I’ve never written a blog, but thousands of people for some odd reason follow me on the Internet, so that leaves me wondering whether I should introduce myself, or pick up where I left off on facebook. When in doubt, I usually ask myself, “what would Karl Childers do”. So in his words, “I reckon I’ll, start up from the front & tell it to yee”.
I was born and raised in the Swannanoa Valley of Black Mountain, North Carolina.. A small town just 10 minutes east of Asheville. I’m an only clild, because my dad said I was birth control, and my mom always called me a “little shit”… so that’s basically the only explanation as to why I never had any siblings.
Me holding switch for being a shithead
In approximately 1984.
Here I am again during the most awkward stage of my life, and also in the most awkward photo of my life.
I spent the majority of my teenage years partying, and not doing homework. I was never a trouble maker, but 98% of the time I made horrible decisions.. Especially if I was in a situation that required me to make them on my own. I always had, and to this day have great parents that have given me way more than I deserve. .. but at 16, you already know everything about life.. so what could go wrong, no matter what they say, right?
In November of 1998, most of my teenage nonsense came to an abrupt halt. That morning about 10 am, I got in a terrible car crash that left me in ICU with a 6 inch skull fracture and a collapsed lung. The only thing that saved me (other than God) was that I was way too cool for a seat belt, so I was lucky enough to be ejected through the passenger side, rather than being crushed by the tree that was IN my drivers seat. (don’t try that at home) At the time of the accident, I was completely sober, but was transporting enough weekend pot that my buddies and I had chipped in on, that we could’ve blazed an entire small town in Mexico…and to this day, I’m pretty convinced the marijuana was split up between people that “stopped to check on me”, or the first responders, considering how an officer shows up while I’m in the hospital, and pulls from his pocket my Cartman from Southpark bowl, and a little tiny bag of weed, and says that he’s not going to charge me for all the pot they’d found in my vehicle, and he hoped that this could be used as a “life lesson”. At that time, I think that was the moment that I realized that I had been not only given a second chance at life, but the realization that I wasn’t nearly as cool as I thought I was, and the thought of being in any kind of trouble terrified me. That was a moment I’m grateful for, because I also could’ve chosen to believe that I could get away with anything.. but I guess at that moment, I was scared straight, and for the most part, that seemed to carry me through the rest of my teens without getting in any more trouble, with the law, anyway.
Meanwhile during my two week hospital stay, I’m starting to get mobile again, and also getting tons of visitors. But the one that kept coming by, and staying the longest was this brown eyed chick named, Amy McDonald. She went to a different school, but we’d known each other for a couple of years. She was smoking hot, and I was, well… In a hospital bed, weighing in at like 125lbs including my chest tube, with bleach blonde hair, and earing holes. (Basically I looked like a night crawler dressed like a Backstreet Boy) but for some odd reason she liked me back.. I got better, and at that point, we started our childish, dramatic, on again/off again, teenage realationship.
We spent the next couple of years crazy in love one day, then broke up the next. I remember one day I probably went back & forth from her house 20 times. It’s rumor that one of Amy’s parents said while they were watching me through their bedroom window, “They’re either going to get back together, or he’s gonna run out of gas”.
The longest Amy and I ever stayed split up was 6 months. On September 11th 2001, one year after high-school, I put 50 cents in the pay phone at work to call and tell her that I missed and loved her. I guess there was somthing about my cargo shorts, and Abercrombie & Fitch t-shirt that she just couldn’t resist. Three months later we were engaged, and on September 28, 2002.. we were married… I had just turned 21… She was 19.
I never really understood why Amy drove us away from our wedding. It felt awkward. I felt like everyone thought I had a suspended license or something.
Our Myrtle Beach honeymoon was amazing. (considering it was one of the first times Amy was allowed to go out of town with me) My parents gave us $1000, and my aunt and uncle gave us their condo for the week. We thought we were rich. On the first day, we had been out to eat twice, and to the Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum, putt putt, the aquarium, and spent like $70 bucks at the adult novelty store (Which I had to go in to by myself, because Amy wasn’t old enough) When we got back to the condo that evening, we realized that we’d spent $500 the first day.. This was Saturday. We still had 6 days left.. $500 for the rest of the week.. that included gas money to get home. We had no savings account, and no credit cards. On the way home we literally drafted off of other vehicles like we were in the Daytona 500, just to preserve enough fuel to make it back. And when the honeymoon was over… that’s when real life began.
