Rainey Daze and Crazy Nights

Poetry, Paintings, and Ponderings: Through My Eyes

THIS is What I Wanted to be When I Grew Up? May 7, 2013

Life is crazy. And weird. And never, ever what you expect it to be.

When I was 10 if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say a vet. I wanted to help all the animals in the world. Never mind that I couldn’t stand the thought of putting one down, or the realities of surgery. I just wanted to love and help them all, in some vague way. Oh, and get paid for it, so I could afford the ‘farm’ I would have. Never mind the real hard work that goes into such a farm; I just liked the idea of it.

When I was 13 if you asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up, I would say a rock star. I idolized those who could rock out: playing a guitar and singing their way across all the countries of the world. I wanted it all: the fame, the fortune, and the fans. It was just a minor problem that I had no singing talent at all, nor could I play any instrument. Unless you counted a play electric organ. I could beat out Silent Night like nobody’s business.

It’s strange, looking back. I had this idea of who I would be and what my life would be like. In some ways, parts of it came true. I always wanted to get married and raise a family, and I have done this. I wanted to stay home with my children and raise them like my mom did with me, and I did. I stayed home with my girls until they started school. I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I eventually decided to be a teacher, and (other than the lack of money) I never regretted that decision. Although I still sing in the shower, to keep the vocal chords warmed up, just in case…

My life did not turn out to be exactly as I thought; life has a way of shaping  you and changing your beliefs and values. Things that I once thought to be important are now of no consequence to me.

Funny, as I was growing up, not once did I ever think to myself, “When I grow up, I want to be a semi-crazy mom who raises one drug-addicted,  bipolar daughter with life issues, and one daughter who has strict, traditional values. Except for being gay, of course. Oh, and I want a husband who is old-fashioned and out of touch, so I can carry the weight of our problems by myself. Throw in a dog I love, but who has unexplained seizures, and THAT’S the life I want!”

No, none of us really get what we think we want. But you know what? I’ve made a life. I have a sense of humor that saves me most days. I have a family I love who loves me back. I have an interesting job that is great most days. This is my life, and I made it mine. It is not what I expected, because it is so much more.

 

I Knew, the Way a Mother Knows January 30, 2013

It’s back. Out of the blue, for no reason, it’s back. What is “it”?, you ask? The bipolar demon my daughter fights every day.

We had a good run. It has been a nice couple of weeks. J attempted suicide right before Christmas and struggled her way through the holidays. She began intensive therapy in January, and that seemed to help some. From the second week of January until about a week ago, things were as even and normal as we have around here. I began to notice some mania last week…nothing over the top, but clear indicators.  We talked about it, she agreed and saw the signs. She even began making really good choice to counteract the mania, such as going to bed on time, eating better, exercising, and of course, taking her meds. None of it was enough.

When I found out J got her nose pierced after telling me she was going out for coffee, I knew. Deep in my heart, the way a mother knows, I knew.

She refilled the Xanax prescription, but gave it to me.  I keep the bottle hidden but give them to her when she needs help with her high levels of anxiety. She started having panic attacks yesterday. No reason, you know, that’s how those sneaky little devils are…they come out of nowhere and bite you in the ass. Today was even worse; she was at work and had multiple panic attacks,  a severe migraine, a crying jag that she couldn’t shake, and an inability to maintain. I called hubs and had him bring her some Xanax to get her through the day. Coming home was not an option for her today, so she stuck it out.

She is now asleep. I’m pretty sure that bitch Depression has her in its nasty grip. We are back on the roller coaster ride again.

