FIVE SONGS ON YOUR PLAYLIST:
1. Take What's Mine Baumer
2. Remember The Name - Fort Minor
3. Burning Down The House - The Used
4. Pictures of You - The Last Goodnight
5. Bother - Stone Sour
FIVE FACEBOOK/TWITTER STATUS UPDATES:
-- falling out of bed, skipping breakfast and missing my ride... #ItMustBeMoanday
-- all the haters to the left ;) #SmellsLikeWinning
-- a business meeting and a lunch date in one, who says men can't multi-task? ;) #JustThatGood
-- is it in secretarial job descriptions to be as thick as too short planks? #morons
-- when did I become a suitable Crayola canvas? >< #TheTillyMonsterStrikes
FIVE SIGNIFICANT EVENTS IN YOUR LIFE:
Accidents Can Be On Purpose:
There are three main 'accidents' that have helped to shape my life: the first time I crashed my car, my beautiful niece, Matilda, being born and that fatal crash that took my sister and Tilly's mother away. The big crash is something that I don't particularly like talking about, but I'll fill you in later, and I guess I shouldn't class Tilly as an accident, but my sister, Charlotte, didn't exactly plan the poor kid that isn't to say that she didn't adore Tilly either, much as I adore her too. I guess this part is for me to more talk about the first time I crashed my car. I have this little tattoo on the inside of my left wrist, which reads 'casu consulto'. It means 'accidentally on purpose' and it's because of my first crash that I got that tattoo. See, the thing is everyone seemed to think I had some sort of perfect life growing up, but I really didn't CC left home when she was sixteen (I was eleven, at the time) and I never really understood why until I myself hit my teens. Unlike her, I never really felt like I had anywhere to go, so I stuck with living at home, taking all the grief and misery from my parents as I tried to get through school, taking on weight from CC, regardless of how many times she told me not to take it and just leave. I was trying to be the stronger person, be the big boy about things, only to be shattered into pieces before I was supposed to move away for University. Now, no one was really aware of the grief I was getting besides CC, so when I got my driver's license and just so happened to find myself crashing my car within the same month, it didn't really come as much of a surprise to her, only to have her comment on how she'd've hoped I wouldn't have tried something so...elaborate. That's right, folks me actually getting into a crash was a less than happy coincidence that I had gone out specifically looking for, but nothing about the crash would give that away. Sure, at the time, I genuinely thought I was looking to die in that crash, but, looking back, I was just trying to get a reaction, any reaction out of my parents, whether I lived to see it or not.
Once A Student, Always A Student:
I was always that mega studious kid at school I'm sure you know the type: that one kid that always got pushed around for being too clever, that got bullied into doing all of the other kids' homework and that got shunned from every real social circle going. Yeah, that was me. I really should've known better than to think being smart was 'cool', but, look at me now! I went from small town boy to moving to another country and then to another continent in order to pursue my true line of education I don't know many other people that could brag that. Hell, I graduated from Harvard, for crying out loud, and I definitely don't know anyone from my home town that can brag that. I worked damn hard to get where I am today with only my sister as any real support...sure, my parents contributed financially, but did they come to any of my graduations? Like hell they did! I'm twenty five, going on twenty six this summer and in my life time have had three graduation ceremonies, you'd think they'd've made it to at least one...regardless, I did well, I got through and now I get to work for a high end law firm in Manhattan. I got what I wanted out of my life and if my parents don't want to be proud of that, then so be it let them wallow in their own self pity because they'll have none of mine! Even Tilly's been of greater support to me than they ever really have and she's only five now that poor kid is smarter than anyone has ever given her her credit for, besides me, and I'm going to make sure that she uses it to her advantage when she's old enough to appreciate it.
