I must admit it. I believe in evolution. To be honest, it’s pretty hard to deny if you really think about it. If you don’t believe me, maybe you’ll see things my way by the time you’re done reading this. If you don’t, you’re just not being honest with yourself. To clarify, the evolution I am referring to is the second definition. Did you think I was about to go on a diatribe about cavemen or Darwin? Not quite. The definition of evolution I’m on today explains it as “the gradual development of something, especially from a simple to a more complex form.” As in me, personally. My growth over time. My adaptation to the world around me as it changes every day.
The difficulty is navigating the changes and adapting while remaining true to the person you are at your core. It’s hard to keep up sometimes. Sometimes the world is hard to live in. Sometimes we can’t get it to make sense. That’s when we start to evolve. We have to make sense of it so we have to look at ourselves and see what adjustments we can make to our actions or surroundings. I also think at certain times though, evolution can stop. We can refuse to continue to learn and adapt. Those are dangerous times. That is when we risk losing ourselves. It’s important to never forget key moments, key people and key struggles in our lives.
We are all born as this innocent little creature that knows nothing of the world that awaits them. I’m looking at my baby G right now as she eats and thinking that she has no idea what is happening around her. She can’t understand the lengths that I am willing to go to in order to keep her that way; healthy, innocent and just worried about whether she wants the hamburger or the cheese or the fry. That’s her biggest decision right now. Nothing more. But as daddy, the decisions are nonstop and can sometimes be more difficult than I’ve ever imagined. It makes me long for the days that I was a kid myself.
I was a bit rambunctious when I was a wee lad. The things that I did then make me weak in the knees and stomach when I think about having to experience it as a father. My dad has always been a strong man to me but now that I am a father myself, I realize what strength it really took for him and my mom to make it. Imagine, if you will, a young tot about 3 years old playing around the yard. My dad was working on his big truck, which was a common experience growing up. I was playing on an old race car that my Grandaddy had that used to race on the old version of the US 19 Dragstrip. Back then, they would sometimes pull the car behind their truck without the need to use a trailer by using a metal tongue type system that would attach the truck and car. This big piece of metal stayed hooked to the car while in the yard and would lay back over the hood. That daring 3 year old climbed up that big hunk of metal and wound up pulling it over sending both kid and metal to the ground. Kid landed first, metal smashed head against the ground. I basically split my head wide open. Getting woozy now.
It’s weird the things you remember from childhood. I can honestly remember parts of this experience as a 3 year old. I don’t know how other than the magnitude of trauma involved. I remember my dad loading me into the pickup and laying across his and my moms lap as my Grandaddy sped to the hospital. I remember not really crying. I remember waking up and getting a truck from my uncle speedy that distracted me while I got a shot. There are some things I don’t remember because I didn’t see them or know about them until later in life. I later found out that I was painfully close to having to get a blood transfusion….in 1980. Think about it. I also found out that I was about a half an inch from the metal collapsing my eye sockets, which would have proven to be too much for me to overcome. I was also told later that my grandmother, who was in the bath when it all happened, showed up after we had all gotten there and the first thing she saw was my dad covered in blood, sitting on the floor of the hospital hallway, bawling. The father in me now almost collapses at the mental image.
I recovered over time. It was hard from what I understand. I had terrible nightmares for a while after that. I would wake up screaming in the middle of the night. I had debilitating headaches for many years. I have a scar to this day that stretches clear across my head and goes to the back of my scalp. As I think back to the things that I remember and things I’ve been told, it’s obvious that I am very lucky to have spent an extra 36 years on this earth. So using that as a reference, every day is a gift. Everything that happens positive in my life is something that may have never happened at all. Alicia would have been around but Bailey and Georgia are direct results of my 39 year existence.
Which brings me back around to evolution. That event was just one moment in my life. There have been hundreds more. Some good, some bad. I would go on to have a couple more near death experiences, although none as close as the split head. The collarbone and severed tongue come to mind. Everything along the way has played a part, no matter how small or how significant. I struggled in school, I’ve lost friends along the way to death, drugs, prison and plain stupidity. I’ve gained friends through faith and trust. I outperformed my own expectations in college. I have struggled in sports and been to the top of the mountain at times. I went from floundering between jobs at video stores and Pepsi and The Trading Post to having a successful career in a professional job. I have questioned myself, trusted only myself, loved myself, hated myself, kicked myself, picked myself up, laughed alone, cried alone, been broke, been comfortable, felt alone and felt loved.
All of those experiences, feelings and emotions have built what I am and continues to mold me. I have never been someone who was afraid of emotions. I don’t have to be the baddest guy in the room. I don’t have to be the bravest or the hardest. I do want to be the realest. The most transparent. The most honest and open. I want to be the man that you feel comfortable leaning on and talking to. I want to be able to help, even if that help is just being there. Ten years ago, I didn’t want to be that guy. I didn’t care enough. But I like to think that I’m evolving. I like to think I can be a better person. I want to be the dad that mine was and is. I want to be a foundation and role model for my girls. I want to know the I’ve done it the right way. I want to help them evolve as they get older. When G has more important decisions than the cheese, the burger or the fry, I want her to think about what Daddy would do.
I hope I never have to endure what my dad (and mom) did with my health scares because I don’t know if I’ll ever be that strong. But I think about the emotions and fear my dad must have experienced that day and it equates to a love that could never be matched. I want that to be seen by my girls in me. The feeling is there. I don’t know if I’ve learned how to properly show it yet but that is the kicker with evolving. As long as I’m still learning, I can continue to adapt and grow. I know that I have come a long way from where I was yesterday. I’ve got to keep going though and be further along the road tomorrow.