Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by timer lady, Jan 2, 2008.

  1. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    I know we've discussed this topic before yet I feel the need to bring it up again.

    This past holiday season was mostly successful with kt & wm because of our level of isolation.

    husband & I have given up trying to take either kt or wm on family visits that last anymore than a few hours. That doesn't leave much here in our area as my one sister in law has moved out of state. My other sister in law has little to nothing to do with us because of "the tweedles influence on her children's behaviors"; mostly she is afraid of my children.

    After years of trying otherwise, I've learned to have very quiet holidays. I've learned to create our own quiet traditions yet I miss out on the family & friends that I once enjoyed so much. I miss out on the ritual & traditions that I grew up with & that continue on with-o us (as they should).

    Mostly, I miss out on sharing those very traditions with my children. The annual celebrations that are so ingrained in my life. The sharing & caring of family. I had so hoped that kt & wm could learn to be a part of those celebrations of family; those very expressions of love.

    So while we had a very positive experience with kt & wm, for me it was very lonely...very isolated.

    If I could do it again....ah, but I can't.
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    Your post really gave me pause. On the one hand I wanted to say "starting your own traditions is what matters". But on the other hand I was feeling "what would I feel like if all the family gatherings (that are meaning to me as well) ceased?"

    Intellectually we can say that we make our lot in life, we work with what we are given, and we make the choices that dictate the outcomes. But when it comes to matters of the heart, like family traditions, all that c r a p goes out the window! I could tell you that it will be alright, that kt and wm never experienced that stuff so they don't know what they are missing, yadda, yadda.

    But in reality, your illness has given you time to reflect and think. You are missing that things you have not been able to experience because of your health limitations and now are reflecting on the tweedle impact on your life.

    I'm not going to pat your knee and say "Oh, it will be alright". But I will tell you that you are doing a remarkable thing in parenting and loving these children who would otherwise probably be lost in a system and living without hope. If husband's family cannot deal with your children, so be it. Perhpas you will need to step in and change a tradition in your family and have one of the holidays hosted at your house.

    But whatever you decide to do, or whatever you resolve yourself to, I think you can be confident in knowing you are doing right by your children and probably doing what you are supposed to be doing in the "big plan".

    This illness you are dealing with has been a life-changer for you and for your children. It has affected your entire family. As you begin on the road to recovery, you will begin to find what you have learned through these many months, how you have grown, and what you take with you in the future that has made you stronger.

    Hugs and love,
  3. goldenguru

    goldenguru Active Member

    Hi Linda ~

    I have experienced the isolation that you speak of. I didn't notice it so much over the holidays - but tend to notice it more throughout the year. My hubby struggles with bipolar disorder - and he really has withdrawn from family, community, etc. As a result - I too have lost connections to a great extent. So much of our life was based on couple activities. Anyway - I just wanted to say I understand - and that it is difficult.

    We really are social creatures. We are built for community. As when that is reduced/removed I think it is normal to feel lonely.

    For me - it is yet another (sometimes unwanted) opportunity to reach deep inside of myself and find strength to cope.

    My prayer for you is that you find the opportunities to somehow turn that loneliness/isolation into making a stronger more wonderful mom, wife and person.

  4. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Sharon, I'm well aware that I've made choices; I'm proud of & love my children very much. And those same children have brought about significant changes in my family life. Children have always been a considerable part of our family gatherings. My children have never been able to handle that level of social interaction - too much stimulation. I find that very sad for kt & wm. I pray they overcome it.

    Please know that each & every tradition I create is done with love & no resentment. I'm always looking for new ways to celebrate & create new traditions.

    I hope I'm not whining - it's more a reflection as you've said. It may be that there is too much emotion this week as it's the 1st anniversary of my mother's death. The woman who taught me to parent - to care & advocate for my children. I feel lost in so many ways with-o her & yet she lives deep inside me.

    GG, thanks for the hugs this morning. I'm a very social creature. My husband isn't - as he's aged he's had no need for people. I find that frustrating as well because he's content with this level of isolation.

    Ah well, that's enough for the morning - need to get on with my day.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I know what you mean about the isolation. The schooling option we use means difficult child 3 is at home most of the time, and me with him. I push him out the door to spend time with his (very few) friends, but it's not a very social life for him.

