Posted on Leave a comment

This is YOUR Journey!

I’ve seen the mommy blogs with the cute craft projects and the vegan recipes. I’ve read the posts about connecting with your kids and loving them through bad behavior. I’ve read books about how to be a better parent and even paid for a parenting coach. I’m not one of those moms who can pretend that that mom life is easy. It’s not easy. We’ve established that. There wasn’t a rule book handed to us when we peed on the stick and found out that two lines means two people. Basically, we are all out here raising tiny humans hoping that we don’t screw them up completely. All we do is the best we can.

I definitely don’t have all the answers. I’ve got teenagers and preteens. I’m amazed that I’ve survived this far. With #1 about to turn 18 and graduate high school, I’m realizing I’ve successfully raised one kid to adulthood somehow. Hell, she’s even going to a fancy university with scholarship money and a future goal for life. That’s more than I had at 18, I was not that kid. I must’ve done something right, though I’m not sure what that something was. Ive got two more kids to get there and honestly, I’m not sure how the first one has gotten here. It’s been a hell of a ride. One I won’t be getting off of anytime soon.

My threefold is my heart and soul. Theses girls all are so uniquely different and they all need different things from me as their mom. I’m just winging it. Sometimes I hit it out of the park. On those days I feel like I’m super mom and that no one can top my momma magic. Other days, I’ve been told ‘I hate you and wish you weren’t my mom’ or ‘you are just like dad!’ Those days make me feel like I’m a momster. Kids can make us aim to be our best and they can also bring out our worst. It’s a balancing act.

I have learned a few things from the moms who have it all together. I have implemented a few plays from my parenting coach that have won the day. I also gained a little insight from the books and posts that I found helpful in my mom journey. I’ll save you the money you would spend and give you my informal reviews of some of those that stuck with me through the years.

  1. “You can’t pour from an empty cup”
    • My interpretation: take care of yourself. Self care is NOT going to the Walmart alone to get groceries, stop acting like it is!
  2. “Even the best parents lie to their kids”
    • This is so true! Telling your child your food is spicy because you don’t want to share is a lie. We all lie to our kids to save our sanity, at least a little bit.
  3. “You’re the boss”
    • We wrap our worlds around the needs of little people. At the end sometimes we forget who runs the show. Hold your ground. Don’t negotiate with tiny terrorists.
  4. “Maybe in mom language is ‘no’, but for kids it’s ‘yes’. Don’t get that twisted.”
    • We’ll see and maybe almost always means no or a lack of decision for a parent. Kids however, turn that maybe into a blood oath. They will take that maybe as a way to pester you to the yes they want. Kids know how to manipulate you. It’s better to just say no if you don’t want the harassment.
  5. “Master the art of blackmail and bribery”
    • I can already hear the comments of how little Timmy doesn’t have to be bribed and how we shouldn’t be bribing our kids to get them to do what we want. It’s consequences and rewards. Simple as that blackmail=consequence and bribe=rewards. If little Timmy doesn’t clean his room he doesn’t get ‘x’ if he does clean his room he gets ‘y’. It’s just the sugarcoated version of that. Learn what works to motivate your kids and use it.
  6. “Presence trumps presents”
    • When your child grows up and is looking back at their childhood what do you think will stick out more? The parent who bought them (fill in the blank) or the parent who played barbies on the floor? There are few things that I remember that stand out in the gift department, but I remember the Wednesday night ritual consisted of takeout, watching ‘Survivor’ with my dad just hanging out and laughing.
  7. “Perception is reality. Validation required”
    • Feelings are feelings. They may not be based in truth, but they are uniquely the interpretation of an experience. Being a parent means being understanding and compassionate of a child’s feelings an perspective even when it’s hard to see how they got there, they did. Accept it and help them navigate through their feelings. They can’t be changed just because you disagree.
  8. “You are their advocate and their voice”
    • Speak up and standup for your kids. Sometimes they aren’t able to do it themselves. Show them it’s important to stand firm in what you feel is right. You fight their fights with them.
  9. “You can be their parent and their friend”
    • This one is so controversial. I remember seeing this and it went against everything I had ever heard or thought about parenting. You have to parent them, not placate them. Then I thought about my real friends. The ones who stood by me in the thick of it. They didn’t just coddle me and hold my hand. They told me the truth. Even when I didn’t want to hear it. They smacked sense into me when required. True friends don’t tell you you are right and make you feel better all the time. Sometimes friends make us see how we’ve contributed to our own mess. If you’re a true friend to your child you can parent and be their trusted friend too.
  10. “Every great mom thinks they are screwing it up!”
    • If you are thinking about screwing it up, chances are you’re doing pretty damn good. The fact that you’re worried you aren’t doing well shows you are a good mom who wants to be great. Keep going!

