then I need to start getting Darien ready to go to the Montessori school he has been attending. I didn't get any writing done yesterday morning because the little man has a tooth coming in and had a very rough night of it - which meant less sleep for Susan and I, and no writing time."
"It is very easy for me to write about how important it is to communicate in an intimate relationship - how vital it is to work through tough issues by talking about them. It is much harder in practice. The old theory versus actual experience conundrum. The very thing - that emotionally intimate relationships get messy - which makes it is so important for me to be willing to play with the other kids in the Enchanted Forest. The "messy" gift in my life today that has been made possible by the fear of intimacy processing that I have been doing here in this journal ever since writing my May 2001 Update put those issues in my face.
I am no longer living in comfortable isolation writing theoretically. I am in the Enchanted Forest interacting with other human beings. And it is much easier for me to focus on interacting with the 2 year old Darien kid than it is with the adult kids in my life. Sigh."
Joy2MeU Update August 2007
||Darien in his bunny outfit
at Easter time. And relaxing in his old car
seat in front of the TV. He still uses that car
seat from when he was a baby as his easy chair in the
Living room. (The room he identifies as "my room".)
Mon Oct 29, 2007 7:34 am "Smoke
"Last week was a pretty interesting around here. We decided to evacuate on Monday morning because of all the fires here in San Diego County. . . . .
. . . . I am told that cassettes are a thing of the past and that it is more important to focus on CDs (even though they are becoming a thing of the past I am told) - but it was sad taking the option of ordering tapes off of my ordering pages. All the hours I invested in getting those tapes recorded (in a bedroom with mattresses lining the walls to soundproof) and editing them and all - and now I can no longer make them available. Some grief there for me. I am hoping that some abundance will manifest to make it possible to make them available again - but truthfully they are so far down on the priority list (behind rent and utilities and the new CDs and Darien's teeth and our car situation, etc.) that I don't see that happening unless I win the lottery or something. I am sure that a perfect plan is unfolding and I can accept it if that plan doesn't include having the tapes available again - but it is sad.
There is Truthfully, so much to be grateful for in my life that the details aren't that important. I am very grateful that our house is still standing and that we are all safe. Darien (who is going to be 3 next month) came in a few minutes ago taking his diaper off and telling me he was wet - and then he ran out to the back yard and started jumping on the trampoline half naked. He is a happy, exuberant little boy - and he brings Susan and I so much Joy on a daily basis. I feel very blessed to have him and Susan in my life - and to still be doing the work I Love in the telephone counseling and my Intensive workshops (the one for next Sunday 4th is almost filled and should be a really great group.)
Thu Nov 22, 2007 9:03 am "Happy Gratitude Day"
" . . . It is a good reminder for me today to count my blessing - all the many gifts in my life. (A little 3 year old boy just came running into and out of my office as I type this - what a beautiful little being Darien is. What Joy he brings us on a daily basis! Talk about a gift I could never have imagined;-) We are still far behind financially because of evacuating for the fires last month - but as I say in this quote fear is about the future, and I don't need to know today how I will catch up on the bills (or be able to get Darien's teeth fixed - sigh.) What I am going to do today is focus on being with my family and being grateful for all the good things in my life - for all the miracles that have guided me on my path to this place I am at now. The testimonials I added to the site are a glowing reminder of all the people my work has touched - and is touching out there in the world. It is Truly a blessed gift to have been allowed to be of service to so many people just through following my path and doing what I needed to do for my recovery. Hopefully one of these days, one of those people writing to tell me how I have changed their lives will be somebody rich and generous in Tithing.;-)
I am going to try to find time to get my next Update finished in the next week or so - more will be revealed. I hope you can find lots to be grateful for on this Thanksgiving Day.;-)
|Joy2MeU Update December 2007
"It is because such a significant portion of my "full" schedule is taken up with caring for my precious little step grandson / Godson Darien that hectic isn't an accurate description. So much of the time with him is actually very peaceful and Joy-filled - and spent in the moment experiencing him, and life with him. He turned 3 in November - and is talking away all the time now. Though sometimes it is still hard to understand what he is saying. The other day he said something that sounded to me like, "I want fruit." That I said, "Do you mean fruit like an apple?" And he said, "No." and scrunched up his face trying to think of how to explain to me what he was trying to say - and then got this light bulb going on look on his face, and said, "like this" holding his hand up to his mouth and blowing. Then I understood that he meant flute. He is so earnest in his attempt to communicate - and is always asking what things are.
Sun Jan 6, 2008 3:37 pm "Happy 2008"
Christmas was a lot of fun this year because 3 year old Darien was old enough to really enjoy it. He is such a sweet good kid - such a happy, exuberant kid. It is a privilege and an honor to be in partnership with Susan in providing this beautiful little soul with a safe environment to grow up in. It is a great blessing in my life to have him - and her - in my life.
Mon Jan 28, 2008 6:59 pm "Joy 2 Me U Update"
January the 23rd marked the 3rd anniversary since Susan and I met. A record for me for sure. I am so grateful that Susan came into my life - and this relationship sure has drastically changed my life. In my June 2005 Update I explained how "It took a cosmic "coincidence" of pretty monumental proportions for us to even connect at all" - and how on the evening of January 23rd 2005 I got a clear message from my Spirit that I was supposed to surrender to the experience of whatever my interaction with her would entail.
"That night I surrendered to whatever ride the Universe had in store for me with this woman. That night I realized that I needed to ignore the red flags, let go of any preconceived boundaries or expectations, and go wherever this adventure led me.And it is certainly true that Susan is very actively in recovery, and that without that we would not have had a chance for a relationship to last this long. But even with that, I think my fear of intimacy would have sabotaged the relationship long ago except for the factor that I really didn't know anything about at the time I wrote that June 2005 Update. That unknown factor is Darien.
We moved in together in June of 2005 - and until that time I didn't really have a relationship with the little boy. It was after we started to live together that Darien and I were drawn together. I mentioned in my August Update last year that I had just recently realized that he and I had a powerful Karmic / Soul connection.
"In late April or early May this year I had one of those light bulb going on / aha kind of moments of insight where I realized that Darien and I had a soul contract. That our souls had agreed to meet up at a certain point in this lifetime to be teachers and helpers to each other on our Spiritual Paths. Despite the powerful connection I feel to him - and that he obviously feels to me - this had never occurred to me before. When I mentioned my insight to Susan, she kind of looked at me funny and said something like, "Well duh, of course. You didn't know that?"" - http://Joy2MeU.com/Update_August_2007.htmOur concern and love for Darien got us through many rough passages in our relationship. He helped us to not take ourselves and our wounded ego button's so seriously, and to lighten up at times when we really needed to lighten up. Many times when I thought it was over, it was Darien who brought us back together. We have had a successful relationship in large part because we weren't just focused on the relationship - we weren't really free to allow our respective fear of intimacy to sabotage us because we both love that little boy so much. Our focus was larger than just the relationship between the two of us. That was true even before we became his primary guardians - which essentially started at the time of the April Intensive in San Francisco, even though it didn't become official until June of that year.
He continues to bring so much Joy to both of us, and the direction of our lives continues to be greatly impacted by our desire to take care of him. My fear of intimacy is still keeping me from opening my heart completely to Susan in some ways - and to myself also of course (the fear of shining too brightly I mentioned in my last post here) - but our Higher Powers unfolded our paths perfectly to put us together with Darien so he could help us both learn about Love. Susan and I are learning a great deal from each other - and the common ground of our love for Darien is helping our love to evolve.
Speaking of Darien, I have mentioned several times previously without explaining what the problem was, (including in the message to this list that I shared in that August Update) that one of the financial stressors has to do with Darien's teeth. When we started being the ones who were taking care of Darien, he already had a very bad case of bottle rot because his parents had been letting him sleep with a bottle of Apple Juice in his mouth all night. He has some rotten front upper teeth that are heart breaking to see when he smiles big. Late last year, he started to become fixated on looking in the mirror and saying "broken teeth." It just breaks my heart to even think about it.
We had explored all the avenues we could for getting them fixed - with the mediCal ones not including replacing them with something that matched, and the private ones costing thousands of dollars. We finally figured out a combination, where we could use mediCal to get the 4 teeth that need to come out pulled, and use the private dentist to fit him with a temporary bridge for replacement teeth. We have been able to take the first step, which was getting an impression made by the private dentist so that we can have the bridge ready right away when we get the teeth pulled - but now need to wait until we have the funds to do that next step.
He of course hates going to the dentist, and really got upset when they took the impression - having to be restrained while they stuck the goo to make the impression in his mouth. After getting the impression made he started saying that his teeth were fixed. It is fascinating to watch him - and see how denial can work for a little human being - in that he doesn't talk about his broken teeth, or look at them specifically any more. But he was sitting on the couch last night next to the cat, and said to me, "the cat has broken teeth." So, you know it is still there in his consciousness - but also there is a fear of going back to the dentist again.
Hopefully we can get the resources to get that done soon, because when he opens his mouth with his beautiful smile it does break my heart to see those teeth. He is such a happy, exuberant little man - and I do love him so much.
Tue Feb 26, 2008 2:24 pm "Off to Spain"
Hello Vibrantly Healthy Spiritual Being,
I am off to Spain on Thursday morning - very early - for my workshops on Ibiza. I am actually not looking forward to it because it is going to be a lot of flying and airport time in a short period of time. If it had been possible to take Susan and Darien along and take some time to do some sight seeing - that would have been cool. But there is a minimum of 22 hours in flight and in airports one way, and that would not have been good for a 3 year old who has never flown before.
