Sunday, September 27, 2015

The Three Poigant Events

"Mom, I'm a risk to go out with."  Damn. So that's how she sees herself. And I guess she may be right. Jordan and I were talking about certain blatant signs that you probably should not date someone. You know, heavy drug use, especially before school, school suspension, but what about someone who struggles with mental issues?

Our conversation was kind of a revelation for me. Not only because of how she sees herself, although this was quite an eye opener, but because of how others may perceive her. The more open and honest she is about her issues, the more aware people will become. I thought that this would lead to positive outcomes. But what if along with this awareness, comes fear and discrimination? I guess it didn't dawn on me that some people may not want to, or be capable of, dealing with the messy parts of life.
So this was poignant event number one.

On this same day a friend opened up to me about her sixteen year old daughter. She told me that things were getting worse, and she was afraid her daughter was going to hurt herself. My quick reply was that she should not ignore these gut feelings. No one knows, and can read their child more intimately, than a mother. What's the worst that can happen if you are wrong, an extra visit to a therapist, or another honest conversation with your child? But if you were to ignore your gut feelings, and your intuition was correct, the result could be tragic.  That was number two.

The third profound event that happened this same day, was when I offered my condolences to a friend who I found out, had just lost her sister. I was not aware of the specific circumstances until she opened up to me about them. Her sister had finally lost her lifelong struggles with anxiety, perfectionism. anorexia, and alcoholism.

There's that "whole package" of illnesses again. The list that usually includes a few of these: Anxiety, Depression, Perfectionism, ADHD, Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, Anorexia, Cutting... It's like there's this certain unspoken category of people who share this similar package of struggles. Usually the tell tale traits also include the positive aspects like: determination, good grades, incredible memory, insatiable thirst and desire for growth...

But sadly, the common coping mechanisms of this list are so very destructive. They are unhealthy, and dangerous: Drugs, alcohol, anorexia, picking, cutting, suicide.

The first thing that came to my mind (and out of my mouth) when she told me what had happened, was: "Oh crap, I'm afraid for Jordan." Not the most sensitive comment of my life, but it just automatically came out. She was so sweet, and then she reassured me. She told me that what I am doing, trying to stay one step ahead, and communicating with (and about) Jordan, is exactly what needs to be done. Talking about the issues, opening up the lines of communication so people won't feel lost and alone, and supporting those who are struggling, these are pretty much all anyone can do.

I sure hope she is correct, and I truly appreciate her candid honesty and her positive feedback, especially when she is experiencing such a difficult time in her life.

Having had these three events occur all in one day, helps me to realize that maybe UsToo does have its purpose. So as long as Jordan supports the idea of my sharing UsToo, and as long as I keep getting positive reactions from readers, I guess I'll continue doing this. :)

Thank you.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

All We Are Is Dust In The Wind?

I am by no means, a spiritual person. And I'm totally okay with this. Really. I do however, choose to believe that there must be some rhyme or reason for our existence. The idea that we are all just put on this earth randomly, and that our relationships and lives are floating around in a sense of chaos; that just doesn't fly with me. It's too depressing.

I'm pretty sure there is a reason why I have continued to stay connected with certain lifelong friends. Years ago, I was fortunate to have the strength and patience to help encourage and support them. I had no way of  knowing that much later in my life, I would need this same type of guidance to help me navigate through the raising and understanding of my own daughter. These connections continue to give me hope for Jordan's future. I also believe that I was given this wonderful, challenging gift of raising Jordan, for a reason.  I'm not sure, but maybe this reason has something to do with UsToo.

Four days ago there were three poignant events that I was faced with, all in one day, that helped to solidify my desire to continue sharing UsToo. Intrigued? I hope so because this will be the topic of my next post. These incidents helped to solidify for me, that sometimes the connections that we make, and the coincidences in our lives, are too hard to ignore.

Please enjoy your interpretation of this quote from the book, A Course In Miracles. It was shared with me by one of my very important, aforementioned friends.