Whether or not my threefold make millions of dollars, become the first woman president, marry a king, or become a famous TikTok influencer means nothing in the way of success. Not to me. I just want my threefold to grow into strong, confident, brave women who know their worth in this great big world. To me, that’s successful parenting. It’s a journey. Last piece of advice…stay positive! We’ve got this! ☮️❤️😊~M

Posted on Leave a comment

Our Mental Illness Saga

The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree. I remember this saying and it is oh so true. Counseling Today states that a child is twice as likely to develop a severe mental illness if their parent has a severe mental illness. My threefold and I did not win the genetic lottery by any means. We have all the illnesses and sometimes the list gets excessive and explaining them to others is exhausting!

Personally I struggle with major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder, attention deficit disorder, and complex post traumatic stress disorder. If that isn’t enough for one person, then imagine a 17 year old (1) with the same disorders. Better yet imagine a 13 year old (2) that has all of these plus disruptive mood disregulation disorder, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, social anxiety, and manic episodes. Although we are pretty sure the mania, major depression and ADHD will eventually morph into one diagnosis of bipolar II sooner or later. At least that’s what the doctors tell me. We have a combined total of 5 psychiatric hospitalizations to date. 4 of which were for my middle daughter (2) and 1 for myself. I am by no means a qualified mental health professional, but from personal experience and experience with my threefold I have highly educated myself on mental illness and all of our very complex diagnoses.

With me personally I know I have to be careful with my stress level, my medication, communication, conflict, sleep and a billion other things. As an adult I am very aware of my triggers. Though my C-PTSD can be uncovered as I am working through my trauma. Sometimes though I’m just in the wrong state of mind that I will intentionally put myself into a triggering situation. I guess my thought is to face the fear or I am looking for a reason to fight. I need it. That’s such a crappy thing to admit, but it’s true. Sometimes I need to scream at someone so I will do whatever it takes to make it happen. I get all “bish, I wish you would, I’ll burn your mother loving clothes!” Real talk. Maybe I’m alone in that sometimes I just need to let it all out, no filter, but with all the apologies afterwards. I need to have someone reel me back in and make me see that my disorders are on the fritz. Other times I’m honestly triggered and it comes at the worst times. I get highly emotional when I’m frustrated and can’t see my way to a solution. I close off. I shut down and sometimes it takes a shit ton of love to knock these walls down that I build. I shake and want to run in confrontation and my voice cracks. My easy confidence I am usually carrying bolts and sometimes I bolt with it. That’s all the C-PTSD and anxiety. I ignore problems and hope for the best. That works, at times, other times it’s stored in my bomb kit waiting for me to push the “blow up shit” button.

My depression is managed with medication mostly. I am thankful for that. It’s been a while since I’ve had a major depressive episode and wow those are not pretty. They look like calling in days upon days or finding an “excuse” to go home. They consist of days without showering and numbing out the pain with sleep; an excessive amount more than what is required. Closed doors, dark rooms, what I eat is in bed and there isn’t much that will move me out of it. Those episodes make me look like a bad parent, because in those moments I don’t care. God, I hate to admit that, but the only thing I want is peace and I can’t find it. I can be totally honest that I have been known to try to find it in the bottom of a bottle. That’s not recommended because it will give you an escape but it leads right back to where you started. It’s not there, I’ve looked in several at different times in my life. I’ve questioned my purpose, my place and tested my will to live on more than one occasion. That’s not normal. If you know how you would…if you did…and seriously contemplate doing it. GET. HELP. Suicide is no joke and it is not a temporary fix for your current pain. No matter how bad it gets! I mean that with all of my soul. The only thing that has kept me alive in those darkest of times was the thought of my children wondering what they did wrong or my family questioning how they could’ve prevented it. Nothing is permanent. Not your feelings. Not your situation. Not your circumstances. I say that from a place of love, because I know all too well the depths depression drags you to when you’re in the dark place. Its hard. I promise it will get better. You hold the cards, play the hand you’ve got and then get a new deal, that’s all we can do. It’s a carousel and it never stops spinning. We can’t be ashamed to speak up and tell the people around us what it looks like when we are in the dark place. That’s how we get help. That’s when we need help.

