Tag Archives: mother

She didn’t want me anymore

I’m noticing a theme in my entries. A good portion of them talk about losing friends, how I felt about it, and why I think I felt that way. I can tell you that my feelings are as real as the experiences, but they’re not the whole story.

Most relationships are fluid. I don’t know why it happens that way. I have a few sturdy relationships, those that last and get stronger sometimes, then weaker, but are always close. My brother is one, Mauditmo is one, and I hope my husband is one.

What makes them different than the other people I’ve written about? I don’t know. My brother and I are almost four years apart. He is so physically gorgeous I had a therapist once ask me if there was any animosity on my part. (He looks like one of the guys from those teen vampire flicks) There has never been any animosity, for one I had been raised by my parents to believe I was one of the most beautiful girls the world had ever known. I realize now that is not true. I am not unattractive, but I have acne scars and Hermione hair (most of the time). I am also thirty-five and rarely wear make-up. If I cared, I would. I think if he had been the sister I so desperately wanted, of we were closer in age I might have felt that way, but I didn’t, and never have. I doubt I ever will.

I think what makes Mauditmo and me friends after all these years is devotion. We are hardly alike at all. Her family background and mine are polar opposites. She likes four seasons, she gets to study and write all over the United States. I forwarded her a funny youtube video and she not only didn’t laugh, she told me her life was not a whole lot different than it was at twenty-one. She doesn’t do anyone’s laundry but her own. I do a lot of laundry, tiny dresses and panties, sweaty t-shirts and a lot of lounge pants. We’ve traveled together, loving the coast while we headed to Canada. We’ve taken long round trip friends to the city where both of our extended families still live.

She is also considerably smarter than most people, including me. I am considerably more spiritual and am devoted to Jesus. Religion is not on the radar for her. She’s studying at an extremely prestigious writing school and I am writing a blog in my two story track home. My seven year old is waiting down stairs for me to help her learn to ride a bike. She doesn’t really want to. My husband says she just doesn’t want to do something hard.

I best go.

My husband is the one I worry about, to be honest. He loves me; I love him. We are supposed to sustain this love forever. It’s a source of fretting. I think we will be together, and I have reasons why: our vows. We both promised in sickness and in health and there has been a lot more sickness around here lately. Good thing it’s so specific.

The odds for us are not good. 90% of marriages, where one partner is bipolar, end in divorce. B wants to approach heaven with the confidence that will come with making a marriage to a bipolar woman work. It’s not only my issues, though. He knows that, and certainly God knows that.


They don’t grow up too fast (PG)

Small’s birthday party is tomorrow.  My dad arrives today.  I spent yesterday cleaning, mostly because I wanted a good, clean house two days in a row.  The clutter has already taken over, so I have very little to show for the two days of hard, unpleasant work.  At least the banister is clean.  The bathrooms need cleaning again.  I will work on putting things together, for the sake of my dad.

I have ten RSVPs for the birthday party, not including the parents that are coming to supervise.  (Good thing it’s only ten, I only have 14 gift bags.)  Parents that stay have a point.   It’s a pool party, and even though we have a lifeguard I’ve never bought they were a part of a safety plan.  Maybe if  I ever saw one do anything more than kick teenagers out of the kiddie pool I would feel differently.  We’re also driving to the pizzeria after our allotted swim time.  Some people don’t want their kids driving in other people’s cars.

She is going to be seven.  It seems so old.  She’s already not a baby anymore, she’s a kid.  It hasn’t gone so fast as people warned me.  I think it’s for two reasons.  #1, I practiced a lot of attachment parenting.  She slept with me most of the time and I carried her in a moby wrap while she was a baby and an ergo carrier when she got to be a toddler.  (I used that until she was too heavy for me.  It works up to 90 pounds, though.  The ergo helped a lot on cranky days.  I’d pop her in the back and she was mostly quiet and content after that.)  #2 I was right there with her most of the time.  I have the luxury and privilege of being a mostly stay  at home mom.  What ever jobs I had were only an hour/few hours a stretch.  I did take much needed breaks, she was an active, spirited child, and I ‘m not a perfect mom.  Often I was an inattentive mom.  There were days she woke up looking stretched out – as if she was two inches taller.  However, time didn’t slip by.  Some days were long, a few were short, but I mostly got to be right there, watching her grow up.

