Tag Archives: good momma

Away From Home


There we were, two of the most anxious females I know, going to a strange city by Greyhound.  Whatever gave me the idea that this was a GOOD idea?  Well mainly it was because Carly and I were going to spend some good quality time together.

My son was driving us to the bus depot and I was feeling pretty calm until we were almost there.  Then my mind started racing with questions.  What do we do?  Where do we go?  We started off doing what we thought was the right thing.  We went to the counter at the depot and told the guy (who turned out to be our driver) that we were going to Edmonton and what do we do?  He looked at our tickets and, very kindly, told us we would be departing at Gate 1 at 6:45.  We found seats nearby and waited impatiently.  It got later and later and Carly was coming up with more and more dire scenarios (What if we don’t sit together?  Why did I have to read about Tim McLean? What if people smell bad?)  then finally we saw the bus arrive and security being set up.  We were about 5th in line and finally got to the security table when we noticed we were the only ones without any tags on  our luggage.

Now, remember, we did go to the counter and no one said anything about tags.  We had to go back to the nice man and tell him we needed them. There was a lineup there too and only 2 people on duty.  One staff member was being held up by a guy who was trying to say his 3 bags were all carry-on’s and the bag that weighs 100 lbs. is free.  That was not true and vigorous arguments ensued.  We finally got to the nice man and he apologized for his mistake and even let me take my heavy carry-on with me.  By this time there was no line at security.

Security checked my bags and waved the wand over me.  Then Carly.  Good, nothing was pierced on her that I don’t know about.

The thing about the motor coach I noticed the most was the smells that made their way to me throughout the trip to Edmonton.  The first half hour I smelled vomit.  The guy across the aisle kept belching really loud and they were quite stinky too.  As were his farts.  Then I thought everyone was drinking on the bus because someone would walk by me and I would smell alcohol.  Turns out it was the hand sanitizer from the bathroom.  Good for them for being so clean.  At least I knew they washed their hands after they did their business.

The smell that started half way there and never really went away came from a cup of coffee that a woman behind me spilled which proceeded to go downhill where Carly’s backpack was directly in its path.  Carly was already so stressed out at this point she went over the edge for a bit.  She cried over her Vans backpack and her new toiletries bag inside, now reeking of and dripping with coffee.  The lady felt so bad and mopped up everything with toilet paper.  Then there wasn’t any TP for the bathroom.  Finally the driver found some.  Whew.

feetMy legs and feet swelled up so much it was ridiculous.  I have a history of blood clots and made sure I walked around whenever we had a stop.  My feet hurt so much throughout the trip.  The swelling never really went away.

When we got there, after 18 hours on the bus and with barely any sleep, we still went shopping.  I could barely walk and would send Carly into a store while I would find a bench to sit on and rest. I had to buy a sweater because it wasn’t summer in Edmonton.  Fall weather had hit and I was in shorts and tank tops.  I was miserly with money and was so glad to find a pretty good one for only $10.  Carly must have spent over $300 the first day.   Her money not mine.

I slept so good that night and was out like a light before 9 pm.  I loved the pillows.  Our hotel was nicer than I expected.  I used booking.com and found a pretty good deal.  I give it 3-4 stars.

We hit so many stores.  There were so many people, especially on Saturday.  It was almost impossible to get through some of the aisles as they were clogged with crazy shoppers.

Saturday at the Mall!

Saturday at the Mall!

Friday was my birthday and another day of shopping was planned.  I got some great deals just telling people it was my birthday.  My new fella had given me a card with strict instructions not to open it until my birthday and I actually obeyed.  It was one of the first things I did when I woke up.  Open it I mean.  Lo and behold it had money in it!  With more strict orders (he seems to be a little bossy) to spend it frivolously on myself.  So I bought Body Shop stuff, which I never buy because it’s too expensive.  Because it was my birthday I got free hand lotion thrown in.