 

Bullet Dodged July 8, 2012

J, my daughter, is feeling better this morning. She said it really helped to have my dogs there with her. She’s still down about the breakup with her boyfriend, but not dangerously so. I feel much better about her. I think the worst is behind her and now she’s on the upswing. Times like these I feel like I have dodged a bullet!
J also visited my parents yesterday. They asked how E, my other daughters life partner, was doing!!! This is HUGE!! My parents are racist and homophobic, so this was a big deal. My parents are stuck in the mindset of their generation, and it is hard for them. They are really trying to show support, and I love them for that. I knew my dad would be okay, but my mom…well, she is very judgmental. She and I still have issues, but she loves me and my kids.
Now that the crisis is over, I guess I can go back to contemplating life…

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The Breakup and Breakdown July 7, 2012

It’s bad. It’s real bad. My daughter, J and her boyfriend broke up, got back together, and broke up again. She seemed fine at first; we came to the lake, some of her friends came and joined us, and we all had a great time. She rode back home with her friends yesterday. Now, the bipolar depression is kicking her with a vengeance. I am, once again, at a loss. Do I go home? If so, what do I do? I tried to get her to come back up here but she will not do it. Now I am feeling panicked and anxious. I love her but feel like I am drowning myself, then I have to also carry her. I don’t know how many more of these ups and downs I can survive.
My daughter is 25. Will she ever be alright without me? Will I survive myself?

 

Different July 4, 2012

There once was a girl who had everything she needed. She had a mother and father who loved her. She lived in a nice house in suburbia with her parents, brother, sister, and dog. She had many friends to play with in the neighborhood. This girl had everything, and yet she felt different. She was an average looking girl, but she always felt ugly. Because she felt different inside she learned to hide her feelings and true thoughts at a very young age.
This girl grew up and became a young woman. She had strange new feelings and began to drink and do drugs. She still felt different, as if no one would ever understand her. She tried to fit in with first one group, then another, but never felt herself.
This young woman grew up and became a mother. She tried her best to be a good mother, but it was so hard. She still felt different and by this time unlovable. She sometimes felt so incomplete she just wanted to run away or die.  She still felt unhappy and different.
~
I wish this story had a happy ending. I don’t know yet, though, because I am still living it. Maybe, one day, she will fit in, feel lovable, and find out it’s okay to be different.

 

So…I am NOT June Cleaver! June 17, 2012

I used to watch reruns (I’m not THAT old) of old shows on t.v. (think ‘Leave It to Beaver’ or ‘Father Knows Best’) where the mom dressed impeccably and cleaned house all day in her heels, and the dad wore business suits and came home happy to be with his loving family. These type of shows can make the best parent feel awful about parenting skills. Have you ever felt like mother of the year material? Yeah? Me, neither.

When my girls were younger we would often vacation at a little cabin (owned by my in-laws) by a lake. It was nothing fancy, but very nice for us as we didn’t have money to take real vacations. We would swim and play all day, and grill hamburgers and hotdogs in the late afternoon. I would then give the girls baths, brush hair and teeth and have them ready for bed. Since it was vacation, my girls, J and S, stayed up late and had extra “wind-down” time. They had a pile of special “lake house toys” that usually kept them entertained.

The living room had a bank of windows that looked out over the lake, so I plugged in the baby monitor, instructed them to “play nice”, grabbed two ice-cold beers from the fridge, and joined my husband on the pier. He was already settled back in his chair, fishing pole in hand. I could sit in my chair on the pier and see the girls through the living room windows. The baby monitor kept me updated on any potential fights or problems. All-in-all, a nice system. Yeah, right. A nice system if I had normal kids, which I don’t.

Let me explain: My oldest daughter, J, was born with a flair for dramatics. She can create drama most humans never dream of! One minute she is the life of the party, the next minute everyone is against her and her world is ending. As a teenager, we discovered her ups and downs were not just typical teenage problems, but  bipolar. (That, however, is a post for another day.)

My youngest, daughter, S, is the quiet, stable one. She spent her young years trying to counter-balance her sister’s dramatics. However, she would, and often did, needle her sister into hysterics just because she could. (Who else knows you well enough to push your buttons but a close sibling?)

Most evenings the “wind-down” time went well. One particular night, however, was more memorable than most. The girls played happily as I grabbed two cold beers and walked to the pier. I turned on the baby monitor and heard the reassuring sounds of J and S arguing over the crayons. You know, typical sister arguments. I settled back in my chair and let out a long sigh. Before I could crack open my beer, I heard the sound of the screen door slamming.