Having mental illness is one thing parenting mental illness while coping with your own mental illness is another. I can’t say what it is like for those that don’t have mental illness, I’m not sure, but I imagine it is still difficult to parent. My threefold has their own unique triggers and mental illness presents differently in everyone. Just because my kid that has 8 diagnoses, or the one who has 4 diagnoses acts a certain way does not mean their symptoms, triggers, or treatments will be similar to mine or anyone else’s. Sure, we’ll have some similarities, but there is no cookie cutter medicine or therapy that works for everyone. It’s honestly all trial and error. I never thought that any of us had mood disorders. Turns out we all do! What I believed to be “mild” depression was actually major depressive disorder or MDD. MDD is in fact a mood disorder. I never knew that until I researched it and began digging into the disease after I was told that by my psychiatrist, then 1 and 2’s psychiatrist also said it. I thought depression was depression and I had that “run of the mill” typical blah, yuck depression and have had it since I was 14. Who thinks that’s normal? Me. I thought it was a phase or situational for 1, and she “managed” on her own fairly well. I thought 2 would grow out of it, or that she just had severe ADHD and depression- not “mood swings” or hypomanic and depressive episodes. What’s that? I thought 2 was the only person suffering with attention issues, nope turns out that MANY people get attention issues accompanied by major anxiety as added perks of C-PTSD. We are ALL very different but we ended up very much the same.

Mental health has so much to do with how much you truly want to get better. It has more to do with perspective and willingness to commit to your betterment. Medication IS a commitment. Therapy IS a commitment. Working on yourself IS a commitment. It’s costly of time, sweat, money, tears, and sometimes you take two steps forward to go ten steps back. It’s perseverance as much as anything else. My therapist poses a pertinent question. “How is _______ serving me?” How does my anxiety serve me? How does depression serve me? What benefits do I get? It’s really a deep question. How does it serve me? I benefit by feeling I can use it as a reason to not want to do something or to get out of commitments occasionally. An excuse for bad behavior or acting irrationally. To guilt someone to do something I don’t want to do or feel I can’t do. To receive sympathy or attention when I don’t feel like I’m getting what I need. It can become very toxic and definitely come off as disregarding of others and that it’s always about me. However, I am aware that other people have feelings and cannot constantly allow myself to be controlled by my mental disorders. It’s a different power to take ownership of your own behaviors and not constantly say “I’m sorry I flipped out on you I have _______ and it triggered a bad reaction.” No. This is more accurate: “I said it, I didn’t mean it, I’m aware that I probably hurt your feelings please forgive me. I will work on it.” I have to take ownership for what I am doing and quit allowing myself to give the power over to mental illness.

I think I am able to better parent and be more understanding about mental illness because at 14/15/16 I was a “cutter”. I have MDD so I know what to look for and although I blinded myself for years to the reality of it I now can see clearly. I can pinpoint the onset of a depressive episode for any of us now. My threefold talks to me and is open with me about their struggles, their triggers and their warning signs which is helpful. I still get irritated when we can’t participate in certain things, but I know and have an understanding that C-PTSD and their own severe anxiety are better left at bay when they’re not pushed too far past their comfort zone. I know now that mania is not a “good” day. It’s being egotistical, self centered, hyper focused for small bits of time, starting but never finishing, having grandiose sense of self and abilities, and acting incredibly impulsively. There are so many more signs of these disorders, but the list would just go on and on. You’re strong. Remember tomorrow is fresh with no mistakes in it yet! ☮️❤️🙂