Carly spoiled me rotten on my birthday.  She paid for all the meals and cabs and bought me a beautiful forever scarf which was handy on the way home in the air-conditioned bus.  She paid for more than half the food on the trip and half the cab fares.  Almost every time I looked at her she had her bank card out.  She was so patient with me and my sore feet, as long as she knew where I was.  Thank goodness for texting and cell phones.

I noticed a lot of things that makes Edmonton different from Winnipeg, besides the mall.  The noise is unbelievable and overwhelming. We had to shout to each other most of the time at the mall.  Everybody goes really fast there too.  Cars and people.  Some of the fashions I saw I haven’t seen here, at least not yet.  AND I didn’t see one butt crack when people were sitting down.  In Winnipeg you can count on seeing several in any food court, on the bus or even just walking around.  I didn’t see one and that made me happy.

Leaving Edmonton was very different then leaving Winnipeg.  For one thing there was absolutely no security check done.  This caused a whole new round of anxiety for Carly as now anyone could have a knife or a gun and cut off our heads.  No one did but even so the trip home was a nightmare.  For 20 hours we listened to a baby either screaming with misery or laughter, depending on her mood.  At least I had to listen, Carly had her iPod so she plugged into her music world and drowned it all out.  The baby rarely stopped and it was horrible.  When she did stop another would start.  There were 8 children on that bus under the age of 5.  One mom had 4.  Another mom had 2 and one of hers was the devil child who kept screaming.

This mom who had 4 children with her was amazing.  We were about to leave Edmonton when a man came running onto the bus looking for seats he said.  There weren’t that many, it was pretty full.  The driver announced that a family of 5 was coming on board at the last-minute and to be patient.  No problem.  Out the doorway I could see this tiny woman, maybe about 25 years old and 4 kids, ranging in age from 8 to 18 months, all holding something; pillows, blankets, books, bags of food.  They climbed on then the driver made ANOTHER announcement that these people had reserved seats so a lot of people had to shuffle around.   The dad then ran off the bus, yelling “love you kids!” and he was a blur going back into the depot.  The little family was in the back and we didn’t hear a peep out of them.

We had a layover in Saskatchewan and these kids totally entertained me.  They danced and sang and giggled and climbed and ran and hid.  All the while, their mother was calm, laughing along with them, getting them to settle down for only minutes at a time and not worrying too much when they started up again.  She spoke to them patiently and kindly and I could tell she does this all the time by the way the kids treated each other; the same.  She met my eyes and laughed telling me they only had 3 hours of sleep so they were really goofy.  I told her, “My dad used to say, It’s better than crying”.  She laughed more.  I could hear a little hysteria in it though.  She was so great.  She would crouch on the floor with them, rocking the youngest against her chest while talking softly to the others and feeding them apples and grapes.  How she could hold that position for so long boggled my mind.

(Carly hates my people watching.  She thinks I’m nosy.  What the heck else would I write about if I didn’t watch other people and what makes them do what they do?)

Meanwhile the other screaming kid was still screaming with the mom begging her not to cry.  The dad did nothing; he just looked mad.  I know the child was tired and they were on a long trip but it was really hard to take by hour 15 of the 20 hour trip.  By the time we got home, I wanted to kiss the ground.

We had a delay before we left Alberta.  A young woman was hanging out with some of the younger guys on the bus, taking smoke breaks with them, etc.  These young men always smelled like pot (SECURITY!).  Anyway, we made a quick stop in a small town and I walked by her where she was commenting to some of the other women (who also smoked) with some concern about how she was swelling up.  I wanted to show her my own feet but didn’t dare scare her.  We all got back on the bus and started off again when she left her seat and went to talk to the driver.  He turned around and took her to the hospital.  According to the guys she hung with, she had taken opiates and then one of the guys gave her something else which didn’t react well with her.  We had to leave her there in the middle of nowhere, hopefully in good care.

I totally had a good time although in pain. Tylenol Arthritis was my best friend.  I’m pretty proud of myself but not totally surprised I could do it.  I had to be a good mom to Carly, who was anxious a lot of the time and keep her calm from her day-mares.  Never mind the hundreds of people or the guy who wanted to give me a makeover and wouldn’t give up, even when he saw me later and practically chased me.  I handled it.  I did good.  It’s taking me a few days to recover from the overload and the swelling but I’m just about there.

