Falling off the rational thinking wagon...

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by dashcat, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    If i would only listen to my own advice....

    I just posted on Pepper's thread about how we likelly couldn't have done anything different with our difficult children. I made real sense. And then...

    I was looking though old photos for a project I need to do for school. I wasn't even in the box with difficult child's photos (I was looking through vintage family photos and having a lovely time), but then I ran across oa photo from her homecoming in her sophomore year.

    She looked so beautiful and so happy. I remember buying the dress. She loved it and was thrilled with it, even though we got it at a second hand shop because it was the first year her dad was gone. I'd taken her to have her hair done, we shopped for jewelery together (big time local dept store sale). In the photo she is striking a confident pose and she is absolutely beautiful.

    Now she mostly wears her boyfriend's or her dad's clothes ... or really hootchy things that are cut so low you almost can't look at her. Her beautiful hair is several different colors and is almost always filthy.. When I see her she frequently hasn't showered, she's gained about sixty pounds...

    But all of that is nothing comapared with the fact that the light has gone out of her eyes. The happy girl in that photo is a memory. All of the things I mentioned above about her appearance are mere symptoms of the real issue: that she is grappling with something that is slowly pulling her under. She is grappling with something bigger than her and bigger than the mom who would move heavan and earth to save her...if only that were within my power.

    And, yes, I looked at that photo and wondered if I knew then what I know now ... would I have done anything differently? And would it have mattered?

    I know the answer, but it doesn't make it easier right now.

  2. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

  3. toughlovin

    toughlovin Guest

    Hugs Dash.... I do that too sometimes... and those prom pictures really get you. My son never made it to his senior prom but he looked great and had a wonderful time at his junior prom. I was so hopeful for his future that night because things looked so good..... and then he threw it all down the drain. It makes me so darned sad. And the pictures of him when he was a little boy send me to that place you are talking about.

    Sometimes when I go there I just have to say to myself, stop this and think of something else.

    As you know there is nothing you can do, or probably could have done. We can only move forward from here.... and their future is now up to them.

  4. Nancy

    Nancy Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Aw dash, I have those moments too. Hang onto those memories. I cry when I look at photos from years ago too, I can hardly look at her high school colorguard photos without having a horrible pit in my stomach. And those memories of shopping for jewelry and getting ready for prom, they are yours forever. Your difficult child is inside there somewhere.

    "She is grappling with something bigger than her and bigger than the mom who would move heavan and earth to save her...if only that were within my power."

    I have often said my difficult child has a hole in her heart that we couldn't fill, not by our love or support or help, not by anything. This hole she carries around with her looking to fill it with something, if she only knew she could fill it with herself.

  5. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    I dont have anything from HS for Cory because there simply isnt anything. I do have all the pictures from when he was small and I think the one that really does it the most is his preschool graduation picture. It is the only picture I have of him in a cap and gown. Its obviously the only one I will ever get of him in a cap and gown. 24 years later we both watched his daughter do the same thing and she looked so much like him. He whispered in my ear that his biggest prayer was that he would see her graduate both HS and college unlike him. That day just brought it all back to both of us. The loss and the what could have beens...and what could be with her.

    For the most part though, I do enjoy looking at their pictures and seeing my kids back in time. I have to go get a bunch of vhs tapes from my dads house and put them on dvd's because they are from when my kids were really young. Last time I saw them I cried and cried. It was about a year or so before my dad died.
  6. CrazyinVA

    CrazyinVA Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think we've all had those moments. It's ironic, isn't it, that memories of those "good" times can be downright painful, because of the contrast. I know my mother had a particularly hard time with this, reconciling the smiling, sweet tow-headed little boy that was my oldest brother, with the homeless, mentally ill adult he grew into. She told me as much, a few years before she died.

