Monthly Archives: September 2011
During one of my rare moments of attempted meditation, my mind was wandering to stuff like…I need to finish the day job so I can get back to editing the WIP, read and comment on blogs, cruise Facebook friends, blah, blah, blah…oh, and infuse extra caffeine tomorrow so I can double the workload so I can take the weekend off to write…
And in the midst of the chatter, a very nondescript face emerged in my mind and my brain chatter came to a screeching halt.
All this person said was, “Are you ready for this? Are you really ready?”
I stared at the empty face. Blink. Blink.
“Because it will all change. Are you ready to let things go?”
I knew he was referring to my intended writing success. And my answer? Hell yeah, I’m ready! It’s what I’ve been working towards with this WIP for the last year, isn’t it? But damn, if it isn’t taking forever! There are so many things that are holding me up!
Let me back up here and give you an explanation. I work about 70 hours a week typing medical reports, raise two boys, a dog, and a hamster. I exercise, socialize a little, and write. I’m disciplined and have my orderly (sort of) way of structuring my days so I can get it all in. Most of the time my days go sideways, throwing off my already loosely organized schedule, or I become bored out of my mind with the day job and start cleaning out the refrigerator or hanging out on Amazon, looking through the vast selection of ebooks. By the time 10:00 p.m. rolls around, I’m more tempted to lay down for just a wee bit, than I am to edit.
But I’d push myself and muddle through a handful of pages, call it a night, and promise myself and my dog to do better tomorrow. Guess what? Yeah, same deal for the rest of the week.
Some days are better than others WIP-wise, but certainly not where I want to be. I really want this routine to change. There’s never enough time! I whine really, really loud.
So there I sat, after being mentally slapped upside the head by some guy whose face I can’t even see, asking me a very real, very serious question. I had to think about that one for a minute (that minute actually lasted all day).
Was I really ready? I mean, I can see how things in my life would change when my novel starts selling. I can see how my tidy little routine will need to be overhauled and restructured. I can see how certain people would have to take a back seat due to time constraints or obligations. I can even see a change in scenery would be possible. Can I do that? Can I put people and places on hold if the success of my novel demanded it? My ego screams YES! Hey, Subconscious! Whaddya say?
No answer…or maybe its voice is too quiet for me to hear.
Was this my block? I began to wonder if my explanation was my excuse for not moving forward faster. On some deeper level am I uncomfortable with success? Am I sabotaging my efforts because subconsciously I have an issue with stepping out of my comfort zone?
Though I talk out loud about my plans for success, the energy I’m putting out there may not hold that same intensity. So I imagined success and what it meant for me. I envisioned finishing my novel. I visualized it being well-received. And then there was that familiar feeling – the one that would ball up in my throat when, as a teenager, I’d sit at the top of the roller coaster tracks, just before the cars would take the big plunge.
Anticipation? Excitement? Fear? Wishing all of a sudden I wasn’t sitting so high up? Is that where my head has been at? Am I going through the motions of writing when my intention was never to take the plunge?
Am I using the very same situation that I so desperately want to change as my excuse for not reaching the success I crave?
Sometimes it’s hard to tell which camp we’re in when insecurities/uncertainties run deep or are camouflaged as another emotion. I could definitely see how my teeny quirk of being a control freak would lead me to hang on to my tried and true routine, instead of free falling into uncharted waters. It’s safe in my little world, and though I claim to be a brave, strong person, there’s a new neighborhood I have yet to explore, one whose fence has been too high to look over, but one that I’ve managed a glimpse of through the knot holes. Perhaps on some level I am unsure of myself.
Well, if that’s the case, I’ve got a lot of work to do, and I’m not talking typing medical reports. Well, that too, but I’m talking about this major block. If this is what is holding me up, and I’ve got a strong suspicion that it is, I’ve got me a sledge hammer and some determination, and I’m going to bust it to pieces. Starting now.
ROW80, here I come.