A 3 year old who is now potty trained by the way.;-) It is fascinating to watch him start to learn how to control his body. He is such a cool little man. It is going to be tough on him for me to be gone - and for me. For almost 2 years - certainly most of his conscious life - I have been there for him when he woke up in the morning. There were a few times that he left - went to San Diego with Susan for a few days when we were living on the Central Coast - but at home I have always been there. Susan has been gone for periods of a few days or a week on a couple of occasions - but I have always been there for him. That is one of the reasons he feels secure and safe with me - because I have been the most consistent person in his life, his security blanket as it were. Usually the first thing he says when he gets up in the morning is, "Papa." The other day Susan was telling him that I was going bye-bye - and that he would be there with grandma and his mommie. His immediate response was "No!" Then "No way." Then he came over to me and said, "Stay home papa." I guess it is a good thing I will be leaving very early in the morning while he is asleep. I am getting all choked up and teary right now just thinking about say good-bye to him. Good thing I don't have to.
Fri Mar 21, 2008 10:13 am Hurrah!!!
Hello Magnificent Spiritual Being,
The great news is that we were able to get Darien's teeth fixed. Hurrah!!! They gave him 4 caps and did 5 or 6 fillings and his teeth look great now. (Darien's Dad John had taken a huge step in growing up and joined the army. He was able to send the money we needed to get Darien's teeth fixed. It was a great blessing - and later it was the insurance that he got for Darien that paid for the hospital stay. He has been a great help to us the last year or so - and is coming home for a visit for the first time in a year this month.)
It was very scary to have them give him the medication and then to have to wait 3 hours until they were done. I did a lot of pacing. But it went really smooth, and though he was a little groggy for over 24 hours, he didn't really have any pain afterwards.
Now he looks in my mouth (I need some major work done, which the money will hopefully manifest for before it becomes an emergency situation) and say, "Papa has broken teeth." And then his face will light up and he will say, "My teeth all fixed." He just lights up with Joy any time he remembers that he doesn't have "broken teeth" any more. . .
. . I hope you all have something in your life that is as great a reminder to be in the moment and feel the Joy as Darien when he smiles about his teeth being fixed.;-)
| Joy2MeU Update April 2008
"One piece of very exciting news that I have to share in this Update is that I will be offering my Intensive Training Day workshop on a week long cruise of the Caribbean in December. Not only will this give Susan and Darien (they have supervised children's programs on board) and I a chance to take a luxurious vacation at sea, but also offers an opportunity to participants in the workshop - that I believe almost all of the people who have attended it already would have loved to have had available. That is the opportunity to do a 3 hour follow up session 2 days after attending the Intensive."
I included a Long excerpt from this Update above.
"Well the good news is that I got the new computer my sister sent me (an iMac with a large screen - it is amazing how they can fit the computer workings into such a small space these days;-) - and it is great. The bad news is that transferring my data from my old computer I screwed up and froze the old computer. I was eventually able to get someone to take out the hard drive and transfer the data - but I did lose all my e-mail files and addresses and bookmarks. It is weird not having the e-mail files that I could always look back on to see when someone first contacted me, or what they had communicated to me previously - even to know if a person had contacted me before at all. Luckily - in one of those perfect Cosmic Coincidences of timing - I had transferred almost all of my e-mail list to Jeff (the guy who made the CDs and is designing the new web sites.) He has a new e-mailing program set up for Joy2MeU that will be sending out a new look Newsletter sometime soon - announcing the new stuff that will be available. I may have lost a handful of e-mail addresses, but that is all - so that is good. . . .
. . . . .When I think back to that time 20 years ago, it is mind boggling to see how my path unfolded - and how many peoples lives I have touched because I was willing to follow where I was led. If I had been told back in 1998 (this should have said 1988) that I would be able to have a relationship in 3 years that would last 2 years and break my heart - and then wasn't going to have another relationship that lasted until 2005, I would have said something like, "What!!!! How can that be??? That is what I want - a Loving relationship. Why does it have to take so long?!? What will I do in the meantime???"
Well, what I did in the meantime was to have ( as I say on Metaphysical Law: Giving and Receiving http://Joy2MeU.com/Spiritual_Tithes.htm ) ". . . an awesome, terribly solitary, gloriously amazing adventure for me. An incredibly painful, transcendently Joyous, intermittently terrifying, unbelievably fulfilling journey." And during that journey I wrote and published an incredible book along with several million words in articles for my website. This was not a plan I made or could even have imagined. That I would now, just after my 60th birthday, be in a relationship and raising an amazing little being named Darien - and still being given the opportunity to practice the humility to ask for help - was not part of any picture I had of the future. I am so grateful for Susan and the opportunity to be involved in the incredibly Joyous experience of raising this incredible little boy with her. I am not so grateful that I am still in a position of having to ask for help. But the gifts I have received over the years from being willing to follow where I am led and let go of the outcome help me to accept what is, be grateful for all that I have and have been given, and just keep following where I am led. I am leading a very Blessed life."
Sun Nov 2, 2008 9:05 am "Exciting News"
I was hoping to get the Update posted by next Wednesday because that is the day the price for my next Intensive goes up - but it looks like a long shot to get done by then at the moment. (As Darien comes running in and out of my room playing.)
|Joy2MeU Update November 2008
"It is actually kind of hard to get time on my new computer (something I shared about in a Joy_2_Me_U message) since Darien is now so proficient on the computer that he wants to be on it alone all the time, playing games on various kids sites. It is pretty amazing to watch him manipulate the mouse as he explores the different sites. He is constantly surprising us with new words and phrases - with how much he knows about things we had no idea he knew anything about.
|Thu Feb 5, 2009 11:36
am "News from the Joy2MeU front"
This one followed the two January message that I quote at the top of the page.
"Darien is still not 100% healthy. We took him to the doctor yesterday to be safe. He doesn't have the infection in his neck that he had, but he still has a nasty cough and has some ring worm that we started treating early enough it doesn't look like is going to be a big problem. We had to keep him out of school one day last week because he had thrown up two nights in a row and had a fever in the morning. I started to keep him home on Monday this week, because when we got out to the car to go to school he said he felt like throwing up. He hadn't indicated he wasn't feeling well up to that point, so I hunched down to talk to him about it. When he was smaller and got really upset, he would sometimes work himself into such a frenzy that he would cause himself to throw up. I was a little worried that he might be coming up with an excuse to not go to school since he had been able to stay home one day the previous week. He looked at me and said, "I want to go to school, but I want to throw up at home." A very understandable sentiment - and you can imagine what kind of feelings that brought up for me. I took him back in the house and he didn't throw up - and within a half hour was showing all kinds of energy again. So, I ended up taking him to school that day.
During the time he is in school - basically 9 until 3 - is the time I have to get things done. Then and early in the morning or late at night. (Last night - with the help of a tooth ache - I stayed up until about 2 working on this.) My mornings are centered around getting him dressed and ready and off to school - and once he gets home in the afternoon it is hard to do anything that takes very much concentration and focus because he wants attention and help with various things. Or he wants to be on my computer playing games - which means I can't be on my computer. The other day he changed the screen saver on my computer - 4 years old, and he is finding things on my computer that I didn't know were there. I used to have more time in the afternoon or evening to get some things done before Susan started this job - but now she isn't here near as much and is often pretty tired when she is.
I have actually been concerned since shortly after we moved into the house we are living in, that there may be some environmental factors involved here. A client told me about how she and her daughter were sick a lot after moving into a house until they had the carpets changed - and all three of us (Susan, Darien, and I) seemed to develop a cough after we had been here a little while. The place is also too small for us - and Darien is getting to an age when he needs his own room. Most of the time now he and I sleep on the couch in the living room - even though his Dad sent him a racing car bed for Christmas that takes up a chunk of our living room space. He doesn't really like to sleep on it though. After we moved here we realized that he had gotten too big to sleep in his old car seat in our room or in bed with us as he had when we lived up north and the only other bedrooms were on the other side of the large house we were living in, so we ended up with him sometimes sleeping with me on the couch and sometimes with Susan in the bedroom - until he fell off her bed one night. (The other factor involved in these sleeping arrangements is that Susan has some kind of super sensitive hearing and says that I make way too much noise in my sleep - claims I snore and such. Not true I am sure;-)
So, this little man takes up a lot of time and energy. And Susan and I don't get much time alone together because we don't have anyone reliable to babysit him. But he does bring us so much Joy. He is such a sweet and precocious little man. One day as I was helping him to figure out how to play a game on the computer, I made some reference to how it was loading very slowly - and he said to me, "You have to have patience. Patience is when you have to wait." He was really cute at Christmas. A friend who has been a real life saver the last couple of years for the second year in a row sent a big box full of individually wrapped presents for him. That has allowed us to let him open those gifts and some he has gotten from other people on Christmas Eve and the 4 or 5 things we have gotten him on Christmas morning. This year as we were going to bed on Christmas Eve, he said, "I have so many presents. Tell Santa Clause I don't need any more." Of course, he changed his mind the next morning when there were more presents to unwrap. Later on Christmas Day, he said, "I have so many choices."
So even though things are really a challenge financial now - and with our living space and car situation and my dental problems (a sure sign the economy is bad is that the dentist I saw last fall about some major work I need done called to offer $500 off the price) and all - this is still such a Joyous time because of my precious little god son, step grandson Darien. In April it will be 3 years since Susan and I got custody of him - and it has been a time of Light and Love and Joy because he is such a beautiful Spiritual Being."
Update April 2009
"I have shared in my writing in the past, that Darien is the first human being I have completely opened my heart to since my parents when I was an infant. And because of the experience I share about in my Grief, Love, & Fear of Intimacy article, I not only had too much terror of intimacy to open up to a human being but hadn't even been able to open it to a pet either. So, obviously he is very special to me. The health scare we had with him was really terrifying.
Go to April 2009 Update Newsletter
May 23, 2009
As I prepare some announcements and changes to make to my site for May 25th, I am also going to add the latest Darienisms to this page. Almost every day he does or says something that causes my Spirit to Soar and my heart to come close to bursting with the Love I feel for him. I can't possibly include them all, these are a few of the real gems.
