Sweet 16

Today May 11 2020 is my daughter’s 16th birthday.  It’s gonna be a great day.  We won’t be able to celebrate the way we had hoped because of the ‘Rona, but we’ll still do fine enough.

It’s got me thinking tho.  I’m kind of between mission_accomplished/melancholy in how I feel about it.  My baby girl is 16 today.  My baby girl’s Sweet 16 is going to be hella better than my 16th was.

My therapist would call what I’ll write next as “unpacking”

First, go back to this post : Happy 19th Anniversary Ironically enough, that post on July 4 2011 was just shy of the beginning of my sobriety on Aug 16 2011.  This Aug 16 will be 9 years when we get there.

Quick summary tho if you don’t feel like clicking – July 1992 mom dad and I are living outside Ramstein AFB Germany, having lived there since late 1989.  I wake up Saturday July 4 1992 and my parents tell me they’re getting divorced.  My 16th birthday is later that same month.  We had moved to Ramstein from Panama City FL, so a week or two later we were back in PC going thru the motions of the ‘rents getting divorced.  We still had friends in the area so that was a comfort.  After that we’re back in Germany packing up our stuff to move.  Mom and I head back to a different part of FL to start our new lives, and Dad stays in Germany.   There.  You’re all caught up.

Since it’s my daughter’s 16th tho, it amazes me to contrast the life she’s had versus the life I had and how different my situation was compared to hers.  I guess I’ve always subconsciously harbored a desire to not have my kids go through what I went through.  Divorce doesn’t just affect the husband and wife, it’s a divorce for the kids too.  My wife and I were on that path because of my drinking, but we’re much better now.

Anyway, I thought I’d start laying out a contrast of my life versus my daughter’s and try to remember as much as I could regarding that summer in 1992.

Me : Born in the Northern US, moved to several different locals after

Daughter (D) : Born in Southern US, moved to several different locals after

Me : changed schools 5 times between K-12

D : changed schools 5 times between K-9

Me : changed schools middle of 8th grade from US to go to Germany.  Life goal not to move my kids during middle or high school.

Me : lived in foreign country middle of 8th grade to end of 10th grade

D : has been in same locale 6th grade to present in 9th grade in the US

Me : got to see a lot of different parts of Europe, Middle School into High School

D : got to see a lot of different parts of the US, Elementary into High School

Me : finished 10th grade in Germany, woke up morning of Saturday July 4 1992 to find out parents are getting divorced, I’m going with Mom back to the states, and then we went to fireworks that night as a family.

D : got held back between K and 1st grade so is in 9th instead of 10th, and ya it’s not July 4, but still, a parallel can be drawn.

Me : July 1992; my parents are getting divorced.  Imma try and lay out my memories as best I can from that Saturday morning till moving to new place in FL with Mom after divorce.  A lot is clear, a lot is fuzzy.

Saturday July 4 1992 – notification of divorce, fireworks that night.  I invited a friend to come with and we walked around hanging out and I let him know.

Some point after (SPA), next week maybe – weekly Choices Youth group meeting, I let everyone know what was happening.  Thoughts and Prayers received.

SPA – I call my friend in Panama City I knew from before and let her know I’ll be in town.  We were friends before I moved to Germany and had kept in touch as pen pals while I was there.  Our writings got very deep and sentimental. We agree to hang out while I’m there.

SPA – fly to Panama City from Germany, Dad and I get a hotel room, Mom stays with family friends not too far away from Hotel.  We spend time catching up with them, doing things around town, seeing places we hadn’t seen in awhile.

I have memories of how damn hot it was in Northwest FL in July after being in Germany for almost 3 yrs.  I remember getting KFC from drive thru for the first time in forever.  See, Ramstein had some American comforts, but you take for granted what you have, then lose, only to be refound.  We had a Burger King, but I don’t remember having much else.  We didn’t have American Cable TV, Radio, Fast food, any of that.

I remember Dad getting a charter fishing trip as his present to me, I was able to contact a couple buddies of mine from before and they came out too.  Fun day of being on the water and fishing, hanging out with Friends.  Unfortunately, I don’t have a memory of what my mom did, tho I’m sure she did something.

I remember hanging out a lot with my old pen pal.  She helped me in more ways than she or I knew at the time.  She had a car and license so we hung out a lot and she took me a lot of places…In Germany you don’t get your license till 18 so that was a downer. Hanging out at her friend’s house, singing along to RHCP’s Under the Bridge, hanging out at the pier in her car listening to music.  Her jealous boyfriend.  The restaurant we ate at near the mall that had the best fried shrimp I’ve ever had.

I remember getting re-acquainted with Americana.  TV, radio, MTV.  There’s a few songs from that summer that’ll stay with me forever.  Life is a Highway by Tom Cochraine.  Stay with Me by Shakespeare’s Sister.  November Rain by Guns’n Roses.  Under the Bridge by RHCP.

I don’t have a specific memory of the day of the divorce being finalized.  I do remember it was amicable and no contention.  One day they’re still married, next day a piece of paper is signed and boom they’re not married any more.

After the Panama City shenanigans Mom Dad and I went back to Germany to pack up our stuff. Mom and I were going back to FL, a couple hours from Panama City, and Dad was staying in Germany. I remember moving day being contentious.  Dad was pissed at the movers because they were late or something like that so he was being pissy to everyone, Mom and I included.  I remember saying to him just because you’re pissed at the movers, you don’t have to take it out on us (mom and I).  I remember having to take a movie out of his stash from the split while dividing and packing.  He was taking it because he’d never watched it, but he didn’t realize I had bought it with my own money.

When Mom and I left Germany, Dad took us to the airport.  I remember it being surreal.  I don’t remember specifically getting back to the states or our family friends that picked Mom and I up from the airport but they had Mom and I stay with them until Mom got us an apartment. Mom later on found a house to buy in town and lives there still.

I remember the friends setting up a get together for me with a neighbor of theirs who had a pool and a HS age kid.  She got some friends together and invited me over to a get together across the street at her house. One of them I became really good friends with and we were college room mates and he was best man at my wedding.

Then life went on.

There’s prolly a lot more which I don’t remember right now, but if it pops up I’ll be sure to update it here.  All I know is, my wife and I are doing good, our family is doing good, and our lives are pretty damn good.  It’s called doing the best with what you have.

HBD to my babygirl.  Happy Sweet 16 baby, love you to the moon and back.


~ by sobriety6923 on May 11, 2020.

One Response to “Sweet 16”

  1. Happy Sweet Sixteen to your daughter!

    I bet that penpal was excited to hear from you and see you when you returned. Perhaps her jealous boyfriend had reason to worry. 😁

    Friendship is a wonderful thing. It paves our lives with experiences and memories that shape us into who we become. There is no set protocol for who becomes friends with whom. A small connection is all it takes to create a unforgettable friendship. I will always be grateful for the times I had with my best friends.

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