How about you? Do you think you have any blocks in any area of your life? What do you do to overcome them? I’d love to hear from you!
The eyes – the proverbial windows of the soul. They reflect a myriad of emotions – fear, sadness, elation, excitement, confusion, anger. Most novels have some reference to them. Regardless of what the rest of the face is doing, the eyes are what tell the truth. “…he smiled, but it didn’t reach his eyes.” “Her eyes flashed with passion.”
No, these are windows that can never be shut.
Covered, perhaps, but never shut. They hold the light of our soul until we are no more.
Eye contact connects one soul to the other. How comfortable are we when talking to someone who refuses to look in our eyes? Or soothed when words are emphasized by a caring look? Words are strengthened with simple eye-to-eye engagement. Eye contact also helps us decipher what words can so cleverly conceal.
But not only do these fabulous, expressive orbs transmit emotions, they can transmit something more – the actual soul of a being.
Have you ever looked into someone’s eyes – a stranger’s – and just…known…them? Were there, within those eyes, years, maybe lifetimes, of friendship? Perhaps that is what seals the deal between Elena Aitken and her “Besties.” I’m fairly certain that is what happened between my friend of 30 years, Marie, and I when we met in college. We were picking roommates in our dorms and with just one look, one “Hi there!” and we’ve been best friends ever since. Months will slip by without us speaking to each other, but we are always able to pick up where we left off without skipping a beat. My neighbor, Jill, and I had met about five years ago, but from day one, I just knew her, almost like a sister. And my cousin, Toria, and I are closer than most, though I didn’t meet her until I was 30 years old. Same with Kathleen Mulroy. We connect on so many different levels, I knew when we met six years ago, that our friendship was solid.
Now let me bump up the intensity. Tell me about your lifemate/husband/wife. Did you “just know” that he/she was the one? Like you both knew the same dance, the same rhythm of life? What was it when you first looked into each other’s eyes that told you that, yeah, I know you from somewhere?
For me, it was a volleyball player from UCLA. The recognition was instantaneous and riveting. So much so, it scared me. I bumbled my way through the few words that we exchanged, and I turned that meeting into one of those, “Damn! If only I had said…” He ended up walking away, and me…I’ve been kicking myself ever since.
That was 24 years ago. His face, more specifically, his eyes, are just as real today as they were all those years ago. I still wonder who it was looking out at me. Was it an angel who wanted to offer me encouragement or perhaps he was my twin flame who wanted to connect? My nerves and/or shyness had taken over and I had blown it. Or maybe the timing was off. Kind of a ships-that-pass-in-the-night thing. I’ll never know for certain, but that encounter had such an impact on me, I just had to include it in my first novel, Again.
Now here’s a kicker. We have built such a strong social circle with our followers and those we follow through our blogging, commenting, and connecting through tweets …how would all of that change (if indeed it would) if we could Skype in blips of say, 10 or 15 seconds? We hide behind our words and profile pictures now, but what if we actually showed our face and our eyes? (Gasp!) Not only would we have to make sure our hair is brushed and we are out of our pajamas and slippers (maybe), but we would have to make sure our intentions are cleaned up as well. Would there really be a difference? Our fingers type one thing, but is our soul saying another? Do our words and eyes really corroborate with one another? After all, there is no “delete” or backspace button and we can’t tweak our eyes.
Sure, there will always be exceptions, but overall, where do you stand? Come on, be honest here…or perhaps we could have this conversation through Skype…
I was telling one of my awesome WANA711 sisters, Tameri, just yesterday, that my sole intention of writing, be it a novel or a blog, was to reach out to others, to make them feel and make them think. I want to reach into their soul and wake up anything that may have fallen asleep, because with our crazy, hectic, unbalanced lives as writers/mothers/wives/husbands/fathers/friends/overall superheroes, we tend to forget or push these feelings away for another day, sometimes never to be felt again.
And so I wrote.