Posted on 1 Comment

July Journey: Recap & Reflect

June 30th I set out to do a journey to positivity for the month of July. I didn’t know starting out that this month was going to to be the emotional roller coaster it has been for my family and I. All in all, in the midst of some really tumultuous times in my personal life I feel I was successful. Was everyday a ride on the “F-yeah Freight Train”, absolutely not. I didn’t manage to be rainbows, unicorns, sunshine and sparkling smiles everyday. I was never expecting a perfect journey, I just wanted to prove that I could have more good days than bad days. Some days were both. I would do really well all day, and then by that evening the exhaustion, frustration, tension and anxiety would set in and leave me irritated and impatient. I realized I am not very good at time management. Anyone who knows me is probably going “well I could’ve told you that.” I am chronically late for work. Even if I get up at 6:00am I somehow can’t seem to hit the mark when it comes to hitting that 8:00-9:00am start time. Granted, this month has been more challenging with having to keep up with calls from nurses, therapists, insurance, case managers and doctors. If I am honest I know that I am late most days regardless of the circumstances because my morning motivation doesn’t match my well-meaning intentions. I love my job, so it’s definitely a character flaw and not a situational issue. I am late to just about everything. Surprisingly I have only had to get a call one time for picking up a kid late this past school year. Then again I had one in school for 4 months in person. Anyways, my point is that I throw myself into something and if I’m interested I become hyper-focused and completely lose track of time. I forget anything else that is of importance. It’s amazing in some situations and quite hindering in others. I’ve allowed my journey to be more positive get in the way of being present with the people I love.

I am proud that most days this month I not only found more to be thankful for, but made a conscious effort to not allow things that would typically set me off on a spin of anxiety and negativity, to not affect my day, my attitude, or my thoughts. With this I was able to better give almost every situation a positive twist. I actually found myself a few times not even trying to readjust my viewpoint, I was already there without effort. I’m only human, so there were some days or moments where I let circumstances get the better of me. I did have a quicker rebound to positivity in most cases. There were times that I let the negativity take over and bleed into everything and everyone in close proximity. I can’t pretend that my anxiety disorder, add, C-PTSD, and depression don’t play a role just because I decided to be more in mindful of my attitude. Mental illness isn’t a choice as much as I wish it was. Trauma has lasting effects and I am still uncovering my damage. As I peel back the layers of that onion I am bound to find triggers and essentially reopening old wounds. Sometimes healing isn’t as pretty as it sounds.

There are goals I met with little effort. Others I struggled with but I reached them. While others I failed at miserably. I continued therapy and even switched to a new therapist who is better suited to help me with C-PTSD and healing my trauma. She is also more my style and speed. So far things look good. In addition to that goal I began attending a processing group for trauma and anxiety. It was really helpful. I made time most everyday to meditate, write, and do positive affirmations almost everyday. If I didn’t do one I did the other two everyday.

I found myself meditating at least twice a day just to release the tension that builds up through out the day and soothe some of my anxiety. I found an amazing app that I love for meditation called “Primed Mind”. I’ve tried “Calm” and “Headspace”, but they never really stuck. I couldn’t ever seem to quiet my thoughts in those. Primed zones me out and offers SEVERAL focus areas for the meditation. I only found it because I stumbled across it on YouTube looking for new approaches to calm anxiety. I remember I did it in my car the first time in my driveway. My neck and shoulder felt like they were seized up with all the tension and a vise grip was locking it in place. I couldn’t get it to release. I did the “Relaxation Hypnosis” and after 15 minutes I was stunned that my shoulder had nearly completely relaxed. I was hooked right then. Once I learned they had an app I downloaded it immediately. I have an 11 day streak and nearly 400 minutes of meditation time on my tracker. I’m pretty proud of that!

I threw myself into this and kind of just went for it. I didn’t have any clear direction or discipline. It’s been a hard month for us. Overall, even with the circumstances that have surrounded 2’s hospitalizations , I think I was meant to focus on my mindset. That focus on staying positive has helped me get through a month where previously I would’ve been more likely to allow my own mental illness take the wheel. It hasn’t been easy and it has taken a conscious effort to take each day, and sometimes each moment as it comes. I fully plan to keep some of the habits I have established. Meditation for my sanity with “Primed Mind” and to keep the anxiety along with my stress at bay as much as possible. Manifesting and journaling will continue to be in my routine. Positive affirmations also have helped me to counteract my negative self talk.

So where did I fail? I get bored so if I’m not interested, I’m not listening to it or reading it. My time management lacked luster to say the least. I was late consistently. I spent more time than necessary trying to fix my mood myself instead of spending time with people. I didn’t stick to a bedtime routine, I was up super late per usual most nights. I didn’t make the budget. I never finished my vision board. I didn’t do something nice for myself or have a girl’s day. I also had several days, probably seven or eight where I just decided to to let the negativity win and I didn’t feel I had the strength to fight it. Especially right after 2 went to treatment.

