Category Archives: Christopher Trester

Challenge yourself and change your perspective.

I have never been one to let my own limitations hold me back, though several times my body will reach up and slap me and remind me that while the spirit is willing the flesh isn’t always able, I have always tried to live my life to the fullest that I could. I thought I had been doing well at it, but I discovered I was failing and doing so quite spectacularly.

While I have always tried to let things go, I have found myself concentrating on the negative more than the positive as of late, not something that is hard to do in the current climate, it feels sometimes like that’s what the world wants. Misery loves company and it seems misery has been gaining more and more company as the years go by. Every day we hear about something else we should fear, some other way someone is going to screw us, some other horrible atrocity that we have no idea how or why it happened. Life has taken what we once were, children with wide open eyes who saw a promise in everything, to beaten down adults who look not for the positive in things but for the negative in absolutely everything.

Do you remember when you were a kid? The rush you felt riding your bike, or playing a new game, how about when you would try something new, or when you made a new friend? Do you remember the excitement you woke up with each day? I know life has a way of beating that out of us, as adults we have bills, we have other people to look after, we have money that doesn’t go quite as far as we need it to, we have people on television yelling at us about how horrible everyone and everything is and dividing us in every way they can, it makes you feel like the joy you had as a child was a fleeting one that you can never get back, but I promise you there are ways to recapture that feeling.

This summer showed me that, it all started when I spent the weekend with two men I love like brothers, in that weekend they opened my eyes to what I had been missing in life. I was trying to hard to be “grown”, to act responsibly to be what I thought the definition of a grown up was that I was forgetting to actually enjoy life. That weekend we went fishing in the rain, stayed up all hours of the night, played disk golf the next morning and took a tour of restaurants ranging from Vietnamese cuisine to Mexican Menudo stew. When I came home something was different about me, and since that weekend I have done everything I can to keep that going.

Now I try and make every day like that weekend, I take the kids to the park just to play around, or we throw a fishing pole into the water and just enjoy where we are. I get my friends together to stomp around the woods while playing disk golf, which I suck at and really don’t totally understand, but we are all laughing at each other and ourselves. It fills me with a youthful energy that I haven’t had in a long time.

The bills are still there, my sons medical bills come in every month and seem to take more and more of our money each time, as do my medical bills, the mortgage comes in,, the utility bills, saving what I can for Christmas, but when I start to stress, when I start to find things that take my enjoyment away from me, I get the kids and we get on our bikes, or we go in the backyard and play tag, or we play horseshoes, or I call up my friends and throw together an impromptu game of disk golf.

So I challenge you, find the things you can control, the things in your life that are making you unhappy that you can take control of, and let them go. Find a way to recapture your youth, to spend an afternoon where you let go of your worries for even an hour and act like an 8 year old again. Let go of your grudges, let go of anything that you can that fills you with regret or despair and fill your life with things that will make you excited again. Try new things and let go of the old things that are no longer a joy, play a board game with some strangers, volunteer at the local library to read to small children, or just to put away the books, get a bike, find a park and take a ride around, explore a part of town you have never been to, or find a small town near you and take a trip to see what it’s like, buy a fishing pole and put it in the water, play a card game with your friends, learn to play dominoes and head to the local retirement home and volunteer to play with some of the residents, dance in the rain with someone you care about, or with no one at all.

Change your perspective, change how you look at life, and challenge yourself to be young again.

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Today my son turns 8.

I sit here waiting for my family to arrive, it’s already been a hectic day and it only promises to get crazier as the night goes on. You see today is my son’s 8th birthday, and as I type this all I can think of is how unpredictable life is.

The week began with heartbreak and loss, we buried my grandmother on Tuesday and I am still struggling to come to terms with it, for selfish reasons. I have these things I wish I could have said to her that I didn’t and wasted opportunities that I want back but know I can’t have them.

But today is full of celebration and promise, and it’s not a time I plan to waste. I never thought I would be a father and to honest I never thought I would want to be one, I didn’t think I had anything to offer a child. Today I couldn’t imagine myself not a father. I am still unsure if I have much to offer my kids,  I don’t have any great talent, I am not insanely wealthy,  all I can off them is  total and unconditional love and a vow to always be there when they need me.

My son has had his struggles in his short life, having issues with his breathing that he regrettably inherited from me, as well as a severe case of ADHD which threatened to derail his life in a major way quite early. Through it all we have fought to help him as much as we could, and through it all he never lost his smile, he never lost his sense of wonder and he never stopped laughing.