Right now all I can say is, wow, I must be doing something right because I was given the Liebster Award by two of my good friends, Natalie Hartford and Kate Wood. Thank you, ladies, for your generosity! I really appreciate it! I’m not really sure what to say, but here goes!
I’m a huge fan of Natalie’s blog because, first of all, her blog page makes me want to throw on some capri pants, bangle bracelets, and a fresh coat of pink lipstick and go shopping! Her writing style is fresh and totally uplifting. She is educational and entertaining. You never know what you’ll be reading about, but know it will be awesome! So, go on…read it.
Kate’s blog is one of my favorites as well, because, well, I totally dig on the Celtic culture. As part of the Napier clan myself (my ancestors anyway) I really enjoy the information she puts out about the Celts. Be sure to check out her blog! Your world will be richer for it.
Here’s fine print on receiving the Liebster Blog Award: Winners of a Liebster must:
1. Post the award on your blog and show thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them via the award graphic
2. Reveal your top five picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog or send them a shout out on Twitter.
3. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the Internet – other writers (and bloggers).
The point of the award is to help bring attention to blogs with fewer than 200 followers, but that’s a box thing for me and in keeping peace with my rebel side, I fudged on a few of these. I wanted to bring attention to these blogs because I thought they deserved the exposure.
Choosing my five was difficult, because so many are deserving of this award, but here we go…my choices for the Liebster Award:
1. JM Randolph. I think I stumbled upon her blog via Amber West, another of my blogging buddies. I think one of them was RT’ing the other or something. I was curious who JM Randolph was and so I followed the trail to her blog. I’m so glad I did. She is an “accidental” step-mom to five children. She is creative, strong, and funny. She has such a great attitude. I love to be a fly on the wall as her blog allows us a looksie into her life.
2. Wajiha Hyder. Honestly, I just met her last night. We tweeted a few times back and forth and found a common ground – mothering perceptions. I checked out her blog and absolutely loved what she wrote. (Probably because she thinks a lot like me!) So join me in getting to know her better by following her (she’s just shy of the 200 mark) and learning how her mind works!
3. Nancy Nicholson. Now here’s one you’re gonna love. Nancy writes her novels and blog from aboard her Fawkes Phoenix, a 47’ sailboat! How cool is that? While we pound away at our keyboards on solid ground, Nancy and her family are cruising the coast of the Eastern United States and the Caribbean. She shares favorite recipes and sailing adventures. Head on over to her site for some spectacular pictures!
4. Johanna K.P. This girl tells it like she sees it. Her Note To Self is exactly like it is labeled. A note to self. Sometimes I feel like I am intruding on her thoughts and other times I know she’s letting me in. Johanna is a dark fiction/horror writer, so you know she’s plenty deep.
5. Krystal Wade. I love Krystal’s blog. Her blogs are sometimes fun, sometimes serious, always generous, sharing her space with fellow writers. Now I’m not sure where she finds the time to write and blog, being the mother of three and all, but from what I see on her blog, she has some incredible balance in her life. We should all take lessons from her.
So there are my choices! Please help me congratulate them by visiting their blog and saying hello!
When someone asks for forgiveness, who actually benefits? According to Merriam-Webster, to forgive is to give up resentment of or claim to requital for an insult. To cease to feel resentment against an offender.
I would imagine that the forgivee would potentially have a clear conscience, but what about the one who does the forgiving? Can they really, truly “cease to feel resentment?”
I had to answer that question, or at least explore it, almost 18 years ago.
For the ten years prior to 1994, I had chosen to maintain a very large distance from my mother. If you’ve been following my blog, you may remember how she turned her back on me when I needed her, how she violated my privacy and betrayed me when I was in high school. I held a lot of resentment over those incidents, along with a few others, and just needed to stay away. I grew comfortable in my self-imposed no-fly zone, knowing she was still out there, but unable to hurt me any longer. I was able to say I didn’t care anymore and that I didn’t need her. She had taught me to be self-sufficient because I had no one else to turn to while growing up. Yeah, I was tough.