I’m still not sure about social situations though.  This was very impersonal as I didn’t have to interact with many people.  Just doing this trip and knowing, even if I am anxious about it, I can breathe through it and continue on.  I don’t know what the future holds but it sure looks good from here.  Going into big crowds like that was amazing and overwhelming at the same time.  We kept it simple; using cabs to get to the mall and back.  We didn’t do any sightseeing at all.  The fear of getting lost is still too strong.

Would I do it again?  Not on a bus.  No way on a bus.  I would fly for sure.

My world just got bigger.

Shopping…


I’m about to test the strengths I’ve learned these last few weeks/months/years.  I’ve planned a great adventure with my daughter which is totally out of my comfort zone.  One that will include a Greyhound bus full of strangers, bad food and poor sleep.  And then…

Destination:  West Edmonton Mall

We will be shopping pretty much non-stop for 3 days then head home again.  loveshoesWell, the girl will be shopping with her money, I will be the one behind her carrying her many purchases and stressing over how to save a nickel (could we have popcorn for supper?  I really don’t want those shoes.  Yes I do.  No I don’t.).

Does this trip fill me with anxiety?  Oh yes, you bet it does.  As a matter of fact today I had to drive to the airport where the bus depot is to purchase tickets and I felt so much panic as soon as I couldn’t see downtown anymore.  Will I get lost?  Will my bank card not work?  Maybe I don’t have any money.  Will my heart decide to stop beating?  Will there be an accident while I’m driving my son’s van?  Watch out for that old lady!!!!

Remember, this was just on the way to the bus station.

The original plan was for me to rent a car to get to Edmonton.  This wouldn’t work out because I don’t have a credit card and also because I would have to sell my body 541,000 times just to get the $1,000 I would need.  So Greyhound it is.  I’m relieved I’m not driving the 15 hour trip.  I would really be scared of getting horrorlost among other things too many to list here.  I’ve watched way too many movies where a car breaks down and weird-looking strangers make sure the passengers are never seen again.  The mom always gets killed first.

So once I conquer the bus and the inevitable motion sickness I’m prone to, we hit the hotel and then the mall.

The huge, incredible “mall”.   mall

 

This is bigger than anything in my city.  There aren’t just stores; there are amusement parks and restaurants and lots and lots of people.  Lots of them.

I want to do this though because this is the last year my last child is a child.  Next summer she will be an adult and making her own trips with her friends.  This way I get her all to myself for a few days with no computer in my face.  I’m really looking forward to it in spite of the gnawing in my stomach.  After all, I made it out of the bus station with a few wrong turns on the way back but made it home, unscathed, just the same.

I take heart in these small steps as they are leaps and bounds to what I could do 5 or 6 or 7 years ago.

Huge.

Like the mall.

Oy.

Better Late…


Oh I have been a bad girl, missing at least 3 posts I had committed to writing.  Things are so busy with summer and all.  I find myself getting out of the apartment just about everyday now except maybe for most weekends.

Summer is always special.  I’ve written about it before and now you can read it summeragain:  The smells (on my skin, in the air, my granddaughters’ hair), the beach when I can get there (which smells totally different by the way), walking and walking even though my knees are older than dirt and so are my hips but I still walk when I can.

I just came back from 5 days at the beach with my daughter and my sister’s family.  I also was able to bring out my oldest granddaughter for the weekend.  It was “Gamma Gamma” and some new words and lots of new dance steps as well as our old favourites.  Even the nephews got into The Wiggles!  Our little gal had lots of fun.  I miss her now.

I also met a guy about a month ago. Things are really good but I won’t jinx anything.  We will just see how it goes.  🙂

It’s been great to feel the freedom from the isolation I had for the last few years.  This getting out everyday sure opened my eyes to my city.  Buses are still the fun buspart of the day with screaming babies, drunks who want to smell my hair and sometimes meeting up with old friends for those brief moments until whoever’s stop comes first.