I look at my son and I am marveled by how he does things, I am incredibly proud of him and become prouder every day. I watched as he refused to back down at a very young age when he knew something was right and something was wrong. When bullies kept picking on a young girl in preschool and he couldn’t get the teachers to intervene he decided to take matters into his own hands. He picked a fight with three bullies, and yes he took his lumps and yes he got in al bunch of trouble at school, but it was hard for me to be mad at him, because I was proud of him, I was proud of him for standing up for someone who couldn’t stand up for themselves, that’s something that people older than me refuse to do everyday, yet my 5 year old knew it was the right thing to do.

He loves to write stories and create adventures, his room is full of action figures and he has created his own world for them, he loves to come to the dinner table and tell us of the most recent adventure of Batman or Spider Man, how GI Joe is raiding Cobra Island or how the Millenium Falcon is hurtling towards a black hole and how if we make him finish his dinner the galaxy may be in great danger.

He cares deeply for others, and I am worried that as he gets older that will test him. The world is a cruel one and it’s only getting crueler everyday, it’s filled with hollow people with hollow emotions. People who have no idea what it means to really care for someone else without getting something in return. My son just wants to be there for people, he wants to do whatever it’ll take to make the people around him laugh, or feel comfortable, and I think as he gets older people are going to take advantage of that. I just hope that it doesn’t harden his heart, because that’ll break mine.

He always knows how to make me smile, when I am having a bad day he always tries to brighten the day up with a knock-knock joke or just by sitting next to me and asking if he can read to me, something I never grow tired of.

 At the beginning of the school year  he had to write a paper on what he wanted to grow up to be, he didn’t say he wanted to be a police officer, he didn’t say he wanted to be an astronaut or the President, he said he wanted to be a dad, he wanted to be a dad like me because I was his hero.

When the week started I was gripped in a great despair, as the week comes to an end I would be lying if I said I wasn’t still hurting but as I hear the cars pull up and prepare for the celebration of the day of my son’s birth I can’t help but feel that things are going to get better, and my son will have allot to do with that, because just like I am always going to be there for him, he is always there for me, and with him at my side I can do anything, because I may be his hero, but the truth is, he’s mine.

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My grandmother

My Grandmother was many things.

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She was born on an Indian Reservation in Shamrock, Oklahoma. She lived through the Great Depression and only ate turnip greens, which caused her to hate turnip greens with a passion for the rest of her life. She lost her brother at a young age in a hunting accident. She moved to Chicago, Illinois and met a young Italian boy in high school, and they fell in love. They broke apart once, and when a young navy man showed interest in my grandmother, the young Italian boy followed the Navy gentleman into the bathroom, beat him up and ripped off his mustache, to let everyone know to stay away from his girl.

She and that young Italian boy were married, and she supported him as he build a life and his dream of being in racing. They struggled, and hid under the bed when the landlord would come looking for the rent, her first born son did not have a crib, instead he slept in the drawer of one of their dressers.

Success came and they moved from Chicago to Charlotte where they raised 8 children, they built and life and a home for those children ,over 20 grandchildren and a multitude of great grandchildren, one of which was born a few days ago. She suffered through the loss of 3 of those children, and three of those grandchildren. And through it all she remained the rock that we all needed.

She never learned how to drive but was able to take care of anyone who needed it. She loved books and would always read, she could paint statues that belonged in a museum of fine art exhibit, she could cook better than anyone in this world, she knew what to say when you were feeling down, and what to say when you need a good kick in the rear.  Whenever I felt lost growing up all I had to do was go to her house, she always helped me find my way.

My Grandmother left this world on Saturday Morning at 4am while I was fast asleep. I never got the chance to really tell her how much I loved her, to tell her how much she meant to me, to tell her how much she saved me and how she shaped me into the person I am today. She taught me how to cook, she gave me a love of books that I have passed down to my children, she gave me a place to stay when I needed it, she gave me a home, and she loved me no matter how much I screwed up or how stupid I was.

This morning I had the hard task of telling my children that Grammy was gone. My daughter, who enjoyed getting to go to my grandmother’s  house and have tea parties, was very sad. My son perked her up by explaining how his paper airplane was flying so much better than they normally do, and he could not figure out why and  now he knew, Grammy was making it fly higher. My daughter smiled and skipped away saying that she was sure Grammy would now be there whenever she wanted to have a tea party, and they could now have one every day. My son threw his plane, looked at me and exclaimed “SEE DADDY!!!” and then took off to play with it some more.

I had been struggling with her death since I heard of it, I could not smile, I could not laugh, I was as far down as I could go. But when my son ran from my room I smiled, I smiled and I cried, and I thought to myself how lucky I was to have the family I had, and I realized that my daughter was right, my grandmother would always be there. She helped shape me into the man I have become, and the lessons I now teach my children, many that I learned from her, will live on and in them so will her spirit.

My Grandmother IS many things, she’s the voice in the back of my head, she is the guest of honor at my daughters tea party every day, she is the wind that helps fly my son’s plane, and she will never be far from any of us.

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