Shorts, shirt, hair, ankle bracelet, earrings. So much “No” going on with me right here.
Like I said earlier, Amy and I both have parents that do way more for us than we deserve. My parents blessed us with a house. A major fixer upper, but the house that gave us our start. After years of renovation, it’s still a work in progress, but we’ve made my great grandmother’s house a home again.
As we settled into our new lives together, we didn’t necessarily get wiser. We fell into the night club and party scene.. and I don’t mean an occasional night out, I mean we’d leave the bars every Friday and Saturday night, and not remember how in the hell we got home, but we’d be at church every Sunday morning sitting in the pew with a pounding headache. But at the time we were having fun.
After a couple of years, that kind of lifestyle had taken its toll. I wasn’t giving Amy the attention she needed, between work and my Clemson Football obsession, we both started to become bitter towards each other. One night at a bar, quite frankly shit hit the fan, and the realization was that Amy and I had a marriage that was hanging by a thread. We went three days without speaking, and on the third night I went and spoke to her… And on the bedroom floor, we prayed that Jesus Christ would take control of our marriage. From that point on, Amy was a different person. She never looked back. He had complete control of her life. She Was 100% devoted, and it was obvious. As for me, I used God when I felt like I needed Him…On my terms. As Karl Childers would say, “Just barely enough to scrape by on, I reckon”… But we as a couple were maturing somewhat. We were being blessed, and lots of things were getting ready to change. More than I could ever imagine, actually.
I’ll be honest. I didn’t really like the idea of having kids. I can’t really recall my logic as of WHY I didn’t want them… I guess I still liked being a kid myself.. .but Amy had an urge, and it wasn’t going away. I was getting to score “sexytime” every day, so screw it. LET’S HAVE SOME BABIES!
Pregnancy was weird for me. I could write on this for hours. All the things that grow and swell on a woman in those 9 months is really intriguing. I remember Amy’s nose looked like it was having its own baby at one point. I remember her getting out of the bathtub one evening when she was like 16 months pregnant, and she asked me to rub lotion on her. As she laid back on the bed, she looked like a blimp deflating. I didn’t know whether to rub her, or call the fire department.
I’m going to skip all the pregnancy stuff, and introduce you to Macie.
When Macie Faith was born in January of 2006, it blew me away. It was incredible how you could fall in love with somthing that’s so tiny the very instant you see it, and even deeper in love the second it’s laid in your hands, but I had no idea what I was in for. I think instead of going completely crazy, I learned to harness my frustration by finding the humor in some of the most aggravating moments of being a new father. Having a new fishing, and football buddy was awesome, and It didn’t take long to realize that no matter how obnoxious she was, the thought of living without her was sickening, but the thought of having a grandparent, or babysitter taking them away for a few hours was heavenly.
In our marriage, Amy refers to August 30th, through the last weekend in November, as “Divorce Season”. That’s when College Football starts, and my weekends are spent in Clemson, South Carolina watching the Tigers, or on the road visiting other college towns in the South… watching the Tigers. I’m pretty convinced that I’m married to the greatest woman on the planet. Honest to God, she’s put up with more of my “stuff”, than 98% of the female population would, and probably should. I’ve been threatened with horrible things over the phone by her…one time I couldn’t really hear the details.. I was at a loud tailgate, and Macie was screaming and crying in the background on her end of the phone (Maybe it’s best that I don’t know what she said) .. But there’s just something about Death Valley that’s been worth most of the ass chewings and wrath that I’ve received from Amy. I don’t know what it is about those orange uniforms running down the Hill on Saturdays in autumn, but I seem to lose touch with reality the second the season tickets are mailed out.
After Macie was born, and approximately 3 divorce seasons had come and gone, Amy had finally gotten tired of being a football widow in the fall, and a fishing widow in the spring. She made a bold decision that probably not only saved our marriage once again, but took us to the next level of our realationship. She rocked my world one day when out of the blue, took on a new mentality that she called, “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em”. She started going to more football games with me, going fishing when I went, and basically at first just pretended to like doing all of the other outdoor stuff that I like to do. It was probably stingy of me to let her do a bunch of stuff that she probably had zero interest in doing in the first place, but ultimately this made us best friends. I began to submit more to her, and our realationship became stronger, and our bond felt unbreakable. We began to crave our time together. Our conversations got deeper, and through our quality time together, I found myself talking to God more, and asking Him how I could be a better husband to my wife.