"The holy instant is the recognition that all minds are in communication."

Who knows...maybe there are no coincidences.  :)


Thursday, September 17, 2015

Being a Human Being

A friend of mine recently asked me why I blog. I answered that I think the more that people's differences are shared and understood, the better chance we all have for tolerance and acceptance.

Though we have traveled very different paths, I still seem to share many of Glennon Doyle Melton's ideas and philosophies. For some reason I just don't mind talking about and sharing the "discomfort and messiness of being a human being."

If you have about 18 minutes to spare, this is an excellent video about... being human.


I haven't had a chance to look at her blog, Momastary, yet, but I have included it for those who may be interested.
Blog:  Momastary
I hope that you enjoy the video as much as we did, and you find many prizes in your lives.

Thank you.

Us Too


Monday, September 14, 2015

Letting Go, Little By Little...

Before moving on, I would like to clarify one thing after last week's post Our Anger Management. I do still get angry. There are times when I feel that Jordan's decisions and actions, especially during the whole college application process, are not going in the direction that they should. It drives me nuts, because I feel that my way would lesson her stress and anxiety. But I am not the one who is going to college. I had my turn. What I try to do differently today, is that I choose not to lash out and share my frustration and fearful, panicked feelings with her. I take time to process my emotions, and then I attempt to calmly make suggestions, without having a negative tone in my delivery. (This is quite a challenge for me). This can only be successful if done at a time when she seems likely to be receptive towards tips from her mother. She is a teenager, so as you can imagine, there is a small window of opportunity for the success of this scenario.

At nineteen months, Jordan still continued to amaze us every day. It was like magic watching her learn about her surrounding world. She yelled at Jake, our Pug, saying “mine mine” and “no no!” Her favorite thing to say was  “oh man” when something wasn't going her way. It was at this time that I began to notice that she was becoming very timid or scared of people that she didn't know. She would put her hands over her ears when she was confronted with anyone new. She came to visit me in the hospital when her sister Kayla Summer was born, and she walked into the room with her ears covered. When she held Kayla on her lap, for that ever-so-popular photo opportunity, and said the word "baby".  This was when I realized that she was still a baby. A baby holding a baby. Now we had two. When Adam went to take Kayla from her, she screamed “mine!” and began crying. I knew then, that this was going to be a bit challenging.

My parents, who were visiting from Florida, now affectionately referred to as Grandma Weeze and Grandpa Tony, held Kayla. Again, Jordan yelled “mine!" What she trying to get across to us was that they were her grandparents, not Kayla's. She had no intention of sharing them with anyone else, not even her little sister. She was a little girl with a big attitude. 

But I began to miss my attitude filled girl. It felt like I was losing touch with Jordan since Kayla was born. Although she was in the same room with me most of the time, it used to be just the two of us. Now I was nursing Kayla a lot, and Jordan was hanging out with Adam and Grandma Weeze and Grandpa Tony much more often. I realized that this was a good thing, me slowly letting her go, but it hurt. My big girl didn't need me as much as she used to. And human nature led me to have feelings of resentment towards our beautiful new baby girl.

Now, aren't hormones a joy? Resentment towards my newborn baby. Nice. Fortunately, these feelings of resentment did go away after the hormones settled down.

I was still in physical pain, getting up at night to nurse Kayla, and then I had to take care of Jordan the next day. She began to wake up earlier each day, and she was taking only one hour naps. When Jordan was tired, it was rough. When I was tired, it was rough too. Now when she cried before bedtime, I felt so badly for her. It made me cry. To me, it felt like we were going through the same emotions. We were both confused, tired, cranky, and feeling lost. Like our lives were out of control, and we were just trying to find a routine and some comfort. I loved her so much. I knew why our lives had changed. I made the choice to change them by having another baby. But she didn't understand. All she  knew was that Kayla was in my arms every two hours, and during that time I couldn't get up or play with her. Even through all of this disruption in our lives, she was still giving us hugs and kisses all of the time, and this included Kayla. She was such a sweetie.