    I pray that you'll get to see that light in your little girl's eyes again soon.
  7. DrPepper

    DrPepper New Member

    This thread literally made me cry at my desk at work today. Learned my lesson in jumping on this board in the middle of the day! We all love our kids or we wouldn't be here. I have a sneaking suspicion that all of you were wonderful, loving parents. I have to constantly remind myself not to beat myself up over what I cannot change. And other people, our difficult children, we cannot change. On the first day of kindergarten my son was given the wrong name tag and took the wrong bus home. Pretty scary situation for all involved. After that, I had "the talk" with him about strangers and what to do if he was ever lost. I told him that if anything ever happened to him that my heart would break in two. I remember he looked at me funny because he thought I meant literally but I explained to him that it would make me very, very sad. Little did I know that it would be him being his own worst enemy that would be breaking my heart in two. Nobody, except us, really know what we see when we look at our now grown up children, the therapists, doctors, etc., we still see them as our babies and the kids we nurtured, the sweetness, the innocence, those faces in our old pictures. It is hard to separate.
  8. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    LOL...DrPepper.. My son actually had that happen in kindergarten too!
  9. StressedM0mma

    StressedM0mma Active Member

    Dash I am sitting here with tears running down my face right now, because that is the place I am right now. I would do anything, and I mean ANYthing to help my daughter come out of the darkness. I love when I see a glimpse of the real girl, but it simultaneously breaks my heart because I know she won't be around for long. (((HUGS)))
  10. dashcat

    dashcat Member

    Ok, now of your posts have me crying. I guess we all share the same kind of heartbreak, even though our situations may be different. Like most of you, the photos usually bring about happy memories. I'm so grateful for what I did have. I know some people here battled for many more years than I have, and I know I was blessed with many good times. That photo really triggered me,, though. Sometimes you don't know what is going to send you circling the drain of what ifs. You just have to cry it out and move on.

  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    *hugs* hon
    Mine isn't out of elementary yet and I keep asking what happened to my happy baby. I think I'll be asking that for a long time. Most of the time she won't even let her picture be taken.
  12. Signorina

    Signorina Guest

    It's times like these I wish we were across a dinner table from
    each other instead of the far flung web...

    Each year, I display the framed photo cards of our Christmas's past on our sofa table. There are 21 cards plus a few pics with Santa. Seeing my sweet, young, dressed up easy child-who is now turned difficult child- breaks my heart.

    We attended a bat mitzvah a few weeks ago. The rightfully proud dad gave a speech about his beloved "sweet girl" and how proud they are of her, how proud they would always be of her, how bright her future shined before her...I cried. Not because it was so poignant but because I miss feeling that way about difficult child. I was once hopeful & proud and now I am ashamed. Yep.
    Lasted edited by : Nov 30, 2011
  13. Star*

    Star* call 911........call 911

    Dash -

    My heart has gotten so hardened over the years sometimes I find it hard to relate to memories like these mostly because I had so so few - but when I read about ones like this written so heartfelt and beautifully? It strikes close to home. Add to that signorinas post of pictures of which i have so few and I think to myself - We're all so very lucky to have what we do have or did have and those are not necessarily bad memories to keep in the hope-chest of our minds locked away for the whenevers like you had. I don't know if I consider them fleeting moments or renewed dreams of hope.

    In my world with my sons I constantly found myself renewing my idea of what I thought would occur in their lives - at first it was lowered expectations and then it became a complete revamping of my entire scheme of dreams. After that it became a reality slap of facts that MY dreams were not their dreams and upon the deaths of two of them I've often said letting those dreams go at times was often easier than watching Dude not fulfill or meet my expectations yet again. I know, I know the most basic of wishes - get an educaiton, a job, be happy, be sober and when those aren't met we somehow seem to take on the responsibilities of those not met fulfillments by our children as OUR mistakes, or somehow make them OUR guilt by proxy. I had to be reminded time and time again in therapy that I am not now and never was able to live two lives at once AND at any time my son could look at his own life, be disgusted by it - and make changes no matter WHAT his past was. Nothing is ever hopeless - nothing. It may appear that way, it may seem that way, we may want to give up, we may get to a place in our lives where we feel we can't go on like most difficult child attitudes and we can certainly allow things like depression, illness and forces to take over and win - but...I'll remind you like I remind my son all the time "You have a higher power, you have a Mother that loves you - and right there that gives you TWO beings in your life - so you can't say I'm ALL alone." As for yourself? You have the support of this board and even though we can't reach out to you across a table every day - WE ARE HERE -

    WE may not always see eye to eye, or understand each other perfectly, and like any family full of sisters - there will be need time to time for adjustments and thinking - but we're here for you.