As I was driving him to school one morning not long after my last Update when I posted this page for him, he said the following - with pauses between the sentences as he thinks about what he is saying and I reply to him.
"It's a beautiful Day. . . The sun is shining. . . . . The birds are singing. . . . . Grass is growing. . . . . Leaves are growing. . . . . Flowers are blooming. Blooming means they are all colorful. . . . . And if you smell them, they smell sweet."
He is a very fastidious little man - and will probably have some control issues when he gets older. Well actually, he has some control issues now. He likes things a certain way - his coat zipped up all the way not part way, the toilet paper on the roll the "right" way, etc. He doesn't like to get dirty - although of course he does - but doesn't like to get sand in his shoes and actually makes me think of the Princess and the pea the way he can detect even a grain of sand in his shoes.
He is also a very helpful man. He likes to help his grandma in the garden, or with cooking dinner, or whatever.
He used to be very literal - and it is very fascinating to watch his intelligence evolve. It used to be if someone said to him "See you later alligator" - he would say, "I am not an alligator. I'm a boy." But recently as I was picking him up from school one of the teachers said to him, "See you later alligator." - and someone else said, "After while crocodile." And I could see him thinking as we headed towards the door, then suddenly he turned around and said, "See you later ham sandwich."
That is what he says now at times when he or we are leaving somewhere, "See you later ham sandwich."
When he wants to make a point, or ask for something, or just communicate something he thinks is important, he will say, "I want to tell you something." And then he will share his thoughts or wants or whatever - but he is very good at getting me to stop and listen to him when he wants my attention. (When he was younger he would actually take my face in his hands to make sure I was looking at him and listening when he had something important to communicate.)
He continues to love to spend time playing on the computer - and is always looking for new games. He will bring me something - a hotwheel car, or his box of legos or an ad that came in something - and tell me he wants to search on the computer. He knows if we type in the right words we can find what he wants - except that isn't always possible and he doesn't quite understand that yet, because he thinks the computer can find anything.
One of his favorite things to say lately when we find what we are looking for, or when I understand some point he has made with me, or something happens that he had talked about sometime earlier, is "That's what I'm talking about." Not sure if he got that one from TV or adapted it himself.
He does go into his king baby things some times - "I want to buy a toy now." - and will pout for awhile when I tell him we aren't buying any toys today. He will say when we go into a store, that he just wants to look at the toys, not buy anything. Then of course, he will want to buy once he starts looking.
He is a definite drama king at times - something that he gets from both his mother and grandmother. (You can bet I got into trouble for this remark - being accused of being quite a drama king myself at times.;-) And will cry when something happens to hurt his feelings - but it is almost a fake cry at times, like he thinks that is what is necessary when his feelings are hurt.
It is not very often that he gets out of control - and usually that is when he is tired. Every once in a while, he will throw a little tantrum where he stalks out of the room and slams the door, or throws something. Then I will give him a time out - which he really hates. Usually though he gets through the pouting or drama pretty quickly and moves forward.
I have mentioned in past writings about him, that he has a stubborn streak and a defiant side - but also a sense of humor about it at times. He came up with one a few weeks ago that blew me away - don't think it was something he got off of the TV. He had crawled up on my lap as I sat at the computer to try to talk me into letting him play on it, instead of me working on it. And he did what he likes to do, which is adopt a casual attitude. He slumped back against me and put his feet up on my desk. I said, "You be careful little man. If you kick my computer off the desk I will have to whip your butt." He jumped down, took a few steps away and took down his pants. Then he stuck his bare butt out at me and patted it, saying, "This butt? You going to whip this butt?" I was really flabbergasted by that one. Silly little man.
I have a song I sing to him, usually as we are going to school or coming home. The first part of it goes. "He is a handsome man, a beautiful man, a sweet and wonderful Darien man." The second part is, “He is a smart man. A fast running man. A high jumping man. A good climbing man. A good computer game playing man. A Magnificent Spiritual Being of a man full of Light and Love. And his name is . . . . . Darien Fuller.”
Sometimes when I start singing it to him, he nods along agreeing with the things I am saying - and even sometimes closing his eyes and nodding like he does to music sometimes. Sometimes he will be sitting in the back, drinking his juice, and acting like he isn't listening. When he does that I will sometimes get to the part of the song where I say his name and act like I don't remember the name of the man I am singing about. He will chime right up to remind me of his name at those times.
He will often request me to sing the "Darien song" for him. He came up with a great one last week. He was acting like he wasn't paying attention, so when it came to the end of the song I sang, "He is a sweet and wonderful man - and his name is .......Robert.
He chimed right up to say that his name is Darien. And then he said (with the pauses in between as he thought about what he wanted to say, “I am the sweetest man. . . . I am a boy that loves the whole world. I love all the people. I love the kids. I love all the people and the pizza man.”
He is the sweetest man. The other day we were playing in the back yard with one of his digger toys and dump trucks and our rabbit came up and nibbled on my jeans. I said something about the rabbit - and he said, "The rabbit was hugging you. . . . because he loves you."
There was a dead moth that was in the back yard and he insisted that I pick it up and put it in the garden because that it would be more “cozy.”
Anyway, I guess everyone's kids say cute things, This little man just happens to be the apple of my eye. Such a channel of Joy and Light and Love.
Just one more and I will stop for now - although I do plan on adding to this page periodically, as kind of a record of him growing up. Hopefully some day when I am gone it will serve to remind him how very much I Love him and what a very special gift he is in my life.
On the way home from school earlier this week, there was a plane pulling an advertising banner in the distance. I didn't mention it to him because I wasn't sure if he could see it from his vantage point in his car seat. But then as it crossed in front of our path he did see it, and said, "What is that?" I told him it was a plane pulling a sign behind it - and he asked what it said. I told him it was too far away for me to read. Then he came up with one of those little nuggets that throw me off until I figure out what he is talking about. He said that he thought it was a talking lizard. I said, "Talking lizard." He said, "Ya, I saw it on an ad. There was a talking lizard on TV." And then I realized that he meant the Giecko Gecko (sp?) - and that we had seen banners with that ad behind planes some time ago. He is constantly entertaining me, this little sweet Darien man. He is such a blessing in my life. I Love him so dearly. ~ Robert 5:10 am May 23rd, 2009
August 20, 2009
On the way to school this morning, Darien all of a sudden says to me, "I love this world." And then he said, "I love this world because it is so clean." Not sure where that came from. I thought at first he said green - but then he corrected me and said clean. Then he said, "Is this world immaculate?" We decided that it wasn't that clean.
Immaculate (meaning really really clean in his definition) is one of the latest words he has learned at the gym. There is this young woman who works at the front desk of the gym that is just crazy about Darien. After she first interacted with him, she went into the kids club to find out what his name was because she was so taken by him.
That first time they talked, he asked her a lot of questions. She told him that he was very inquisitive. And then gave him an assignment to remember that word. The next time we saw her, he didn't remember it - but the following time he did. And he asked her for another word - and it became a tradition for him to ask her for a new word each time he say her. The second word she gave him was plethora. The third word was cornucopia. When she was explaining what cornucopia meant she said it means you have a lot of different things like apples, and oranges, and grapes. And he said, "like toys?"
So if you ask him his definition of plethora, it is a lot of things. Cornucopia is a lot of different things. Not a precise definition, but pretty good for a 4 year old. He actually uses plethora in sentences now pretty regularly. She has continued to give him words - so many now, that even though he usually runs up to her and says "I remember the words you told me." and then starts listing them - there are really too many for him to remember them all now (or her either for that matter.)
He is such a polite and sweet little man. He will go up to people and give them compliments. He will compliment his grandma on a new dress or whatever. One day as we were leaving school, there was a nanny there who picks up twins - and he went up to them and complimented them on what they were wearing.
A new store opened here a couple of months ago, a Smart & Final store. The first time we were in it, he kept wanting to find out where the toys were - and I kept telling him that I didn't think they had any toys. This was not a possibility he wanted to accept, so he told me that we needed to ask someone where the toys were. When we came close to someone who was stocking shelves, he called out to him, "Excuse me sir, where are the toys." Blew me away. I had never heard him use the term sir before - although I think I use it to him once in a while.
A couple of weeks later as I was putting him into his car seat, he said "Yes sir." and then got embarrassed thinking he shouldn't call me sir. I told him that it was okay to call me sir - that he could say "Yes sir Pappa sir." He made a face, and said, "That is just crazy!"
There was a little girl at his school that started coming up to me every time I picked him up and asking for a play date with him. Both of them asked me enough that I finally gave her a card with my phone number and told her to give it to her Mommy. She kept bugging me after that - and he said she wanted a map to our house. I did end up printing up a map, and her Dad did eventually call (I guess she was bugging him even more than me) - and they had a play date.
The point of the story however is something that happened during this period of time when I was getting bugged. As we were going in the side gate to our backyard one day, he found a dandelion - which he called a poofy head. He picked it up and made a wish before blowing on it. His wish was that he could have a play date with the little girl.
So, he thinks blowing on dandelions is a time to make wishes - and also at night before he goes to sleep. One day he told me that he wanted to go to the ferris - his word for the County Fair. He kind of has fair and ferris wheel combined. He hadn't been to the county fair in almost a year at that point, so it surprised me when he brought it up. And then he said that he would make a wish to go that night before he went to sleep when it was dark outside - and he did remember to do just that. I guess he had interpreted Susan telling him about saying a prayer at night as meaning that was a time to make wishes. The funny thing about it is, that when he brought it up, the County Fair had just started - and neither Susan or I realized it at that time. Perhaps he heard some other kid talking about it or something - but it seemed to come out of the blue.
He has an amazing memory. He can remember plots to almost all the cartoons he sees - and he often brings things up out of the past. He will say, when I was 3 such and such happened - or something to that effect. He is a very smart little boy. How many 4 year olds do you know that have a vocabulary that includes plethora and immaculate?
