Tuesday, November 24, 2009

so late so nervous

I love thanksgiving
I do
it is the time of year
to give thanks

it has been a rough few months
so rough
so scary
full of tears
and lately
at last
and well deserved

but now
my parents are coming in
and spending the holiday with us

I am really scared
they are really clueless
they don't understand
what we have been going through

we have not seen them in almost 6 months
they don't live far away
only 3
maybe 4 hours
it never occured to them
to come in to help us
when our oldest was gone
or even
when she got home

I am nervous
that my dissapointment
will show up as anger
while they are here

I actually told them
of my dissapointment
before Karen was released
while she was still in
her treatment center
I let them know
I was not happy with their lack of help
or my brother and his family's

it seemed it was not taken well
by anyone
and instead of trying to see things
from our perspective
it seems
they all turned it around
and made me the bully
I was even more distraught
and I couldn't share any of this with my children
my husband knew
and he was more angry
at them
for me

it didn't make sense to him

then after Karen got home
I shared more of my dissapointment
and then
my dear supportive husband
spoke on my behalf
he did not mix words
and we thought they got the message
my parents actually apologized
and promised to make changes

it is 6 weeks later
and they still never came in
to see

what changes
maybe a phone call or two more
an offer to come in
to help
with doctor's appointments
to let us get a night out
help with school

last weekend
I told them
I was scared
how I would act
this week

I kept saying
what could *I* have said
that would have made a difference
what could *I* have done
so that they would understand

just clueless
my dad said he never thought about it
my mom said she thought
we were so busy
she thought
we didn't want her
was it mentioned
or offered
or suggested
after I had told
them what I needed
6 weeks before

I was shocked
how could this happen
I thought I knew them
understood them
until just a few months ago

they got here tonight
and they acted like nothing happened

do they think
if they don't talk
about it
that we will forget

they don't notice
that the eyes of
all their
have lost a little spark
that some innocense
is missing
that these girls
have noticed
their grandparents absense

I wonder
how I will make it the next couple of days
it is so late
and I am so nervous
of how I will react
how they will react
how my daughters will react
and how my husband will react
he will hurt anyone who hurts me
I am so thankful for that
in this situation
it scares me

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Steps forward

more steps forward
than backwards
and that is what is important

another weekend
another bat mitzvah

Karen went to the sabbath dinner
and I had not even
until we were there
it was her first
big event
where it was not just family
or her friends at school
the first time
she was in a large group
at least
it was in a home
she felt comfortable

I stayed with her most of the time
she did well
some people tried to hug her
not her cup of tea
but she did well

on saturday night
when the rest of us
were at the bat mitzvah
service and party
Karen had a friend
spend the night
they went to dinner
then watched a movie

Bethany and Lucy
my husband and I
enjoyed seeing
the little girl do her torah service
we had watched her grow up
she was a little terror at 5
but now
just beautiful
honest and gracious
at 13
beam from the bima
we laughed
danced and enjoyed her party

one of my middlest's friends
thought I was drunk
but Bethany explained
"oh no
she always dances like that"
as long as I didn't embaress her
I guess is all that mattered

baby steps forward
for all of us

all the girls
laughed when we got home
my three
and one extra
one that I never knew
could be a part of our lives

the child that I still worry about
the one who I thought
would always be my shadow
had a friend spend the night

it had been a long time
since that happened
and it was all
a part
of the moving forward
that we are all
grateful for
so happy to see

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Billy Crystal

I was so excited
I had bought tickets for Billy Crystal's
Tony award winning show
700 Sundays
I promised by husband I would take him
sometimes I take girlfriends
the event was on my calendar
for tonight

we were getting ready
and he asked me what time it started
I said I needed to check the tickets
I found the tickets
and the date
I totally goofed
how could I do that
put it on the wrong night
in my calendar

He saw my look
and knew it was not good
I called the box office
thank goodness
it was still open
and they had tickets for tonight
the seats weren't as good
but we could still go

and I am so glad we did
we needed a night out
we left the girls
all alone
for the first time in
I don't know
ever I feel like
but I knew that is not true
15, 17 and 12
we should be able to leave them
we are not a typical family
and we know it

we went to dinner first
then to the show
in a brand new opera house
that was warm and cozy

the show was beautiful
Billy took
his family stories
old movies
and told them to us
it was so personal
the loss of his father at 15
the jazz clubs he went to
wanting to play baseball
deciding to be a comedian
his brothers
his mother
the fun times
the heartbreak

it made me think of my own family
and how things don't always
look the way they seem
the family ties
that should be close
are not always
the ones you think you can count on
aren't always there when you need them

