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Not Your Typical Easter Sap

My cousins would always bicker over who had to sit next to me at the “tiny tot” table at Easter. Not that I had some sort of kid fungus that hadn’t been identified in any medical dictionary. It was because I was left handed and there were eight of us that circled around the old card table with hunks of dried paint stuck to its legs and labyrinths of cobwebs that clung underneath. I’d jab my elbow’s into the person next to me with every bite. They practically had to wear a shower curtain to protect themselves from food if they were the lucky one to sit next to me.
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I rarely ate though. By the time dinner was laid out on the antique dinning table that spanned from one end of the room to the next, I was already full of Easter candy.  One year in particular, I had hid candy in my white Easter socks; the ones with a lace trim that matched the lace on my pink polka dot dress. I tucked my leg under my bottom so that I could nonchalantly reach the jelly beans that had stuck to my ankles. Sure they would have been furry, but they sure would have beat the bland “yucky” carrots.

Before the ham was cut, I was called to the “grown up” table. My dad pointed me to the empty seat that had belonged to a missing family member that was ousted at Christmastime.  My name was daintily etched in my grandma’s perfect handwriting and was tucked into the antique rose place card holder.

Prayers were said and the conversations ensued about things I didn’t understand but I still felt very grown up. I looked over my shoulder at my “tiny tots” and stuck my tongue out.

“Look at all the space that I have now assholes”

I did not say.

Over the years, the Easter gathering, along with most of the holidays, dwindled to a few family members. You see, our family put the F and the U in dysFUction. It wasn’t unusual for someone to bail due to “headaches” and “stomach bugs”. One year my aunt claimed that the seatbelt on the driver’s side of the car wasn’t working and she didn’t dare endanger the life of the driver. I couldn’t make this bullshit up if I tried.

You always knew who would be absent at Easter by the way Christmas went.

After my grandpa passed, my grandma stopped making Easter dinners and my mom started to. I looked forward to it.

because it was just us. As my siblings and I grew older, we barely got to see each other so getting us together under one roof again was something special. We laughed at dysfunction and wondered how we ever came out the most normal of our family.

Missing: Army brother and Baby Brother with the gorgeous locks of love.

Missing: Army brother and Baby Brother with the gorgeous locks of love.

This year, Easter was cancelled entirely. The “why” I cannot share here but what I can share is how utterly saddened I was at discovering this.

Easter was spent with just Shawn and Chunky. There was no rushing to hunt eggs just so that we could get to mass on time. We didn’t go.  There was no getting dressed into something fancy for pictures, although we did take shots just to prove that we had Easter this year. There was no ham which I didn’t mind. It gives me diarrhea and flashbacks of our trip in Mexico. We had barbequed sausages and hotdogs. Candy was eaten. Laughs were had. Shawn painted our living room. I caught up on laundry.
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The best part was when Shawn invited us to go for a beautiful drive. He took us to my favourite ice cream place that was surprisingly open. It was a great surprise and it made my heart and tummy full.

And it was perfect.

Life constantly changes as do people and relationships. The important thing that I have learned in all of this is that sometimes you have to be selfish and protect yourself and your family from the drama. A holiday is a holiday no matter how you spend it, as long as you’re happy.

dairy freeze

And we were.

Kid ripped the shit out of my garden but he made me that pot of ahem...flowers...which made it all good. He's got a heart of gold that one.

Kid ripped the shit out of my garden but he made me that pot of ahem…flowers…which made it all good. He’s got a heart of gold that one.

 

GFunkified

Mama’s Losin’ It

Ten Bucks Is Ten Bucks

When my parents told me that they were pregnant with my brother, I cried. Oh, I hated my parents for it. I was twelve years old and had already done my fair of diaper changes and midnight feedings. As much as I wanted to believe that they “didn’t hear the baby screaming for two hours straight,” I knew that they were lying.

Adding a fifth sibling was my worst nightmare.

Then he was born and blah blah…I dropped him on his head…seriously…not on purpose though…blah blah…love him…even though he has prettier hair than I do.

At the time, my dad was laid off so they had to be frugal. I actually learned a thing or two about living within your means. Shawn and I have a budget for everything. This year we had enough to renovate our kitchen, but then our dog ate a sock and we were forced to pay $2000 to keep that jerk alive. How do we budget?

Coupons and sales. Once Shawn paid $1.50 for flip flops and only $2.50 for a t-shirt. It’s a very hilarious story but he made me swear not to blog about it. He’s very proud of those purchases.

 

Flipit is a wonderful site where you can find a wide array of coupons from fashion, to shoes, to food, books, etc. You can find so many deals there. I have my eyes set on Starbucks discount codes. Wouldn’t that be a great Mother’s Day gift while saving money?

That extra money you would have spent could go to some new shoes for yourself!

Make sure you check the site out. It is world wide so you don’t have to be a Canadian to score some great deals.

