Just drove across South Dakota! Sitting in a Starbucks in Rapid City. Stopped at the Wall Drug, finally got to see the place that gives out all those bumper stickers. As I was wandering around the place, I started getting this urge to purchase a cowboy hat, even tried on a few. I started thinking maybe I should buy a book on the west. Maybe, even purchase a piece of art that I could hang up in my living room. This way the memory of being in South Dakota, and specifically at Wall Drug for the hour that I was there, would not be forgotten, I can show people how worldly I have become. The problem was, I started seeing all the Made in China and other foreign labels, not “Made In The USA”. When that happened it really took away from the illusion that I was in the American West. I came back down to earth. What is it that riles me all up with nostalgia and makes me think that purchasing something in South Dakota will make me capture the essence of the place?
I posted a newspaper article from Helena, Montana that was done on me on the Baseball Buddha Facebook page. I liked what she wrote. Yesterday, I was also interviewed in Sioux Falls and I posted that on the page as well. I can tell that I have relaxed quite a bit from the first few times I was interviewed. I know the story flows a bit better. As the journey has progressed and the realization that I might actually be able to finish this, it has hit me how lucky I am to have the people in my life that I rely on. I have talked about the people that help me everyday, Roger, Beth and, my brother, Chad. But the unsung persons that don’t get mentioned very often are my ex-wife and daughter. I know I have told you how much I love my daughter, and that I am very proud of her. Her support and encouragement has been unwavering. She tells me how cool it is that I am doing this. Even though, I worry that I haven’t been there for her. To make sure that when she falls down, I would be there to pick her up – Because, that’s what Dad’s do.
Well, I am very lucky to have the ex-wife that I have. We get along very well (most of the time). When I was contemplating this trip it was important to me that she supported me. I know that my daughter is 19 and will be a sophomore in college, but parenting doesn’t just end. My worry was that I would overburden my Ex, since at times with a teenage daughter and mother, you become a referee. You get the picture. I just need to say that my ex-wife and I have been on the same page with our daughter since we have gotten divorced seven years ago. Our worry has always been Sami. We haven’t been perfect, but it seemed when one of us was down or emotionally not available, the other picked up the slack with her. She has always supported me and my goofy little manifestos on how to raise a child. I know that being married to me for as long as she was is quite the accomplishment in itself.
By no means was our marriage perfect but it wasn’t all bad. I choose to remember the good times and I love my ex-wife for who she is. Sometimes that can be very trying, but I wouldn’t trade her for the world. She is the mother of my daughter, she was the one that was there for her when I was going through what I call my “dark period” after the divorce. She maintained a household. I made a pledge that I would be the best ex-husband I could be. It was a choice and at times, one that was tested. There are moments I like to get self righteous when she does things I don’t like; but, believe me, she is quick to put me in my place. Our marriage didn’t work out but our friendship remains strong and is a testament to what can be done if you are willing to humble yourself at times. Our daughter didn’t get the All-American upbringing and I think that might have been hard on her. However, I think when she looks back and sees how unique it was, she will be very grateful.
I point all this out because I am constantly amazed at what my ex-wife has accomplished in her life. A life that has had its’ fair share of turbulence. Even though, she has persevered. Life may not have always been the way that I would have done it, or I even agreed with at the time – but she is still standing. She has a successful career, a beautiful heart, and we both have a well adjusted and intelligent daughter. As much as I want to take a lot of the credit for our daughter, the genetic code is a combination of both of us. My Ex is a strong independent woman, even when she doesn’t want to be, that needs to recognized. She might burn all the bridges to the island she is living on at times, but that is what makes her who she is. Before anyone says anything disparaging about her, I will gladly take you to the woodshed and point out how wrong you are. Don’t ever forget she is the mother of my daughter and I have love and admiration for her. I may joke about her personality, but her heart is always in the right place!
You may be asking why I would post this. The reason is simple, you can’t live life in a vacuum. I am the person I am because of the people I surround myself with, people have said I have inspired them and that is great. I am just mentioning the people that inspire me everyday by the little things that they do. They don’t have to travel the country and go to a baseball game everyday to be inspirational.
When I started this trip, I said I would be as honest and forthright as I can be. I have a lot of time to think and contemplate life as I am driving. I watch and observe people when I am at the baseball games and form my opinions when I am doing these activities. I will get back to writing baseball related stories; but, what I wrote needed to be said. Thanks for reading it!
(Another thing, because it does get mentioned, my ex-wife and me made the correct decision when we got divorced. Sometimes things in our lives just don’t work out. Even with that said, our friendship is strong because we have chosen to resolve our differences as best as we can).