Knowing she is probably my first and last has made me parent and observe more intently.  I am sure that my friends with four, five + kids are still attentive to them, but it must be different.  I don’t choose who gets to pick the story.  I make whatever she wants for breakfast.  You can’t carry twins in an ergo.  Of course these memories are nostalgia.

Is Small spoiled?  I always saw a spoiled kid as one that didn’t accept the final word of their parents.  We were in a yogurt shop with a lot of gumball machines.  This little girl came in begging her mom for a toy from the machine.  She was yelling, asking over and over again and mom said, “no” several times.  Mom ordered the yogurt and got her change.  Then she gave the money to her daughter to let her get whatever she liked from the machine.  “No” did not mean “no”, it meant keep whining and I’ll let you do whatever you want.  I don’t want to judge her, but I am a judgmental person, and I saw that as spoiling the child.  We make every effort not to do things like this and we don’t listen to whining.

I’m not done raising Small, and I guess in some ways I never will be.  This blog is not intended to be a parenting manual, even though it may seem like it, lately.  I have a friend, T, who requested parenting information, so here you go!  If there is anything else any of you want me to write about, drop me a note or leave a comment and I will do so.


More about babies (PG-13)

I’m cycling, as in bipolar cycling.  I spent, I shopped, I cried and I refused to do anything difficult.  I tried to sleep like crazy.  I took an Ativan but all that did was make me exceedingly mellow for about twenty hours.  I did sleep a reasonable amount, but who cares?  The point is, I wore that checkbook out.  I returned some of the things, but I felt entitled to the ones I kept.  The next day, nay, the next afternoon I felt really guilty.  It was a sign that I am headed back to some sort of normalcy.  Normal is one of my least favorite words, but I need it for my family.

I was crying today because Small asked me to read to her.  We read a Lola and Soren Lorenson book.  I love Lola and her brother and her invisible friend, Soren.  Then the other book  she chose is book about a pregnant woman and her baby.  They were going to go “catch the sun.”  I couldn’t hang with it.  Seeing them together was too much – the last few days of it just being the two of them.  I thought I was over this, but it is a sadness and joy I will carry with me my whole life.  I will never be callous towards myself or anyone else who lost a child.  They are earned scars.  What is it Rumi says about the bruised  hand?  There are people who are compassionate but have never had trouble with fertility, or miscarriage, or still birth, or….  An empathetic hand is what is gentle, helpful and hopeful.

I know just what brought this up.  The other day, while I was in the bath, Small tried to explain to me why it would be great for her to have the big sister we lost.  “She’s be eight years old, not too old to play with me,” she said.  I agreed with her, although that possibility would not be great – we found out I was pregnant with Small on our first child’s due date.  Then I realized that Small didn’t understand what happened.  I don’t remember why I told her about the miscarriage, and I’m not sure it was a wise thing to do.  If we had another I would wait until she was older, for sure.  Something in me clicked and I think I could understand where she was coming from:  “Small, we can’t just go pick her up.”

She was surprised.  She must have thought, “Why not?”

It seemed like she thought she was waiting for us welcome her back into our family.  I tried to explain to her we could never do that, but I am still not sure she really gets it.  I remember reading about twins, aged seven, whose father died of a heart attack.  Their mom had heard them in the hall in the middle of the night.  They had packed and were ready to go find dad.  So, seven is probably too young, too.  But what do I know?  I’m a first time mom.

I’m also a last time mom.

I don’t need another child.  Not to be happy and not to be fulfilled.  I am open to more children, but will not seek to adopt or surrogate.  I figure the only way we will have more children is if someone leaves their children to us after death or some sort of incapacity.  We are godparents to my 16 year old cousin, though if something happened to her mom I’m probably sure she would emancipate, she’s just that together.  (Her dad is a meth-user, among other stupid things).  So anyway, that’s out.  I thought once that I have things to do that I could probably not accomplish with a large family.  I love my daughter and try not to let the sorrow get in the way.  It must.  I have a feeling my longing some how lodged itself in her and that is why she keeps asking.  My therapist’s stance about my sadness about the birthday parties (now up to 3) is that I am projecting my loneliness and feelings of exclusion on her.  It doesn’t seem to really effect her.  Does she even know about them?   Would she care or is she secure enough to not let it bother her?   I have a sneaking suspicion she really doesn’t care.  It’s a shock to me.   How can she not feel the sting of rejection and exclusion?

