If the answer to Am I the only one? is never yes, why does being human feel so lonely sometimes?
This morning I dropped off my kids at daycare and the bus stop for camp.
On the way to daycare, my daughter sang, "Over In the Meadow."
Her brother listened and helped her remember the words.
As she sang about robins flying, three, a cloud of sparrows flew overhead, moving around us as we drove up the seasonal road where we have lively debates about the difference between a puddle and a pond.
Tilia starts Kindergarten in a few weeks, just a few weeks left with our dear friend, Chris Evans, for now.
When I say Chris Evans helps me raise my kids, I mean it. We cannot do this alone and her influence on our children is a gift. Hence: Tilia singing "Over In the Meadow, " and Jacob helping her remember the words.
They can be so kind. They have wonderful imaginations. They get to be among peers. Jacob is older now, and goes to camp instead of daycare, but he was one of Chris' first daycare children.
Jacob and I arrived early at the bus stop for the ride to camp this morning, and talked about how being early is better than being late, especially on the first day. Why?
Sometimes I get tired of why? but today I had energy for it, and that felt good.
Yesterday, Jason and I shared a deep belly laugh over remembering how hard it was, not so long ago, to travel with our little babies. Oh the screaming for hours.
Raising children can be hard. Raising children with my mental illness in the mix is another kind of hard.
Today I had a stretch of joy unlike any other morning in awhile.
Emerging from depression is a mixed bag. It feels good to emerge, and also devastating to become piercingly aware of the missed opportunities for joy. This time it's been a stretch of months before I recognized myself again.
Should've(s) and Could'v(s) are futile, right?
Ultimately, I try to see the insight I gain from my illness as a gift. That happens during good stretches. Moments.
"I'll take it, I'll take it all." writes poet Ada Limon
I'll take the meadow, the over in it, the sitting with my boy, marveling at how even if he is anxious, he is more excited than anxious.
There was a time when he fought us to get on the school bus.
This morning he hopped on, no hesitation.
Sometimes I fear my kids will take after me, inherit the severe forms of anxiety and depression I am learning to live with day by day. I fear that day like a person with a history of heart disease might fear their child inheriting the predisposition.
Sometimes I fear my kids will have to visit me in a psychiatric hospital. I fear as I open up about it, people will be afraid of me and my diseases. I fear for my children, that people might treat them differently because of me and my diseases that may become theirs. Since I'm their Mom, these diseases are, in a way, already theirs. They do not impact me alone.
My diagnoses of mental illnesses, sometimes I don't even want to believe those words. The labels can sometimes scare me. The implications. Why not you?
Shortened life span.
Higher chance of dying by suicide.
More frequent episodes as the body ages, chemistry changes.
This may be it for me, people. We struggled through years of infertility and loss to have our kids, and mental illness dares to rob me, all of us, of NOW.
There are moments of joy, though. Moments.
I'll take them. I'll take them all.