I’m eclectic… I get it from my brain. Honest.
Back to being a pissy parent. We all have our pissy moments right? Ask your kids. If you allow them to be honest I’d guess they’ll say you are (sometimes). I am. Remember? But what next?
I can’t tell you how to be a great parent. I don’t think there is a cookie cutter version of the “perfect parent”. What I will do is share some of myself and my life; our family life. I’ll share some of the interesting (read… weird) things I’ve done in my journey and efforts to be a great parent. That was always my goal. I never wanted or want to be a good parent. I only and always want to be an excellent, amazing, great parent. That’s all.
One of the things I’ve found to be most interesting and thankfully very workable starts with me. I’m super massively curiously. My kids sometimes think I’m too curious. I want to know all about so many things. As a Bipolar parent this can come in handy. When I’m functioning pretty well (not screaming over “spilt milk”) and can stand on my own and all by myself I love to do weird things with the kids.
We live about an hour from Mt. Rainier National Park. It is an amazing park. I could pick the kids up at school and be up at Paradise in under two hours. We ate lunch or a snack out of the back of the truck (car, after the Explorer was repossessed). The very easiest food for me to pack, and one that doesn’t cost much, was to get a brick of cheese (not a giant one), a tube of summer sausage, crackers, 2 pops for each of us, bottled water, and some candy. Oh, and my pocket knife, to slice the cheese and sausage.
We have been poor, very poor, since any of my kids can remember. I have always hated that and resented everyone, including myself, for it. I never thought it was fair. But that was just how I “felt”. As I learned and grew I’ve come to understand that at this point in life it just is what it is. There isn’t any sense beating myself over the head about it or raging at family members who have $.
The thing was I wanted to find things for us to do as a family. I wanted them to see we are family and we will always be here for each other. I started with the fun things like taking off on spur of the moment wild trips to the mountain. None of their friends could say they did that.
What am I saying to you? I’m saying this: my mind wanders hither and thither all the time. Like Alice said, “I think about 6 impossible things before breakfast.” That’s always been me. I was stuck in depression much of the kids’ childhoods… growing years… before high school. I really fought myself to do the things that I knew were right. Providing a fun and fast trip to get us all outdoors in some of the most beautiful places in the world. (I mean that every place we stopped for pictures or to explore or just anything, that individual spot was fun at that time. That moment.
I’m curious, remember? Shaking off depression and plunging into a floating maniac free fall. Okay. Maybe calling it a rocket which takes off likety-split. The internet was just reaching survivable speeds for mania driven for me. My brain spun and smoked constantly as I devoured every bit of information on anything that caught my fancy… day or night.
This obsession turned out to make our trips interesting as well as fun. Information, you know, the stuff that can grow our brains to be smarter? Yeah, I had a lot of that.
I had just one problem. Only one of my three kids could give a hoot. The one that did wasn’t anywhere near as interested in information as I am and we diverge all the time. But we do both like to learn about things we’re interested in. She reads. Not so with the other two. They saw their out of control mom buy 100’s of books and devour many of them. Books lived in our small duplex more than we people did. They don’t actually like to read just for the love of reading.
Mom has all these books. Many are about how to help myself be successful in life and finances. They saw neither of those oh so important things happen when I brought a new book home or printed reams of information from cool websites. Obviously, books aren’t great. Words aren’t great. They don’t even work. (I’m not really sure what that means, but I think you get my drift.)
My attention wanders constantly. I have ADHD and am Bipolar type 1. My brain hears this instruction incessantly: go… go… go… go… go… GO!!!!
Keeping kids happy… my books did and do help me do that. They give me a place to take my mind to where I can be quite and stop talking for a time. They revel in the silence. Books give me ideas. A LOT of ideas. Running the kids to the mountain is one of my greatest ideas for my young, single mom, Bipolar, ADHD, poor family. We sang. We laughed. We ate fun food. We played in the snow without snow cloths (never enough money to get warm cloths for playing in snow).
I forgot what I was saying again. I started what I want to tell you about in my next letter. Nope, that’s gone too. Hold on… think… relax… switch the TV to mute… I want to tell you more about these sudden trips next time. I’ll tell you about Tarzan yells, deer, mountainside museums, rocks, singing country music, lakes, mud slides and fell trees across the road. And I must not forget the movie in the woods after dark. Cheap, fun, fast trips.
You know what our little trips did for me? I got excited thinking about going, about treating the kids to something terrific. That boosted my morale and pleased me. I even smiled. I miss those trips. Remind me to tell you why we don’t go anymore.
Point? getting my hiney up and doing things just so I could surprise the kids always pulled me up from the darkness. I didn’t have a choice.
Thought followed by action… this is a secret weapon I use as often as I remember to… help me be more like me.
And now I must say good night my friends. I think I’ll play some nature sounds with soft music on YouTube from the playlist I made just for that purpose. Lest you think I need to fill the quite void of no talking I must share with you one more little interesting thing.
Someone in the near area is having a party. The sounds of vehicles on the highway (half a mile away) periodically are drowned by crazy laughing. Sounds like something from haunted woods. Wish I could make out what they say. Wait… it’s the ass. You know, the ass down the road. The one that resembles a pony. He makes his ass sound. Then the creepy laughing. Then back to the highway. Yeah, TV is getting unmuted.
Till next time… Wait, I thought of something else. Thank you to those of you who have taken time to write notes to me. I love hearing from you. Please write me notes, post comments and even share my letters to you as often as you like. If you’re a parent and Bipolar you and I have a lot in common. So share, comment and tell people you know who might find Redux (this blog) amusing or helpful.
Signing off till next time.
P.S. I didn’t even apologize for jumping around today. I’m not even going to go back and make it more organized. You get the words today the way they prompted me to put them down. Uh… in. In my Chrome. Never mind that. Pass it on my friends. And keep writing.