She has a new best friend every week.  Normal.  (There’s that word.)  I had one friend a year, if that.  Kindergarten – Jennifer.  First grade – Kristie (but I had not her best friend.  Davina was.   Second grade- Megan and Regina (that’s two!)  Third grade, also Megan and Regina.  Fourth grade- Persephone, Fifth grade – Pam.  Sixth grade and Middle school changed things a little.  There was a little clan of us, Erica, Cindy, Valeri(e), nd me.   (Cindy was my roommate at sixth grade camp.  Valeri(e) and I locked her in to the closet. Cindy was still my friend after that.  That same week I met Monique (mauditmo.wordpress.com).  I have always gotten better things than I deserve.

Small is not ready for a clan, and I am not ready to get a call from the school telling me about the horrible things she did.  (I believe she is a kinder, less frustrated person than I was  Also I was never caught.  Not for locking a girl in the closet, not for the very mean slam book I carried around, not for nothing.)

I have to get ready for church.


The Parents

The other day my good friend, CH, asked me how my parents reacted to my manic-depression diagnosis. Excellent question, and I know some of you have already heard a part of this story. Nevertheless, here is the answer:

After the psychiatrist confirmed my psychologist’s diagnosis, I wanted to use his phone to call my dad. The doctor wouldn’t let me to privacy reasons, so I drove around until I found a pay phone. (I didn’t believe in cell phones.) I called my dad at work. “Daddy, I have bipolar.” He responded, “This is J. W.” I told him again. I started to cry. I asked him to call my mom. The whole time I was on the phone there was this guy in a dark red truck ogling me. When I got off the phone he asked if he could give me a ride. I almost spit on him, but all I did was give him a dirty look. I knew even then I wouldn’t ever forget him.

My parents rushed home from work, threw some clothing in the car and drove to my house three hours away. By that time I was in the hospital. My eighteen month old was with B. I had secured breastfeeding rights for her, so my parents brought her every morning and every night to nurse. My dad would cry the whole time we were together. I kissed him and tried to soothe him but I couldn’t really do it. I was the cause for his grief. So long as I stayed in the hospital, I could not assuage it.

I think a lot of my dad’s sorrow came from guilt about his family of origin. My uncle had schizophrenia. He died in a mental health facility for disabled veterans. Their mother probably had some sort of mental illness as well. My dad had escaped it, but I hadn’t. I learned later my father was also afraid because of the other patients. Many of them were fresh after a suicide attempt, so they were drugged even further out of their minds. Perhaps I was not as sparkly as I was when I came in, but I wasn’t suicidal any more. At least not that suicidal.

He talked to my therapist once and asked her how did it get so far without him knowing? That question is one I have asked myself many times. Why didn’t they figure it out? I knew I was different than everyone else at a very young age. (We’re talking early elementary school). I started asking for counseling in the seventh grade but my mom told me I didn’t need it. My parents must have thought that I was just quirky and slightly crazy. My severe mood swings were dismissed as part of my personality. I was great fun high, and was mean, spiteful and unthankful when I was low.

My mom is usually more emotionally reserved than my dad, and this instance was no different. She likes to take care of things, and she did. Not only was she caring for my toddler daughter, but she did things like scrub the carpet to get the sizeable stains out of it. She brought me my new clothes to wear in the hospital. (I had gone on a shopping spree the Friday before. I bought a vacuum and about about $1,000 of clothes. In retrospect she had the option of returning them, they still had their tags and I had a receipt. She didn’t, so I got to look cute while most everyone else looked like hell.)

I will always be thankful for them for coming to see me every morning and every night and bringing Small. My thankfulness extendes to their attitude: They were excited to see me and wanted to be there. There was no resentment that the visits were inconvenient or too long. They wanted to stay as long as they could to spend time with me and to let me spend time with their granddaughter.

I got out of the hospital and resumed living, only with doctors or therapist appointments three times a week and a handful of drugs morning and night. Life was difficult. Only B saw the grueling pace I was working at. No one else could fathom it. I wanted my parents to know, and to understand, though. For a while there, if they were around when it was time, I’d sort my pills in to pill boxes in front of them. I wanted to show them how serious this illness can be. I have a lot of bottles of pills. Most recently I’ve added an anti-nausea drug because my B-100 pill makes me throw up several times a month. That brings my prescription bottles up to a grand total of seven. This is not counting the vitamins. I asked the pharmacy tech if I had more prescriptions than any other customer and she said, “for a young person, yes.” They even know me by name.

