On January 30, 1990, in Atlanta Georgia, I emancipated myself from a poor business choice. While it's true that my alternative profession has forced me endure some severe bumps in the road, I can look back and say with complete clarity that I don't miss anything about my previous life. So despite all my current physical, mental and emotional baggage...I declare to everyone that on that fateful day, I MADE THE BEST DECISION OF MY LIFE!
I am not an ethereal person. I believe in what I see. But within the bounds of common sense, I can be pretty cosmic in my own way. A wise man once said, "Whatever you're doing and whatever you see...means you're not doing and seeing something else." Roughly translated...you can't have it all. While it's true we can do or see more than one thing at a time, it's impossible to find perfect balance in our lives...something, somewhere has to suffer.
While I wore the suit and tie shackles of being a businessman, too much of my mindset was dedicated to making the entity a success. Which to a certain extent is good. But when you don't share the same visions with your partner or think they are wrong, then the whole achievement process and the degree that success is judged, causes an incredible, irreconcilable wedge.
To my discredit, I wasn't smart enough to keep anxiety out of my home, I turned my back on friends and allowed my personality (values) to be mangled. I had tried to quit two other times but I was weak and got manipulated into giving it another try. But when promised compromise never comes, it's just a matter of time.
When I finally had enough, I quit. The idiot then lectured me on the difference between quitting and resigning. So I shrugged, "Okay, I resign." But if I had a chance to relive that golden moment, I should have said, "I'm resigning from the business...but I'm quitting YOU."
Like I said, I'm not an ethereal person. So I didn't have a grand scheme in mind when I emancipated myself...so far from home, (Atlanta Georgia). It was a knee-jerk reaction done without a safety net of a new job. That means that it was a coincidence (a convenient coincidence), that a new casino was opening a month later, here in Atlantic City. And even though they were done hiring, I used a couple of favors to get a last second job.
The positive karma of casino work was immediate. It felt great to end the chase (suffering) of reaching the non-existent, "pride of ownership." I had the added bonus of never regretting my actions and soon looked at myself as both a genius and my own hero. My home life improved, I made new long-lasting friends and added significant leisure time...all while making more money...DUH!
Still, the most important piece of my life's puzzle was missing. It's crazy to look back but while in business, I stupidly squelched starting a family.
Once I was free, my wife Sue and I were on the same page. But just because you stop trying to prevent having babies, it doesn't mean you snap your fingers and say, "Voila!"
While Sue's biological clock ticked, our frustrating journey till my son Andrer was born would last four years.
Right now, (early February) we are halfway through the doldrums of winter 2015. But we can't relax because we are still in the cross-hairs of catastrophic weather. To make the most of our cabin fever, Sue borrowed a contraption that will convert our miles of VHS videos, (Andrew's early childhood) onto DVD's.
This process has allowed us to view tapes (from birth to twelve years old), that we haven't seen (for at least nine year), since the VCR became obsolete.
During our nostalgic retrospective, I melt every time an old (wonderful) memory is stoked. This warm and fuzzy feeling is also due to the concept of...how fragile life is. Plus, in terms of the universe's size, how unlikely it is that any of us are here. So I can't help but think...any subtle change, no matter how slight...would have altered the uniqueness of the wonderful bundle the stork delivered to us.
|A STORK BRINGING BABIES IS NOT ANCIENT FOLKLORE. THIS SERVICE WAS STILL PROVIDED UNTIL RECENT COST ANALYSIS STUDIES INDICATED THAT SOARING LITIGATION FROM ANIMAL WELFARE ADVOCATES AND ESCALATING INSURANCE PRICES MADE IT UNPROFITABLE.|
The bond between baby Andrew and his parents was immediate and would prove to be eternal.
|A COUPLE OF DAYS OLD, MY LITTLE GUY'S FIRST CLOSE-UP.|
All parents kvell over their own child. When that pride is reinforced, those memories last a lifetime.
|(MARCH 7, 1994). OUR FIRST WELL-VISIT TO PEDIATRICIAN. DR. AMIR (above) SAID THE GOLDEN WORDS THAT FOREVER REMAIN WARM IN OUR HEART AND SOUL, "YOU GOT GOOD BABY."|
Nothing is more important to a parent than seeing your child happy.
|MORE THAN JUST LUCK, SUE AND I HAD A LOT TO DO WITH ANDREW'S HAPPY DISPOSITION BUT EVEN AT A YOUNG AGE, HE ALWAYS KNEW HOW TO HAVE HIS OWN GOOD TIME.|
When Andrew first socialized with other children, we got an inkling that he was truly special. It was only natural that my little Uberman (see below) related to the Man of Steel...even if eventually...through the process known as osmosis, he developed a kindred spirit to the Dark Knight...Batman...and let's not forget Sponge Bob.
|OCTOBER 31, 1998, KOUNTRY KIDS PRE-SCOOL IN SMITHVILLE...ANDREW DIDN'T NEED TO RIP PHONE BOOKS IN HALF TO STAND OUT IN THE CROWD.|
My little Farnsworth's lust for life isn't limited to mere good fortunate. He is also intelligent, a skilled, hard worker and a winner.
