Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Oh Robin.....Mr. Williams.....good night.

Yesterday, the World lost a gem.  a truly unbelievable gem.  I know he was an important icon, because 4 out of every 5 posts in my Facebook feed are about him.

And I cried.  Yesterday in shock... on the inside.  Not where people can see me crying.  I'm good at that, have been doing it all my life.   

And then it hit me.  This morning.  With every post being about his death, and his life.  Only not his real life.....Just the life he put on camera.  His funny (now that's an understatement), outgoing, extroverted, "Stage" persona.  The person he let us all see. 

I watched tributes, and read quotes, and saw image after image used as a byline and tribute to the man.  The man that none of us really knew.  He is gone.  And we didn't get to know him.  No one did.  Not even his loved ones.  Okay, I'm sure they knew his fight, and they understood the idea of his suffering, but no one really gets "in" to a person with mental illness.  With Depression.  Even those of us who share, or shared, his "affliction"..... those of us who really understood what he was up against.  We don't get to be "on the inside"...."sharing his pain".....

And today I cried.  A little, only, on the outside....But this void of grief sits heavy in my throat, in my chest, threatening to leak out in the form of more tears, and heavy sobs, at any second....

It hit me today, talking to someone I cherish as a friend and admire as a professional.  That mask really works!  It is possible, easy even, to hide one's true feelings from the world.  Too easy.  What's harder is trying to make the pain make sense to someone who doesn't experience it day-to-day.  It made me realize that most people don't "get it"... and never possibly could.   This isn't an insult, or a fault, or their lacking in any way.  Mostly just another realization for myself....

The pain of depression is nothing like anything anyone else can understand.  Even others with depression.  Each person lives within their own little sphere.  Inside the smiles and funny,  the false armoured image of self-confidence, self assured-ness, the shield we present to the outside world, lives each individuals' prickly little secret...like a prickly little ball that bounces around inside us...poking us, chipping away at our insides as we ride our bumpy rides of life.... 

Sometimes that prickly little ball is in our head - obscuring our thoughts, confusing our intentions, our ability to read situations, exhausting our brains, giving us headaches, migraines, creating vertigo, dizziness...making the knowledge of how to interact with our day-to-day functions disappear as it vibrates away in there.....  

Sometimes that prickly little ball is in our limbs - making us too tired or in too much pain to move, making them too heavy to lug around, too conscious of our own inabilities to even attempt the abilities....

Sometimes that prickly little ball sits right behind our eyes - distorting our view of the world around us - creating tunnel vision, or wavy vision, or even blurred vision..making us look "too fat" or "too thin" or "too pale"  or just "too ugly" to exist in public...to feel worthwhile.... bouncing and prickling us so that every smile from a friend or stranger seems distorted, insincere, making mole-hills look like mountains, every interaction needing to be questioned....read and reread....

Sometimes that prickly little ball is in our guts - tearing us up inside, creating physical symptoms, physical pain, nausea digestion issues, the need to eat incessantly, or starve...messing with our ability to lead normal lives...

Often that prickly little ball is in our hearts - making our ability to show or receive love and affection, even in our interest or ability to have healthy sexual interactions......
My entire life....I have questioned intentions, questioned my worthiness, my attractiveness, my desirability, my competence as a friend, a lover, a partner, a parent, a child....every compliment received tempered by my own disbelief, every compliment given amplified by my own envy.... It is exhausting...It is defeating..

A friend of mine posted this quote:

"Killing oneself is, anyway, a misnomer. We don't kill ourselves. We are simply defeated by the long, hard struggle to stay alive. When somebody dies after a long illness, people are apt to say, with a note of approval, "He fought so hard." And they are inclined to think, about a suicide, that no fight was involved, that somebody simply gave up. This is quite wrong." - Sally Brampton

That Mr. Williams fought the good fight for 63 years is no less than a miracle.  Look at every image of him.  Almost every one.  Look at his smile, and look into his eyes.  His eyes belie his smile.  His torment was available for everyone to see, every day.  If you only knew how to look.



 The most fitting end to this post is a tribute by a friend - I will post it just as I saw it:

  Thank you.