    What I take comfort in - the few social experiences he has, are generally very positive ones. Previously, his social experiences were often very negative and damaging. As he gets older, he is coping better with more challenge and we do get out a bit more, with ongoing success. We still have to keep things limited, much more so than for other kids his age, but he is now happier and functioning better.

    If we tried to force what we consider 'normal' social interactions on them (because they were, for us, such an important part of growing up) they would not be the positive experiences we want them to be.

    We do what we feel is right and in the process, make sacrifices we previously would have considered unthinkable. But overall, when you look back - maybe it's better to miss out on the family gathering, if the memories of that gathering were likely to be tainted with recollections of arguing, punishment and pain.

    One day the kids will be grown and we can hack our way back into the jungle of family gatherings.

    Until then - we have to learn to love the tranquility (relatively speaking).

    Doesn't mean it isn't hard. But it is the right thing to do, I'm sure of it. And your sister in law can go jump in the lake with her oh so perfect children. One thing for sure - those perfect children are not learning anything about compassion. Not from her.

  6. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member


    as far as "mothering" goes, my situation is the opposite of yours. I didn't want to mother or parent as my mother did. Over 1/2 of what she did I consider wrong parenting choices. Naturally I don't hold it against her because we all bring baggage to our choices and I think she feels she did her best. Don't get me wrong, it's not like I had an awful childhoon. It is rather that I made a real choice to do it differently.

    I think is is normal to feel reflective upon this first year and combine that with this time of the year. I was actually much closer to my father, I am very much like my dad. When he passed unexpectantly four years ago, it was devistating. I have gotten to the place where my heart is filled with gratefullness and joy when thinking of how blessed I was with him as a dad. And, his passing has had another benefit in my life. My mother and I have worked through many of our "issues" and I am closer to her now than I ever was. Life has a way of giving us little blessings when we least expect them. I love what you said about your mom living deep within you. It is a lovely sentiment and it shows the love and respect you held for your mom.

  7. Penta

    Penta New Member

    I wanted to add my reflections as well. Holidays have not been the same for me since my daughter died suddenly at age 23 almost 15 years ago. There have been many seasons when I have struggled to make a Christmas for my smaller family. And then after Katrina, our lives changed even more.

    I am like you. I love the sounds, aromas, social gatherings and festivities of the holidays, but now have settled on an alternative Christmas that is best for us. This year my son and his wife and my girl and I went to brunch at a 24 hour, We Never Close Deli and then to a movie later in the day.

    While I dearly miss my larger family and friends, this celebration worked for us.

    Sometimes, reflecting brings the pain close to the surface again. Your longing for your Mom is natural and normal.

    Take care.
  8. Fran

    Fran Former desparate mom

    Linda, it is isolating to not be with your large loving family and incorporate your difficult child's within that family group.
    I think your health has magnified the isolation and loss you experienced.
    Any chance you could move closer to family someday? If you only had a few hours with the kids and family it may work to help you feel part of the group. I know it may not be possible but just a thought.

    In addition, you may want to slowly add a social group, one person/family at a time so that they may participate in celebrating in your area. I'm sure there are other parents of difficult child's that would welcome connecting with your family. Reciprocating on different holidays would make it less one sided.
    I always thought if we had no invitations to a holiday gathering, instead of feeling alone, I would turn it around and invite others to our home. We moved away from family when difficult child was 4 wks old. I invited others who didn't have family nearby. It became a wonderful, lively, crazy tradition for a good 15yrs. Now our needs are different so our traditions alter to fit this chapter in our life.

    I hope you feel better soon and that the kids mature enough to be able to be part of the big family gathering but that isn't all that realistic. My difficult child at 23, is still only able to hang out for a few hours. He is old enough though to move on and find something else that interests him. We give him choices. It was the only way we could have a life we liked and one that could be handled by difficult child. Sometimes he stayed home by his choice.

    I figure the age of your kids and your health all put you in a state of transition with how your lives will be in the next few years. Hang in there.
  9. DDD

    DDD Well-Known Member

    I miss "spontaneous". I miss the freedom to just laugh, talk,
    interact, share without having to make sure that difficult child is coping
    on his own. I miss being able to just be me.

