Archive for December, 2014

2014 in review

December 30, 2014

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 2,300 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 38 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

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Resolutions my ass ;)

December 28, 2014

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Resolutions my ass.
OK maybe not all  of them.
But let’s get real for a second.
I have yet in my 34 years to make one. Why?
Because I think they’re mostly ridiculous. If I am going to strive for something, change something or commit to something, I’m not going to tick off the days until January 1st to do it.  I’ll do it right now.
Will I continue to do it?
Maybe, maybe not.

But I don’t get the hoopla surrounding making good choices on a particular day. Then feeling guilty or beating yourself up in thirty days when you haven’t followed through or hit exactly what goal you set. 
We all fail at something we try to achieve, yet it seems to me that when you fail at the oh so important new years resolution you feel even worse.
So aim high.  Every day, not just one day. Hell my goals change by the minute not the year around here! For some that means being healthier, loosing weight and so on. Those frankly aren’t things I’ve ever put a lot of thought into. My “resolutions”  tend to consist more of family, caring, etc.
For example the beginning of September I resolved to bake more for my family.  So every Sunday I spend a few hours in the kitchen.
In June I resolved to pay it forward at least once a week.  So every week I do something or give something to somebody, often daily not weekly.
In October I swore I would take a step back and re prioritize my family first.  So I say no a bit more. So whatever your passion, goal or resolution may be live it always .

Now I appreciate and respect some people swear by this tradition or need a specific day.  Go hard, but don’t beat yourself up if the scale isn’t just where you want it, or you’ve yelled at your kid by January 20th.
To me, unless you are being cruel, abusive, breaking laws, being judgemental or ignorant, we’re all perfect just the way we are, so why must we be so intent on changing ourselves? I am not talking about bettering ourselves, but about trying to become something or someone we’re not.

Accept that you are who you are, know that you are perfect just the way you are! Screw the resolution making on one specific day,
You’ll be fine. I promise.

Here’s what my resolutions are.  And not a new years resolution, because I try to do them anyway.

1. Stand up.  Use my voice for good. Even if it makes people angry or uncomfortable.  Usually that means there’s truth to what I’m standing up for. And no I don’t care if you get sick of hearing it, don’t want to, don’t read.
2. Compassion.  I don’t know your story. It’s not my place to judge you or tell you how to do things.  It’s my job to be compassionate, caring and kind. 
3. Support.  Give support however I can to those needing it.  Be an ear, a shoulder, a smile.
4. Acceptance.  Of myself and others.  Like I said, we all have our struggles, our things we don’t love about ourselves, BUT I am who I am, you are who you are. I know I don’t want to be anybody else, nor should you. We’re pretty awesome.

There ya have it folks. Happy New Year, may 2015 be full of love, laughter and goodness!

Kindness for Christmas

December 20, 2014

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The most wonderful time of year is upon us. Well for me anyway.
I love Christmas and all it means, no not the money and the stress, because there’s lots of both. But I make a conscious effort to limit both. Because for me it’s about family, traditions and kindness.

I speak a lot about acceptance and kindness year round, yesterday dude was shown just those things, and at the most perfect time.

Dude had a crash last week, which led us to extending his Christmas holidays. We hit the point of “remove all outside triggers and stress until he sees the doctor”  mode.  No we aren’t putting him in a bubble, but when things aren’t balanced we must do whatever we can to prevent the crash from becoming worse. School is a trigger on a good day and the festive season is often another with all of the excitement and schedule changes, so after discussing with teachers and his psychologist we decided to prevent a complete breakdown he would stay in his comfort zone.

Upon his early leave from school with our permission and more importantly his, his grade and the grade above (he’s in a small school)  were given a brief description and discussion on not only bipolar disorder, but mental illness. The response of the students was incredible in itself, but the true meaning of the story brings us to yesterday.

It was the last day before break and a few of the students asked for his email address, and emailed him Christmas and get well wishes. Just as they would a classmate in the hospital or away from school for a length of time with a physical illness.
I was left speechless.  Not often does that happen!
To top it off two of his friends handpicked a Christmas gift and sent it home with his sister.  I can’t begin to describe the look on his face as he unwrapped it.  I can’t imagine how the emailed words made him feel.
The support and compassion and acceptance that surrounds my son continues to amaze me.
Even before the discussion of mental illness, he was accepted. But now with the knowledge that he has an illness, one he can’t control I think his peers can make sense of it all, having a name makes it easier to understand sometimes.
The compassion, patience, empathy and understanding of his peers and the staff makes my heart full.
I believe no matter what is under the tree this year, his best present will be knowing he is supported, cared about and valued.