One day when I picked him up from school he was very upset. He said that another little boy - that he had accidentally run into - had threatened to do mean things to him. On the way home, he was talking about it and said that he thought he shouldn't go to school any more. Another day he told me that if he kept going to school all the time he would end up being too tired and exhausted.
He is a really sweet man, and doesn't like confrontations. His teacher at the Montessori school was really concerned about him not being tough enough and independent enough for kindergarten - and was really relieved when I told her that we weren't sending him to kindergarten this year. He doesn't turn five until November, and we want him to be older and bigger before he starts regular schooling.
I have been concerned at times that maybe my role modeling and nurturing approach with him has caused him to not be "tough enough" in being able to stand up for himself. He tends to admit to being sad instead of getting angry - which isn't bad, but may not serve him to well out in the world. There was a sign that he is getting better at setting boundaries however in something he said to me last week. He has developed this habit of taking toys along with him to the kids club at the gym that I take him to. It is actually more like a strategy. It used to be that when he went into an environment where there were other kids - like a park or the kids club - he would go up to kids and ask them if they would play with him. Someplace along the line, he figured out that if he took some interesting toys along with him that the other kids would be drawn to him - and would be asking him if he would play with them. Pretty smart little bugger.;-) Anyway, last week he wanted to take one of his prized new lego toys with him - and I said something about it might not be a good idea because he might lose some of the little pieces or some other kid might take pieces of them. He told me, that no he wouldn't lose them - and that when someone had one of his toys and he wanted it back he just talks louder to them and they give it back to him. He sounded quite proud of himself for figuring out how to set firm boundaries.
Speaking of the legos, he now has several Star Wars sets - one of which included R2D2. For some reason he had a really hard time saying R2D2. He kept calling him RAD2. Finally I typed it in big letters for him so he could see it - and gradually he was able to remember that it was a 2 and not an A.
As I said in the last entries above, it is fascinating to watch his intelligence evolve. He knows now that it is a joke to say "See you later ham sandwich." instead of taking what people say so literally. One of the hot things for kids these days is Transformers - which I am not too crazy about personally. But the transformers fight the Decepticons - and one day I said something to him about the Decepticons would get us - and he just looked at me like I was really crazy and said, "Decepticons are not in our world. They are not real."
He also has started telling jokes. His favorite is "Why did the banana go to the doctor? Because he wasn't peeling very well."
He is amazingly straight forward with me - doesn't try to butter me up in order to get me to do something he wants. He will do a little low grade kind of manipulations (like telling me he just wants to look at the toys not buy any) - but he doesn't tell me he loves me to try to get something from me. In fact sometimes when he is doing is "I want to tell you something . . . " thing, and he is taking some time to try to tell me or ask me what he wants - I will say "You want to tell me what a wonderful Pappa I am." He just dismisses that out of hand, saying "I know you are a wonderful Pappa." and goes on to tell me what he wants to tell ask me.
So, when he does tell me that he loves me, it is so genuine and touching. One day a month or so ago, we were laying on the couch at bedtime as I am trying to get him to sleep, and all of a sudden he says, "Do you know what makes me happy?" And then he said it that playing with his legos made him happy - and listed a couple of other things - and then said it made him happy because he loved me so much. He said I was the best Pappa in the whole world. The best Pappa he had ever had.;-)
Earlier this week, at bedtime again, he stood up and said to me, "I love you so much. You do everything for me. You do hard things and easy things - but you do everything for me. Some of them are hard, like putting together my lego starship."
I do do everything for him - and it is really cool that he appreciates that.
He is real clear that I am not Dad - that I am Pappa - and will correct people that ask him that. His Dad was home on leave from Iraq in April and took him to Disneyland among other places.
Talking to him on the phone shortly after that he said to him, "Are you going to come and play at my house when you are done in Iraq?"
Play is his life. He like to play. The legos are the latest things. They have these lego sets now that are for Star wars and something called Power Miners (who are in the business of harvesting crystals and have to fight off rock monsters that try to eat the crystals.) And it is quite a challenge for Pappa to put together some of these elaborate lego toys - especially with him helping.;-)
It is fascinating to eavesdrop on him while he plays in the other room - the elaborate stories he come up with.
Another thing that is so cool about him, is the way he sings and dances for his own enjoyment. There are times when he is showing off, but more often he tells me to go back in my room so he can dance and sing alone. He is such an exuberant, Joyous, sweet little boy. He does make my heart sing and my spirit soar.
One last thing. On the way home from someplace one day he was talking about wanting the clouds to go away so he can make a wish. I asked him what he meant, and he said that if there are lots of clouds then you could only get one wish. So, he wished the clouds would go away so he could see the moon and the stars and when they do then he gets lots of wishes. I ask him where he heard that, and he said, "I made it up."
My wish for him, is that he gets to stay in this environment where he is protected and loved and nurtured and cherished. And I pray that Susan and I can give him the tools he will need to deal with the kind of wounds that a sweet loving spirit like him will need to deal with a world full of wounded souls and toys that focus on conflict and promote violence. We have tried to protect him as much as possible, but can't raise him in a vacuum. We had never gotten him any toys with guns and such, but relatives gave him a Transformer last Christmas - and that kind of opened the door to light sabers and rockets and such.
And we can't take away the wounds he has already experienced because of the time and place and circumstances that his Soul chose to incarnate in this lifetime.
Of course, part of the Divine Plan that is unfolding perfectly, was the Soul contract between his Soul and my Soul that we would meet in this lifetime at the time and place that we did in order to learn about Love together. He is a precious and wonderful blessing in my life and I thank the Goddess for the opportunity to be intimately involved with this beautiful spirit that is Darien. ~ Robert 8/20/09
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I am finally getting back to this page - life has been hectic
lately and finding the time, and being in the space within myself,
to do this has not come together before now. What I had
been doing is keeping notes on the things that I was going to share
on this page - and I actually stopped doing that a month or two
ago. I think that the way this page will evolve will involve
less stories and just mostly posting new pictures in the future.
He has grown up so much - is such a big boy now - and there is
hardly a day goes past without him saying something or doing something
that I find remarkable. He keeps surprising me with new words
he is using, concepts he has picked up, new dance moves, etc. almost
every day - but in a way that is very consistent with the personality
he has been evolving and revealing over the years. He is a sweet,
Loving little boy - very smart although that doesn't always show up
too much in his school work yet because he doesn't like to work, play
is still his life.
Anyway, here are some of the stories and memories that I want to preserve of the blessed experience of having the privilege of being part of this magnificent spiritual being's life in human body in this incarnation.
One morning as I was driving him to school, he asked about a package I had with me - some books I was mailing to someone in Australia. He said, "Australia is so beautiful. It has plants and trees, and it is so beautiful." And then out of the blue, he starts talking about China. "And China is so beautiful. It has plants and trees" and listed some more things, and then said, "And it has a wall you can stand on - and it is so beautiful."
He comes up with these things, some of which he must have learned in pre-school - but a lot I think from television. There is so much preschool being taught through the TV shows he watches now. So, much different that years ago in terms of the programming for kids. One of the shows he watches teaches kids Chinese words. And every once in a while he will say, "Do you know what __ is in Chinese" and then proceed to tell me.
One day as we are almost at school, he says "Who is that guy from Spain?" I had no idea what he was talking about and asked him what guy. He said, "The one with the boats." He said it several different ways and I realized that he was talking about Christopher Columbus - and then he started singing a song about Christopher Columbus and kept repeating "in 1492."
He is quite the singing and dancing man. I have mentioned before about how he is always singing and dancing - and that he does it for his own pleasure, not to be center of attention or anything. Sometimes he will tell me not to look at him when he is singing or dancing, because he is just doing it out of his exuberance and Joyous Spirit.
One song I made a note of went something like this: "Wa wa wi yah punt" and then he would say repeat after me - and sing it again.
Another song was: "At the beachside at the beach side, we play at the beachside, we mess around" on and on through slightly different choruses.
And he is really good on Susan's drums. He sits at the drums and says, "And 1 2 3 4" and starts playing. He isn't just making noise either, he actually seems to be playing something.
At Halloween time he really showed how much he had grown up when he rushed right up the big slide (below) and jumped right away. Last year, I had to go up with him and then even between my legs he didn't want to slide down.
He informed me when we were out trick or treating that if you eat too much Halloween candy it "makes your stomach crazy." He was unanimously proclaimed by the people whose houses we went to, to be the pickiest tricker treater of all. He would tell them when he didn't like what they were giving me and ask for something different. He knows how to ask for what he wants - this little man.
He proclaimed, "I Love it. This is the best day ever! The best Halloween ever!"
On this day 5 years ago my life changed. I got an e-mail that was the result of "a cosmic 'coincidence' of pretty monumental proportions" - it was an e-mail from Susan.
The first mention I ever made of Susan in my writing, was in my March 2005 Update Newsletter - at the end of which I wrote:
"Rather this person is someone / the soul mate, that is going to be in my life long term or not I do not know at this time. It is possible that she is a brilliant flaming shooting star who is flashing through my world to illuminate some things / issues that I needed to see with more clarity - a catalyst of growth and awakening. Perhaps I will get to once more experience a broken heart and the grief that goes with it. I don't get to know that right now. What is important is that I am willing to take the risk - and the Universe has brought a very special lady into my life to help me learn. I am hoping that she is the special woman who will be willing and able to surrender to opening her heart to me, to surrender to the experience of Loving me - while I surrender completely to the experience of Loving her, to opening my heart to her. More will be revealed about how this newest adventure is going to unfold."
It is now 5 years later - 3 years longer than my previous relationship record - so it has been long term for me, and Susan has been a brilliant flaming star illuminating issues in my life, definitely a catalyst for growth and awakening. But it has taken some time for some of the lessons to sink in, for some of the issues to become illuminated.