I’ve been handling the death of my dad by keeping very busy.  It’s been kind of strange helping my sister do inventory on his estate and seeing some things for the first time and yet see the things he used every day too.  I love how he and my mom are now both in my dreams at night.

I still smoke in my dreams every night too.  Crazy.

One thing I am happy to say is we found my missing sister!  Alive and as well as she can possibly be and in touch with another family member.  Such a relief when I found out.  I was in tears knowing she still walked this earth even though her demons are still chasing her.  I don’t think I will ever see her again as it would be too difficult for her but having some contact through another trusted person makes it okay.

All that weight I lost is slowly coming back and Dr. G wants blood work done before I have my next appointment.  Fasting blood work.  Meanie.  He’s glad I seemed to have met a really nice man and also finally made my connection with a mental health worker.

Not that the new guy is my mental health worker.

Oh no, now that’s just confusing.

Dr. G is so pleased with my progress these last few months.  I do feel so much better with more positive things in my life.  These help me handle the negatives going on.

So I hope to get another post in during the next couple of days.  See you in my dreams!

 

I Need Naps


This week I finally had the chance to do a decent grocery shop.  And I went with my girl, Carly.  We haven’t been shopping together in close to a year.

It seemed that I could never get the shopping quite right; Carly wanted “healthy” things.  Well, so do I but our versions of “healthy” are two different ideas.  I had to teach her about balance and budget.  Since she was complaining so much I made her come with me.

So there we were with a borrowed van at the store and a good wad of cash.  I needed prescriptions and headed to the pharmacy while sending her to the fruit and vegetable section.  While my prescriptions were getting filled we met up again and started cruising up and down the aisles. I don’t usually cruise but I had a list too.

We agreed on some things that didn’t have much to do with food.  The most challenging was a new razor.  Ours was gross already so we agreed to buy a new one.  I was checking out the ladies and Carly insisted we get a men’s razor style.  I wasn’t too sure about that until she found a weird shaped one.  She was reading the package and exclaimed “It has a battery!?”  That perked my interest and it was only $7 on sale, half price.  Carly said she didn’t think we should get it as we probably were too technically challenged to use it.  It had an attached trimmer for heaven’s sake.  That must explain the battery, right?

I ignored her and got the last 2.  She has no faith.

Then it was groceries…she read every label on every box or container of food and exclaiming in a horrified voice every time; “OMG the sodium! …the saturated fat!…the CARBS!” and would quickly put the item back on the shelf.  I would pick it back up again horrifiedand show her what we had to do to make a balanced meal.  She had to realize it was OKAY to have fat, sodium and carbs to a certain degree especially since my cart was full of fruit and veggies too.  We picked up whole grains as alternatives to what we would normally buy.  We also bought a little more organic fresh food as well.  It was all starting to come together.

I must say, shopping with her took twice as long (at least) and three times the cost.  I’m just lucky we  had the money for this trip.  I asked her if she saw how much it cost us and she said she did and was shocked at how much we have to pay to eat healthy.  I warned her that, on our normally very limited budget, this shopping trip would rarely be like this.

I’ll let you in on a little secret though…I did manage to sneak in my Cheez Whiz.  🙂

Boy, I had my exercise this week too.  I’ve been looking after my oldest granddaughter while my youngest granddaughter gets her eating habits in order.  I swear I’ve never been so tired.  It’s a really good tired though.  I go to bed before 11:00 (!!!) and get up for 8:00 am.  Amazing.  And she  has me running.  Running after her, ahead of her, beside her and with her.  In between we watch inane children shows that make me get ridiculous songs stuck in my head which have replaced the songs we played for my Dad while he was on his death-bed.  I don’t know which is worse.

We also nap.  Grandma needs her nap.IMG_0985

So a good week all around. Thank you to all who gave me their support the last couple of weeks.  I really appreciate it as it had to one of the worse times in my life.  I don’t feel as alone as I did.  I feel better being busy and productive.