|OCEAN CITY MARYLAND JUNE 25, 1999. ANDREW RACKS-UP FOUR TENS ON THE POKERENO MACHINE. AFTER THE ARCADE'S MANAGEMENT REVIEWED THE TAPES, THEY RULED MY BOY'S DOUBLE REVERSE BACKSPIN MANEUVER ILLEGAL... AND BANNED HIM FOR A YEAR.|
Nobody knows how to party better than Andrew...in his own way...of course.
|AUGUST 1998. ANTHONY L.'S FOURTH BIRTHDAY CARDIFF NJ. ANDREW IS FAMOUS FOR COCKING PARTY HATS OFF TO A SIDE...EVEN THOUGH MANY MOMS INSISTED ON RE-ADJUSTING IT FOR HIM.|
I taught Andrew many life lessons including being open, to new ideas, all different people and strange foods he never heard of.
|DECEMBER 30, 1999. AT OUR MILLENNIUM PARTY FOR MY MOTHER, AT FLORENTINO'S IN BENSONHURST BROOKLYN. ANDREW WAS INTRODUCED TO SCUNGILLI AND CALAMARI. AT FIRST HE WAS RELUCTANT TO EAT SQUID AND CONCH...BUT HE STILL LOVES THEM TO THIS DAY.|
Like Marisa Tomei's biological clock, time keeps ticking. To celebrate this fact, Andrew rings in the new millennium.
|JANUARY 1, 2000 MANAHAWKIN NJ. BUOYED BY FISTFULS OF M and M's AND SKITTLES, NOTHING, NOT EVEN THE Y2K THREAT, COULD STOP ANDREW FROM STAYING AWAKE LONG ENOUGH TO USHER IN THIS SPECIAL OCCASION.|
Andrew's appreciation for the finer things in life include a great sensitivity towards animals. The list of pets he loved included Pierre, Frenchy and Lucky the frogs. Cutie (aka Zhitnik) and Picasso his guinea pigs. And his "sister" Roxy (aka Muttzilla).
|WANNA SEE PRIDE IN OWNERSHIP? THAT'S ANDREW TAKING CUTIE FOR A WALK. PLEASE NOTE THE SKIES OF OUR NEIGHBORHOOD ARE FILLED WITH HAWKS AND ANDREW NEVER LET HIS PETS GET EATEN...NOT EVEN ONCE!|
From a parent's perspective, it was always a joy to travel with Andrew. It didn't matter if it was an exotic foreign country, a fancy, far away hotel, a museum, the beach or the zoo, my guy found the goodness in everything he did.
|SEPTEMBER 2000. A QUICK DETOUR TO "LUCY THE ELEPHANT" ON OUR WAY TO THE MARGATE STREET FESTIVAL.|
A great part of Andrew's essence, is his respect for others. I've never heard him raise his voice or use vulgar language against anyone. Even in his adolescence, he had the ability to be diplomatic, calming and friendly.
|CUB SCOUT FATHER-SON OVER NIGHT OUTING. JULY 13, 2002, BROOKVILLE NJ. ANDREW WOULD NEVER TELL SOMEONE TO, "GO JUMP IN THE LAKE," UNLESS HE DID IT FIRST.|
My boy's value system is beyond reproach. Back in pre-school, Sue and I weren't sure what an aide meant when she said, "Your son is incredibly righteous for a three-year old." It didn't take long for us to figure out that she said was right.
|JANUARY 6, 2002. IF YOU CAN GET BEYOND THAT THIS IS A NUDIE PIC, PLEASE REALIZE THAT FEW KIDS EMBODIED THE CONCEPT OF WHOLESOMENESS AND FAIR PLAY MORE THAN ANDREW.|
When I think back to Andrew's infancy and my awkwardness as a parent, I remember wanting to skip the crying, eating, sleeping and pooping stage. At around four-months old, I remember the joy of being able to play with my son and get a positive reaction. A friend commented on my epiphany, "Savor every minute because he's constantly changing. And the best part is, now every new stage, gets better and better...and it never stops." That friend's wisdom was absolutely correct.
|CHERISH EVERY MOMENT OF YOUR CHILD'S DEVELOPMENT...BECAUSE TIME MARCHES ON.|
While converting our family VHS tapes onto DVD's, I don't expect you to sit through it, (see how much I love my readers), So, I made the pictorial display of his youth (above), to sum-up the greatness of my Andrew's character. At the same time, I ask you to help us celebrate the month-long extravaganza of his twenty-first birthday, (adding your comments at the end of this blog is a great way to do it).
So while I claim to only be slightly cosmic, I remind you that Andrew's middle name is Bennett...when translated into Hebrew is, Baruch...which is their word word blessing! Talk about your self-fulfilling prophesies.
More importantly, no doctor, no scientist and no tarot card reading Gypsy could ever convince me that any change leading up to conception would have netted us the same Andrew that we all know and love.
|HERE I GO GETTING COSMIC AGAIN. IT'S MY STARRY ANDREW ...YOU KNOW HIM, YOU LOVE HIM, YOU CAN LIVE WITHOUT HIM...(Photo Credit to Heiner).|
Now, I think I want to take back my "OOPS," from the top of this page. I'm glad I forgot (temporarily) about that silly anniversary. We shouldn't dwell on decades old negativity. Especially, if like me, you have better things to think about.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY ANDREW! I say just keep doing what you've been doing and you'll get the most out of life.