bipolar mom shares her insights on everyday life

Archive for the ‘mom’ Category

Feel Good File

Okay, folks, if you don’t already have one of these, you should make one. 

Everyone needs a FEEL GOOD FILE.  I don’t know where I heard of such a thing, but I made one for myself years ago.  It started out as a file folder for things that made me smile.  Articles, cartoons, pictures, etc.  Anything that might serve as a “pick me up” when I was down.

Then, I started adding notes people had written me.  Thanking me for various things, mentioning a positive quality that I had, etc.  Again, just things that would make me remember that I’m not a loser, even when there are times that I felt like one.

The folder became pretty full, and I had to move the items to an expandable pocket.  That’s full now too.  I’m not bragging.  Please don’t take it that way.  I’m just letting you know how great this kind of thing can make you feel.  And, as some of you know, I’ve been threw a few wacko things in my life, so people are kind enough to write me during those times.

Yesterday, I was feeling a little low, so I got out the file.  I found several notes from a dear friend.  She’s great at mailing notes via snail mail.  I can print off nice emails, but it’s even easier to file away a card.  And, the number of Winnie the Pooh cards I’ve received make me smile just looking at them!

I had lunch with my note-writing friend today.  I told her that I had read several of the notes she’d written.  She asked if the Feel Good File worked.  I said, “Well, I did have to stop after awhile.  It made me a little…sad.”  She laughed.  I said, “Well, not really sad, more like choked up.”  That, she understood.

The articles and cartoons I had saved, just made me laugh.  Just like they were supposed to do.  In fact, I had one that offered snappy comebacks worthy of a TV sitcom mom.  I’m trying to work those in when I can.  My favorite:  After your child says, “I’ll never speak to you again!”  Your response could be:  “That’s too bad.  I was hoping for another one of your informative, free seminars.”

So, just take a moment to grab one of those file folders you have around the house, or use a pocket folder that your child used three years ago, but would NEVER use again, and start putting things in there that make you smile.  You’d be surprised how full it gets.  Print off some of those emails that someone sends you that makes you smile.

Then, the next time something (or someone) makes you feel like crap, grab that folder, your favorite beverage, and prepare to transform your mood!

Getting Rid of Weeds

I couldn’t really come up with a good title for this one.  I just knew I wanted to blog about it.

On a recent thread of some friends on Facebook who are all in middle school/high school, there was some joking about one of the high schools not having a good football team, but were the best at smoking weed.  Just kidding around, of course.  (Just like when I was in high school, EVERYONE knew that Parkway West did the most drugs.  ha)

Then, one of the kids posts, “Weed isn’t so bad.  If you are going to do something, do weed.”


As a mom (and adult), my mouth dropped open. 

One of the other kids quickly wrote back and dispelled that myth because he had just had a speaker in Health class that explained how smoking pot slowly changes you, and by the time you notice the change, it’s too late to kick the habit yourself.  Another kid wrote that she’d had the same speaker at a different school.  They both remarked about how the guy looked like he had just come from Woodstock, but that’s beside the point, just a funny aside.  Probably made him much more credible, though.

Even after that, I just couldn’t let it go.  So I wrote,“And, as the token adult in this conversation, I’m going to have to say something “adult-like.” What kind of argument is “if ur going to do something, do weed?” Why would you have to do anything at all? Is there going to be some kind of game show when you go to an interview for a job where they say, “Okay. You have to do some kind of drug in order to get this job. Which one do you choose? Crack? Heroine? or Door #3-Weed?”

Didn’t mean to get all preachy there, just 43 years of experience just boiled up and burst out of me. (C’mon, though. You didn’t really think I’d sit here and not say anything, did you?)”

I really wish this had been a face-to-face conversation.  Because you can’t really convey the “you have GOT to be kidding me” look in print.

Part of this kid’s motive was probably to get attention with her comment.  But, knowing her a little, I also feel pretty confident that it is also how she feels.  This kid just turned 16.  And, I’m sure that the word on the street is that “everyone tries it.”  Which is the same as when I was that age.  And, moments like this immediately transport me back to those days.