Until next time….

Power and Getting a Life


I thought I would write a follow-up to my last post after meeting with Dr. G.  He agreed with me about the diagnosis of social anxiety disorder and we discussed how we’ve been working on my recovery all along.  The key has been, and continues to be, developing my confidence to a level where I can go out into the world without the fears (or have lesser ones), of being judged or ridiculed.  It will be a relief to not have the feelings of “Oh my god, what did I do?  I look like an idiot.” “What did I say? No one will ever want to be around me!”  It would mean being free!  Having a life!  Yay!recovery

He pointed out many of the accomplishments I’ve made in the last year:

  • I’m now volunteering and interacting with staff and patients at the hospital where I go twice a week;
  • travelling on public transit;
  • cooking and baking.
  • I’m dealing with my lawyer, my ex, the bureaucracy that is social services and all with much less stress than I had before.
  • I’m finally getting bored with being at home.
  • I’m walking outside more, although still mostly within my comfort zones.

Most of these changes happened in the last 6 months.

Dr. G also talked about my blogging and how amazing it is that I feel very little discomfort writing about my private life for the public to read.  I told him that blogthese were faceless people except for a very few who do know me quite well and I already trust them not to think badly of me for what I reveal.  They can ask me questions and I’m quite comfortable answering. He said it’s one of the best therapies for me.  I think he’s right.

My interactions with my kids still have to change though.  I noticed I was isolating myself from my daughter’s feelings and her life again.  She’s still getting over the breakup with her boyfriend and some days are just still so hard for her. She was hiding and I was retreating somewhere too, not knowing what to do and not knowing that this was what was happening, until the other night when it hit me hard in the gut (especially #1):

  1. How would I feel if she did something to hurt herself or worse?  I know I would easily blame myself and believe I would have every right to do so.  Dr. G disagrees about that as he believes that’s the social anxiety talking. After 5 years of knowing me, he said, he knows I have a tendency to blame myself for all that goes wrong.  But I am her mom.
  2. She needs me to be her mother, not her friend.  A mother who can provide good advice, not be pushy and make sure she has unconditional love always as long as I live.  That’s easy.
  3. I’m not to put all the pressure on myself to be perfect as a parent.  I can always improve though and will make sure I do.  Trying to be 2 parents at once for her isn’t easy.

My son has talked to me a few times now about how worried he is about me, my bipolar and my future.  I’ve tried to explain to him about how I’m taking baby steps to get back to a life that will be more fulfilling, less stressful and, hopefully, one I can be proud of.  It will take time for him to understand and he’s young, rather set in his ways and doesn’t really “believe” in depression or in bipolar treatments.  I know its hard for him to understand that his mom is sick and has to use therapeutic medications probably for the rest of her life.  He might finally realize that it’s not all about taking the drugs and “masking the symptoms”, I’m also getting extraordinary therapy from my doctor.  I assured him Dr. G keeps track of my kidney and liver functions.  This seemed to calm him down the last time he expressed his concern.

This has been a busy week for me with something to do almost everyday.  I’m actually sleepy at 7 pm!  I have to stay awake, though, as Carly has gone out with friends and I have to wait up for her.

Like a good mom.

They SUCK!


Bad things happen to really nice people and my daughter just had the worst week of her life.  Sometimes teenaged boys just suck.  I’ve been dreading this…

My sweet and unsuspecting daughter’s relationship with her boyfriend of a year and a half came to an end this week.  She had no idea it was coming and is in total shock.  There is no comprehension, no reasoning she can see.  Why can’t it make the sense it should?

I feel so much of her pain.  No mom ever wants to see her child go through this drama.  I hate it. They got along well and didn’t really fight or argue a whole lot. I knew there was a strong likelihood that the relationship would end eventually because they’re so young.    I just didn’t want it to happen NOW.  A week before Valentine’s Day.  Holy cow.cookies and creme

My strong and beautiful daughter sobs like I’ve never seen her.  I let her and cry along with her sometimes.  Our home is where it’s safe to cry.  He won’t answer her texts, he isn’t calling.  This has to be the worst time in her life so far. Her heart is broken. I want to take all the hurt away, realizing eventually that this, for both of us, is all part of growing up.