There Is Winter And There Is Winter

“See, Mr. Fields was right Momma! It did snow!” my son shouted at 4:30am because he’s an asshole. Kidding. The kid has a malfunctioned circadian biological clock of which I blame my husband for because of that one time when he forgot to strap him into the baby swing and launched the poor kid across the lawn. A brick to his face broke his fall.

Look at that face all beat up.

Look at that face all beat up.

I reached up and lifted the blinds.

Snow.

“Momma! Is it going to be Christmas soon?” he asked.

Sigh….

The snow was pretty back in October but now I’m ready to start kicking the heads off of snowmen. This past weekend, we had temperatures above 20 degrees Celsius. To my American friends, that means our weather was warm enough for me to wear a t-shirt. I finally got to see how pale my arms were after spending what seemed like an eternity covered with layers upon layers of clothing. They are a stark contrast to my dark Italian hair so I look like a wookie.

I’m prettier though.

Today is Good Friday. For those of you who are heathens like me, that simply means that I get to eat fish and chips at my dad’s expense. One year we tried making the fish ourselves. We drank most of the batter, which was beer, and we almost burned the house down. Not necessarily in that order. Later on that evening, we went to a movie rental store and people were complaining about a fish smell.

We waited approximately 3 hours for fish and chips.  This is my brother and his fiancé and Chunky looking for her soul. Circa 2010

We waited approximately 3 hours for fish and chips.
This is my brother and his fiancé and Chunky looking for her soul.
Circa 2010

Our home also smelled like a nursing home for weeks.

Speaking of homes, Shawn and I finally agreed on kitchen paint which is a really good thing considering we almost got divorced over it. Now we are on the hunt for lighting. I told Shawn that if that threatens our relationship, we must stay together for the child.

Chunky has a four day weekend and I’m looking forward to it. We don’t get to spend a lot of time together since he is Mr. I-must-play-all-of-the-sports. Kidding. We force him to. Baseball practices have started already and the season actually begins in a couple of weeks. Last year the little turd had to sit on the sidelines for half of the season because he broke his arm. How? He didn’t want to go down the slide because there was bird crap on it so the logical thing was to just jump off the top. The lesson learned in that experience was this:

You’re not a cat.

Giving me strokes since 2008

Giving me strokes since 2008

 

Things that I am thankful for this week:

1. Although expensive, we can afford to sign Chunky up for the sports he wants to play in.

2. Sponsored posts that I am forever thankful for. They bought me a sink and a faucet for our kitchen, school clothes, Christmas presents, birthday presents, Shawn’s stupid baseball bat, etc. I’m not working so every little bit counts. I know you dislike them.

3. This:

Being blessed that I get to be apart of the Listen To Your Mother Show. These women's stories are nothing short of amazing and so inspirational. Huge eye opener. This was our first rehearsal.

Being blessed that I get to be apart of the Listen To Your Mother Show. These women’s stories are nothing short of amazing and so inspirational. Huge eye opener. This was our first rehearsal.

4. Snuggles. When your child is sick, the best thing you can give them is love and protective snuggles.

5. This came true:

If you are a Game Of Thrones fan, let us all rejoice.

If you are a Game Of Thrones fan, let us all rejoice.

6.  Hanging out with new mom friends who can appreciate my humor and still allow their kids to play with mine.

7. Laptops that are able to withstand a shit kicking because it is their fault that my blog looks jumbled half the time you visit.

8. Vitamin combinations that will correct side effects such as hair loss that is caused by other medicines that treat my bipolar disorder. If you have hair loss, do you have any suggestions?

9. Heating pads.

10. Going with the best tissues that money could buy just days before I was hit with a head cold. No one wants to rub their nose with sandpaper.

 

I hope that every one has a safe and blessed Easter holiday.

Ten Things of Thankful

The Downside Of Up

I leaned my head on the cold window and stared outside.July 028 I was entranced by the way we seemingly pushed  rapidly against the way the world was spinning. Garbage that lined the curbs, the trees, the bushes, the parked cars, and early risers walking on the sidewalks all blurred into one conglomerated mess that made my stomach turn.  It was only 8:30 am and I wanted the day to be over with already. I looked at Shawn who was rhythmically tapping his hands on the steering wheel to the song on the radio.

“I feel like you normal folk. Achingly tired and boring,” I said.

“What? What does that even mean?” Shawn asked.

“The circus left town and took my happy purple puppy balloon with it.” Shawn looked quizzically at me. “The hypomania has fizzled out.”

“Well, that’s a good thing right?”

*********

Hypomania is an unmistakeable feeling. It’s your insides being spun like a busy wind chime caught by the very first gorgeous spring breeze. It entices you to start removing layers of drab, heavily weighted winter wear. You expose your skin to the sun, that had been missing for months, and you feel it caress you with its peaceful warmth. The world, that was once excruciatingly noisy and too painfully bright, had forced you to hide yourself in shadows and close your eyes. Now, when you open them, the world is full of vivid colours and crisp lines. Your mind is as clear as the blue sky above.

A happy; your effortless laughter that was buried for far too long, surfaces and you want to share it with anyone who wants it.