Until the phone call.
She put an end to the silence to tell me she was just diagnosed with cancer. The doctors were giving her 18 months to live. For me, that meant I had 18 months to figure this whole resentment thing out.
It took me awhile to shuffle around my value and priority system, but by that time she found the doctors had miscalculated her life expectancy. Eighteen months now shrunk down to four. With hardly any time left, I put my feelings aside and visited her as much as I could. In the end I stayed with her 24/7, shooting her up with morphine every two hours, until at 5:00 p.m. on Easter Sunday afternoon in 1994, she finally let go.
I thought a lot about forgiveness during those weeks and if I was capable of it. Whether or not she looked for my forgiveness, I’ll never know, because hashing over the past seemed pointless when the moments of the future were dwindling.
Now, almost two decades later, I find the resentment still holds, though it has dulled to a whisper. I haven’t thought too much about the reasons behind it, because it is what it is, and I’ve moved on. Yeah, I’m tough.
Until the phone call.
My aunt called last night to tell me my father was taken to the hospital. He has had some health issues he refuses to take care of, and though he was admitted for a urinary tract infection, I can’t help but remember a urinary tract infection was what my grandfather had been admitted for 18 years ago, and he never came home (he died two days before my mother…ugh).
With what my father put me through, will I be able to face him again? Will I sit at his side as I did my mother and hold his hand? Though I’ve matured enough to let that resentment go, I’m not certain I’d go so far as to forgive him. Surprisingly, twenty-five years of separation still hasn’t made me feel clean enough to be in the same room with him.
But I guess I’ll never know if my mind will change as it did with my mother until I’m forced to make a choice. And knowing me the way I do, *big sigh,* I’d better start putting away for a ticket to Arizona.
How about you? Are you quick to forgive? Is it any easier to forgive someone near and dear to you as opposed to someone not so close? And in your heart, do you truly forgive? Please, I’d love to hear your thoughts!
Sometimes it’ll hit you like a freight train, sometimes it will just slide on by like the scenery outside the window as we drive from one milestone of our lives to the next. Sometimes you see it coming a mile away and you prepare for it. Whatever way it happens, the realization that change had actually come about might have us stepping back and looking around.
I’m usually oblivious to change until it has long passed me by. Last week on a drive to the waste management station (aka “the dump,”) it hit me. Change had happened, and in my attempt to just go with the flow, I missed the beginning and found myself smack in the midst of it.
“Look, buddy,” I’d said to my son. “How pretty is that?” The road to the local dump runs along the shore of a beautiful bay, a smooth-rock beach that we used to hang out at everyday during the summer.
“We haven’t been there all year!” my son said.
He was absolutely right. Summer here in north Idaho has come and gone and we’d never even been down this way.
I love this bay. Not only because it is a short two miles from our house, but even on the hottest holiday weekend, we could always put down our towels with plenty of personal space between us and the other locals. On this particular day, the sun was dropping tiny diamonds on the water’s surface and there wasn’t a sunbather, dog, or child in sight. The shoreline called – no screamed – for me to pull over and enjoy what we once shared. Or maybe it was my son who screamed that.
Instead, I playfully waved to the water, trying to make light of the regret that pushed my foot down on the gas pedal. Must. Move. On. Do Not. Look. Back. It was the only way to stop from kicking myself for the days we will never get back.
But as I drove up the dusty road to the trash depot, I remembered why we didn’t hang out at the bay anymore. It wasn’t because I was neglectful or too busy to take the time to play. It was because life had changed from one month to the next. For the last five years I’d worked from my house and I always made sure I’d finished my work before school let out. The boys took the bus home and, with the afternoon free, we went for hikes or hung out at the lake almost everyday.