But back to my parents. My mom lives with us four days a week. I know part of the reason is that she wants to keep her eye on me. She and my dad are getting a grip on all this means. Bipolar can be fatal and I feel like, even if I have long stretches of stability, The way I see it I am always going be on the brink of a episode. A mood swing can be triggered by just about anything, it’s just a matter of how the symptoms present themselves. Sometimes I’ll be elated and deflated, up and down, in a day’s time. Sometimes I’ll sleep until 10 (we’re normally awake at 6:30). Sometimes I’ll buy everything in the mall that is my size. Sometimes no symptoms will present themselves, and my new goal is to try to at least look like I’ve got it together the way I used to when I worked full time. If I work hard I won’t do most of those things most of the time, but, aside from death, I can guarantee that no episode will be my last.

I do want to be well. I rarely miss a dose of my medicine, no matter how unpleasant it to do so. I am on a diet that helps regulate my mood and I make an effort to exercise. (Not enough of an effort, if you ask B, and he is right.) I try to do little things, like go to bed at the same time every night and follow doctor’s orders. I’ve stopped overeating, for the most part, and started dieting and losing weight. All these little things contribute to a centered life and a healthy brain. I think my parents know that I usually am doing my best and working my hardest, and they do a lot to help us along.

So there is my answer. My parents were grieved, but strong and generous in their response to finding out about my illness. It is hard to ask for more.


She wants me to be fat!

I love See’s chocolate candies.  I’m crazy about them.  I ate a pound in an hour once.

But I’m losing weight.  I’m on Weight Watchers, which lets me eat what I want – but helps you decide to eat two pieces of pizza instead of the whole darn thing.  I’ve lost 12.2 pounds since December 5th and there is little reason to suspect I will stop.  However….

My mom is overweight and always had been.  She’s been kind enough to pay for my Weight Watchers and brags to everyone about all I’ve done.  So, I don’t know if it’s purposeful or not, but she is the one person who shows the signs of a saboteur.

For example, we met for lunch.  Small had to go to the bath room so I left my order with her and took Small to the restroom.  When the food came it was about twice of what I ordered.  I wanted a taco, she ordered me the meal, with a big sloppy, delicious, plate of beans and rice.  It wasn’t her fault I ate most of it, but she didn’t help.

I keep losing weight.  My mom announces she wants to add some chocolate to her diet and wants to get a box of See’s.

WHAT!?!  It’s like just a little hint of heroin.  I disagreed.  I want to be lean.  I want chocolate, too, but I’m at a place in my life I’d rather be a lean 35 year old than a chocolate eating 35 year old.  And I’m at a point where I look at the way my mom acts and I see she’d opt for the fat me.


I’m so suicidal

A couple of nights ago Mr. M and my mom (and me, sort of) had this long talk about how my diet was so important.  I agreed to a sugar free, white flour free regime.  I know it makes me feel better, but for the past couple of weeks I just ate and ate and ate sugar – candy bars, ice cream, all the good stuff.  I shocked everyone by eating a pound of See’s one day in about 12 hours and a box of Drumsticks in about two hours.  They were good, too.

After Mr M went upstairs I was treated to a State of the Union speech on how much my wedding cost, how much it cost them to keep me at Berkeley for almost three years, how muchthe house cost and how they  can’t give us any more money.  Of course they can’t!  We didn’t ask.  And now I’m carrying around this weight.

Money talk always screws up my mood.  In fact, the last time I went to the hospital, I believe, there was a direct correlation  regarding having one of those chats with my dad.  I just can’t deal with it.  At all.

Trust God, right?  Who says I’m not?  But we cannot ever pay them back for all they’ve done for us.  Should we have to consider it?  I wish I didn’t.  I wish I could change rolls with Mr. M and let him handle all the finances, things would probably get better, but he can’t do a good job.  Like I can.  Whatever.

I called the doctor and she called me back.  She asked me how suicidal am I.  I have a plan, a fantasy, of the way I would do it, but I don’t have the materials to carry out this plan.  She wants me to go to the ER to get evaluated and I am not going to do that because that will put me in the hospital for six days.  I don’t have the energy for that.  If I’m going to get my butt to school I have to learn to manage my moods better.  I’m not adverse to drugs or hospital stays, but really, it’s too much of a pain in the butt right now.

I want to go to sleep.