I feel I’m making a difference.  She’s talking to me about her feelings, she’s set some goals, agreed to and made up some restrictions with her phone use so she won’t call him.  She listens to my advice, which I don’t give overwhelmingly. She wakes me up early in the morning just so I can sit with her until she has to leave for school.  She trusts me.carly

Needless to say, I haven’t left her alone very much.  To the dismay of my sister, I’ve even kept her home from school for 3 days and she’s now been back for 2.  The first day was hard but the second was better.  I encouraged her to get together with some girlfriends this weekend and is at a sleepover now.

I hate these hard lessons we have to face.  My memories of the first guy to dump me were horrible and will always be, even though I learned more about myself because of it.  I would call his place at all hours of the day and night and hang upprincess phone when he answered.  I would let it ring 30, 40, 50 times if he didn’t.  Needless to say there was no caller ID then.  I was so angry and sad and resentful. He was just cruel when he broke up with me.  There was no need for that.

Carly’s boyfriend wasn’t mean at all really.  He was “sugar-coating” his reasons which she recognized right away.  The last thing he wanted to do was hurt her, which she recognized as well.  It’s just now, for her, that hurt is burning and alive and it stabs me through my heart.  I feel it every moment she starts to cry or I look into her big brown eyes, full of sorrow.  Her posture is no longer straight and proud.  She is feeling beaten and betrayed.  How do you fix that Mom?

Time, I tell her.

We talk every evening.  I’m so proud of her for opening up about so many things I didn’t know but glad I know now.  She says I “get it”.

And I do.  I feel like a Mom again.

How about you?  The first time is always the worst isn’t it?

Beachy Birthday (52 and counting)


Oh, what a great 4 days I had!  I spent them at the beach, staying with my sister and her family at  her cottage.  My daughter was able to get the time off work and, besides, it was my birthday.

The beach has always been a magical and relaxing place for me. It is my most favourite place in the world.  I’ve spent every summer or many summer weekends there all my life. My mother seems to be in every room and coffee cup.  I sleep in her room surrounded by her things and some of her paintings.  I was always safe there.  The Beach has always had its own smells and winds and sounds.  I always feel different and really like that.  This was the first time I was able to go this summer so there was no taking anything for granted.

I love the sun on my skin and the sand in my toes.

The beach is also a place where there is lots of food and cousins and love and being very busy or reading books.  Laughing is the norm around there.  Trips for ice cream  and there’s never-ending fruit and veggies for my girl.  My sister and her family are very generous and we wanted for nothing.

Even the day it rained we filled the hours with henna tattoos, reading and solitaire with only 48 cards in the deck. The sun came out again though. It always does.

henna

I met my great-nephew who is 2 years old for the first time. Remarkable little guy. Doesn’t say much but came right up to me and gave me a hug. The beauty and maturity of my niece just glowed and filled the room. I could see what a great mom she is because she made me laugh how relaxed she was. I don’t think I ever had it that together.

The last day I was there it was so hot, the water was barely refreshing.  We stuck our beach chairs in the lake and parked it for an hour watching my almost-one-year-old granddaughter, a new generation, love the beach too.  We formed a circle around her, almost protective. She loved it and you could see she loved us all.   Anyone watching would know this was a close family with a lot of love for each other.

Just what I wanted.  Just what I needed.

We had my birthday party the last day too.  With my kids, nieces and nephews there are so many young people in my life.  There are not many my own age except for my sister, her husband and one of their dogs (in dog years).  I was honoured, though, that they took the time to come and eat hot dogs, hamburgers and veggie things from the barbecue.  I even got presents!

birthday card

From my lovely daughter.

This is the most joyful I have felt in many years.  I felt I had to write about it so I can look back on it and know there are times like this.