Now I look to August. I have big goals for August. Lots of goals. They won’t be centered on myself though. I am ready for new challenges and really excited for the month ahead. I know good things are coming our way. I know that I am changing, healing and growing and I am proud of that. I am ready for this journey to be more fun and less stress! After all, we only have one life to live, it’s time to make it count! ☮️❤️🙂

Posted on Leave a comment

100% That Mom

100% that mom of course came from Lizzo’s “Truth Hurts”. It is just has my mom spin on it, because that’s what I do. I’m corny and cheesy. I’m 100% that mom. It has a million other hidden meanings and stories behind the phrase also. The main one being I want be 100% that mom by giving my threefold 100% of myself. It’s more like a goal than actually anything attainable. I think I am far too critical of myself to ever actually give myself 100% on anything I do in my life. Unless sarcastic snarky comments, collecting stars for rewards at Starbucks, or how to master the art of overthinking everything are graded assignments in our lives. I’m afraid that I wouldn’t give myself a very high grade in parenting, but I think I would get more than just the participation award!

100% That Mom started off as a joke. My threefold and I were singing loudly, off key, and out of rhythm to “Truth Hurts” and it kind of just came to me. I’m pretty fantastic at coming up with mom-related content, I think it’s just because I’m 100% that mom who isn’t scared to be silly or say something off the wall to see where it goes. Improv is a hidden talent of mine. I can play along with just about any scenario you dream of. It’s actually a coping mechanism and it gets me out of my head by making me become whatever my character would be. It’s typically very cliche stereotypes and generalizations of my perspective of how that character would act. One day I may get brave enough to post a video of DEFCON 4, the PPP and I in that element. It’s quite hilarious, if you don’t mind a little inappropriate (ok a lot) humor and aren’t easily offended. DEFCON 4 is really quite into our “southern family” persona. We are all good at doing that one, probably because we live in the south and have been around our fair share of southerners that we can speak the “native” language pretty well now. The PPP (aka my co-house manager, the man that I love) cracks me up when we get going. It’s silly and stupid, definitely immature, but we will laugh for days after about our make believe scenarios. It’s even better when we do them in public and people think we are actually serious. I love the shock and awe factor. I’m all about the looks we get, the whispers and snickers. Whatever makes you happy and appeases the mental health gods.

Background art by #3

I am 100% that mom who will turn the radio full blast when “Roses” by OutKast in the car line while dropping off my threefold at school and watch them walk away mortified. I am also 100% that mom who sees my child having an attitude towards me when they are with friends or their significant other and will loudly yell their name with a very serious “Don’t be mad! I promise I won’t forget to go to the pharmacy to get your prescription for your butt cream. I know you are acting like this because you ran out and it’s bothering you. Don’t worry momma will take care of you! Promise!” If you want to fix an attitude this method probably won’t work, but it sure does make me feel better to know they got the message!

“Not All Heroes Wear Capes” An assignment of their personal hero in English. My sweet 1 wrote about me.

I’m 100% that mom that cusses and talks about all the inappropriate things with my threefold. I refuse to apologize or be ashamed about that. I don’t shy away from the controversial and taboo topics they bring up. If we need to discuss them, it’s fine, and by God I want them to have the truth. It’s better coming from me than that person down the block who thinks that all gay people are going to hell and that they are predators trying to persuade today’s youth to become like them so they can enslave the straight people to accomplish world domination. If they don’t get it from the wackos, it’s the kids who know nothing or the internet and I honestly would rather have informed kids than try to fix all the misinformation coming at them around the world.

Im 100% that mom who skips through the parking lot holding hands with any of the DEFCON 4 crew regardless if they are 9 or 13 or 15 or 17. I am 100% that mom who will lay on the bed in the store knowing full well I am not buying it. I am 100% that mom who will spray the all of the perfume samples and turn on the noise making toys, set the alarms in electronics, and dance to the music overhead. Im 100% that mom who plays music roulette for the song of the day. The mom who sings to the strangers in the next car over. The mom who wants to be not so serious and stuffy and in my head all the time. I’m not doing it for everyone else I honestly don’t care if you like it or not. I only do it to see them smile, to hear their laugh, because I’ve spent way too much time and way too long caring about the opinions of people who don’t make bit of difference in my life. I do it because it’s fun to have fun!

A note from my sweet 1 this always reminds me I must be doing something right.

