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McCall 1 Wesley McCall Jeff Naftzinger ENC-1101 24 October 2013 Position Shift Paper: A Transformation of the Heart For most of my life I have been a very “family oriented” person. My family was close-knit family that liked to travel and have the big family events at Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. We were the ones who would have a “movie night” every Tuesday night at home, while drinking hot chocolate (coffee for my dad and me) and eating popcorn. When my parents divorced, it maintained a very routine cycle, just without my dad. I eventually gave up on the relationship I once had with my dad; I detached myself from him in every way I could in order to prepare myself for who I was supposed to be, free from the influence of a father whose actions were different from the man I wanted to be. When I was younger, up until I was an 11-year-old when my dad moved in with his girlfriend after my parents split, I would come home from school, take a brief nap, and finish any homework so that I could spend time with my family. A plethora of times this resulted in my napping too late and consequently rushing trying to get my homework done. Once I had finished everything that I needed to do, my mom and I would spend the remainder of the afternoon cooking dinner for my dad and brothers. It was a long process; my brothers have had anaphylactic food allergies to milk, eggs, nuts, and wheat for most of their lives, so a lot of times

McCall 2 my mom and I would cook two meals a night: one for my dad, my mom, and me, and another for the two tikes. When dinner was done, my mom and I would sometimes curl up on the couch and watch TV while we waited for the timer to beep, signaling that dinner was finished. When it came near to 6 o’clock every night, I would sit in the same old, overstuffed, forest green chair by the garage door for my dad to come home from work. He worked in St. Petersburg, Florida, which was about an hour away from our house in Riverview during rush hour. He would open that door, drop his black briefcase on the floor, turn around and pick me up almost immediately; sometimes, I couldn’t wait for the briefcase to drop so I would jump on his back as he bent over to drop his briefcase. The smell of his cologne on his suit that I smelled every Monday through Friday as my face was buried in his shoulder is something that I can never forget. I was such a daddy’s boy; he was my best friend for most of my life, and I was his. He’d eventually set me down and give my mom a kiss as my brothers flocked his legs like seagulls around a fish. Once all the excitement had died down, we’d all eat dinner at the table. What happened after dinner was always the best: I would spend quality time with him “alone.” Once he and I were both done, he would carry me from the table to the living room where we would wrestle until one of us conceded and “tapped out” (usually him). Then, we, all five of us, would have “TV time,” when my brothers would get their time with my dad. My brothers, Lance and Jesse, would then end up back in my mom’s lap and I would curl up in my dad’s left arm as we watched a movie or TV until I fell asleep, when he would carry me to bed and tuck me in for the night. Lance and Jesse were two and four years younger than me, respectively. The age difference caused us to never really be able to do much until Lance was a teenager. Before that

McCall 3 point, however, we were the typical sibling trio; we constantly fought and battled each other over who would pick the TV shows, wrestle to see who was strongest (always me), but we still loved each other at the end of the day. Looking back, I wished I had spent a little more time with them. In May of 2006, I woke up to a moving truck outside, our living room in disarray, and my mom crying in a chair by the door. My dad had woken me up gently as he normally did on Sundays for church, but when I sat up, he put his arm around me and told me he was going to be leaving for a while. I didn’t know any better to realize what was happening. My father normally had business trips to go on, so I just assumed it would be a two week trip; after all, he said that it was only temporary! I got up and helped his carry some bags to a moving van outside. I found that strange, that there was a moving truck required for a business trip. When he asked me to help him unpack at the place he was staying at I was relatively confused. I agreed only to find out what was happening. When we arrived at an apartment complex in Port Charlotte, Florida, about an hour away from home, I helped him unpack the truck into a room on the second floor. “Awfully close for a ‘business trip’” I thought. “Oh well, it doesn’t matter; at least he’d be closer for this one!” Once it was all empty, my dad held me close like he had done for years and told me that he loved me as usual, but something seemed different about this time. I couldn’t quite figure it out until we got back home and my dad left almost immediately without telling my mom goodbye. It was then that I realized that he was never going to move back in… I would spend every other weekend with my dad at his apartment there in Port Charlotte, Florida. My father gave us kids the choice of visitation, but I always went to be with my “best friend.” For a year, he would pick us up from school and take us back to his apartment. We spent Christmas Eve there that year, next to the small two foot, artificial tree. The size of the

McCall 4 tree didn’t matter much as we were actually together for a holiday. That year, “Santa” and my dad both pitched in to give me a bike that I eventually brought to college six years later. I didn’t know that would be the last Christmas Eve I would ever see him by choice again. After his year’s lease ended in May of 2007, he moved in with his girlfriend, Jennifer, with whom he’d had an affair with while married to my mom. I had met her maybe once or twice, but never really talked to her. I knew she had a daughter and an ex-husband, but when I found out she lived in the same neighborhood as where my family had lived for over 9 years, I was beyond confounded. By the time my dad moved in with her, I refused to see him or go over to their house. He showed up one day on my mom’s doorstep one night asking to see me. When I went out to see him, he asked me what the reason was that I refused to go to his house or see him. The answer was simple, I told him. I didn’t agree with his actions regarding the way he left my family, moved in with another woman, and for ruining the way of life that I was accustomed to. “You’ve brought this on yourself, and until you apologize for stepping out on me, I will not talk to you again.” Those were my last words to him as I walked back inside, leaving him outside in the cold. It hurt more than I imagined it would, but I couldn’t rationalize his actions in any way. I didn’t see or even speak to him for over a year, until he came and apologized for hurting me at my eighth grade “graduation.” The choices he had made had caused the life he and I had once had together to no longer exist. I was no longer going to be a daddy’s boy ever again. At home, as a result of my dad’s absence, my mom and I became increasingly closer. I quickly shifted from a daddy’s boy to a mama’s boy. She replaced my dad as the person I confided in, snuggled with at night, and trusted beyond anything else. I quickly realized that

McCall 5 this woman, who was trying to give her best effort to providing for us as a single mom with a low-income job, needed help. The lack of a strong central male figure at home caused me to take on much more responsibility as a youngling than should have been necessary. I took the initiative and stepped up to fill the position of the “man of the house.� The job I wanted to fill so badly was not what I initially expected. I expected just doing some small chores, but I quickly took on more and more responsibility as I grew up and desired to help her more. My mom relied on me at first to help with my brothers in any way I could. Lance and Jesse had health issues, so I would typically help give them their medicines. I’d also normally help them with their homework, getting them ready for school the next day, or, especially later on in life, driving them to school every day. With my mom, all I could do at first was fold laundry. As the months turned into years, I slowly brought it upon myself to do more and more housework. I became extremely proficient at washing dishes and doing all aspects of laundry. The thing was, though, that it never felt like a burden to me. I was more than happy to do all of it because it was my way of showing my mom that I loved her and my way of showing my brothers that I cared for them as well. Mostly, it showed them that I would never give up on them like my dad did.

Position Shift Paper