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Your heart erupts in an excitement that intensely energizes your soul and makes you feel incredibly alive. Brilliant thoughts emerge from the crevices of your mind that you never knew you had and it allows creativity to flourish. You want to do everything that you didn’t have the drive to do nor the desire to do.  Because of this, it’s imperative that you do them; all at once.
hypomania creativity

Your mind, body, and spirit work harmoniously together giving you the highest highs that you will ever experience. That world whispers to me, “Come and play,” and every single time I do.

When you’re given this present, you embrace it, because you don’t know when the wretched side of your mind will grab your hand and pull you back into a world that is bereft of anything worth waking for.hypomania quote

With hypomania, I am reborn and rather than robotically trudging through my days, I move with purpose. Why would I deny myself that?

It’s an addiction.

“Just one more time. It won’t be as bad as the last,” I think to myself.

I will admit that I initially allow it to run its course. I do not medicate it (as in adding an extra dash of anti-psychotic medication), I do not force myself to sleep as much as I should, I heed the warnings of my overworked body and refuse to stay still.

The downside of up is the crash. It’s like driving a car with your foot pressed on the gas and then hitting a patch of black ice. The car takes command of the steering wheel and no matter how much you try to struggle against it, the car keeps spinning and spinning until it slams against a brick wall.

The crash causes confusion as to what just happened and it pisses you off beyond belief. You can feel every single muscle in your body as you get out of the car; almost feeling painfully heavy in your skin. As you look behind you, you can see the damage that the hypomania had done…all of which YOU ARE responsible for.hypomania crash

You want to cry and shout and thrash and hide and sleep and pray that you’ll be able to pull your shit together before your soul settles in a depressive episode.

*********

“I suppose,” I said in response to Shawn’s question and pressed my head back up against the cold window.

 

 

Have you ever experienced a hypomanic episode before?

What are some of the things you have done while hypomanic?

Did you crash afterwards?

Good Cop, Bad Daughter

“Is there anyone in your family who has a mental illness?” I was asked by my psychiatrist.

I had to think for a moment. Mental illness was rarely talked about in my house and when it was, it was used as pot shots during heated arguments. I would overhear conversations about a relative on one side who was admitted into the hospital for their “nerves” and another because they were depressed. On the other side, there were no diagnoses, however there should have been.

One of them who clearly had a mental illness was my parent.

I walked on eggshells at home. I never knew what “parent” I was going to encounter. Would it be angry parent, miserable, snarky, raging, content, sulking, paranoid, happy parent? It never mattered. There would always be something as little as stepping on the creaky spot on the kitchen floor that would set off an unfiltered explosion. I was terrified at times and so anxious about pissing them off or making them disappointed in me for not being perfect.

Despite all of that, I love them but I wish that they would admit to being ill and get the help that they need.

I was  asked if I wanted to read a book called Good Cop, Bad Daughter: Memoires Of An Unlikely Police Officer by Karen Lynch. She too grew up with a mentally ill mother and I knew that I could connect with her in that respect.

good cop bad daughter

 

An excerpt from Amazon.com:

 Good Cop, Bad Daughter is an often humorous, poignant adventure story of Karen’s journey from pot-smoking Cal student, to Renaissance bar serving wench, to street cop. Recounting the story of the first women cops, she reflects on life with her bi-polar mother, and comes to realize her chaotic past unwittingly provided the perfect foundation for her chosen career.   As she finds family and acceptance in a men’s club that never wanted her as a member, she fears she will one day face her mother, not as a daughter but as an arresting officer. When that day came, and it did, her private life and her career would collide dramatically.

 

In between the lines I read perseverance and felt compelled to read it. I am glad that I did.

In the first chapter, Karen grabs you by the hand and takes you on a journey as she recalls her childhood. As a child, Karen didn’t understand her mother’s mercurial moods that would often shift from happy and exuberant to angry and depressed, and the unstable behaviors associated with them. When her mother sporadically left Karen’s father and drove across the country, she took Karen with her. Giving her an alias last name and moving in with a strange man, Karen’s turbulent story of survival begins.

Often times, I wanted to jump into the book and hold Karen. I wanted to tell her that everything was going to be ok, but you could tell early on that she was one hell of a strong willed child who would overcome. From childhood to her early adult years, I felt like I was a fan on the sidelines rooting for her. I believed in her courage. Karen’s resilience is nothing short of amazing and is incredibly inspiring to those who have been raised in chaos with an unstable mentally ill parent.

Karen made a life of her own, a successful one at that. She became the first female police officer in San Francisco. That little girl who had gone through so much, achieved so much more.

Karen writes with authenticity. No account is wrapped in pretty pink bows. Everything you read is raw and you can feel the emotions that she experienced in those moments. Never, not even once, did she ever play the role of the victim. She was the hero in her own story.

I am glad that I picked up her book and took part in her journey. This is a brilliant and inspiring book for anyone who comes from troubled beginnings.

You can purchase Karen Lynch’s book Good Cop Bad Daughter: Memoires Of An Unlikely Police Officer on Amazon.com

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