This quote makes more sense to me than I ever thought it could, now that we have three teenagers. When they were young, I would have rolled me eyes at this concept. But as your children get older, as you are forced to slowly let them go, there is an indisputable truth to it. 

Image result for patient parenting quotes

I just hoped that I had enough patience to do this job, and to do it well. I have hoped this same thing so many times, during the past seventeen years and eight months. No one wants to make mistakes, but inevitably, we all do. The fear is that our mistakes will have a lasting negative effect on our children's futures. The optimistic side of me likes to think that this is not true; that our support and unconditional love is enough to ensure the success and happiness of our kids, no matter what their struggles and issues might be.  

Thank you.

Us Too

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Our Anger Management

Ahhh. I'm happy to report that everyone at the Beck household, whether they used the Three P's of September Survival or not, made it through the first week of school. Better yet, so far everyone seems, dare I say it, "happy". Jordan had a bout of anxiety on the first day, so a couple of her classes were a bit of a blur, but she got through it. I don't think these feelings freak her out as much as they used to, and she is lucky to have good friends that she can reach out to. She also made the morning bus every day this week. It's the small victories. I hope that the first week of September went well for all of you too.

Back to when Jordan was little.

At 17 months, we walked over to the same house that I wrote about when she was 4 months old. Now she was old enough to go on the swing set. The little boy was apparently on the swing that Jordan had wanted, so she threw a tantrum. There was another swing that was basically identical to this one, but that didn't matter. She was a toddler, and she was not getting her way. Since she wouldn't stop screaming and crying I decided that we needed to go home. Neither of us was having fun anyway. When she refused to leave, I had to pick her up. Picture a seven month pregnant woman trying to carry a flailing, kicking, screaming child down the block, while pushing an empty stroller. Not fun. I knew that she wanted to push her stroller, but I was so angry at this point, that I wouldn't let her.

Here is where I begin to self reflect. The question is, what was I so angry about? And this type of situation, as you will continue to see, happened so many times throughout the years. I reacted to her anger, with my own anger. I also reacted with anger towards her timidness and apprehension, as she got older. I am not proud of this fact.

Was I upset that my plan for her to have fun was not playing out? Was I worried about what the neighbors thought, and that they would judge my parenting skills? The answers to both of these questions was yes. I felt as if I would be categorized as a bad parent whose child was spoiled, unhappy and couldn't be controlled. It didn't help that whenever she didn't get what she wanted she threw a fit, no matter where we were, or who was around us.

And with my personality, I just couldn't give in once her behavior began to escalate.  I believed that it would only reinforce the bad behavior. The truth is, when I didn't understand her behavior, it really bothered me. Probably more than it should have.  I think that I am finally getting past this. It's about time, since she is almost eighteen. Or maybe I have just resigned myself to the fact that she is who she is. Her path is her own, and it will ultimately involve me less as the years go by. And that's okay.

Looking back today, it's hard for me not to wonder if my reactive anger towards the situation and towards her, contributed to her feelings of anxiety. Seeing an angry parent would cause any child to feel anxious and out of control. How could it not? The not-so-funny-thing is, that's exactly how I was feeling. Anxious and out of control, but it manifested as anger. I'm pretty sure that fighting fire with fire with a 17 month old is probably not the most effective parenting technique out there.

But just like she is who she is, I am who I am. Getting past the misunderstandings, resentment, anger and hurt, was not easy for either of us. It took hard work and more communication and honesty than I ever thought necessary, or possible. Are things perfect? Of course not. But I can say that today, without a doubt, that I truly enjoy spending time with her. I like who she is becoming, even though we have our differences. And today, thankfully, we are both much less angry.

I kind of wish that I had read this quote sixteen years ago, but better late than never. :)

Original quote by Leon Brown.

Thank you.

Us Too.