Friday, May 16, 2014

my heart, divided

last lullaby ended
sounds of deep breathing
little breaths
i press your warm little fingers
to my lips

my heart fills
my throat closes and 
chokes on a 
and love
and regret

i'm sorry, little one
for raising my voice
despite knowing
as every day
that it won't be
the solution

that i'm not filled
every moment
with the wonder and marvel
that is parenthood

that i choose,
to miss out 
to give up opportunity
choose, occasionally,
time just for me

that i haven't perfected 
happily laughing through
each tantrum
each meltdown
each disagreement
each "accident"

despite each parent
each relative
each friend
each stranger
each book
each magazine
each poster
each advertisement
each website
each tv show 

telling me
reminding me 
scolding me
flaunting wisdom and 

reminding me
reminding me
reminding me

that these days will end
that they will be missed
opportunities dwindle
clock ticks by

reminding me
reminding me

that you will grow
and not want
the attention
that you now crave

now demand
now require
now expect
each minute
each hour
with every breath

reminding me

that you will one day
before i know it
leave me

and the middle-of-the-night calls
that wake me from my dreams
that tear me from soft warm bed

that we negotiate
will end

may actually 
do just that...

the cuddles
stolen in the single-digit 
early hours
1am, 2, 3....

whispers of
"I love you mommy"
 tight grasp of hands
tucking of tiny toes
into warm folds of flesh

my heart fills
my throat closes
and chokes
as i listen to you breathe

that every moment 
can not be perfection
can not be appreciated
for the miracle that it is
for the wonder
for the special

that my patience
is not limitless
that my temper
can not always hold at bay

this tearing of my heart
keeping myself
and losing myself in you
this conflict
needing my space
needing you

so many labels
so many words
so many emotions
so much of myself
given in the single word:


Friday, February 21, 2014

grateful for lip reading....

I took the big one to her gymnastics class last week.  I'd like to say that I do that every week, but more often than not C does it, or more recently, we have taken turns.  We both love to see Big doing her thing in the gym, but really, what it boils down to is 45 parents trying to cram into a viewing area made for like, 20, seeing out of a window that can realistically handle 10 averaged sized adults staring out of it.  And all of that crowding and vying for space for maybe 15 minutes of being able to actually see Big in the Gym, before she moves to an area obscured by other pieces of gym equipment or gymnasts....Add that to getting your socked feet soaked and salted by the bootprints of the parents who disregard the "wet boots off at the door" and wander around dripping slush everywhere.....well, let's just say it isn't our favourite activity as parents, even if it is hers.....

But I digress....

Enter the title of the post.  About the lipreading...

This past week at gymnastics Big and the other girls of her class went over to the bench under the viewing window to have a quick water break.  So I got to witness the 9-year-olds' version of "water cooler conversation".  From behind glass.  This is how it goes....

Gym-mate:  "where's your mom?"
Big:  "right there.." (points to me through the glass)
Gym-mate:  :"that's not your mom?!  Your mom looks different than that!" (speaking of my partner who had been to watch the last few classes)
Big:  "Oh....that's my other mom".
Gym-mate: "you have two moms?"
Big:  "yeah..."
Gym-mate: "do you have two dads too?"
Big:  "No?!?"
Gym-mate: "why do you have two moms?"
Big: "I dunno."
Gym-mate: "oh..."

....And off they went to continue with their handstands.
I could do a whole post on how the whole world should see things as simply as these two girls do:  It is what it is, and now I have the info, let's go play. 

Instead I'll tell you about the conversation she and I had afterwards...cuz it was fun.

While walking to the car after gymnastics:
Me:  "So your friend was confused about who I am, eh?"  (yes, I'm Canadian.  And yes, we say "eh".  Get over it.)
Big:  "how did you know?"
Me:  "I could see you talking through the window...I was curious, so I read your lips."(Trust me, at age 9 this isn't an invasion of privacy...she still shares everything happily......almost too much at times...)
Big:  "you can do that?  cool.  What did we say?"
I recounted the conversation to her....Needless to say, she was impressed.
Me:  "So, you don't know why you have two moms?"  "Well, I do, but not how to answer that question" "Do you get that question a lot?"  "Not really"

Then we conversed about ways to answer that question.  the "WHY?"  Question.  We talked about what she wanted to get out of answering the asker - if she wanted them to truly "get it", or just leave her alone, or realize that the question is stupid, or none of their business, or what.... Her answer?  All of the above.  Yes.  So we joked a bit, and came up with some really easy answers.  Even easy enough for a 9 year old:

Why do you have two moms?