I suppose that my biggest shock was not “Oh my gosh!  Kids are smoking pot!” but rather, “THIS is what kids think?  THIS is the mentality?”  Peer pressure is going to knock this girl upside the head.  Or she’s going to be knocking someone upside the head with this messed up logic.

I tried to come up with examples of how ridiculous her statement sounded…if you are going to kill someone, use a knife…if you are going to commit arson, burn down an empty building…if you are going to cut off a part of your body, pick the ear…

I’d love some other ideas.  I’ve spoken my peace.  I’m good now.

Now THAT’S Why I’m a Mom!

I absolutely love my kids.  I’ve told them several times that I wish I could freeze them at the ages they are.  They can do stuff on their own.  They don’t need to be entertained 24/7.   And, they are just plain fun to be around.

Yesterday I took them to Five Guys Burgers and Fries for a “Good Luck at School” lunch.  Tom doesn’t really care for it, and they both really like it, so it was the perfect outing.

We three sat there and laughed and laughed.  It was great fun.  Then, Mark gave Karen “words of wisdom” about middle school.  That’s when I almost cried.  Here were my two babies, talking about middle school.  He was explaining the lunch procedure (which, as I recall, was the one thing he was most nervous about when he was entering 6th grade), and she had tons of questions. 

THIS is why I wanted to do this.  I wanted my kids to get a chance to sit down and talk like two human beings about things that were important to them.  They get along so well (for the most part), and this was a time for Mark to be the “older brother” that I knew he’d always be.  Nurturing, caring, and wise.  She was hanging on to every word he said.  Asking questions that she might not have been comfortable asking anyone else.  And, there was no rolling of the eyes during the entire conversation.  Has to be a world record.  For both of them.

I am so blessed.

Momma’s Boy

Why is it that when he’s here, I think Mark is so grown-up for a 13-yr-old?  But now that he’s away at Boy Scout camp, I think of him as a 9-year-old…not knowing what to do…having no self-confidence…missing me… 

Tom leaves tomorrow to spend the rest of the week at camp with him.  I’ll bet he won’t hug him like I would, though.  Maybe Mark’s glad I’m not coming.  🙂

Oh, My Aching Back

Last night we had a big thunderstorm.  Karen has never been a fan, to say the least.  She asked if she could sleep on our floor last night.  So, this morning when I got up, I told her that she could go sleep in my spot on the bed.  “No, I like it here.  Thanks, though.”  WHA?!?!??! 

Ahhh.  Gone are the days of being able to get a good night’s sleep anywhere my body landed…

Love That Boy!

Mark on the way home from a somewhat hectic VBS:  “Mom, you are so awesome.  People don’t come to church to learn about God, they come to see you!”

Lightning may strike me for feeling so good about my 13-yr-old to say that.  My reply was, “Well, I hope they learn about God as a bonus.”  🙂

Practicing What You Preach

As a mom, I try to teach my kids lots of life lessons that I’ve been taught, used, or, at least, learned the hard way.  I try to be the mother figure when dispensing advice.  You know:  all-knowing, wise beyond my years…

Well, yesterday, I was in a position to practice what I preach.  At Willy Wonka rehearsal, the main cast members were asked to go through our lines while the rest of the cast was going through the dances from the first couple of scenes.  We’ve been doing this for a couple of days, so it wasn’t anything new.  That was kind of the problem, though.  It wasn’t anything new.  The kids that play the main roles (ranging from 9 – 16 years old) were getting restless.  Plus, they were getting to know each other pretty well now that it was Day 4.

It started like most read-throughs we’d done.  A little chatting, then on to the reading.  The music for the dances was loud, and did make it difficult to hear each other.  So, the read-through was not going well.  Then, it became just chatting.  And laughing.  The stage manager came up to us and told us we were WAY too loud.  (We were as far away from the stage as possible and were told to stay in the theater.)

It got quieter, and the youngest of the group kept saying, “Can we just do our lines?”  He was completely ignored.  Some of us tried, but were not successful, to run our lines.  It was not going well. 

