Hey, Mom.

This is a Really Real Parenting Post.

We have a totally different relationship now.

It’s 6am texts with “Hey, mom have you heard this song?” while he’s finishing his shift at work and I’m still sleeping.

It’s check in texts from both of us “How’s work going?” “How are you feeling today?”

It’s almost weekly phone calls and the occasional video chats where we catch up on how life is really treating us and discuss serious world topics that make my heart swell with pride when I realize how grown he really is.

It’s both of us talking about our relationships and how happy we are but also talking about problems and getting advice from a different perspective.

I still love those texts where he shares a song with me.  Music speaks to both of us in ways that a lot of people can’t fathom.  One of my favorite trips was shortly after Parker died, a road trip together, to NY, going back and forth sharing the songs that were getting us through the loss.  By the end we were singing each others songs and crying together.

This morning he sent me one of his current songs.  I did what I do and pulled up the video and the lyrics.

By the end of the first chorus I was crying.

That great big ugly cry that felt like it had been pent-up for years (but it hadn’t).

I knew why he sent it to me.

Not to make me cry, of course, but it spoke to me about his childhood, in a loose round about way, without being specific.  Of hard times he and I had, before he left, where we fought non-stop about everything and anything.  It spoke of a mother, me, who wasn’t well and a kid who finally understood that the mother was doing the best she could.

“And though you say the days are happy, why is the power off and I’m fucked up?”

And the thing is, we could both be reading totally different things into these songs. Sometimes we discuss them and realize we are.  I haven’t had a chance to really talk about this one with him.

I love that he trusts me enough to share this stuff with me.  I didn’t have a relationship with my parents where I could have discussed my music with them at his age, or really at any age.  They didn’t get it, and didn’t really want to.

My relationship with Kidlet is different now.

It’s 2,700 miles different.

It’s full-grown man different.

It’s still pretty damn amazing and I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Zoom Zoom

This is a Really Real Mental Health Post

My brain is going a million miles an hour.  I want to talk non stop and explain all of the whys of the world.  But I also know that would annoy the hell out of the people around me so I’m trying to stay calm and quiet.

I wouldn’t want want to be too much.

It’s also really hard to focus on the things I want to get done today.  Hard to settle down and make the decisions I need to make.

I’m spending too much money.  It’s on things I need, a hair cut, food, bills, bills, bills, but it feels like too much as I watch the bank account go lower and lower.

I just got my check and it needs to last.

It’s almost as if I can feel my thoughts running all over the place.  Zooming from one part of my brain to the next.  Constantly trying to keep them contained.  Figuring out which ones are worth hanging on to and which ones need to be dumped out.

I’m constantly pulling myself back on task.

I remember the days when Parker and I would both get manic, feeding off of each other, taking each other higher and higher, spiraling up and out of control.  Boundless energy with no where for it to go.

Today it’s just my thoughts, there’s no energy to go with it.  I’m exhausted, yawning constantly, no real drive to do anything with all of the dreams that are happening inside of my head.

I know most of those dreams will die as this episode passes anyway, so why work on them now.

And that sounds more depressing then it really is.

I used to let my manic dreams take me away, dumping loads of time, energy, and even money into something that I just knew was going to bring me out of the life of destitution I was living.  Now I just stay the course.  I’m using the energy to get further ahead on schoolwork in case of the inevitable crash and I’m writing more.  That’s about it.

I thought a little today about getting a car, then I thought more about it and realized that, that, too, was a manic dream that would have done nothing but gotten me in trouble.  Cars cost more money then I am likely to have anytime soon.

Just in the few hours it’s taken me to write this (lots of distractions), there’s been another shift in my mood . . .up up up, down down down.

Just hanging on for the ride and hoping it stays as stable as it has been.

Change

When Parker and I first got this house we got a few cheap cube units, and along with the cube units we ended up getting a decorative box that became our change box. It was on clearance and it kind of looked like a treasure chest.
 
Pretty quickly the buckle broke off, and I saved it for a long while, saying I was going to glue it back on, but of course I never did, so it was this plain brown box covered in pleather.
 
Countless times we raided the change box for money for cigarettes or a soda or to get something to eat because the bank account was in the negative and the stamps were gone.
 
Bus fare, mobility fare, a few dollars for Kidlet to get something because he’s a kid and should have some money for something.
 
We never could keep quarters in the thing and we knew we were doing well if we threw a few dollars in there for safe keeping.
 
Kidlet knew he could raid it when he needed something and I knew he raided it occasionally just cause he wanted something but he never took enough to cause any major harm.
 
So many times we’d be completely broke but at least we could scrounge up enough change to get one last pack of smokes so that we didn’t lose our minds that night, maybe it would keep us going just that much longer.
 
Life seemed so much different, priorities were different.
 
I’m still shit with money, being so so poor for so so long means I don’t actually know how to save because I’m afraid of it. Bipolar adds another twist.
 
But I keep cleaning out my purse and throwing money in the change box and the other day I was moving it and noticed the hinge had popped.
 
It had gotten too heavy to hold all of the weight.
 
This has never happened before. There had never been enough time without needing to raid the change box that the amount of weight was able to reach that level.
 
Last night I threw the box away and switched everything over to other containers.
 
Today at PHP I broke down over the change in my situation and how she is not here to see it. How it may never have happened if she was here.
 
We would still be counting change the day before a holiday to get enough cigarettes to make it through. Wondering if the lights were going to get shut off on a holiday day, or if they had to wait till a day later. Wondering if a heat wave was enough to make them leave the electric on.
 
But at the same time I’m afraid that nothing really has changed and that at any moment I’ll stop being able to cover the bills, that I’ll lose the help I have, and that the lights will go out or I won’t be able to fill the fridge or that I’ll be scrounging through that change box.
 
It’s horrible when every single positive has this ghost of the past hanging over it, this fear that at any moment it could all be taken away. That everything could change again.
 
I know I would survive it if it did go back to how it was. I’m a survivor, it’s what I do, Resilient as Fuck, and all, but I don’t ever want to go back to that. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.
 
Change is such a hard hard thing to deal with. It’s incredibly heavy sometimes.

Other Side

Here’s why ‘work’ felt amazing today.

When I was relying on food pantries and social service agencies and spending half the week finding whatever resource I could to pay bills and keep fed and still make it to doctors appointments …..

I’d show up at a food pantry and they wouldn’t be open during those hours anymore, or at all. Or, they’d hand me yet another box of cans to go with the 3 boxes of cans in the basement when what we really needed was some fresh food, meat, something that wasn’t loaded with salt and might make me feel human for a day or two. That meant I took time away from something else productive to get to something that wasn’t needed in that moment, or in the case of the closed pantry, that was completely useless.

Sometimes that meant spending money on transportation or using up a favor.

I said that we needed a wiki based program, something that could be updated by those of us using the services. Nothing is up to date by the time large agencies pass out lists or post them online and most of the small agencies don’t have the resources to man phone lines. And I started looking into what it would take to make it happen, at least locally. But it ended up slipping by the wayside.

United Way updates their database yearly on a rotating basis, I just started training to make the calls to the providers. She was emphasizing how important it is to get detailed information so the clients know up front what each provider is able to help with, to avoid wasting their time/energy. Fresh food vs canned, how much towards a bill, what are the income or paperwork requirements, etc.

And, they are working towards a searchable online system that would allow notes to be left by users. It’s a long way away but they know it’s needed because they can’t keep up either.

I don’t know if I’ll end up working here in a paid capacity, but it feels so good to be on the other side of this.