February 12th 2010 - hopefully for publication on Valentine's Day
On Christmas I wrote the following to my Yahoo mailing list:
"I posted the newest pictures on my Darien page earlier this month, but haven't had time to tell the stories yet. I am going to be sharing about a huge breakthrough Susan and I have had in our relationship in that writing for the Darien page - but not sure when I am going to get it done. Hopefully before the start of the new year." - Friday 12/25/09 9:25 PM "Merry Christmas to my Yahoo mailing list"Although I have worked on this page intermittently since then, it is only now that I am nearing the finish. I originally included what I had written here but eventually decided to make it a separate article because it was about our relationship and not so much about Darien. So, I have taken it off this page now - and it is here: Valentine's Day 2010 ~ Relationship Breakthrough
I do Love Cambria and miss it greatly. (And now I have been able to move back in August 2017.)
"Part of the reason today was such an emotional day is that we took Darien for his first day in kindergarten in public school. The place was overrun with parents and kids - we had to park blocks away. There are over 80 kindergarten kids and none of the 20 in his room was anyone he knew. Darien got really upset and started crying. Susan and I also got really emotional. We had been hoping to put him in a Montessori School like his preschool. In fact Susan found one in Carlsbad that goes through 6th grade that she fell in love with. She took Darien to visit it last week and he really loved it. The director and one of the teachers spent almost an hour with Susan and Darien. When it was time to leave Darien thanked them for spending so much time with him and expressed his beautiful self so wonderfully that both of them - as well as Susan - got all choked up and teary eyed. He is such a beautiful, sweet soul. He told me the other day that he wants to learn everything and that is why he asks so many questions. (Like "What do we need plants for?" "Where did animals come from?" "How do you get to be a father?" "Do boy birds sing?" - this last was coming home from school one day when he started in with one of his trains of thought that went something like this: "Wouldn't it be cool to be a bird! I could fly up in the sky and it would feel so wonderful! And sing beautiful songs. Do boy birds sing? Then I could sing beautiful songs and make the whole world happy." He is really big on wanting to make the whole world happy and keeping the planet clean and beautiful.)
In February, the last time things got so desperate that I had to send out an appeal to my whole e-mailing list, I mentioned that one of the things we needed to do was keep Darien in his Montessori school.
"The response was overwhelmingly positive. Most people weren't able to send anything, but did send good wishes and prayers - as well as thanks for having the courage to ask for help. There were a few people who responded very negatively and asked to be taken of the mailing list. There were also 3 or 4 people who wrote to say we should take Darien out of the Montessori School - that it was a luxury not a necessity. That couldn't be further from the truth.
We originally put him in that school because it was cheaper than regular day care. And it has been a great experience for him - he is so much more confident in socializing with other kids now, it is really great. The main reason to put him in the school however was to give me some time to work. I have almost no time to do any writing these days (witness the need to do it in the early am) - and find it impossible to do any kind of focused work that takes some concentration when his enthusiastic, exuberant little self is around.
"During the time he is in school - basically 9 until 3 - is the time I have to get things done. Then and early in the morning or late at night. (Last night - with the help of a tooth ache - I stayed up until about 2 working on this.) My mornings are centered around getting him dressed and ready and off to school - and once he gets home in the afternoon it is hard to do anything that takes very much concentration and focus because he wants attention and help with various things. Or he wants to be on my computer playing games - which means I can't be on my computer. The other day he changed the screen saver on my computer - 4 years old, and he is finding things on my computer that I didn't know were there. I used to have more time in the afternoon or evening to get some things done before Susan started this job - but now she isn't here near as much and is often pretty tired when she is." - Feb. 5, 2009 message to Yahoo Mailing list quoted in April 2009 Update Newsletter
It is between 9 and 3 on weekdays that I try to do most of my telephone counseling appointments, get to the post office to mail off orders, do the grocery shopping, etc., etc. He is a Joy and a blessing, but it is challenging to get any work done when he is around. So, having some time to myself is very important to me and keeping him in school was not a luxury." - Joy2MeU Update Newsletter May 2010
This time of course, the Montessori School would be a luxury, because he can go to kindergarten in the public school for free. We really don't want to send him there. The one time a few weeks ago that we went over there to check it out, there were older kids - maybe 3rd or 4th graders - running around, cussing and generally acting in ways we really don't want him exposed to at this age. After that visit, we started searching frantically for other options. Most of the private schools are too expensive, and some of the them are not that great. But then Susan found this one in Carlsbad - which is about 10 miles away, but in the same vicinity as Susan's office. It isn't as expensive as most of the private schools - but still not in the realm of possibility when we can't even pay the rent.
The Montessori School doesn't start until September 1st - while public schools started today, August 16th. (I am actually finishing this on the 17th.) We realized that no matter what we wanted, the Universe might have different plans. And that it could be best in the Cosmic Scheme of things for him to go to public school. Also, realistically, if we didn't start him in public school and the end of the month comes without enough financial resources to send him to the other school we would be in a really bad position - perhaps having to start him in public school several weeks late. We certainly didn't want to put him in that kind of position.
In any case, what happened is that Susan became very upset and gestured for us to go. As we were leaving we ran into 3 of his friends from his preschool, but we were already leaving and he was so upset. When we got home I was an emotional wreck for a couple of hours. Just kept bursting in tears and sobs. It took me awhile to process through what was happening and realize I was reacting out of an inner child place on one hand.
"By the time I was 4 or 5 I felt overwhelming shame. I felt like I was inadequate and defective because I was unable to protect my mother from my father." - Union Within - healing the inner child
And also reacting out of the old tapes that tell me I am a loser and a failure because I am not making enough money and able to support and protect my family. The old tapes that tell me that nothing I ever do is good enough because I am inherently flawed and defective - inherently unlovable and unworthy. When thinking about sending out this appeal during that time, it was going to start with something like, "My heart is so broken."
As I said, it took me a couple of hours to work through that - to set some internal boundaries with the critical parent voice and with the inner child places within me that feel so broken and damaged. Shortly after I had gotten to a place of more balance Darien came in to talk to me. He proceeded to tell me that he was so upset because there were so many people there - and that I should remember that it takes him awhile to get used to someplace new. He then said he wanted to go to school tomorrow (today) and "I promise that I will be really brave."
So, this morning I took the brave little man to school. It seemed like there were hundreds less people there and we were able to park right in front. Of course, we went early and his room was still locked. But then we connected with his teacher and she was really cool with him. She had to go into the office for a bit and Darien started dancing - doing what I think of as his Irish jig kind of a dance. By the time, she had shown him around the room and explained a few things to us, a few of the kids he knew from his old school had shown up. Last I saw of him, he was waving good bye as he ran to the playground to play before school started. So, more will be revealed about how this all works out - but as of today he has started kindergarten in the public school.
By the time he came into tell me that he was going to be brave, I had worked through the reactions I had and remembered the Truth about asking for help.
"Learning to have the humility and courage to ask for help was a vital component for me in learning to live life sober. I understand now that asking for help is an act of Love for my self, is part of taking responsibility for myself because I cannot do it alone - I was never meant to do it alone." - Donations to the Cause / Love Offerings / Spiritual Tithes
So, I am getting ready to publish this page now to demonstrate a willingness to be Loving to me. I have made up some pages with special offices on the products I have and on phone counseling. There is a list of those along with links to the offers pages just below the donation links. As far as the donations go, I have always sent energy back when anyone has been moved to send some green energy my way.
"The Metaphysical Law of Karma - of cause and effect / giving and receiving / what you sow you reap - is what governs this life experience we are having. Giving and receiving are two parts of one dynamic - like breathing. As a friend of mine who is a New Thought minister says, "to say giving is more Blessed than receiving is like saying exhaling is more Blessed than inhaling." Just as breath needs to flow in and out, so too does energy need to flow- on all levels, including emotional energy. Blocking the flow of any energy, whether it is money energy or emotional energy, is dysfunctional." - Metaphysical Law: Giving and Receiving ~ Donations / Love OfferingI know there is a perfect Divine Plan unfolding and that everything will work out for the best in the long run. What that is going to look like I can't know - More Will Be Revealed. The reality of my life right now is I have never had such an abundance of Love in my life. Things between Susan and I are better than they have ever been (she asked me last week if we could just get married in Cambria soon) - and Darien continues to amaze us and bring so much Joy into our lives."
"I added two updates to the request for help I sent out back on August 17th - will include them here and then a short summary of what happened after that. . . .
"Update August 22, 2010: Some donations have been coming in, and some sales, enough that I told the landlady's lawyer son on Friday that I should be able to pay the first half of the August rent by Tuesday or Wednesday. Today our best car broke down. If we are lucky it will just be a water pump and cost less than $600 - but doesn't look like I will get the rent paid when I told him. Hopefully there are some more people who are going to take advantage of the great deals on phone counseling or the upcoming workshop or some more donations are on the way. The Adventure continues and More Will Be Revealed. Meanwhile Darien's aunt and uncle took him to LegoLand on Friday and after riding the rides they went to the Waterpark- "the Greatest Day Ever!" according to the amazing little man. I got to watch him surf yesterday and was blown away. He goes boldly out into the waves with his boogie board - the man who doesn't like to get his face in the water - and rides them in. Very cool! (A little scary for Papa to watch.;-) And he is loving the public school so far. He is obviously way ahead of where they are starting at, but I guess we don't have to start worrying about him preparing for college just yet. I should have an announcement about the cruise in February later this week. We will get married next month but have a celebration on the cruise. Hard to have moments of Joy when waiting for the tow truck to come take the car to the shop - but not impossible. ;-) I know there is a Divine Plan unfolding here somehow. ~ Robert 8/22/10 6:22 pm
Update August 27, 2010: Have gotten first half of August rent paid and all the major utilities covered - so that is very good news! The junker car we took on a month ago had some major problems but we found someone who wanted just that kind of car and sold it today - seemed like that car was going to be far more hassle than it was worth (it had a broken motor mount so I was having to drive very carefully.) Got the water pump on other car fixed for under $350 - it has some transmission problems going on but hopefully is good for awhile. We rented a car for a week while all this was going on but will have to give that back Monday (Susan mentioned on her Facebook page that it was a cool hybrid.) Having only one car will cause some major logistical problems but if we have to go that way for awhile we can work it out I am sure. Susan is going to see about buying a car on credit with perhaps a cosigner to try to get workable payments. We went to open house at Darien's public school last night - and afterward Susan cried. We are not happy about his teacher or the situation. This afternoon Susan got an e-mail from the Montessori school saying they might be able to work with us. We both want so much to be able to send him there - but are willing to accept the Divine Plan if that doesn't work out. Doesn't look like I will be able to afford to record my Intensive a week from Sunday. We are very grateful to everyone who helped out or sent good wishes. Would be grateful to anyone else who wants to send some help our way. Hopefully a few people will take advantage of the special offers I have available before Saturday night when they expire. I am not sure we are going to be able to make the trip up to Cambria to get married as we planned in a couple of weeks - or that we will have a car that we feel confident enough in to make the trip. If we have to postpone it a few weeks, we can. We are just going to have a very simple ceremony with a few people up there and then have our real celebration on the cruise hopefully. (And hopefully, I will get some time this weekend to work on the page with information about the cruise.)