The truthful, get some enlightenment into those kids answers:
  1. "Same reason you have a mom and a dad."
  2. "Because they love each other and wanted me."
  3. "Because I do."
  4. "Because that's how my family is made up."
 Then there are the smart-ass-yet-honest answers:
  1. "Why not?"
  2. "Because I'm just that awesome."
  3. "Because I'm lucky."
  4. "Because they're lucky."
  5. "Just because I do."
  6. "Cuz 2 moms are better than one!"
 And the "So-ridiculous-they'd-have-to-see-how-silly-their-question-is" answers - the ones that made us giggle the most in the car on the way home:
  1. "You Muggles just wouldn't understand."
  2. "Because Venus is in alignment with Mars."
  3. "Because the sky is blue and the grass is green."
  4. "To get people like you to start fascinating conversations."
Clearly, I'm screwing up my kids big time.  But only in the best and funniest ways possible.

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Blog post from a 5 year old..

I'm humouring my 5 year old and transcribing an interview/story with and by her. Therefore, you all must humour her too.

B: shmoogalooga boot boot, shmoogalooga doo.

that's my song.

I love the Jonah.

Me:  How do you feel about school?

B:  tired. I am tired at school.I love school. I love my teacher.

Me: what things do you do at school that you love?

B: just school!!!!play, recess, eat...play play eat. play play eat.

Me: how is that different than at home?

B: i don't know i don't know.  what did you write? did you write i don't know?  B says go to school.  and that is my song with mommy writing it, and thank you to all who is going to see it.  giggle.  Can you write another?

Me: I'm still writing...

B: why why says the B..why why says the B...  Because the Mokey is walking down the street today.  Just because you have fish doesn't mean that you can go outside.  Fish only go in water, they only go in water which they love for their whole lives.  Even though you can see pants walking down the street by themselves....giggle. giggle hysterically.

Me:  tell me a real story!

B:  hmmm.. 1 2 3 walking down the street.....(repeatedly)

Me: continue...like a real story that i would tell you at bedtime.

B: once apon a time there was a little girl whose name was snake, she loved to dance everywhere.  she danced at home, she danced on the street and she loved you.  she loved you forever. 
space space a couple of spaces in your head.  she loved you and her family everyday, as you can see.  Did you write that is the end?

Me:  No I didn't.

B: Why not?  Write it.  Because that is the end.
Are you still writing?  Is that the end?  can you write another?

Me:  yup.  still writing.  go ahead.

B: really?  okay, but i'm not because...i'm....waiting....so you can send it....

Me: this isn't an email to send, it's a blog.  for whoever wants to read it.

B: I want to do a blog.  a real blog.

Me: that's what we're doing.

B: I want to write it and you tell me what to say.  I want to write it like I am going to write it.  But you tell me what to say.

Me: This part is actually kinda hard, trying to write down quickly everything you are saying...

B:  okay, we are done.  I put my [water] cup in the freezer because I am really hot and want it to be really cold but it isn't a glass cup it is a plastic cup and I want it to be really cold.....okay now we're done.  Good bye.  Except I want a picture of a cute kitten.

And the parents that go to work wonder why the parents that stay home have totally lost their marbles after a day home with a 5 year old........Just record this post and press repeat ALL DAY.  that should give you an idea of why my mental capacity has shrunk....and why I crave adult conversation, but am not exactly sure how to handle it anymore....

Thursday, January 23, 2014

my love hate relationship with the smoothie...and it's affect on my sleep.

I love smoothies.  REALLY I do.  And I've convinced my girls to like them too, which is great, because I stuff all sorts of healthy things in them, that they otherwise wouldn't eat.  Spinach, Carrot, Cucumber hidden in yogurt, milk, juice, berries and dates....DELICIOUS.

However, my body can not handle the healthiness of it.  EVERY TIME I make one of these smoothies, no matter how much or little I drink, I end up with a stomach ache.  Too nutrient rich?  Who knows.  I can eat Doritos and chocolate chip cookies for dinner and be fine, (don't tell the kids), but one 14oz glass of smoothie while I am making dinner and I'm a wreck before I eat.  Does this stop me?  No.... I know they're good for me.

Enter yesterday.  I was in bed at 6:30 pm with smoothie-tummy...and out for the night.  Well, I thought it was for the night.  At about 2:45 am  the 9 year old wakes and calls out.  Apparently the last 12 times we have told her not to wake us unless it is an emergency haven't sunk in yet.  Either that, or to a 9 year old, her blankets being twisted is of paramount importance, and without an adult to immediately rectify the situation, she will self-combust.  Anyhow, after arguing in whispers with her briefly, I leave her to sort out her blankets and back to bed.....for about  45 seconds.  "MUMMY...MUMMMY!!!"...indignant yelling now, from the 9 year old's bedroom.  Apparently she can't fix blankets herself.  We have deprived her somehow of learning this skill in her short lifetime, and are now paying for it.  I send her to the bathroom, arrange her blankets while she's doing her business, and figure that will be the end of that...