This year my work and the boys’ social, school, and sports activities took us into town six days a week, so the bay had to be left behind. We shifted strategy and hung out at the lake in town, rode our bikes down different paths, ate out more, and because of this change, we found different ways to play and other activities to fill our afternoons.
But none of us had even noticed the shift. Our situation took a detour and we just followed the signs. Now, had I taken the trash to another facility, the one that we normally go to, we wouldn’t have seen the bay and never would have missed it at all. We were too busy going with the flow to notice. So, yeah. With my oldest graduating in two more years and with my youngest following in his footsteps, there are going to be plenty of changes for all of us. We’ll breathe it in, adjust our course, and love every minute. And there will be no regrets.
Because change is good.
Because life is good.
When my #wana711 blog-sister, Natalie Hartford, tagged me in her post, 10 Random Facts About Me, I thought it was be a great way to open my life up a little bit more, since we are all so intimate in a blogging sort of way. By revealing myself to you, I reveal myself to me, because I had actually forgotten about some of these random things.
The rules for this game are simple:
- Must be tagged by someone.
- List ten random facts about yourself.
- Tag four (I have five, actually) others to do the same and pass it on (it’s a good idea to ask them first because you never know where their comfort level is).
So…Let me get started.
- I was a child actress and model. Under the name of Deanna Martin, I shot my first commercial for the Bank of Seattle when I was five years old. I went on to model for Avon and some department stores. In the 70s, I had acting parts in Adam-12, Marcus Welby (playing the daughter of Sonny Bono), The FBI, General Hospital, and a few others. I think the biggest highlight was playing the daughter of Anne Bancroft in the 1973 movie The Hindenburg. I stopped acting when I went to college because I just wasn’t in love with the business. It’s tough out there, but I didn’t care about it enough to fight for the parts. I did have fun while it lasted, though.
- I love wearing stone and crystal pendants hanging from cords of leather or hemp instead of necklaces or bracelets made from gold and diamonds. Don’t get me wrong. Diamonds and emeralds and rubies are beautiful and I actually have some pieces tucked away, but I prefer the down-to-earth feel of the agate or jasper stones.
- I can’t/won’t/don’t know how/am too busy to cook. Never liked to cook, never was good at it. In fact, I regularly burn food along with the pots and pans. I just lose interest and get involved with something non-food related and eventually remember that I was cooking, but usually when it’s too late. Needless to say, my boys have learned to fend for themselves in the kitchen.
- I’m a cardio junkie. I love running – on a treadmill or outdoors. I have to run at least one hour five days a week to maintain some level of sanity. I love physical activity. Summer brings on yard work, and winter brings on shoveling snow and chopping wood. The strenuous movements quiet my always-racing mind.
- I have a nightly routine with my son’s hamster. Before I turn in, I say goodnight to Coco (lovingly referred to as “The Ham.”) When she hears my voice, she runs to the edge of the cage and sticks her nose out of the bars to grab the sunflower seeds and peanut pieces that I hand-feed her. She’ll take four or five of them at a time and stuff them in her cheeks. This lasts less than a minute, but I get a kick out of it every time.
- I love, love, love la bella lingua – Italian. I’ve been studying the language for the last six months or so, and have a wonderful Twitter friend who chats with me daily. He DM’s me in Italian and I do my best to reply in Italian. Oh, he is so patient with me! In two years my posse and I will be making a big road trip overseas. I can’t wait!
- I am a direct descendant of Ponce de Leon, the seeker of the Fountain of Youth. I don’t know how many greats there are in front of grandfather, but my cousins have the family tree chart that lists my ancestors. Getting them to let me borrow the chart is just as challenging as finding the Fountain must have been! Also, according to my cousin, Alejandro Quezada, my great-great grandmother was an Indian princess. So, royalty runs in the family. With this said, I do believe I’d prefer to be addressed as Your Highness instead of Diana. *wink, wink*
- I’ve always had a dream of buying a big house with a lot of rooms, about 20 perhaps, and opening it up for runaways. I’d staff the house with cooks, counselors, fill it with computers, clean clothes, and lots of beds. I’d give the kids a chance to be loved and cared for. I’d help them get clean, teach them skills, and help them be a productive part of society. I’ve got a soft spot in my heart for teens. I don’t know why. I just wish I could adopt them all.