I hope and pray this is the last time I have to ask for help in this way. I just got all emotional writing that. I really don't like doing this at all, but accepting and surrendering and willingness to take action for me and my recovery have been the key to turning my life into an Adventure worth living instead of an endurance contest of suffering. This will be the last update to this page - I will probably do an Update Newsletter in September. I am going to close this with a quote from my book about acceptance and surrender and all those spiritual principles that are so vital to making life worth living - so vital to making it possible for me to still be celebrating life as a dance with many, many moments of Joy & Love in it no matter what is happening with the external circumstances. ~ Robert 8/27/10 5:42 pm" - http://joy2meu.com/Help_2010.htmlTwo days in a row Darien came home with a "bad" slip (saying that he had to put his dog bone under a tree instead of at his doghouse like when he has a good day - where do they come up with these things) and an attitude. The second day he was the only one in the class of kindergartners who didn't follow directions - like Abe said, excuse me, 17 5 years olds and he is the only one who doesn't follow directions. The teacher had been teaching 6th grade for 17 years and at the open house said she would get through everything fast so we could get home and have a glass of wine. He was acting like an arrogant smart aleck and I could see him taking on a defensive attitude to survive in a hostile environment. The next day we started him in the Montessori School. They agreed to a lower price until his father is able to get more support through the army at which time we will pay them more. I was so emotional about being able to send him there - didn't realize how much the other place was bothering me. Sometimes I practice acceptance so hard I end up stuffing feelings in the process. Am so grateful I had made and received enough by then to make it happen.
That was last Wednesday. On Thursday Susan's Dad bought her a new car - one that she will have to make payments to him for - it is a 2008 Hyundai with only 30,000 miles on it. So, that is great. Things are definitely better now and we are so grateful to everyone who sent some Love our way. The request I made triggered money coming in from places that had nothing to do with me asking for help - or nothing to do directly, but metaphysically it was all about putting it out there and having it come back from somewhere. I don't know how things are going to unfold in the coming months because we are still running close to the edge but we got through a crisis period and are very GRATEFULL!!!!!!!
Love and Joy 2 all of us,
Just reminded me of something that happened a few months ago with my step grandson Darien. He will be 6 in November - and he and I have this powerful connection to each other (even look alike though there is not blood relationship.) One day he was asking questions about various things like he does (wants to know everything) and talking about when he was a baby because of a picture of him on the wall. I told him that the first time I met him (he was about 3 or 4 months old) that he cried (Susan thought it was because my deep voice scared him) - and he says, "From Joy?" It was a mind blower to me that a 5 year old understood that it was possible to cry from Joy - and that that was his assumption about what he would have felt the first time we met. :-)
We got married on January 14th, 2011 in a civil ceremony at the County Court House in San Luis Obispo California.
There were several choices for the script for the civil ceremony and we choose this one - which is actually quite beautiful and healthy.
Be the right person!"We are here today in the presence of these witnesses to join together Robert and Susan in marriage.
Snapshots from 2011
Darien's first modeling gig
Second Grade - and then back to First Grade
Sat Sep 17, 2011 4:39 pm from message News from Joy to You & Me to Yahoo Mailing list
"One of the consequences of our situation is that it was never a real option this year to send Darien back to the Montessori School. For those of you who weren't around last year - or haven't read the messages from last year at this time - we started Darien in kindergarten in public school last year and then were real concerned about the teacher and situation as we saw it the first couple of weeks of school. When we moved down here to the San Diego area 5 years ago, we put Darien in a Montessori preschool because it was cheaper than daycare - and both Susan and I needed to be able to work during the daytime. The Montessori preschool he was in didn't have a kindergarten until the last year he was there - and then it was just one period a day and not really a full fledged kindergarten. When both Susan and I started crying out of our fear for him after the Back to School Night where we heard the teacher talking to the parents, we managed to work out a deal with another Montessori school for him to attend there (something we really couldn't afford, but felt we couldn't afford not to for Darien's sake.) And I think that school was real good for him. But it started with first grade - and though Darien was the only kid at the first grade level, we got to thinking of him as being in the first grade. And it was normal for him to expect to go to the second grade this year - something we really didn't even think about.February 5th - It was a very good move to have him go back to First Grade. It has worked out great. The kids are his age and he is learning to read and doing very well. Just last week (January 2012) they had a monthly assembly at this grade school where the topic is that character counts. Each month evidently they give out awards to kids who exemplify that months positive character trait - and Darien was one of the two kids from his class selected. The character trait was Fairness - and it was apt because the one time he got into trouble it was because he was trying to defend someone who was being picked on. The day he got into trouble it was actually a misunderstanding. One of the volunteer lunch monitors thought he saw Darien give another kid the finger. I wrote the teacher a note saying that Darien didn't know what that was - and explaining to her what he had told me, which was that he made a gesture of pointing two fingers at his eyes and flipping his hand down indicating that he was "keeping his eyes" on the kid. The way he flipped his hand down, it was understandable how someone could have misinterpreted it - and the next day the teacher told me that she was so relieved to have him explain it to her because she couldn't imagine him doing what he was accused of. He didn't have to miss the recess - which was supposed to have been his punishment. He was just warning this other kid to not be mean.
Halloween - Ninja Warrior
Uncle Bryce & Aunt Melody (dressed for Grease), Grandma as Marilyn Monroe, and cousin Kylie as a lady bug.
7th Birthday November 10, 2011
First the man got to open some presents at home on his birthday - some Beyblades from his Dad among other things.
Darien does like presents.
Then on the next Saturday he had a birthday party at Round Table Pizza with lots of kids.
Christmas Eve afternoon he spent some quality time at LegoLand with Grandma.
On Facebook Susan shared this picture on December 19th along with this comment: "Darien has decided to ask Santa for a rain check this year due to the high volume of Christmas presents arriving on a daily basis. He has also decided to celebrate Hanukkah and open one present every day until Christmas arrives!"
I added this comment Facebook: "Our little man has been opening a present a day since he learned in school that Hanukkah lasted 8 days. Today an elf (former phone client of mine who has taken to buying Darien a multitude of presents every year) showed up at the door with a bunch more presents. I had been worried that he wouldn't have any left for Christmas with his Grandma Susan allowing him to open one a day - not worried any longer."
He loves to have lots of presents under the tree - and in fact, insisted on a big tree with lots of room for presents. And, he of course, never agreed to ask Santa for a rain check. He did say to me today (February 17th 2012) that it is too bad he didn't get any presents from Santa. When I said, oh but you did - he said, no only one of them said Santa on it, and it also said Daddy. So, as I talk about in the story below, he still believes in Santa mostly - but doesn't think he got any presents from him this year.
1, 2012 8:14 pm from Happy New Year message to Yahoo Mailing List
Happy New Year to the Magnificent Spiritual Beings on my Yahoo mailing list,
|February 26th - There is so
much to say about Darien but I have been having trouble figuring out how
to wrap this up here. I could talk about how he has evolved in terms
of his need for privacy - but that could be an invasion of his privacy.
Or I could talk about his having a crush on a girl - one area where he really needs to learn to have more balance. Early in the school year he had a crush on a girl that he knew from the gym, who ended up being in his second grade class. He would follow her around looking all moony saying I have a crush on her. I tried to explain to him that he had to be cooler than that. It was actually probably a good thing that he ended up being in a different class from her. This past week that girl was riding to and from school with us because of their car breaking down. On the way out of school one day he said to her, "I don't think I have a crush on you any more." Which was bad enough, but then he went on to say, "I am getting a crush on Mary Clare and she doesn't want me to have a crush on you." The girl then started talking about all the guys she had crushes on. Of course, he is at an age now where the girls don't like it if he has a crush on them - and don't like if he doesn't.
I could talk about how he is always coming up with facts to share with me that he has learned from one of his TV shows. Yesterday, He said, "You won't believe this, but moose eat acorns." And then went on to share that bears also eat acorns. Many of the shows he watches are pretty educational - so that is good.