I’m also 100% that mom who will tell my threefold I love them and be affectionate no matter where we are or who we are around. I’m 100% that mom who will fight you when you talk bad about or try to come at my threefold. Sometimes it bothers me more than them, but believe me I will say something. It’s one of the few times I can be confident in confrontation now. It’s probably because I let them endure so much and didn’t stand up for them when I should’ve in the past. I’m 100% that mom who says I love you every time we hang up the phone and before bed each night. I’m 100% that mom who is too laidback sometimes and doesn’t like punishment, instead I am the mom who prefers positive reinforcement. I am 100% the mom who overthinks everything I need to do better or should’ve done. I’m the mom who works hard but wants to play harder. I’m 100% that mom who needs to decompress after a long day to mentally prepare and change my focus. I’m 100% the mom who struggles in the morning and is almost never on time. I’m 100% that mom who has awful days where nothing is going according to plan so I completely freak out over everything. I’m 100% that mom who my threefold feel safe to talk to and enjoy being around. I’m 100% that mom who is trying to give everything in me that is good to my threefold. I’m 100% that mom in all these things an a million more probably. It’s not all sunshine, rainbows, smiles and laughter. It’s all about them, and it’s all about what they need from me. I am 100% that mom who is trying to give my threefold the mom I needed when I was growing up.

Posted on Leave a comment

A Staple in My Life.

I’m going to take you back to the beginning of threefold when there was only 1 and 1 is the original member of my threefold. It’s a good thing that 1 came first. 1 made this parenting gig look easy. I was young when I had 1, a baby really at only 19. I didn’t have a clue about raising kids or being a mom. I was just getting through my big party it up phase and I was invincible to any real consequences as far as I thought. I was still living with my parents and in college. I wasn’t super focused on anything big for my life. I was just doing what 19 year olds do. I was so naive about real life things and so very entitled to everything in the world. I was basically a brat of mass proportions. Let me give you an example I had the nerve to get upset that my daddy bought me a brand new mustang when I graduated high school that was red instead of getting me the blue avalanche that I had asked for. Spoiled damn rotten. I look back at how much I took for granted in my life as a child of a well off family. Catholic school, cars, money, vacations, the complete and utter lack of worry about anything. I wish my kids had all of that from me. Unfortunately, we weren’t dealt the comfortable life that I had growing up.

1 made their entrance into this world early on a Saturday morning. I will forever remember how scared I was. 5 hours and an emergency c-section under general anesthesia I became a mom. 1 was born. And so it all began. I’m not going to give you a play by play of every step along the way for the past 17 years. That would be exhausting. 1 was my first. 1 is a major piece to my story and in my life. 1 forced me to grow up and be accountable to someone other than myself for the first time in my life. 1 saved me over and over again from myself and made me think of them before making any decisions. I became an adult after 1 was born.

1 was the most beautiful red headed blue eyed baby and child in the world. Yes I’m bias, but it’s also true. They are so smart. They were talking long before they were supposed to. I can clearly remember 1 sitting in their Elmo chair in front of the tv watching “Elmo’s World” and holding their cat, that was lovingly named “Meow”. They are so playful and funny. I was astounded through out their childhood at their ability to never study for tests but always pass them and that they were always so dedicated to being the best. Unfortunately, I began at an early age to put unrealistic performance standards on them. I bought into everyone telling me how brilliant they were and began to make them feel like they were not good enough and not doing their best if they didn’t perform higher than everyone else around them. I think most parents are harder on their first, stricter, and have high expectations for them. We don’t realize all of those things don’t really matter. All they do is add stress to everyone and are taking away their childhood. If I could go back I would change so many things and make things better for 1. For all of my threefold.

1 has always been an amazing kid. They have always been responsible, more mature, made good decisions, and trustworthy. 1 is compassionate, loving, affectionate, kind to everyone and is the type of person who will do anything to make someone else feel better. 1 has been another mom to the other two in my threefold. They are best friends with 2 and make sure they are ok. They love 3 and make sure to be affectionate and give them attention and show interest when 3 speaks. 1 is an amazing big sister. 1 rarely fights or argues, they don’t like being in the middle of any conflict. They are the peacemaker. 1 has taught me more than anyone else in my life what unconditional love truly is. They are so forgiving and have an amazing outlook on life. They probably disagree with that, but 1 has overcome so much in their life and still loves just as big and hard even though the world has given them every reason to stop believing in it.

