Tough holiday, my Dad (with whom I was extremely close and my rock with difficult child) passed away in September. My Mom, a severe, late-stage, alcoholic, attempted suicide recently and ended-up with very serious medical issues as a result. So . . first holiday without my Dad and my Mom in a psychiatric unit . . . And, although minor, I went to a hockey game tonight with husband, and watched as a young 4/5 year old actually managed to sit through a game with his Dad and enjoy it. Saw a similar thing at dinner Wed night with both boys; 5 kids next to us managed to enjoy a quiet dinner; while my children were off the walls! (and this was at a fast food joint!). Even easy child would be a handful for parents of most "easy child" kids . . . let alone difficult child. IOW, even when my children are extremely well behaved, they are a handful. Yet . . . it made me remember what I am thankful for; and I suspect that only "we" would understand. - Knowing how much it is obvious when difficult child misses one round of medications; used to be you couldn't tell the difference with all the rages and anger. - How difficult child is still BiPolar (BP); and it's more obvious as he gets older, but we have help, he is stable, and he is trying . . . we have hope. - That, even though we aren't able to establish the friendships we would like to have, that we used to with friends our age, this too will change in time (difficult child doesn't allow for it . . . he can't handle too many changes at any one time and we can't count on others to always understand). - difficult child is not only passing school, but doing high school level work in most courses after failing every class last year; and has told me in just the last week that he feels he needs to attend private school for another year. - difficult child asked us today if we wanted him to go to Harvard; yet we are still not convinced he can even make it through high school (Of course, we told him whatever he wanted, if he choose such a school, we would figure out a way to try to make it happen). - My Mom (my parents were still married when my Dad passed away) has agreed to yet another rehab attempt and will go to live with my sister out-of-town - great move for her. And, sis has agreed with the tough love my Dad could never do . . . and my Mom says she understands it (yes, I know the realities here). - And in case I forgot, DS has quickly taken the place of Daddy with difficult child . . - And last, but not least, still a great marriage with husband . . I know a lot of marriages fall apart with the challenges that we have faced. Lots to be thankful for this year . . . in spite of the numerous problems. I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a great Holiday seasons; in spite of all the challenges.