The things I really need to talk about however, are related to some things that are happening in terms of his mother and what is going on with her - and a potential threat to our custody of him. I am not going to talk about that here though. I need to do some processing about it all - and keep pulling myself into the present so that I am not projecting a horror movie about the future in my mind. I will hopefully find the time soon to do some process writing about it so that I can clear up my relationship with what is happening - but it is not time yet to share it here. So, I will just reiterate that Darien is such a blessing and gift in our life. He is an amazing little man - and I Love him dearly. I am so grateful for his presence in my life. ~ Robert 2-26-12
The day after I posted this Darien came up with one of his beautiful pronouncements which I posted on Facebook and had to add here also:
Quote of the day from Darien (as we are driving home from school and he is counting the money in his piggy bank), "Some people might think that the best thing in the world is to have a lot of money. But it's not. The best thing in the world is love." - Monday Feb 27th at 2:51pm
New & News July 12, 2017: Announcing that I am changing the date for the next Intensive Training Day in Encinitas to August 6th. Now that I have my grandson Darien living with me I wanted to create the possibility that we might be able to move back to the Central Coast of California. I lived in Cambria for many years and loved it - and always wanted to move back up there. I have stayed in San Diego however to be close to Darien in case he needed me. Now he needs me, but since he is living with me, we can move together - and it seems the schools there are a lot better than down here. It is more likely we will move to Morro Bay than Cambria - because it is a bit more affordable, but it will be expensive to move and I am not sure if we will be able to do it this summer. It is possible we will need to stay where we are for another school year. If we do move this will probably be the last Intensive Training Workshop that I will do in San Diego. I would put the odds at about 75% we stay, and 25% we move at the moment but if I had left the date on the 20th it would have been the day before school starts up there, so am making the change to open up possibilities.
In September of 2016 Darien was named Student of the Month
in his 6th grade class. On the way home from school that day,
he said to me "I didn't know I was that amazing."
He was actually quite embarrassed when one of the girls from his class gave him a book at his 12th birthday party last November entitled: "How to talk to girls at parties."
Darien the archer at the County Fair in June 2017.
At right is D with his Dad John on Award Day.
Darien & my son Abraham being silly.
The area around Cambria gets beautifully green in winter and spring when the rains come. This is D during our trip to Cambria in April 2017.
The last couple of years Darien and I have been making a yearly trip back to Nebraska to visit my mother who is 88. On the way flying back there, we make sure we have a long layover in Denver so that we can visit Darien's brothers London and Valentine. (Notice the mustache on my little buddy. He is growing up! EEG!)
Darien with his stepfather Matte and brothers Valentine (middle) and London (right) at reunion in Denver Airport in July 2017.
Me presiding over Rose's marriage to Matte.
A summary of the years since I have updated this page.I stopped updating it primarily for the same reason I stopped doing Update Newsletters. I have this whole family I am involved with now, and telling my story now involves other people. I didn't think I could go into detailed processing about what was going on in my life without taking the risk of violating other people's confidentiality. I am just giving a bare bones summary here - hopefully none of the people involved will be offended with how I relate the story of those years.
From April of 2006 until the spring of 2013, I was Darien's primary caregiver. He was living with Susan and I, but she was gone quite a bit - first working in Orange County for a period of time, then doing promotions and Landmark Education and meetings and various things. So, I was the one that scheduled my life around the little man. I got him up in the morning, got him to school, picked him up, fed him, bathed him, got him to sleep at night. As I said above “So far, because Susan is working and we are not at a financial position to put Darien in daycare yet - I have been primarily a nanny. Which is an ongoing, and special gift, in my life.
Being a primary caregiver to Darien - who will be 2 on the 10th (probably a few days before I get this published) - continues to be one of the great miracles and surprises of my recovery. Never could I have imagined being in the position of taking care of a baby at this stage in my life and recovery. The Joy and wonder of watching this precocious, precious little man grow up from the tiny baby I first met in March of 2005, to revealing himself to be a uniquely charming and delightful character who captures the heart of anyone who gets to experience his personality, fills my heart to overflowing with such Joy and contentment. There are times: when he is laying with his head on my chest gazing into my eyes; or when he curls up in my arms with his head laid on my shoulders; or when he burrows in beside me when he is sleeping with us; or just listening to him jabber or watching him run and play - moments that I feel a sense of Blissful Love that is sublimely exquisite. Such a gift!”
In the Spring of 2013 Susan and I started the process of separating. By that time, Darien's mother had returned to San Diego and given birth to a little brother for Darien. She and his brother, London, were living in subsidized housing - and because Susan and I were having difficulties we allowed Darien to go back to live with his mother. By the time Susan and I separated in the summer, Darien, his mom and little brother had moved to Fallbrook where I live now. I moved here to be close to him and because the rent was cheaper here than elsewhere in the North San Diego County. I moved my son Abe - who had been living in a sober living home - in with me in a 2 bedroom apartment in August 2013.
Darien's mother got involved with a marine, got pregnant again and they got married in December 2013 (I performed the ceremony.) They moved into a house on Camp Pendalton. His little brother was born on Feb. 13th at almost midnight - and thus was named Valentine.
Susan and I were separated - and she and her new boyfriend moved to the Bay Area - but we were still co-parenting and co-grandparenting. We still are to this day, and we stayed married in large part to give me more legal rights with Darien if it was ever necessary for me to take care of him again.
In January 2015, his mother was unwilling to go to rehab and lost custody of her kids - and Darien lived for awhile on Pendalton with his stepfather and brothers. (His stepfather eventually got a divorce and got out of the Marines - moving to Colorado Springs, Colorado with the two younger boys in the fall of 2015.) Darien started living with his father in the Spring of 2015. His father had been in the army in Afghanistan and Alaska, and he and Darien had not lived together since April of 2006. I was getting to spend time with him twice a week - picking him up on his short day, Wednesday, and after school on Friday when he would spend the night with me.
His father was seemingly doing a great job with Darien until late in 2016 when some warning signals started showing up. When it became obvious that his Dad had relapsed and that the situation was deteriorating I picked Darien up on April 11th during his Easter Break to take him with Cambria with me. When we came back his father agreed to let me take him - and we picked up his books and school clothes and he has been living with me ever since. His father subsequently signed guardianship papers giving Susan and I custody of Darien.
I was focused then on getting him through the school year. He was going to a school that was on Camp Pendalton, so I was making the half hour to 45 minute drive in heavy traffic every morning and afternoon to get him and pick him up from school. He finished the school year with much improvement with his grades which had plummeted when he was going through a difficult time at home.
He will be entering the 7th grade next year - talk about a difficult time in a kids life. He was wanting to go to a different school anyway, because he was tired of his friends moving away all the time as they do when their parents are in the service. He and his Dad were focused on moving to Fallbrook where I live before the problems arose in their situation.
Susan and I have been discussing for the last few months whether Darien would keep living with me or would go up north to where she is living now. Neither one of us is in position where it would be financially easy. We have decided that because of the superior schools it would be best for him to start junior high up on the Central Coast - but that financially probably the best bet is for us to stay where I am living now.
The situation was complicated somewhat by the fact that my son Abe moved back to New Mexico at the end of May. He has a physical disability and needs hip replacement surgery, which was proving very hard to get organized here in California - so he moved back there because it seems more probable that he will get what he needs sooner. He was contributing towards the rent while he was here however - so that makes things a little tougher.
My birthday is on the 23rd, and Darien and I are going to take a trip to Cambria and Morro Bay for my birthday. We will look at apartments while we are up there - and see how things will unfold.
There is something I say to people in my phone counseling and in my workshops that I don't know if I have ever written about in quite the same way. I talk about how I learned that the way the Universe works is that “More Will Be Revealed - on a need to know basis”, and it is not my idea of when I need to know. My ego always wants to know NOW! Often, the Universe / My Higher Power's idea of when I need to know, feels to me like “the last f------ second!”
So, school starts here in Fallbrook on August 14th - and in the Morro Bay school on August 21st. If the Universe wants me back on the Central Coast at this time, then it will be made apparent by how things work out in the next two weeks. More will be revealed at what undoubtedly will feel like the last second! - RB 7/12/17
I posted this a few weeks ago:
**For the first time in quite awhile, I am having to work the third step by asking for help. I posted the following in part on that page in May:
"5/20/17 - On April 11th I rescued my grandson Darien from an environment that had deteriorated to being one that I could no longer allow him to be subjected to. So, I now have custody of him full time, and among other things that involves getting up at 5:30 am and getting him up at 6:30 am to take him 20 miles to his school in heavy traffic. The extra expenses for gas and food and such have put a real strain on my finances - and this week my son Abraham is leaving to go back to live in New Mexico, which means losing a sum of money that he was contributing towards my rent and expenses. Thus finances are especially tight right now - and I could use some help. I am very glad to have him living with me. As I say on my page that is dedicated to him, I believe we had a soul contract to be in each others life this lifetime and that "I can see clearly now that Darien is the first human being - since my parents when I was an infant - that I have ever opened up my heart to completely." So, it is perfect that he is back in my care." So, I needed to put a message out into the Universe that I need some help.**
While in Lincoln Nebraska we got to experience a good old Midwestern thunderstorm with thunder and lightening, torrential rain and hail. This was the scene behind my sisters house in Lincoln.
While in Nebraska, he gets to shoot off fireworks - something that is not okay in California with the fire danger.
Here are some pages on which I talk about my relationship with the Central Coast - and also with Darien
In my October 2005 Update Newsletter I talk about my feelings for Cambria as we are confronting the prospect of leaving there. It includes a story about the Miracles that led me to Cambria, and it was written when Darien was 11 month old “- and just the most precious, beautiful, incredible little boy.”
In a page I wrote for Mothers Day, I talk about some of the things I love about Cambria - including otters.
I have a history with Morro Bay also.
“The place I am living now (the place I was trying to get back to for most of the year) is called Morro Bay. It is a bay, with a huge rock guarding the entrance to it. And I mean huge - Morro Rock has peregrine falcons nesting on top of it. The past 10 days or so, there has been a whale in the harbor. A juvenile gray whale that obviously got off course on the annual migration to the gulf of Baja. When I get this sent out I am going to go down to the bay and see if he is still there. (I refer to this whale as a male - not because I have the slightest idea of how to tell gender in whales, or because of some sexist bias - but rather because it obviously has issues about asking for directions. ;-) I hope he is still there, but rather he is or not, I plan on sitting for a few moments in meditation and prayer. I am going to ask the Holy Mother Source Energy for a little more kindness and Love to be manifested in a tangible way that we can feel, in all of our lives - here as the Millennium comes to a close - and for some easily discernible, concrete manifestations of Love, Joy, and Prosperity as the new Millennium dawns.” - Update December 11th, 1999
The neighbors that greeted me on my first morning at the new house.