Last Night, A Nightmare Changed My Life:
So, there's this crash, the crash we never talk about...when I say 'we', I obviously mean my parents, Tilly and I. Hell, the older Tilly gets, the more questions she asks and that's blatantly something she's going to be interested in knowing about, despite the outcome of the story. Both she and I were involved and got away with our lives and it's only natural for a kid like her to have a few questions like that it's not something I like to talk about myself, but I'm not going to hide away from answering her questions. I can appreciate that she isn't exactly going to remember much of it for herself either because it was a couple of years ago, so she was even smaller and certainly more fragile than she is now. It's no lie that the crash I was in when I was eighteen doesn't still haunt me from time to time and, sure, this time, I didn't think I was going to be so lucky to walk away from it, considering that on the severity scale, this crash was easily a hundred times worse. Like that first crash in my teenage years, I remember every harrowing second of it and, in that one crash, I lived through one of my worst nightmares: I held my sister's hand and watched the light leave her eyes as she died right there beside me. How I survived, I'll never be able to figure out, I'm just thankful that I did because no one else would have been there for little Tilly. It took everything in me not to have a panic attack right there and then as I tried to look at my niece from my odd vantage point (when the car actually stopped 'crashing', it was on it's roof CC and I were held in by our seatbelts and Tilly was held in by the damn miracle that was her car seat at the time) calling her name only to have her crying mine back in response. We were rescued, obviously too late for CC, but in time for Tilly and I and I certainly took great pleasure in having arranged a fantastic lawyer to raise a case against the driver that had hit us before we had even reached the hospital. Causing death by careless driving under the influence of drink or drugs and the gap that is left in a child's life when her mother is killed because of it: 14 years is not enough...
Building The Foundations Of A Stable Home:
After the accident, with CC gone, I knew that things with Tilly were going to be up in the air, especially since both her and I were sent directly to my parents house when it was apparent that I wasn't well enough to take care of her myself and that she needed a little more care than usual anyway. Being under specific bed rest orders didn't stop me arranging for everything I needed to get back to Manhattan as soon as possible, making arrangements for Tilly to come with me as well. I looked into everything: playgroups, schools, carers, the works I didn't need much to get myself re-established as I already had everything just waiting for me to get back to it I wasn't exactly experienced in the specific needs of a child that I would be the primary caterer for, seeing as I'm not an actual father myself. It was absolutely heartbreaking to have to leave Tilly behind when I was well enough to go swanning off to Manhattan myself I'd not been able to arrange everything for her, there was so much damn paperwork that needed to be processed, so I couldn't legally take her with me at the time, technical guardian or not but having the chance to get things in order without her around meant I could focus better and be more objective about things before I started adjusting her life to moving to a different continent. All she had ever known was Swansea and London, so I was just trying to make the transition as easy as possible for her she'd already had her world turned upside down without me messing it up.
Good Things Come To Those Who Wait:
I honestly didn't think I had a single paternal bone in my body, but CC always commented on how good I was with Tilly, so when questions started to arise as to where Tilly should go on a more permanent basis, I was obviously the first person to step on up there and raise my hand to the responsibility. I wasn't having my niece shipped off to some home or something just because her grandparents wouldn't make things easy on the poor kid and take her in for the time being, but, of course, as soon as I tried to take her on for myself, they put up one hell of a fight. Here's a big tip for you, mum and dad: if there's ever a chance you're going to end up in a custody battle with your son, having allowed said son to train as a lawyer for a good chunk of his life, don't ever expect to win! I may work stupidly long hours and live in a not exactly child friendly flat, but those are things I can change and am certainly more than willing to do for her. I'm definitively more stable and can provide for her better - deal with it!
HOW YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR LIFE RIGHT NOW:
As ever, life could obviously be a lot better, but I can't really dwell on that sort of thing, particularly since I've got Tilly to think about now it feels good to have everything starting to fall back into some kind of order and it feels especially good to finally have her living here in Manhattan with me, regardless of how much of my time is actually spent working than with her. I'm hoping that I'll get a good balance between work and home life soon, so that I don't miss Tilly growing up like my folks did with me and CC. I obviously miss my sister every day and it's certainly difficult with my folks being back in Swansea, but that's definitely for the best they never really did much for me, so I wouldn't expect them to do much for Tilly. Everything will work out on the end, I'm sure of it...it damn well has to and I certainly can't give up now when there's someone depending on me. My life is a puzzle and I just need to start being serious about putting it together again.