My Christmas wish is this for any child or adult struggling with illness. For each and every one of you to know you are loved, you are cared about, you are valuable. My other wish is that those who don’t suffer to extend kindness  patience  understanding and compassion to those who do.

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Good grief, indeed!

December 14, 2014

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Ahhhh good old Charlie Brown! Sums up this week perfectly!
As I’ve mentioned this is an extremely busy time of year for myself, I’ve also mentioned that this isn’t the easiest time of year for dude.

There’s been a few signs here and there the past few weeks, that that ever so touchy balance was starting to tip.
  But I’m going to be honest, I just kept thinking they were still only a few, it’s Christmas season and I’m not sure I have time to deal with anything other than work right now so I let those signs not necessarily ignored but definitely not front and centre either because I really don’t have time for appointments, phone calls and I am dog tired to boot. Does that mean I’m a horrible mom? I don’t think so, I think any parent of a sick child sometimes just wishes positive thinking will be enough, I know I’m notorious for that, and in the meantime I miss signs that looking back I wish I hadn’t, enter all the mom guilt possible.

Apparently no matter how hard I try to pretend things are fine, sometimes they don’t listen or follow my schedule dammit!

One sign things are tipping is dude feels sick all the time, his stomach has always been a physical radar for us to use, but with flu season upon us, gallons of milk being drunk it is also sometimes hard to read the cause.
Another tell tale sign is his telling his head to shut up. For most of us we self talk in our heads, but when things are particularly tough he will voice it.
The sniffles are back, a sign he’s stressed to the max.
The rapid mood cycles hit late this week, along with crippling panic.
Then there’s the paranoia, it’s not full blown, it’s something most wouldn’t even pick up on, but thank God his teachers know these subtle signs.
Needless to say that this week I am grateful for a phenomenal team supporting him, it’s crucial we all communicate because we all see different pieces of the puzzle.
The teachers who alert administration (also Nana in our case), administration doing an assessment and comforting and contacting his psychologist who be lines for the school and spends the morning with him until I can get there, the doctor who rearranges schedules so we can see him next week instead of next month. How important the communication is  is more than I can put on words.

Apparently bipolar gave two shits about his mom’s schedule and made one of it’s own. 
Surprising, not really. Inconvenient, yup.
Does it matter  nope.
What matters is not only we caught this spiral before it was deeper and that dude himself has found an awareness about his illness that makes the break a bit more manageable on his part. His knowledge that this is just part of his illness brings him a bit of comfort I think.  Though he’s repeatedly said this week he wishes his life wasn’t full of ups and downs, mostly downs. He wishes he could just be normal. And one of his friends upon an explanation to the class asked if there was a cure, would he ever be better? And there’s nothing more my boy would love, it brings him peace knowing that this to shall pass.
What matters more than a few hours missed work is that we have support and a plan to get through this down slide.
What matters more than absolutely anything is that dude knows he is loved, that he is never ever going to travel these roads alone.
And what makes each and every ounce of frantic running, rearranging and super early mornings to fit in Christmas at the shop, and turmoil at home?
When I get home from a day of teaching Christmas classes, I’m bone tired and dude meets me at the door with a hug out of nowhere and says, “mom thank you for always being there for me, especially when I really need it”.

The kid is worth it all and more, but I still think Charlie’s nailed it…. Good grief!

Dear kiddo…

December 8, 2014

Dear kiddo,

I know you feel like you have no one. I know that you feel isolated, alone and wondering what’s so wrong with you.
I am hear to tell you, nothing!
I am here to tell you one solid good friend is better than 100 “friends”.
You think you’re not funny enough, smart enough, sporty enough or good looking enough.
You are! And I know it might not look that way right now, but none of that really truly matters!
You see for some reason kids, teens, even adults seem to be mislead to think that the more popular, athletic, good looking you are, the better you are.

Not true.

In 10 years I promise you, you’ll understand this.
I am here to tell you that I was athletic, popular etc. And right now none of that made me who I am today!
I don’t talk to the 100 friends, I talk to the 1.