"Mama.....mama..." from the other bedroom.  5 year old has been woken by the yelling and now wants to come to the moms' bed.  I tell her to stay put while I finish with Big Kid, and she listens.  
Big gets back into her bed, I tuck her in (she somehow won that argument....) and head to Little Kid's room to check that she has fallen back asleep.

Nope again.

She gets out of bed, we change her pull-up (a by-product of Sensory Processing Disorder is the inability to feel when she has to go until it's almost too late.  At night time, forget it.  She fills 2 pull-ups easily at night still, with no end in sight, pardon the pun), and she crawls in with us.  We have recently purchased a King Sized  bed with the realization that one kid or the other will be sleeping with us for the foreseeable future...
She gets in, and lies down, leaving me about 3" of bed, and the rest of my butt hanging off the bed.
"Move over, Little", I whisper, hopefully..
"I can't!  I'm all the way!"  She says.  I look over at my no-longer-sleeping-but-trying-to-get-back-there-as-soon-as-possible partner, miles away at the other end of the Gigantic Bed...and at the six FEET of space between her and my 5 year old daughter.  
I sigh, and push the girl over, crawl in, cover up, and hope that is the end.  I ignore the fact that MY blankets and sheets are a bundled up mess at my feet and within the duvet cover, in the hopes of falling asleep before my body realizes how much sleep it has already had and decides it's morning...

"MOMMY!!!! MOMMY!!!"...I trudge into Big Kid's room, daggers in my eyes (that she can't see, thankfully) and daggers in my voice (that she can hear, unfortunately), and ask her what the problem is NOW.   Apparently I've put her favourite crib blankie, that she still sleeps under, under her sheet and duvet, UPSIDE DOWN!  The tragedy.  What was I thinking?!! Not much at 3:30 am, obviously.  She can tell, in the dark, which is the right way up of her blankie.  She wouldn't want the lions' feet on the blankie to be up by her head, oh no, that would be horrid for the last 4 hours of sleep of the night.  I voice my displeasure once more at being woken up (though this is purely academic at this point, as I hadn't been asleep yet) to fix her covers...I mutter something about disrespect and rudeness and being unfair, but fix her covers, and return to bed.

Ahh, sleep, at last.....NOT.

Little is all awake and chatty, and Buster Cat has joined us in bed, so Little must pet her.
Seventeen loud "SSSSSSHHHHHHssshhh GO TO SLEEP"s later, and the cat is settled on my nicely-nestled-under-the-covers-butt for the night, the two girls are quiet, hopefully asleep, but I'm not checking.....

And now Mokey, the 2 year old cat, and the only boy in the house, starts antagonizing the poor old lady Buster.  Trampling herds of elephants, hissing yeowling, meowing and growling ensue for the next 15 minutes....I groan and start planning this blog post in my head, because there's NO WAY I'm getting back to sleep at this point, and it's better than planning a murder-suicide combo.....
I look up at the clock and whimper.  4:30am.  I curse my children silently, and the cats....
and I realize that I'm awake when no one else in the house is...because I already had 8 hours of sleep...
thanks to 

I love smoothies.  and hate them.

It's noon now.  And I'm REALLY TIRED.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

yeah...this happened.

MY 5-year-old kid is smart.  Too smart.  She is able to extract information from one situation and apply it in new ways.  Like when there's a green arrow in one video game to move to the next thing to do, she recognizes that in most other games, the same holds true.  Sometimes, however, this genius leads to some seriously funny lateral thinking.   For instance, today's stroke of brilliance:

I've been trying to teach the cats' body language to B, so that she understands when to be near them, when to leave them alone, and when to be offended by them....(grin). She usually gets mad at the cat when they put their butts in her face (who can blame her, really...), but her being mad at them often involves her yelling at them, or worse, hitting at them.  So I have been trying to explain to her that it's actually a cat's way of showing their friendship and trust - because cats and dogs sniff each others' butts to communicate. So this afternoon, as I am making lunch, Bis crawling around the floor, as she has been known to do. All of a sudden she puts her legs up in the air, points her butt at me and says "Hey mommy! You're my friend!"