Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Signs that the Apocalypse is Nigh or

at least that the tween and teen years will be scary:

Sam's teacher told the class that there is a foul odor in the room after PE, and could they all please start wearing deodorant. And so today I helped my first baby choose some deodorant. Yikes. Little sister had to have some too, of course.

Yesterday I locked the bedroom door when I needed a break from Maya. First she wailed and banged on the door. Then she was quiet, and I heard sort of scratching on the door. All of the sudden the door opened. She had unlocked the door with a barrette. She is six. Is climbing out windows to hang with friends far behind? This morning we talked a little about respecting personal space. I asked what made her think of trying to open the door. Apparently she saw it on iCarly. sigh.

On a more uplifting note, lately I have seen glimpses of my face in Maya's face. What do you think?

Sam drew this over the summer- Pac Man as Picasso would see him

Friday, August 22, 2008

Always lurking

When my grandmother was a young girl, her mother died suddenly. She was only 39, dead of a heart attack. Her father was an alcoholic, whenever she talks about him the adjective involved is usually 'jerk'. She bounced from foster home to foster home until she was 18, and could live on her own.

At 39 my grandmother had a nervous breakdown. She wouldn't leave the house; neighbors did the shopping and made sure the three children got to school. I know she was treated with medication, but I'm not sure what would have been used at that time (about 1959). My father was 13 years old and has no memory whatsoever of this time. My aunts, both younger than him, cannot believe he doesn't remember anything about this time in their lives. I asked my first therapist about it, and she felt it was totally normal for a boy of that age to have blocked the memory.

I don't know how long it took, but grandma did improve, and went on to live a very active life, despite the anxiety she lived with on a regular basis. She's always been busy, doing for others- baking, crafting, sewing, volunteering, caring for. I've always been in awe of her life of service, especially in light of her childhood.

I spoke to her last week; she often calls the office and knows she might catch my dad or me. She said she hadn't been feeling well lately. I thought she sounded stuffy so I asked if she'd had a cold. No, she said, I've been having terrible anxiety and panic attacks. She asked if I knew about her breakdown. She told me that when she was 39 she thought that she would die, since her mother died at 39. Recently more of her friends are dying, and she also heard from a friend whose daughter died after a long battle with cancer. She's feeling anxious about dying.

She did go see her doctor, and has found some relief from the medicines he prescribed her. I believe she's been on anti-anxiety medications for a very long time, but I don't know what she takes, and I don't know what the doctor gave her recently.

I vowed to myself that I would make sure to call her at least once a week. I spoke to her yesterday. She says she's coming along; she was going to have her hair done and then going to play mah jong, which she'd skipped last week. She still doesn't feel up to doing everything she usually does, but she's resisting the urge to hide out, and forcing herself to get out of the house and do things.

It breaks my heart that she's struggling so. I wish I could run up to NY and wrap my arms around her. She moved from San Diego back to NY, to be closer to family, about two years ago. She's been so happy. It's scary to know that anxiety can lay you low, even when you take care of yourself, even when you know you have anxiety. It can sneak up on you and leave you paralyzed before you even know what is happening. I don't think I've fully accepted that yet. I sort of have my fingers crossed that my current medication will last for a long time, that I'll continue to use and develop productive coping strategies, and never be laid low again. But that is probably just a dream.

It's going to be ok, grandma. You've beaten back this beast before, and I know you can do it again.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

If I Twittered

I'd say
  • swimmers are hot
  • so are beach volleyball ladies
  • hooray, school started Monday
  • boo, day off for tropical storm fay
  • hooray, they're back at school
  • I have a lot of pictures to post on the other blog but haven't been on the computer as much lately
  • why? Lots of books!
  • husband has initiated some decluttering sessions- hooray hooray!
  • marriage is hard
  • so is parenting

Friday, August 08, 2008

Belated Thanks and things to be grateful for

Thank you, all of you, for your kind and dear comments. I know that I have friends in California, Oregon, Texas, Massachusetts, Spain, Australia, and more. I am truly grateful to all of you. I am going to try not to be so hard on myself- funny, isn't it, that I'm pretty good at not judging other people.

In reading your comments I realized that I have a hard time reading nice things about myself! And that because it makes me a little uncomfortable, I have delayed thanking some of you. My mother was very particular about sending thank you notes, so not thanking people for the beautiful things they've said about me makes me feel even more uncomfortable!

Thank you Bipolarlawyercook for posting about my photo blog, and for these kind words as well. It's hard for me to even read that second post, because posting empathetic comments is really important to me, and I totally blush knowing that you think I succeed at it. Being understood is so important to me, and I work hard at letting others know I understand them. Thank you.

Kiandra gave me an award. Again- so hard to read her wonderful words that are talking about me! Thank you!

When I had the chance to introduce myself to Suna I didn't- I was too shy/introverted/in awe of her. At that time I didn't know that she too is introverted and fights some of the same battles with her mind that I do. Thank you Suna for saying I make your day.


On July 22nd, my sister had her second little boy. He's just gorgeous from photos and Skype, and we here in FL might burst before we get to meet him in October. And his big brother is doing a great job being gentle.

One day I got to work early and noticed some flowers I'd never seen before.

I decided I'd take some pictures when I left for the day.

When I went to take the pictures, the flowers were gone!

They were back the next morning. These smartie Florida plants close up shop in the scorching heat, only sharing themselves during the relatively cool early hours.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Moooom, I Want To!

Maya wants a lot of things. She hasn't quite learned that we sometimes have to wait for the things we want.

On Tuesday she wanted to sew a skirt she'd gotten too tall for into a pocketbook. Even though I was not really excited about the idea of dragging out the machine, making space on the table, and sewing it, I was even less excited to endure a fit. So I got out the machine.

And? I had a good time. Easy peasy- no pattern, just wing it. Input from Maya on the pseudo-appliques on the front (she asked about embroidering something which would have taken me a few years probably and then said- hey! we can sew a shape on). So nice to sew, and so nice to be present with my kids.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

a local treasure

Florida Southern College
, in Lakeland, Florida, is home to the largest, one-site collection of Frank Lloyd Wright buildings in the world.

My mom, her husband, and I went to visit when they were here a few weeks ago.