- I love medieval castles. I’ve spent plenty of time on the internet searching for pictures and stories behind those fabulous structures. Maybe it’s a past life thing. Maybe it’s the royalty thing, but I’m looking forward to making a trip to the UK sometime soon to take a tour of castle ruins.
- I’m very unorthodox. Always have been. I color outside of the lines. I bend the rules or ignore them completely. I don’t follow tradition, though sometimes I think it would be nice. But I do things my way. Because it works for me.
There you have it! I hope you’ve enjoyed yet another look inside my heart and soul.
Now I get to tag some of my favorite bloggers to carry the torch onward! Here are my choices (and I thank them for accepting – *waves*):
So, take it away, my friends!!!
I like touching people. It doesn’t have to be much – just a touch on the arm or hand, a pat on the knee, or better yet, a hug. Most of us have heard of the health benefits of touching and how beneficial it is for the giver and the receiver – strengthening of the immune system, positive mood stimulation, reassurance, and comfort. It is said that humans needs four hugs a day for survival, eight hugs a day for maintenance, and twelve hugs a day for growth. How many of us actually get that?
Well, I try. As my friends can attest, I hug just about everyone. It takes me awhile to get through a room full of people I know, because giving a heart-felt embrace takes time. I’ll even take a chance on people I meet for the first time. They’re surprised for a second, but most of the time they open up and give as good as they get.
Aside from the benefits, I hug because it feels good. I hug because I can. For me, it’s a way of exchanging energy. It grounds me and connects me to others. I have a lot of energy and touching and hugging is a way to disperse it, keeping the flow going. Without it, the qi can back up and turn rancid.
Like the moon and tides, I go through cycles where my energy runs high and I have more than enough energy to share, but then almost from one moment to the next, I’ll fall and I’ll fall hard. It’s during those times when I’m drained, that hugs from others are life savers, helping me to fill up the stores again. Very similar to long distance runners, with nothing to replenish the energy I put out, I bonk.
For the most part, I find people are receptive to hugging, but not everyone feels the same as I do. Some people don’t like to be touched at all. I can count on one hand how many times I’ve hugged my mother. She was one of those who just did not like to be touched. That trait was apparently passed down to my oldest brother. On the rare occasions that we see each other, I’ll instigate a hug, but as close as I try to stand to him, he makes damn sure there is plenty of space between us and all I can feel is a light tap of his fingertips on my back. Kind of like air kisses. Completely pointless and far from satisfying.
My son is sort of like that. He’s generous with hugs, but when I try to touch his leg, knee, or arm, he’s quick to get out of reach.
“What’s the matter?” I asked him one day after trying to get his attention by tapping on his knee.
“I just don’t like being touched,” was his reply.
“Why?” I reached for his knee again and he pulled away. “What is it about being touched that bothers you?”
He thought for a moment and shrugged. “It’s kind of like the backward kneecaps on a flamingo. That’s just the way it is.”
*Blank stare* Yeah. Thanks, buddy. You really cleared that up for me.
But, to each their own, and I totally respect other people’s spaces, but it’s all I can do to not give people like that a drive-by hug.
So what about you? Are you the touchy-feely sort? Do you make it a point to hug or is your personal space yours and yours alone? Everyone is different and that’s why I’d love to hear from you!
It never ceases to amaze me how diverse we all are as individuals, yet our experiences and emotional journeys are so similar. As in writing, there are no new stories to tell, no new plots that haven’t already been discovered, only new ways of experiencing them.