I cried
for Billy
for me
for my daughters
who I want to keep safe
and loved

for my extended family
who does not always understand
what we are going through
what is so hard to explain
how we struggle daily
but don't want to admit it
every day is a new day
and every morning
I never know
how the oldest will wake up
or treat her sisters
or me
or her dad

that mental illness is not something
you can just turn off or on
that these details
are not easy to talk about
and sometimes
I just don't want to

that I shouldn't have to be the one to start
the conversations
with my extended family
but I can always be a part of them
they avoid it
so if I want to talk about it
I have to bring it up
so I don't
until it is too late

how lucky Billy Crystal
seemed to me
although he lost his dad so young
he had some wonderful
fond memories of him
that still made him proud
to this day

I hope my girls
will be like that

I want to make them proud
of me
of themselves
of our family

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Three girls One doctor

it needed to happen
it did
they never wanted to do it
I wanted it

I made an appointment for
all three girls
to go to a psychologist together
the new doctor
because it only seemed fair

Karen has been seeing her
therapist for 3 years now
how did it get to be so long
it has

the new doctor
who I found
by pure luck
started seeing
Bethany and Lucy
while Karen was away

She knows their stories
but she also
knows less history

now that the oldest
has been home
I knew it needed to happen

on the way there
I asked
will you blame everything on me?

My middlest asked
if I really meant it
My littlest asked
if I was just trying to be funny
the oldest
didn't say much
I knew she was scared
they were all going
to "the other" doctor
a new doctor
for her
she was

but I promised her
she would like Dr Black
Dr Black would not
be mean to her
she wanted to get to know her too

back in the car
I still worried
for all of them
what did I do wrong
could I have done
so they would have gotten along
from the beginning of their lives

was I a bad mother
I was still worried
even if I was trying
to make light of the situation

We all sat
in the waiting room
I think we were
all on the same couch
when the doctor came out
she smiled
all the girls
even me
sitting together
probably looking at
an Iphone application
or something
to take our minds
of the seriousness of the evening

they went in together
leaving me alone
in the waiting room
I read my book
I checked my email
I wondered
just what they were saying

would they blame
their daddy
each other
for the situation right now

would I hear screaming
or anything
from the other room

I could only wait

they returned
and smiles
were on all the faces
and they asked
to do this again

apparently it was positive
and they weren't scared to talk
they all spoke
even the littlest
who only likes to make people happy
she didn't just nod
her head and say
"whatever you want"
to her sisters

the funniest thing happened
later that evening

Bethany went to the bathroom
and while she was there
she noticed that
the bathroom
she shares with Lucy
was out of toilet paper

So she screamed at Lucy
to get her some
she pounded on the wall
between their rooms
Lucy screamed back
to tell her to stop
my sweet husband
heard what was going on
and threw some
TP up to the girls

Then Bethany came downstairs
and started complaining
to her father
that it was Karen's fault
there was no TP

the oldest does not share that bathroom
the middlest felt she could blame her

My husband said
good thing
that sister therapy
worked so well

or still
I was
glad I made
another appointment
for them

it seems
there is a lot
of work that needs to be done

At least
Karen could laugh about this one

Monday, November 16, 2009

another good weekend

last friday
the middlest
the one who is into herself
did a very unselfish thing
I took her
along with some friends
to the airport
they met up with some
youth group members
and chaperones
to fly to New Orleans
to help clean up
the city
which is still
in a sad shape
since the hurricane
over 4 years ago

She spent the whole weekend there
painting houses
hearing stories
meeting people
seeing sights
not texting
or emailing
or looking in the mirror

now I did hear
she liked to talk to her friends
but she did get to work
whenever asked
she enjoyed it

during the weekend
Karen went to a coffee house
at her school
she was social
she had fun

Lucy had another
bat mitzvah to attend
My husband and I went too
we will be doing that a lot this year
this time
we felt fine
about leaving Karen alone
she had a good attitude
so that was a strength for us

All of us
got out of the house
all of us
felt good about what we were doing
all of us
were positive
about the experiences
we were having

what more could I ask for right now?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Band Concert

When Karen switched schools
2 years ago
the one thing
that made her want to stay at
was Band

She started Percussion
in 6th grade
she tried out
and made it
her band director
was very supportive of her
she stayed with it
all through middle school
and then started high school
it was a positive in her life
and she enjoyed it
she could read music
it made her feel good

and almost every school
we seriously considered for her
did not have a band program

but the school change
was a necessity
and we couldn't worry about band

I tried to find
extra curricular percussion groups
outside of school
no luck

when she started at Winston
a new Dean of Students started too
somehow he told us he wanted to
start a middle school band
at the school
We told him about Karen's
history with band
so when he did begin
the program
he tapped her to help
she would get music credit
get to play as part of the band
and be an assistant teacher
he was happy
as was she