I thought, “Crap.  I don’t want to sit here and get scolded again.  Plus, I don’t know my lines well enough yet, so this is a waste of time.”  I’ll admit, the biggest part of that thought was the getting scolded.  At 43.  By a college student.  But, I respect him and his position as Stage Manager.

Then, it hit me.  What have I always told my kids?  Move.  Get away from the group.  So, I said, “Hey, I don’t know my lines, so I’m going to have to go sit down there and learn them.”  And I moved.  I was going to go off into a corner and just read my lines, but I wanted to make sure that the stage manager didn’t think I was still up there causing a ruckus.  So, I sat alone in the seats near the front of the theater.

It also hit me how hard that really is to do.  At 43, I didn’t care too much about what the kids thought of me, but I did a little bit.  But, what if they were my peers?  It really isn’t as easy as the mom in me made it sound when I said it to my kids.  I made sure I did what I tell them to do and I know that actions speak louder than words.  But, I am planning on telling them the situation.  And, when I do, I also plan to tell them how I realize that it is not easy to do.  But, man, did I feel better when I did move.  And, when the director turned around and told the group to be quiet (AGAIN!), I was not up there.  And, that felt GREAT!

Two Worlds Collide

We started Willy Wonka the Musical practice this week.  I am LOVING it!

Yesterday we did a workshop on defining our characters.  So, my son Augustus and I sat down to create a background for our family.  Here it is in a nutshell:  We are a wealthy German family, but I grew up poor and was often hungry.  So when I married Augustus’ dad I promised myself that Augustus would never be hungry.  That’s why I feed him all the time.  My goal in life is to make sure Augustus is happy.  What’s so wrong with that?  🙂

While my stage son and I were talking, I asked him where he went to school.  Turns out he goes to the same school Mark does.  And, he’s the same age as Mark.  And, yes, he knows Mark.  We had that moment of wide-eye opening, “You’re kidding!!!” looks.  Then, I was faced with a dilemma.  Do I ask if he likes Mark?  Or do I let it go?

Have you ever known me to let something go?  Of course I asked him!  He said, “Yeah.  I think he’s funny!”  Whew.  Mark said he thought they had PE and maybe drama together in 6th grade, but no classes together last year. 

So, my two sons know each other!  Weird…

Guten Tag!

I was looking for something for Karen to do this summer, and remembered that a production company that is based in our school district does a camp for the month of June and then puts on a musical at the end.  So, I looked into that, and this year they are doing “Willy Wonka.”  The difference, though, is that this year adults are also in the musical.  (In the past they have had two separate productions.)

As I read the information, I thought about a comment I had made in our Bible Study group a couple of months ago.  I said one thing I regretted not doing was trying out for musicals and plays in high school and college.  Now here was my chance!  I thought about it for several days, not telling anyone my thoughts.  Then, two days before the deadline, I gathered up enough nerve to tell Tom. 

Which seemed really strange.  Why would I be so uneasy about telling my husband?  The man I’ve loved for more than 20 years?  Did I think he would laugh?  Was I afraid he would scoff?  I don’t know, but I didn’t expect the reaction I got.  His eyes lit up, and he said, “I think you should TOTALLY do it!  Famous people are always saying, ‘I just walked into an audition and…’  I really think you should!!”  Wow.

So, the next day I told Karen, thinking that if I was going to try out, she would too.  Nope.  Not interested.  She LOVED the idea of the camp.  LOVED the idea of performing.  HATED the idea of trying out.  WHAT?!?!?  I assured her that the girl across the street tried out two years ago by singing Happy Birthday.  I assured her that since it was a camp, everyone  gets to be in it.  You may just be in the chorus (or in this case, and Oompa Loompa), but you get to be on stage.  Nope.  Still not interested.  I even told her that she’d only have to try out in front of a couple of adults.  No one else.  Uh-uh.  No way.

After she left for school, I went ahead and sent in my info for an audition.  No turning back now.  I decided not only would I be doing something I’ve always wanted to try, but I’d be teaching Karen a lesson as well.  Get out there and do something out of your comfort zone.  You may always regret it if you don’t.