    Perhaps (in my opinion) that picture was meant to be found. Perhaps the story that you wrote US? Was (because you are such a gifted writer) made to be copied, and written with a letter of your own feelings of that day and handed to your daughter......Not so much of what WAS ------But what IS STILL. A gentle Mothers reminder occasionally - or in our case in our house - a boot firmly planted. I can't see where it would cause her anything but food for thought...just as much as it did you. She is after all your daughter.

    Hugs & Love
  14. buddy

    buddy New Member

    Well, isn't this just a fun cry fest??? I can't even think of words to really say it all. I feel like I have to push these kinds of feelings down to be able to cope. I can relate to janet, though it hasn't happened yet.... I almost dont even have the expectation that he will go to a prom etc. He does go to parties etc. for school now, but with me or an Integrated Listening Systems (ILS) and how can that happen at a prom... I suspect he will have a cap and gown, of course he will not get his diploma until he goes to transition plus. And it is a diploma given for completing his IEP. He will never meet standards.

    It is recent pictures, from this summer that are killing me right now. Like the rug was pulled out.

    Star as usual, amazing.... as you all are.

    Thanks for this post Dash, wish we all could actually spend a day together allowing the tears in a way that others in our lives might be shocked about and think we needed to be locked up. Then to be able to uplift and encourage eachother to keep putting our feet forward..... one step at a time is not just a saying.
  15. DrPepper

    DrPepper New Member

    I think it's okay to be sometimes sappy, sometimes Warrior moms, that's what makes us human. I'm learning a lot already from all of you. Thanks.
  16. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member

    Oh heck, we are sappy!

    When my middle son was fixing to go to boot camp there was a song that just came out by Trace Adkins called Then They Do. I dont know if you have ever heard it but it was so fitting for the time. Every time we heard it Tony and I just bawled.

    Here are the lyrics.

    In the early rush of morning,
    Trying to get the kids to school:
    One's hanging on my shirt-tail,
    Another's locked up in her room.
    And I'm yelling up the stairs:
    "Stop worrying 'bout your hair, you look fine."

    Then they're fightin' in the backseat,
    And I'm playing referee.
    Now someone's gotta go,
    The moment that we leave.
    And everybody's late,
    I swear that I can't wait till they grow up.

    Then they do, and that's how it is.
    It's just quiet in the mornin',
    Can't believe how much you miss,
    All they do and all they did.
    You want all the dreams they dreamed of to come true:
    Then they do.

    Now the youngest is starting college,
    She'll be leavin' in the Fall.
    And Brianna's latest boyfriend,
    Called to ask if we could talk.
    And I got the impression,
    That he's about to pop the question any day.

    I look over at their pictures,
    Sittin' in their frames.
    I see them as babies:
    I guess that'll never change.
    You pray all their lives,
    That someday they will find happiness.

    Then they do, and that's how it is.
    It's just quiet in the mornin',
    Can't believe how much you miss,
    All they do and all they did.
    You want all the dreams they dreamed of to come true:
    Then they do.

    No more Monday PTA's,
    No carpools, or soccer games.
    Your work is done.
    Now you've got time that's all your own.
    You've been waitin' for so long,
    For those days to come.

    Then they do, and that's how it is.
    It's just quiet in the mornin',
    Can't believe how much you miss,
    All they do and all they did.
    You want all the dreams they dreamed of to come true:
    Then they do.

    Ah, then they do.