1 has anxiety, depression, ADD, and C-PTSD. 1 has been through so much but always comes out a better person instead of letting their obstacles get in their way. 1 is my biological child but the “milk man” as we do lovingly have named him stopped contact with us when 1 was three. He just wasn’t ready to be a parent. His unwillingness to be a dad and take responsibility was one reason I made sure 1 had a half way decent mom even to be so young I was willing to do whatever I could to take care of my child. 1 was adopted at age 4 by their dad. Unfortunately the happily ever after we were searching for wasn’t in the cards with my ex husband. They will always refer to him as their dad, because he has been the one that they grew up with. Regardless of how they feel about his lack luster parenting, in their opinion at least he stuck around. 1 was forced to grow up in a house that was filled with lots of confrontation, accusations, drug and alcohol abuse, psychological and physical abuse, and to top it off they were sexually abused twice by two separate people at two different times in their life. They still tried to be everything they felt they had to be. However, I didn’t know that behind the smile, the beautiful face and the desire to please everyone they were in so much pain. Just like I had been. Just like we all were. I didn’t realize I was teaching them how men were allowed to treat us, how we weren’t allowed to show emotions, how we were supposed to shove it down and hide it all with a smile.

1 grew up fast. Faster than a lot of kids, but they have always looked like a child and still do. At 4’10” and not much more than 100lbs they have always been the smallest one. That small frame hides a lot of fight though. They are tough. They are sensitive and emotional, but they are strong. It’s taken 1 a while but I truly believe they are growing into a person who sees good in people. I am not sure how after everything they have been through they are still so sweet and willing to put it all on the line for others. It’s truly an amazing power and an inspiration to witness.

I’ve always had a really close relationship with 1. Probably because I was forced to grow up and learn some hard lessons with them instead of teaching those lessons to them. We’ve been through everything together from the beginning. They have been my best friend. I know moms are often ridiculed for saying that because we aren’t supposed to be our kids’ best friend we are supposed to be the parent. Well I think both things are possible. Seems to me like it’s worked out pretty damn good for 1 and I.

I don’t know many 17 year old females that tell their mom everything. I know what they are doing, where they are and who they are with at all times. Not because I track their phone but because they tell me. I don’t have a reason not to trust 1. They aren’t the lying type. Maybe baby white lies, but they don’t lie big. We had a rocky period, where I felt like they were heading down the wrong path. Drinking, smoking pot, sneaking out, boys and all of the typical teenage things that you know they probably will do. When confronted 1 owned up to all of it, took their punishment and learned the lesson. What’s the lesson? Mom always finds out the truth, maybe not the first time, but eventually mom will find out. Truer words have never been spoken. I know. I was a kid and I did all of those things plus more. I bought the t-shirt, hell I made the t-shirt. After that it was like a switch went off in 1. They began sharing more than ever. They began over sharing! I don’t need to know everything, but it sure is great having the relationship with my daughter that I didn’t feel like I could have with my mom at that age.

I get told all of the stuff and all of the things. Now I know how their cycle is going. I know if she has a fight with a friend. When we have a crilbus scare (whole other post for a whole other time.) I get told it’s time to see the gynecologist because they think their ready to trade their v-card for a chance at the big o. I get told about the heartache and the d-bag guys that “hit” them up on social media. She tells me when she is struggling and seeks comfort and reassurance. She comes to me in the good times so I can celebrate her victories and the bad times so we can work through her hurdles. It’s a beautiful thing the communication we share.

1 is an amazingly wonderful person to have as a daughter. I’m so grateful for this child. My 1. My beautiful loving kid. My meanager. I know so much more about them because they are honest. I love that we have all night talks and that they come to me when they are sad, scared, frustrated, anxious, hurt, happy, excited, playful, or just to shoot the shit and hang out. I love that they are affectionate and always wants a hug and an “I love you.” I love that I know they are obsessed with animal crossing and are still child like with their stuffed animal collection. I know they fear disappointing the ones they love. I know that they love art, but often get creative blocks. I know they are an empath who reads energy and absorbs it. I know they think they have a mysterious ailment anytime they don’t feel well or see any skin rash. I know they like to be with people who allow them to express themselves. I know they don’t like drama. I know they get anxious in crowds and when there are loud noises. I know they hate confrontation and they are scared to hurt people. I know they will stand up for others and have strong values. I know they are funny and do amazing impressions. I know they are big hearted, loving and compassionate. I know they are teeny tiny but have big dreams. I know they have more strength than they give themselves credit for. I know that my life would be incomplete without them. I know they are a beautiful person inside and out. I know my threefold would never be if I didn’t start with 1.