Your character makes you a better person, not having a ton of friends, being invited to the parties or being the best dressed student.
Now there are those who are all of the above and have great character and heart. But the  “popular”  list won’t take them far, that will be their character.
And believe it or not even those you watch with envy are fighting their own battles, you just don’t see that right now.
Those zits will be long gone in a few years, you’ll grow into your legs, and you’ll find yourself. And at the root of you is your heart and your character, stay true to those and you will be more than OK, you will be amazing!

More important than clothes, the parties and the teams is being true to yourself. Be kind and caring, be compassionate and passionate about whatever YOU love. It doesn’t matter if it’s the same as everyone else.  There is always someone who has the same passion, the same humour, the same ideas and you will find them and when you do, you’ll understand you are not alone. You’ll find your groove and those friends that matter.

The world would be a pretty boring place if we were all the same. And really you don’t want to be anyone but you. Because you are the perfect you!

Don’t let anyone tell you you’re not worthy. Don’t let anyone make you feel less than them.  And if you don’t have that one friend yet, I promise you will.
Be just who you are, embrace that person and let go of those who don’t appreciate you just as you are.
You will find out as you get older, friends come and go. Sometimes you know why, others you have no idea.   This is a tough one for anyone to understand. But I need you to know, it’s not your fault. Try to remember that you will (maybe already do)  have that one friend whose not going anywhere, cherish them.

I guarantee that popularity won’t make you a better person. I guarantee your not missing much by staying home on Friday night.

I want you to know, you are perfect.
I want you to know while you’re navigating the path of teen hood, you are loved beyond measure. You are smart enough, funny enough and you are the perfect you. You are kind and sweet and caring.
You are you.
And that’s more than enough.

Hang in there, I know it sucks and you may not think so right now but I promise you’re going to be just fine.

Xoxo

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Tis the season! So it begins…

December 1, 2014

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Tis the season! Crazy, chaotic, exhausting, frantic, fun, loving, kind and wonderful all rolled into one!
Christmas season happens to be one of my busiest seasons, volunteer, work, home and school wise.  I absolutely love the Christmas season for all the traditional reasons, but I also loathe some of what it brings.
I find myself over committed, stretching extremely thin to manage work with the rest of my commitments.  I’m two weeks into the busy season that is that of a florist, and I’m already tired. I find myself dreading certain things that are quickly approaching. Not for all the reasons some may think (yes I’m tired, no I don’t like crowds but those are par for the course, no biggie).  But because good excitement, just like stress can be a big trigger for my bipolar kiddo.
When others are flying with the excitement of the season, relishing the later nights, the concerts, and all the amazing things that this beautiful season brings, dude fluctuates between waaaayyyy to excited to extremely overwhelmed to very low.
Don’t get me wrong, he loves Christmas! But when you struggle with mental illness, holidays can be tough, no matter how much you love them!
We try really hard to maintain our schedule during holidays, but there’s some inevitable changes.  A few later nights, lots of people (even though he loves them,  all together it can be hard), and simply just the added excitement of it all.
See I love the simple things of Christmas, family, quiet snuggly days, big flakes falling outside while we sip hot chocolate inside being thankful for all we have, games and movies and Christmas carols,  baking and eating! These are what I love about the season, and what brings a certain calm to dude when the world seems to be bustling way to fast,  to fast sometimes to remember just what’s important during this time of year.
For dude, and I’m sure so many others, quite honestly most of us! Christmas can be an overload, setting off all sorts of triggers.
It took me many years to figure out that even though he was excited, he was also struggling with moods and emotions.  For a long time I just didn’t get it.  How can you be do upset, overwhelmed or sad during such a wonderful time of year? I just couldn’t grasp it, but I’ve come to accept it.
The blessing disguised in that  is it makes me slow down, focusing on what’s important, family and time. 
So sometimes we might have to leave something early, sometimes dude won’t attend, yes my kids are in bed close to regular bed time, no we won’t make that event, no we don’t have time to commit to that. Yes I am selfish.  That’s just how I want to be during this Christmas season. I want to enjoy the time with my kids, the fun days with my family and the hustle and bustle of work.  I want to relax and enjoy the season  not run frantically, not sitting in a room full of strangers or pushing my way down the eisles. So I won’t. 
I will enjoy the season how I want to, and in the process help my boy enjoy it as much as possible as well.
Tis the season!