About our Daughter

I am mother to four wonderful daughters, ages 17, 19, 21, and 23, and wife to the greatest husband on earth. God has given us a special child to raise one who was diagnosed with early-onset bipolar disorder at the age of seven, though she showed signs of it from the age of fifteen months. She also has ADHD, Sensory Integration Disorder (sensory seeking), Dyslexia, and Non-Verbal Learning Disorder-NOS, all typical comorbidities for a bipolar child. In spite of the trials, she enjoys lacrosse, running (finished her first marathon in October of 2014!), and reading and writing her own books. I will share with you the many joys and sorrows we have faced and will face in the future with the hope that you may find better understanding about this mental illness caused by both chemical and structural abnormalities in the brain. I desire that you will be encouraged by this blog if you are also dealing with a bipolar child. Thank you for reading and sharing in our journey.

How Did You Know She Was Bipolar So Young?

I wrote a long explanation of how we came to this bipolar diagnosis in a child so young under my post of March 19th of 2009. If your child or a child you know bears similarities, please seek out a good psychiatrist and don't wait for "things to get better." Often they will simply get worse, and the longer a child is unmedicated, the more damage their brain can accrue. Early diagnoses and treatment are key to providing these children with a chance at a successful life later as a teen and an adult.
Never change, start or stop a medication without the approval of your child's physician!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Reflections at the Beach

Yesterday while I sat in the beach chair on a picture perfect day, I was close enough to a group of younger moms to hear their conversation.  I was trying to breathe deeply and relax and think about nothing, but their voices kept pulling my attention toward them.   They had in tow several toddlers and babies, happily playing at the water's edge, laughing and screaming when the waves would fill in the holes they had just dug.  The women were all beautiful, blonde, fit looking moms just enjoying the play date, having girl time.  The scene brought me back to a mere nine or ten years ago when I was that mom with my close friends, toddlers and babies playing under umbrellas on the beach, talking just like them about the best baby fashions, picky eaters, babysitters, non-existent sex, whether to have that third child, which preschool waiting list to get your child on now, etc.  That was a happy time, full of fresh experiences to take in with these new little people every day.

I listened with envy and sadness.  Life was so much simpler then.  We didn't think it was.  We looked at the moms with older kids and thought, wow, how great that you can actually read a book at the beach or pool instead of having to race after your child every second to keep them from drowning or eating too much sand.  I am so glad I didn't know then what was coming. Now, for perspective, my life is considerably more challenging than most mom's lives.  I am not discounting that just being a mom even to just one can be nerve-wracking. There is no more difficult job than raising children, of that I am convinced.  My husband tells me my job is much harder than his.  It takes everything you have and more.  And if you are trying to parent well, then just double the work.  

But add in a special-needs child, and your life is really not your own in any way shape or form.  You have a ball and chain around your ankle that sometimes feels like it weighs two hundred pounds, but is always there and will be for a very long time, into their adulthood.  You passionately love them, would spend whatever money you have to give them to best treatment and education possible (and often money you don't have), but at times you resent them and just want a week or a month to yourself.  

I am already planning some trips while she is gone.  One for Bill and I for our anniversary weekend, one for me to visit my old college friends, another with my rising middle schooler, Jane, before she becomes too cool for mom, and one for my oldest daughter and a couple of her friends to celebrate her sixteenth birthday.  That is a lot to cram in three months, but I feel the urgency of making up for what we haven't been able to do with Caroline in our midst.  And we will take her on a special trip when she gets back.

I have a new neighbor across the street who has quickly become a good friend of mine.  She has a baby and a toddler, and I often go over there to hold and love on her kids because it just feels so good to be close to that soft baby skin and those toddler ringlets you can't resist tugging at.  I am vicariously remembering the sweetness of those brief years.  That's why I love  that my nine and eleven-year old daughters still have huge imaginations, creating giant jungle scenes in their rooms with their myriad of plastic animals.  Or it may be barn week, where they pull out their solid wood barns and all of the fencing, creating amazing pasture scenes that go from one end of their large room to the other.  And somehow they know each of these hundreds of animals by name.  We take great delight in their girlhood, and we want to encourage their naivete as much as possible.  Jane will be in the sixth grade next year but we can't even picture it.  There is nothing middle-schoolish about her and we love that.  Our oldest grew up too fast much as a result of the chaos brought into our home by Caroline, so to see this lengthier transition with our youngest two makes my mommy heart happy.

1 comment:

domandkat said...

Are you kidding?!?!?! Did you see the lady there who was so tired of talking about diapers and kiddie clothes that she thought she was going to scream? or the one who feels like she and her hubby are growing further apart? or the one who just wants some girl time WITHOUT the kids because motherhood just isn't what it's all cracked up to be? Those were me, baby. I am SO thankful that we both have older kids - where we can both commiserate about each others' struggles with them or parents or futures - even if we don't necessarily EXACTLY understand what each other is going through- than all that really shallow stuff I remember enduring back then.
I can well understand your guilty feelings and shame about not spending time with Caroline. I'd have the same struggle I am sure.

In the meantime enjoy others babies because you can GIVE THEM BACK!!!! Bonnie and I were doing the same thing last Sunday :-)