By on December 25, 2012

Parte Um: Na casa que falta pão, todo mundo briga e ninguém tem razão.

August 2010. My life is a mess. My marriage is going down the proverbial drain. I’m totally fed up with my work. My wife’s company is struggling and sucking more money than it’s bringing. Mom’s dying of cancer. Cigarettes.

All of this is reflected on me. I’m turning 39, but I feel and look 45. No sense of a future. No way out. September comes along and mamãe passes on. This moment of intense grief bring me and my wife close together. The closest we’ve been in more than a while. For a while …

Life goes on in that funny way it has of just, going on. The pain is always there. Not so intense now, but a dull, hollow pain nonetheless.

Middle of October. October 12 in fact. Children’s Day in Brazil. My wife brings home a little package. In it, baby’s clothes. It’s her way of breaking the news. Such a bittersweet moment. My first child. I’ll be almost 40 when he or she comes.

Mom’s passing give us a sort of break. With some money she left, my wife builds her nest. I can’t help but think the money should be spent on other things. The arguing comes back. Unhappiness.

The months go on and my wife gets bigger. She no longer has the energy to keep such a close eye on the company and as we say in Brazil, é o olho do dono que engorda o porco. The hired help turns out to be a big disappointment. More money evaporates.

I dream of our baby. My wife insists it’s a girl. I suggest a name and she falls for it. One week before the ultrasound exam, I dream of a boy. The exam confirms my dream. Dear Lord, we start fighting about a name. The names she suggests I viscerally hate. And vice-versa.

Again I dream of our baby. In it, he says, “Hi papai. My name is Daniel.” She loves it. I like to think our boy chose his own name.

June 12, 2011. Valentine’s Day in Brazil. Um anjo cai do céu. Daniel is with us. A beautiful, healthy child. The new mom, my wife goes back to work a week after he’s born. God helped us here. In spite of the fact that Daniel is the postcard of babyhood, the sleeplessness, the added pressures of that little life placed in our trust, makes us realize that something has got to give. And so it does.

We reach the conclusion that we must close the company. My shiny, black Sandero must go to pay off at least part of the debts. It goes on August 11, the day I turned 40 and I do what all loser sons do at such times, I take Dad’s car.

August 1st, 2012. I’m turning 41 in ten days and we celebrate Daniel’s first birthday. Have got to hand it to my wife. She realized a miracle with the little money I made available for the party. I’m disturbed throughout the party, however. Something more has got to give. Looking at Daniel’s face at the party. The sweets, the guests. Looking at my wife. She’s happy and proud, but so tired. So tired. I died a thousands deaths that night looking at my wife and my son.

From out of the blue, a plan begins to take form is the nether regions of my mind. Somehow, I feel it coming all through the party. When the party ends, I have a plan.

I break the news the next day to my wife. It involves quitting my job. She gets angry. She screams at me and I shout back. One week she doesn’t talk to me. When I pressure her she says she’s considering her options. Divorce is brought out. I despair to think of my Dandan, fatherless.

Eventually she cools down. We talk again. Like grown-ups thankfully. She helps me perfect my plan. She makes it better. I feel very grateful to have her.

Now, six months later, we sold the old apartment, bought a new one. I’m unemployed. I look out the window and see part of our plan parked out there on the street. A shiny, red, seven, soon to be eight, year old Ford Ka.

2013 is looking better than ever.

To be continued in Parte Dois:

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32 Comments on “A Man. A Child. A Car...”

  • avatar

    Something has to give, well said. Kudos for making and acting on your plans. Your story certainly has parallels to what’s happening with me.. Merry Christmas

  • avatar

    What child is this? Dandan grows up to be a famous wheel man? Dad’s brilliant plan overcomes all odds?

    As someone in similar, if nowhere near so dire circumstances, I salute you. This is CARE of the year stuff. I look forward to further installments.

  • avatar

    I can hardly wait for the next installent….

    BT , DT decades ago , you can do this ! .


  • avatar

    Such is life.. so easy for some, so impossible for others.. been there, doing that. Good luck. Look forward to part 2..

  • avatar

    Muito Bem!! Cannot wait for the next installment!

  • avatar

    Excellent writing, Marcelo. I turned 59 just before Christmas. My life so far, has been like a Boxing match. I’ve won more rounds than I lost. In the last couple of rounds,I’ve taken some hard hits.

    You pick yourself off the mat,end step back into the ring.

    I’m looking forward to the next installment.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey mikey! Great to hear from you. I read all your posts and take a lot of your life experiences and try to learn from them. I know you’re a fighter.

      The problem is that, sometimes, and I guess it happened to me, we get used to being pushed around and knocked down. Then we just walk around as if in a daze.

      That little boy you see in the pic saved my life. In more ways than one, he is truly an angel, sent to us by God to give me and my wife the encouragement we needed to better ourselves, improve our lot.