    Certainly, your sense of loss is justifiably greater. Sending
    understanding cyber hugs. DDD
  10. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    I'm with you too. My sister has never invited my kids to her children's "kids" parties, often not even telling me she was having a separate kids party. She just told me that she is considering not having us at the big family parties either (mostly her husband's relatives) because she thinks it is too over-stimulating for my kids. She'll have a third party just for our family. I didn't answer her at the time, but basically she can forget it. My kids do fine at the bigger parties. The last party I had to work so husband took the kids over and I joined them a few hours later. I asked my mom --who helped husband supervise the kids-- if they had been bad, she said no, they were fine. There was a small conflict with one of husband's cousins kids but it was a typical kid thing (and this little girl is a bit of a difficult child in her own right).

    I hate not being able to just go and relax, because even if everyone behaves, the microscope under which they now live is tiring.
  11. Shari

    Shari IsItFridayYet?

    I can't write nearly as eloquently as those before me, but I wanted to send my hugs and understanding, anyway.

    Perhaps someday, because of the hard - but necessary - choices you are making for your children now, they will be able to participate in your family gatherings and traditions in their entirety - something that wouldn't be possible if it were forced on them now. It doesn't make your grieving any less, I'm sure. We all, at different times, grieve for the "normalcy" that is no longer a part of the future we see. The loss is real, and the grief is healthy. And hopefully it will give way to a renewed strength to carry on.
  12. mrscatinthehat

    mrscatinthehat Seussical

    I understand the isolation also. When difficult children are with us we don't go to family functions either. With difficult child 1 it is getting better but most of my family wants nothing to do with us when we have one of them. It is very hard. Family has always been important to me.

    This year without easy child or difficult children here husband and I spent our holidays "alone" we went to both families and for the first time in many years it was strange. We didn't have to wath for anything and we could jut relax. Yet it wasn't right either because my kids weren't there.

    This season is so hard for most folks then you add difficult children and illness and the uphill becomes very hard. You are such an inspiration with the way you get through things.

  13. totoro

    totoro Mom? What's a GFG?

    Does anyone truly understand but those of us who have "chosen" to have these children? (I guess some would argue that we all have a choice!?)

    husband were just discussing this the other night he was feeling like a bitter Betty when he overheard some "friends" of his discussing a New Years Eve part that we of course had not been invited to. Over the years we have slowly stopped being invited to any parties... He made a comment to his friend, He said "Oh is the the Cool people party?" the friend said oh don't be that way, husband said "What"... He called his friend on it, this is a friend that he works out with, twice a week, and we just gave him and his wife a full dinning table set to...
    He said oh you guy's are invited,husband said well how would we have known???? The fact of the matter is He forgot about us and was to much of a wimp to admit it, people forget us because we can never go to things because of the girls...
    That was all he had to say, that was all husband wanted to hear. "I didn't think to invite you Sorry" The truth...

    So we do feel isolated... we have no family, I hear stories about my brother all the time but I have not heard from him in over 2 years, I heard from an aquaintance that he had dinner at his restaraunt the other night and he had a black eye!?!
    That doesn't even get into husband family and the pressure of spending any holiday with them... I don't think that will be happening for awhile.

    Sometimes I think the fact that I grew up with next to no traditions was good, it helps me feel no loss for the girls and helps me handle the stress of preparing my mind for things like the idea of maybe having to not have Christmas next year...
    But over all as people we do feel isolated on many days... as a family. We hope maybe with our impending move we may actually meet some people who can accept us flaws and all...
    I wish none of us ever had to feel isolated... Linda
    Or our children.

  14. tammyjh

    tammyjh New Member

    We feel socially isolated too. While we still get invited here and there, its never on a regular basis and I know that if we are not able to attend, there is a great sigh of relief on the part of the person who invited us. I spent Christmas day and New Years day home alone with difficult child while husband took the three easy child's to the family gatherings. We were all invited but I'm sure it was much easier on everyone that difficult child wasn't there. It was actually good for difficult child as well because it "is" too stimulating for her but it really cuts back on our ability to do things together as a family unit.
  15. Star*

    Star* call 911

    I'm not socially isolated. WE have made a valid decision to be this way, and actually accepted it for the majority of our days.

    I don't know honestly at first what I missed most - *#$)( ing about the people that came to our house after WE invited them, after they left and were just petty, arguing, ugly with each other, snippy, gossipy and rude -
    Did I miss them really?