Over the years I have listened to fellow blogger and friend, Kathleen Mulroy, when she shared stories about life with her adopted daughter and how challenging it was when her daughter’s mental health issues sat in the driver’s seat of their lives. I asked Kathleen if she would blog about her journey and give us a glimpse into her heart during the years since adopting Katie.
I am happy to say that she accepted. Now I will step aside and bring you her story…
“I Love You, Mom.”
By Kathleen Mulroy
Once upon a time, my husband and I adopted a newborn girl. Naturally, we were determined that Katie would grow up healthy and happy. And I knew we would succeed because I would be the most loving, diligent mom ever to grace the planet. Failure just wasn’t an option.
“What’s for dinner, Mom?”
I turned to answer ten-year-old Katie as she came into the kitchen, but I was so shocked at her appearance, I couldn’t speak. Her lovely, long, thick eyelashes had vanished. She had plucked out every, single one.
I managed to choke out, “Wh…why did you do that, honey?”
Blank-faced, she shrugged. “I didn’t like my eyelashes. They tickled and they’re too curly. So I pulled them out.”
Katie removed her eyelashes for the next several months before deciding to let them grow back. But then she attacked her eyebrows, plucking them until almost nothing remained. She shaved her arms, complaining that they were too hairy. She picked at herself until she had permanent scars up and down her legs. And she became a cutter, once carving the number seven into her upper arm.
From the beginning, my husband and I adored Katie. We gave her lots of hugs and told her every day how much we loved her. We read to her each night. We took her to museums and plays. She and I participated in play groups and attended mom and child gymnastics classes. Her preschool was the best in town. But nothing we did seemed to make any difference. Katie’s mood swings grew ever more extreme; manic, then depressed. She had awful night terrors. She lied about little and big things. Sometimes she destroyed her personal property, even cutting up her clothes in fits of rage. Worst of all, sometimes she hurt her little brother, our biological son. I couldn’t leave her alone with him. Katie binge-ate and hoarded food. In sixth grade she attempted suicide by downing some of my prescription allergy pills. Several of her childhood friends started to avoid her, and she made new “friends” who – as we found out much later – introduced her to drugs.
Over the years we took Katie to three different therapists, as well as a neuropsychologist and a psychiatrist. She saw a speech pathologist for language deficit issues and an occupational therapist for her memory problems. Desperate, I read book after book on raising a “difficult” or “challenging” child, and at last came to the conclusion that Katie was probably bipolar. It was also evident she had severe attention deficit disorder. Our psychiatrist eventually agreed, but medications proved to be ineffective.
All of my love and diligence as a mother seemed to be in vain, and this apparent failure tore me up inside – literally. Over a period of ten years, I was hospitalized four times with life-threatening gastrointestinal bleeding, and I began stumbling down the long, dark road of clinical depression. My husband and son suffered, too. Katie was increasingly verbally and physically abusive to all of us, and we were afraid of her. She gained emotional control over our household.
When our daughter was fourteen, my husband and I reluctantly took the advice of the “experts” and sent Katie to the first of what would be four residential treatment facilities. Each placement was punctuated by attempts to bring her back into our home, because we wanted our dysfunctional family to become functional. But things just didn’t work out, and we were devastated.
For the past few years Katie has lived elsewhere; sometimes with her birthmother, sometimes with a roommate or a boyfriend. An adult now, she still struggles with mental health issues and has a particularly difficult time maintaining good relationships. Yet, surprisingly, she calls us nearly every week to check in and even remembers our birthdays. Even more amazing is the fact that at the end of each call, Katie says, “I love you, Mom.” And I always say, “I love you, too.”
So, I guess my diligent motherly love did result in a kind of success, though it’s certainly not what I’d hoped for when I first gazed with wonder into my new daughter’s big blue eyes. But it will have to do, and I’m grateful for it.
~ ~ ~
Kathleen, thank you so much for being a guest on my blog and sharing your story! What an inspirational story of love and your determination to make things right. Some things in our life are not ours to control, and we just have to let them go. You and your family are amazing!