“MOM!” J screamed, even though we were close enough to speak in normal voices.

“Yes?” I replied calmly.

“S is NOT sharing and I TOLD her to SHARE!”

“Honey, lower your voice, we have neighbors next door. Remember I told you not to come out unless it was an emergency? This is not an emergency. Go back in and play with something else until she gets tired of it, then you can have a turn.”

“Okay, but I want my turn!” She stomped her little foot and went back in.

I opened my beer. I heard arguing on the monitor. After the first swallow, I hear the screen door slam.

“MOM! S hit me! She is being a BRAT!” J’s indignant voice bellows from the porch.

“Tell S mom said to stop hitting or she will have time-out. And you, young lady, do not snatch things away from her or you will have time-out.” Yeah, that’s right, I heard that on the monitor, I thought to myself. The only reply this time was the slamming of the screen door as she went back in. I snickered and drank a swallow of beer and settled into my chair.

Within three minutes, I heard the slamming of the door. Again. This continued for several more minutes. By the tenth time, I realised my enjoyable evening was going to be ruined if I didn’t nip it. Before she had time to whine, I beat her to the punch. I stood up to make sure she knew I meant business.

“DO NOT come back outside unless one of you are bleeding or have body parts falling off! Do you understand me?” I used my deadly quiet voice that could scare the leaders of small countries.

“Yes, ma’am” she wisely replied.

I heard the girls playing and all seemed well again on the home front. The peace lasted a whole 10 minutes before the door slammed again. I stood and glared.

“What did I tell you? You better be bleeding!”

I hear pitiful wails. “I am bleeding!”

Now, feeling guilt like only a mother can feel, I rushed up to my darling to see that she had stubbed her toe and ripped the toenail off. She really was bleeding.

~Rainey

PS Le Clown, this is the  post you inspired after reading about your adventure with LEP, Yoga Sucks Balls. Enjoy! 🙂

 

Dear Daddy: Of Oysters, Soldering Irons, Fishing, and Love

Alternative versions of Superman

Alternative versions of Superman (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Dear Daddy,

You were the first man in my life. The good news is you gave me the love and security a young girl needs from her daddy. The bad news is you set the standard high; no other man could ever measure up to you.

My best memories are times you and I spent doing simple things together. I loved the smell of your workshop, and my favorite thing to do was bang around in it. Remember how you used to let me use your soldering iron? I would create mini metal sculptures. You worked on a project while I played around at the workbench; those are great memories, Daddy.

I also remember sounding out a word to you. I was so proud because I had just learned the magic of unlocking the meaning of the sounds of each letter. We were outside a shopping center, waiting for mom to go through the check out line, and I saw the word written on the wall…..F…..U…..C….K….hmmmm….”What does that mean, Daddy?” Your reaction was confusing, but priceless!

I have a secret to tell you. Remember when I was about 9 years old and I started joining you and your buddies when you steamed oysters? The men would sit around drinking beer and swapping stories, and I would hover around the edges. When the oysters where ready, we would take the knives and shuck open the gritty shells. Inside would be the salty, chewy prize that would slide down my throat. My secret is…..I didn’t really like oysters. I simply ate them to spend time with you. You were my wonderful sanctuary from my negative, over-protective mother. I know she meant well, but…well; you know. You lived with her, too.

Remember when I was a teenager and having a really tough time with drugs? You took me to the pier at the ocean to fish. It was the first time we spent alone together since I was a small child. I don’t remember what we talked about, but I remember being so happy to be with you. You were always my Superman, even when I was a lost soul.

You stood by me, Daddy, when I was going through some tough times. You saw me through bad relationships, heavy drinking and drugs, and other assorted tragedies. Even now, when I am a grown-up mother of two adult children, dealing with problems you’d never even heard of, you stand by me. I can always count on my daddy to be the one man in my life who never lets me down.

Much love from your baby girl,

Rainey