What it means to be a Dad

Most of the time, we grind through the days, handling everything thrown our way, and doing our best to make it look easy. As a dad to 4 very incredible young men, I can honestly say that I could write 8 hours a day, each and every day, for the rest of my life and not be able to tell you all the ways my sons have enhanced my life. My sons range in age from 9 to 17, and this is but one of our stories.

When I got so overweight that I started shopping for life insurance policies, I knew something had to change. Just before I reached my heaviest, I went through a divorce and some time later, my ex-wife decided to relocate back to her home town so her parents could help her get through the post divorce trauma that seems inevitable. Even though my marriage had not worked out, I did everything it took to be a stand-up guy. I wasn’t the nicest guy all the time and I don’t make excuses for that. Experience is information you get 15 seconds after you needed it. Nothing could have prepared me for divorce.

In the 7+ years it has been since my children moved 450 miles away from me, I’ve driven or flown at least once per month to spend the weekend with them. Typically, this means getting a hotel room big enough for all of us, and enjoying the hotel pool and other amenities while just hanging out. Of course there is always King of the Bed, and I am proud to say I am undefeated! Anytime they have extended breaks from school, they are here with me at my home in California playing in our pool. Again, proud to say that I am the King of the raft, although not undefeated! Gotta watch out for when they organize and present a unified front to take the raft.

Like I said, I’ve done everything to be a stand-up guy through my divorce. Getting divorced and not fighting for custody in California can be very expensive. The more children you have, the more expensive. In the 7+ years, I’ve not missed one child support payment. Like clockwork, I make sure my payments are made because I know people are depending on me. Making those payments isn’t easy. Watching my kids drive away in a moving van… 1,000 times harder.

As a busy dad, I failed to take the time to calculate exactly what I was losing when I signed the papers allowing them to move. Don’t ever make that mistake. Don’t ever let them out of your sight. Don’t every let anyone tell you that your children will be ok 450 miles apart from you.

This story sounds a little dark, but it isn’t. I decided to write this story because something happened to me that caused me to quietly weep in happiness. That is the story I want to tell you. The preface was just enough history to frame it for you.

Today was a day to get my picture library better organized for a variety of reasons. When I came across this picture, I realized that this particular memory only happened because my children live 450 miles away from me.

Yellow monkey goes to work with dad

You see, one of my sweet little princes got this yellow monkey as a gift and decided he wanted me to have it. He loved this monkey very much and made sure I knew how much this little monkey meant to him. I was to take good care of him and take him with me anytime I traveled. That is exactly what I did.

Anytime I traveled, which was often, I would take pictures of this little yellow monkey and send the pictures back to my son. I would often add speech bubbles so my son would know I was thinking about him.

Needless to say, my son loved this new game and really like getting new pictures of his little yellow monkey. Even as a distant dad, this yellow monkey gave me a way to smile and even more ways to share his experiences with my son.

I have many pictures like this one and will treasure them all for the rest of my life. I guess the point of my story is this. Bad times, bad experiences, and the dark times in your life won’t always be dark. Plus, if you look, you can find a sparkle almost anywhere if you are looking for it. It’s all about perspective, and the ability to choose your attitude. Someone very intelligent and amazing, my wife Melanie, told me that.

My wife has shared something else with me that relates to my efforts to deal with the long term and lasting effects of divorce and being so far from my children. From my wife’s perspective, she saw a man much like Robin Williams in the movie “Mrs. Doubtfire”. She saw a man struggling to live without his children in his everyday life. I guess she thought I was doing a pretty good job, because she found this quote and told me that it was written for me. It is my email signature for every single work email I send and it means a great deal to me.

The beauty of the soul shines out when a man bears with composure one heavy mischance after another, not because he does not feel them, but because he is a man of high and heroic temper (Aristotle)
If you are wondering where the little yellow monkey is now, I’d have to say I just don’t know. I took my eyes off of him in an airport in London and he must have decided to go exploring on his own. There was a time when I was really sad to have lost him. Now I realize that I haven’t list him, he’s right here in this story. Who knows, maybe he’s with P Sherman at 42 Wallaby Way, Sydney!

Now that I am 63+ pounds lighter and significantly more active, I am confident that I will be here to collect many more stories with my wonderful children and hopefully share them with you. I wouldn’t say that my children were the reason I finally decided to commit to losing weight. That was something I had to do for me. If you are overweight, I hope you can relate to that.

Always strive to be a stand-up guy, I’m told there aren’t many of us out there. If you are going through a similar kind of situation, try to be patient, especially when you least want to be (that’s when you will need patience the most). If you find it is getting dark in your life, look closely to see if you can find a sparkle. I know it will be there waiting for you to smile at it.

When you do smile, know that someone else may see you smiling, and your smile may just become the sparkle they’ve been looking for.

Train Hard – Train Safely, and we’ll see you in the SuperGym!
Cale

Topstone.com Team Beachbody Coach Cale Dansbee – Cale is an entrepreneur and Director of IT for a Department of Defense contracting company. He has four sons and he and his wife have built a Team Beachbody coaching business together. He is also a master of breaking bad habits and is currently on a journey of 1,000 miles from his highest weight of 240 pounds. It took him 20 years to act and become accountable to someone. Now, as a Team Beachbody coach, he will help you to take your first step and to overcome your obstacles to change. You owe it to yourself to begin your journey today by visiting Cale’s Team Beachbody website and selecting him as your coach. Team Beachbody Coach Cale Dansbee

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