This year
there are two student bands
the one they started last year
and a new one this year
Karen is the student director of the new band
there are other High School students
who help out with the other band

the school had a performing arts night
the choir
the dance group
and the band
played for the parents
and anyone who wanted to see

I was beaming
my daughter
who for 2 months
was away this year
in a residential treatment center
was the star
of the show
she kept the beat
for all the band songs
even though
there were other high school students helping
it was her bells
or snare
or tambourine
that kept the other students in line
I stood up
thank goodness we were in the back
so I could see her face
her smile
her pride

I couldn't help
but shed a tear
and think how far we have come
from August
that horrible day in August
when she could not control herself
and here
in front of me
and her family
her friends
and people she didn't even know
she controlled herself
so well
and controlled the children
around her
to stay in tune and on beat
to sound
so beautifully together
that the applause
filled the arena
and she was the star
the bright and shining star

she did it
she should feel good
she has worked so hard
to be where she was today
she deserved all the accolades
she deserved to feel the pride
she deserved it all

Sunday, November 8, 2009

wonderful weekend

so many good things to report

1-the Komen 3day
I have walked this amazing event twice
and it is an experience that
seriously can not be explained
in mere words
it is magical
but exhilarating at the same time
I was in the lunch crew last year
and enjoyed that experience just as much
I was giving back
and felt complete
I had signed up
and was planning to do it again this year
with all going on
with my biggest and her treatment
I had to withdraw
but my team captain
let me help out for the first day
I dressed up like the others
and after psyching Karen up
and getting her off to school
late again
some days are tougher than others

I showed up at the site
The magic in the air
the excitement
I helped welcome walkers into lunch
because I was not official
so I couldn't help with food
not really a problem

It ended up being great
I saw a former team mate
I saw old freinds
made new ones
cheered walkers on
made sure the limping ones
got medical attention
It uplifted me
in a way I was not expecting
in this part of my life experience
I have been so focused
on mental health
and mental illness awareness

it did me good to see the signs
the pictures
of the ones whose memories
will never be forgotten
whose lives were lost
to breast cancer
or ones who were still
fighting the battle
and wouldn't give up

it was great to see my old
crew mates from last year
many of them knew my situation
and they welcomed
me with open arms

it just felt good

2-my best friend's son's bar mitzvah weekend

we helped host the shabbat dinner
at the synogogue they attend
not my usual temple
but one that I also love
the rabbi there
is an inspiration
he always speaks so eloquently
and makes the community feel good
I got to read on the bima
in english
thank goodness

I became a bat mitzvah myself
a year ago
but I can't read all hebrew
so that was a relief

my friend's husband
and daughter led most of the service
except for the sermon
that the rabbi preached so well

and when my husband and I got home
we discovered that all 3 girls
had been home
for hours
and there was no fighting

we were thrilled

The next morning
the shabbat
and bar mitzvah service

Lucy and I got there early
he is her friend
very good friend
from life
and camp
so camp friends from out of town
were there too

My husband
middlest and oldest came later
but Karen came
and she dressed nicely
didn't complain
and sat through the service

it was a wonderful

she didn't attend the party that night
but she went out with a friend
like any other teenager
and it made us so happy

the party was amazing
beautifully done
and enjoyed by all

it was a good weekend
one for the books

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Full Days

My oldest has been having a hard time
at school again

we had to back off her days
she was so anxious
she couldn't make it through a whole day
her psychologist
talked to her
and decided
we needed to start from scratch again

I cried in her therapy
did we bring her home too early
should she have stayed longer
to feel more comfortable with herself
she reassured me
she was good there
and this would happen
whenever she left

she was anxious about the school she missed
there were still some classes
she was not caught up in
and she did not like
this unknown

back to the beginning
last week
first day
one class
second day
two classes
adding classes
as only she was comfortable doing

we love her school
whatever we asked for
they did
the head of school
dean of students
was willing to work with us
to help ensure our daughter's
success back at school
I would pick her up
there was one day she had to walk home
because I was somehere
but they allowed it

But it worked
after the school counselor
ended up meeting with her
and most of her teachers
she felt better

The only problem left
was physics
and my husband ended up at that meeting
because I had to be at another meeting
for another child

as much as I try
I can't be in 2 places at once

When the science teacher
discovered she had not had biology yet
he just switched her schedule around
and my husband said
you could see the relief
in her eyes
her shoulders
and her attitude

she is back to full days of school
and she is feeling good about it

We listened
we worked it out with her
the teachers
and the school
and that is what is important

She feels better about herself
and her school
we couldn't ask for anything more