The neighbor that was there to greet me the second morning.
One of the does and one of the fawns that were there when Darien and I got out of the car on his trip here.
Darien and his dog Hunter when we went for a walk in Tracy.
Darien and Hunter on the Ranch on Saturday. (Hunter is looking for ground squirrels.)
This Darien on the Ranch in April - it was very green then.
His grandma gave him a haircut after he got home. Just look at that mustache!!! Looks dapper, I said. While inside I am going Egad! What is happening to my little man, he is become a young man - will be a teenager soon. Egad!
We kept going back and forth - multiple times a day - trying to figure out what would be the best option for us. There was urgency involved because of school starting soon. On the morning of the 26th, while I was at a motel in Morro Bay, Susan called me to talk about the situation. She had become convinced that it would be best for him to live with her.
One of the factors involved in our decision making was that he had no health insurance. We felt we needed to get an official guardianship through the court - not just the temporary one his Dad had signed - in order to insure that we had custody, and then we could get him medi-cal and child support to help with expenses. In order to get those things, it was necessary to apply in the County where the child is living. Since we didn't know which of 3 counties he was going to be living in, we hadn't been able to do that yet. And what Susan focused on was the reality that the system is set up in favor of blood relatives. Since I am his step grandfather and not blood related, it would have been much more difficult for me to jump through all the bureaucratic hoops.
I had already admitted to myself, to Susan, and to a couple of friends several weeks before that there were some good reasons why it would be better for him to live with them right now - but that wasn't what I wanted to have happen. And I was devastated when we made the decision. I felt gutted and cried and cried for days afterwards. I still cry today as I am writing this from the pain I feel when I think of him not being here with me.
The school in the town they live in (Tracy CA) started on August 7th, so it there was no time for him to come back before that. So, I packed up his things and sent them via UPS. There was so much grief that came up. And it was a completely selfish grief. I could see that it was probably better for him to be there right now, but I was gutted by the thought of not having in my life at least some of the time.
I had applied for the apartment I am now living in the day he and Susan left. And I applied for us both to live here. It is a small one bedroom place, so it would be tight for the two of us - but doable. It is all electric place and below another apartment with a studio apartment beside it. One of the reasons I like Cambria so much is it is small - only about 6,000 - and cant grow because of water shortage. That means water bills are high though. So, landlord pays electric and water but it would have been $150 more for Darien and I to live here.
As I said, I applied for the two of us, but then called the realtor who was acting as an agent for the owner back after we made the decision, to tell her I wanted to change it to applying just for myself. I was afraid that they would think I was flaky or was trying to get them to approve and then change my story. But eventually they did approve it. So, I made my plans. I call the disabled american vets to come and get my big furniture and a lot of other stuff I had. I rented a Cargo Van with the stuff I was keeping and drove the 350 miles up here on Saturday, then back down on Sunday - and came back with my car and computer and all on Monday.
I spent my first night here on Saturday - and when I woke up on Sunday morning I went outside and there were 4 deer right beside my driveway. I posted the picture of the deer on Facebook and sent pics to Darien and Susan and other friends, saying something about them being my new neighbors.
When I spent my second night on Monday night and went out on Tuesday morning there was 1 deer there. Having those deer standing outside my new place those mornings was so important and such a message from my Higher Power that I was right where I was supposed to be. I had been saying for years that one of the things I miss most about Cambria is seeing deer all the time. When Darien and I were here back in April, I was complaining to Darien that I hadn't seen a deer - and he had. The day before he had spent some time with Susan and they had seen a deer. Just after I said that to him, as we are on our way down Main Street to our favorite pizza place - 5 deer cross Main Street right in front of us. Magical. And it was magical the first two mornings when I went outside - and has continued to be magical for me here in Cambria. In my blog about The Medicine Cards I talked about what deer symbolized for me and how wonderful it was to see them regularly.
“As I would walk through the woods, I would see deer. Deer in the medicine cards are about gentleness. Whenever I see a deer, I take it as a direct reminder from my Higher Power to be gentle with myself. I get to see lots of deer around here – to help me remember gentleness. (My landlady doesn't like it that they come into her garden at night and eat the flowers – but I think it is cool.) As I came out on top of the hill where I could see the ocean, I would sometimes see whales. A whale – again in the medicine cards – is the record keeper, the keeper of ancient knowledge.” - The Totem Animals of the Medicine CardsOnce I knew I was moving up here, I started making plans to go and visit Darien's new home for Labor Day weekend. They live about 240 miles from Cambria - and at first I made reservations for 2 nights at a Motel there to be able to spend time with him. Then I decided that I wanted to bring him back over to Cambria to see my new place - so he could see if he might want to live here with me. The plan at that point was for Susan to get the official guardianship worked out and then maybe he would come to live with me if he wasn't liking it there.
That possibility seemed to become a real long shot when Susan found a dog for Darien. He has wanted a dog for a long time - and he especially wanted a husky. I had felt bad about not being able to get him a dog, so I was happy that his dream was coming true - but also felt like it kind of sunk any possibility of him coming to live with me. Like I said it would be tight here with the two of us - and there certainly isn't any room for a dog.
It turned out that Susan and her boyfriend were going to be gone for the weekend, and her son who lives there also wasn't home - so it looked like I was going to have to bring the dog on the trip back to Cambria. I checked out kennels there because I wasn't sure about how well the dog would travel - or behave in my new apartment. I actually found a good looking and reasonably priced kennel, but Darien was set on not leaving the dog that he had only had for about 2 weeks.
So, I went over there on Friday and met him when he got out of school. Susan had given me a cage that they put the dog in at night because he chews things and whines and makes a nuisance of himself at night. So, Darien and I went to the motel and got a room - and set up the cage. Then went back to his house so he could show me his room and such. That night the dog went to sleep on his bed with him and was very good and well behaved the rest of the night. On Saturday morning we went back over to his house so we could feed the cat and the birds and water the yard for them - they had taken their other dog and the rooster with them. Watering the yard twice a day is important because the temperatures had been over a hundred for quite awhile - was 109 on Friday afternoon.
It was a 4 hour drive back over to Cambria - and it was just so wonderful to be with Darien again. We got to my new house, pulled in the driveway and got out of the car - and 4 deer - 2 does and 2 fawns came bounding up the arroyo next to my driveway and ran up the road. Darien said, “You weren't kidding about your neighbors, were you?” We went to our favorite pizza place after taking a walk on the Ranch (where the dog was going crazy about all the ground squirrels - and Darien and I saw 4 more deer) and sat outside. People kept stopping to ask about the dog and remark how he looks like he has some wolf in him.
Since the dog had been so good the night before, we didn't set up the cage - and the next morning the dog was a pest. Woke me up and I took him out for walk. Just up the road half a block from my apartment we saw a flock of wild turkeys. That day turned out to be unseasonably hot for Cambria. Actually got over 90 which it almost never does here. We took the dog to the dog park hoping that he would take care of his business there. It turns out that the dog - who is about 9 months old - had always lived in a yard, and was not trained to take care of his business on walks. He also didn't know what to do at the dog park
Later in the day we went to a local Labor Day Celebration called Pine-dorado where Darien won some prizes but we left the dog home locked in the bathroom because dogs weren't allowed there and it was too hot to leave him in the car - and I didn't want to go through the hassle of setting up the cage. We went for another walk on the Ranch and got to see an otter this time - and some more deer. Picked up some food and went home - where we found that the dog had trashed the bathroom. I took him out for another long walk while Darien was doing his homework - but he still seemed to have no interest in taking care of his business.
Later that evening the dog pissed in my room. And on the way driving Darien home he shit in the back seat. So, the dog is no longer invited over here unless he is trained. It was so great to be with Darien however.
I am not sure when I am going to see him again. Over Thanksgiving break for sure when I have an Intensive Workshop scheduled in Gilroy for the Saturday after Thanksgiving. Susan says that she will bring him over some weekend before that - which I hope happens. It is a long drive for a regular weekend - and there are only two 3 day weekends at Darien's school between now and then. Once of them in October for Parent Teach conference - and then in November for Veterans Day, which actually falls on a Saturday this year. So Darien's birthday November 10th they get out of school. I told him he could tell his classmates that they were getting out of school because of his birthday.
He seems to be doing okay there. One of the reasons that I thought it would be good for him is that both Susan and her boyfriend are very into physical fitness. Darien and I were going on walks almost every day while he was with me but no real strenuous exercise. Darien has been doing squats and push ups and running a mile some days. He has lost weight and has a flat stomach for the first time ever. He has always been just a little on the chubby side - as you can see from the picture in the kayak. He feels good about being thinner, about how he looks - and that is especially important at his age. So, that is great. Not having him here of course gives me more freedom, but I would still move him back in with me in a heartbeat. It is still not impossible that he could come and live with me - but it will have to be without the dog, who needs a yard since I don't have one.
As usual, More Will Be Revealed. I am very happy and grateful to be back in Cambria. I do love it here. I am glad he is doing good for the most part. He has one teacher that was giving him a hard time for some reason, so we shall see how that works out. I do Love that little man so much - and he has brought so much Joy into my life. Something I was really reminded of, while working on this page. And I am so grateful that I got involved with Susan so that I got the chance to be Darien's Papal. - RB 9/10/17
This is a picture that I took of the sunsest on Sunday.
These two Darien took of the sunsest on Sunday. He has been better at taking pictures than me since he was 4 or 5. ;-)
The Deck and view from my front door
and back door - both of which face the same deck.
My bedroom / office.