When I showed up at the audition, every single person trying out came up to my hip.  I felt like Gulliver on his trip to Lilliputia.  I went up to the desk and asked, “This is for adults, too, right?”  The girl behind the desk assured me it was, but that I was the only one during this particular audition time.  Ah.  I felt better after some teenagers came through the doors.  Now when we did the dance steps, I wouldn’t look like Dorothy surrounded by the Munchkins.

After I sang my audition song and fumbled through the dance steps, I was so proud of doing it!  I stepped out of the box and lived to tell about it!

That night, I got a call that they wanted me to come back and sight read some music and do a cold read of the script.  I was thrilled beyond words!  I felt 30 years younger!  As giddy as a school girl!

I had so much fun at the callbacks.  It was great to see and hear kids read and act.  Oh, and I was definitely the oldest one there.  I could have easily been the mother of anyone in the room.  It didn’t bother me, though.  I figured if the director didn’t think I was too old, then I was good with it.

I read for one part-Mrs. Gloop.  She and her son, Augustus are from Germany and eat A LOT.  I pulled out this German accent and took off, rubbing the head of my son, pinching his cheeks, etc.  The director started laughing and later said she could watch that scene over and over it was so funny.

I left that day higher than a cloud!  No matter what happened, I had done my best.

Today, I found out that I got the part of Mrs. Gloop!  I was home alone and screamed and danced around!  It has already been such a wonderful experience.

AND, my point to Karen was made.  This week she told me that she was going to play the violin with a few other students for the Volunteer Breakfast at school.  She said, “At first, I wasn’t going to, but then I thought about what you said.  About later regretting not doing something that you might be a little afraid of, so I decided to go ahead and do it.”  WOW!  

I honestly don’t know how this could have turned out better.  I’ve thanked God several times already, and will definitely do so during my bedtime prayer.  And, I will go to sleep with a smile on my face!  Gute nacht, meine freunde!

Brace Yourself

Karen bolted in the house after visiting the dentist last week and screamed, “I get to have braces!!!!!”  She was thrilled.  I remember being excited to get glasses.  That didn’t last long.  Saying “Four eyes are better than two” got really old, really fast.  But, I knew saying anything like that to her was useless.  Plus, why burst her bubble?

The dentist said that she has a misaligned jaw, so that her bottom teeth are over her top teeth on the side.  (Or something like that.)  He’s mentioned this almost since her first visit, so it seems legit. 

HOWEVER, he also mentioned as an aside, “Oh, and you might want to take Mark to the orthodontist too.”  Really?  Tom was the one that took him, so I don’t know why the dentist recommended it, but Tom said it seemed like an afterthought.

One of my best friends has a daughter in high school whose dentist just told her she needed braces.  And, after she went to the orthodontist, he agreed.  She started to cry.  Why?  Well, these days no one has braces in high school.  Everyone gets them earlier.  And, even though my friend had asked the dentist his opinion years ago, he never mentioned it before now.  The orthodontist couldn’t figure out why she would be upset.  Idiot.  He obviously doesn’t have teenage daughters.

My friend and I got to talking and wondered, “Does anyone NOT “need” braces these days?”  We were discussing her daughter’s problems, and they didn’t sound life-threatening, so we wondered why she just didn’t go ahead and wait until she was in college, or out, for that matter.

Tom and I neither one had braces.  The reason he didn’t was because he was one of six kids, and money was tight.  In fact, he got all his major dental work done while in the Army.  I didn’t get them because my issues were not a big deal.  My bottom teeth are a little crooked, but if I decide to fulfill my dream of becoming a pop star or act in a movie opposite George Clooney, I’ll get major work done like the rest of Hollywood.  But, we don’t wake up with major jaw pains.  Kids don’t run away screaming, “They’re hideous!” after seeing our teeth.  We survived without ever being “metal mouths.”  Maybe I should invest in these the next time I’m in Boca Raton.  Seriously?

Now, I know there are completely legitimate reasons for braces.  And, I do believe that Karen probably needs them. 

But, does everyone???  What are your experiences/opinions?

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