      Thanks again Mikey

  • avatar

    Grande texto, como sempre… Eu mesmo estou num momento bem parecido, lidando com desemprego. But we must always go on, right?

    Feliz Natal e um excelente 2013 para você e sua família, cara. Você merece.

  • avatar

    As someone who just welcomed their first baby just a week ago, I can definitely understand how life’s goals change a bit once that happens. It definitely isn’t easier, but it seems like now there’s a bit more of a purpose. It tends to focus things in a bit.

    Merry Christmas and good luck with everything moving forward!

    • 0 avatar

      Hey Nostrathomas, congrats on the baby!

      You’re absolutely right. The baby made us focus on what we wanted, for us and him. Before, there was just a feeling on dissatisfaction. He being here made me consolidate vague thoughts and feelings into concrete actions. That’s what being a father is. You have to take responsibility.

  • avatar
    Athos Nobile

    Feliz Navidad Marcelo.

    When the going gets tough, my wife uses to say “Dios aprieta pero no ahorca”, even when it squeezes really hard. She’s right, it never does. Don’t despair, eventually things get sorted out.

    • 0 avatar

      Feliz Natal Athos amigo!

      I sincerely hope for our sake that your better half is right! Just kidding, I know she’s right. I know you made your life move a while ago, I’m making mine now. To be honest, though I don’t know your particular circumstances, your bravery was a factor in my decision. For that, I want to thank you now.

      All the best for you and your loved ones in 2013.

  • avatar

    feliz Natal, Marcelo. 2012 was a complicated year. lost my grandmother, fought with people I love, saw my two favorite bands playing live, had to replace engine and lots of other stuff in my old CLK. I kept a job that means nothing to me but pays my bills and realized I want a teaching career.

    now my car drives like new, I have some direction to my professional life and I remember my old grannie feeling happy for meeting a bold woman like her. sounds like a good start for 2013. not the best one but a good start.

    merry Christmas and all the best for you and your family! valeu!

    • 0 avatar

      E aí Palandi?

      Valeu pelas palavras. Tudo de bom pra você e os seus!

      Sounds like 2012 was quite a ride. The important thing is that you took a long hard look at yourself and reached your very personal conclusins. If I may, don’t wait too long to act on them or you could find yourself in a place like me, mid-life and having to atart over. The reality is I should have done what I’m doing now 10 yrs ago. The circumstances then were not the same as today, but the dissatisfaction with my professional life was already there. It hadn’t reached the boiling point though.

      Glad your car is in top shape! Enjoy it. You have a crazy cool ride for a Barazilian. I’m tamer than you I guess.

      Abraço amigo!

  • avatar

    Marcelo: Congratulations on being able to bare your soul like this. I don’t know if I could do this. In the US we say we’re at a crossroads when faced with something like your situation. I too, am at a crossroads, for different situation. I’ve been there and understand how you feel.

    Since I don’t speak a word of Portugese (and don’t trust Google Translate as much as other people), I’ll say this in English: Merry Christmas, Happy New Year and may you find peace.


  • avatar

    Hey Marecelo, great article.

    I really enjoy your writing! Looking forward to part two. My son JUST had his first birthday party 3 weeks ago (in Brazil) and 1 month ago (in the USA). I was actually looking at the pictures tonight as I haven’t seen him since I left on the 12th and miss him dearly He’s back here in the USA Friday (He’s in Brazil now).

    Feliz natal amigo! Paz, saude, sucesso no ano novo para vc e sua familia.

    Fica com Deus,


  • avatar

    Excellent article! The past few months have brought harship to my family and this story provides much inspiration. Good luck in your endeavors. I look forward to the next entry!

  • avatar

    Felizes Natal e Ano Novo, Marcelo.

    I can relate to making a life changing plan and deciding to go through with it. Butterflies in the stomach for some time but it feels so good afterwards. Like you, I wish I would have decided that 10 years ago but since we cannot go back in time, I am happy I eventually did give the go ahead to the plan. And now, things are going so well I realize I was quite pessimistic in my original plans!

    By the way, after endless discussions, my son’s name came to my wife in a dream pretty much like yours and we both loved it immediately.

    Boa sorte, vai dar tudo certo. E se não der? É só tentar de novo!

  • avatar

    Thank you Marcelo for sharing that. It’s not exactly easy articulating a situation like that, especially one so filled with emotion and doubt, but thank you for doing it.
    This past year I lost my Grandfather, became a father to a beautiful baby girl, the company I work for went into bankruptcy protection, my savings have evaporated, and the future is a bit scary to say the least.
    My daughter has brought perspective to my life. The job can go hang, the money can go hang, the car can go too. What is most important is that I can give my daughter as much of my time and love that I can. Everything else is a distant second.

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