    I mean these were the same people that when we went to their houses - we actually KNEW the minute we walked out the door we were the center of conversation and if Dude was along -OH BOY bonus gossip.

    So yes - Linda, to answer your original reflection - it's lonely. I have only one son. I don't know if he'll ever be able to do the things that I hope for him. And it makes me sad.

    DF gave up drinking years ago, and those friends dwindled out due to the fact that we were just not fun any more. Actually when you have drunk friends and you aren't drinking - you have almost nothing to talk about. It gets old.

    I have no friends left to speak of because everyone was afraid that my son would "rub off" of their kids. I thought it was just me at first and then I got invited to functions with "Adult ONLY" labels like Baking Parties, and dice game nights. No chance I could or would bring Dude - so they were safe, felt like the kept our friendship alive and in reality only drove a stake through my heart. I see it for what it is now. I'm mostly ok with it.

    So that left me - and husband. husband is disabled so there are days when the pain medications render him a couch potato. Conversations are lacking in our home and if I did not have my dog to talk to and the rats - I would go crazy - or maybe I HAVE gone crazy and that's why I talk to the dog and the rats? (note to self check to see if the dog talks back) OH...the rats said he does.

    My family was small but close - and over the years - my Mom has managed to keep a lot of our traditions alive. Nothing against Dixie - but I have to get home. I think what years we have left I would like to spend with her and if my sister isn't to phobic about everything - I can deal with her once I'm there. Maybe Dude will come there? Maybe he'll go elsewhere and I hate even thinking about this past Christmas - I guess you could say the reason I couldn't abide in it - was because of my reflections from past years being to painful. I couldn't cancel the day - but it certainly wasn't the day I remember in years gone by.

    So I get ya - And when or IF I figure out anything other than coming here and blowing my cork once in a while to help? I'll let ya know. I guess you stay where you are comfy - and I think all of us get each other mostly - it's what brings me back - knowing that I'm not really alone - I have you all.

    Thanks for letting me get that out of my system.
  16. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I think it's great that you have created new traditions that work for your family. They are traditions that kt and wm will remember with love as they get older.

    At the same time I can understand that feeling of isolation and the loss of sharing the traditions close to your heart. I also know how much you are missing your mom. She sounds like such an amazing woman.
  17. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Phew........isolation.........a hallmark of gfgdom????

    I am with you. We all are, it seems. :frown:
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    I feel for you.
    But you KNOW you are doing the right thing. There is always a sense of loss and "what if" with-our g'sfg and it's hard not to dwell on it. We just have to keep on going.

    We were concerned about our Calif trip this yr, as the last time we went, 2 yrs ago, difficult child had a meltdown and it was clear that he was overstimulated. This time, the day that everyone was supposed to go to SeaWorld, difficult child claimed he had a headache and just wanted to sleep. In yrs past, I would have joined in the mass hysteria and forced him to get up and "have a good time" but I have learned. husband and I talked and decided that if difficult child wanted to sleep, so be it.
    He alternated between sleep, Wii football, reading, and more sleep.

    I did not feel at all isolated. Yrs ago I felt that I had to march lockstep. Not any more.

    If you're the parent of a difficult child, you're always isolated in some way. Sometimes it's a matter of degree. But I bet that next yr, you'll do a lot better, and won't be as melancholy ... you'll have achieved some sense of peace and accomplishment.
    So sorry you're missing your mom.

  19. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    10.CD Hall of Fame
    Conversations are lacking in our home and if I did not have my dog to talk to and the rats - I would go crazy - or maybe I HAVE gone crazy and that's why I talk to the dog and the rats? (note to self check to see if the dog talks back) OH...the rats said he does.

  20. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    You guys are great..... all this wisdom, humor & support all in one place.

    Fran, husband & I have considered moving to closer to family & hope to do so once/if the tweedles become more stable. I do know that the state to which we'd move doesn't offer the level of mental health support that we receive here. And as much help as my siblings would be there would simply be a need for the same professional support that we receive here.

    We will continue on....I believe my illness has somewhat magnified things for me. I've had to actually sit down & think; had that time to reflect & try to "fix" my little corner of the world. Doesn't work in case you're thinking of giving it a shot.

    Again thank you....