When Macie was 3, Amy started to have “baby fever” again. I bought her a puppy, followed by like three cats, which all came up missing. They were either eaten by a coyotes, or ran away from Macie. (We’ll never know) I eventually had to face the facts… I was going to produce another human, whether I wanted to or not. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the TRYING part. I just don’t think that I thought it through, that all of that fun TRYING, would In fact eventually make another baby, and “the three of us”, would soon become “the four of us”.
Our second daughter was born in April of 2011. After 9 months of pleading my case, and another failed attempt at naming one of my daughter’s, Dani Ward, after Clemson’s 1981 National Championship Coach, Danny Ford, I realized that wasn’t going to happen, So we compromised and named her Vallie Hope, which was a huge compromise for Amy, considering she was naming her daughter after a Stadium, but not just any stadium.. The “Death Valley”. I really don’t know any other way to put this, other than when this child was born, shit got real.
Vallie came into the world full throttle, and she’s not let up since. Not since Miley Cyrus, has one came in like such a wrecking ball.
We’ve all heard the old saying.. “what goes around, comes around”, well.. This child is definitely mine. She’s taught us that having patience isn’t easy, and to have patience, one often needs Jesus.. and wine. NO. There is nothing wrong with her, and no, she doesn’t need to be on medication, and NO. She doesn’t have a gluten allergy. She’s just a child that knows what she wants. She’s awesome, and one day she’ll either be your President, or win an Academy Award for Best Drama.
After all this, the stage was set for the dynamic duo, known as Vallie and Macie to begin to grow up together, and rain holy terror on anything in their paths. They fight each other daily. There are times that we have to look twice to make sure they’re not choking each other out of anger, or strangling each other with hugs.. but every morning, I see them snuggled up together, (usually in our bedroom floor) and every morning I’m reminded that they are the driving force behind everything that I do.
And with all of the love that I had built up in my heart for the two daughters in my life, I had no room in my wallet, or love in my heart to spare on another child. So I made the decision to end the Ward name, and have a vasectomy.
I guess all of that kinda leads me into the chapter of our lives that we’re currently in.. but I wouldn’t be telling the entire story thus far, if I didn’t at least mention the videos. Over the summer of 2014, I took the girls to Cookout Drive-Thru for milkshakes, only this time I ordered in a voice that anyone born before 1996 would recognize…and like I’d been doing for years, I recorded the silly moment, and uploaded it to social media… The next morning, I woke up to thousands of people either thanking us for the laughs, or just stopping by to say “f&#% you, asshole for holding up the line.
Thousands quickly turned into millions, and with that brought out lots of people that think just by watching 3 minutes worth of videos, that they could write my entire life story up to this point… but just like in most situations, the good usually outweighs the bad, and I was introduced to some of the greatest people I’ve ever met.
There was a point when it first happened that it was a little overwhelming, and shortly after my face started to be plastered all over the Internet, and tons of people started trying to find out more about us, I almost deleted everything.. Instead, I began to ask God what the meaning behind it was, and how I could use it for His good, and not my own. The answer quickly came clear. Laughter is a medicine, God gave us a sense of humor, and it was my calling to use mine to help others get through tough times.. I just no clue how far it could stretch.
So that’s pretty much our story up to this point in our perfectly unperfect lives. We’re just a regular family, with regular jobs. We have our ups and downs. There are times my mouth says words before my brain says not to, and there are times when Amy’s nerves are so shot from hearing the kids say they’re hungry, that I’m scared she’s going to stab me if she so much as even hears me chew. We argue, we say things we shouldn’t… we have fun, we love, but most importantly, we forgive… The last thing I want to do is for us to come across fake… like we’re some perfect little Pinterest family, like half of the people that have a social media account pretended to be. That’s not us. I don’t know where our next chapter is gonna go, or even how this one is going to end. I feel like the best is yet come, but at the end of the day, if all this was for is to show a few people that you can be a real person, have fun, AND be used by God, all at the same time.. no matter who you’ve been in the past, then it was all worth it.
Let your light shine.