Wednesday, June 24, 2020

A Good Day


This is Braeden.

I'm doing good.

It's sunny outside.  I like to tell my Mom when it's sunny outside.  I like to tell her it's sunny even when it's cloudy.  Then she tells me it's cloudy, and then I tell her it's cloudy.  Sometimes it's rainy, and I know when it's rainy.  Then I tell her that.

It's fun to look out the window and see what the weather is doing.  Sometimes it's windy too.  Or chilly.  It can be sunny and windy and chilly at the same time.  But I only like it to be one thing.  Sometimes two.  Like sunny and windy.  It's okay.

I have a pool outside my house.  It is little.  Today I played with my puffin.  I throw the puffin in the pool to watch it splash, and then I reach in and get it, so I can throw it again.  When it landed in the middle, I had to step in and get it.  Mom said, "There's a wet shoe!"

Then she took my shoes off.  Cuz I was in again.  My pants got wet, but it was sunny and warm today.  Wet pants feel good on a sunny, warm day.

We went for a couple bike rides too.  My friend Noah likes to ride bike, so Mama took him for some rides.  I have to ride along in the back.  I tried telling them which way to go, but she said I was not the boss this time.  I told her to go faster too, but Noah has little tires on his bike.

After I realized I was not the boss of the rides, I relaxed a little more and just looked out my windows and watched the trees and bushes go by.

My mommy talked to Noah a lot.  I don't really like it when she does that because she's my mom, but it's getting to be okay.  I think it's going to be okay.

She still gives me big hugs and tells me she loves me and gives me kisses and calls me P. Pie Pow!  I like that name.  We are funny.

Today I laid in the hammock all by myself.  Usually my mom sits in it with me, but she said my pants were wet, so I sat by myself and she swung me side to side.  Then Craig gave me rainbow ice cream, and I got to eat it in the swing.  It was super yummy and fun.  I felt really special.

I had a good day.  Thanks for asking.

I hope you are good too!

Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Kids These Days

You know what kids need to really thrive?

Other kids!

Like most kids in this country, Brady P. got whisked out of school and isolated from all other kids.  

For months.  

I didn't realize how detrimental that was until kids crept back into his life.

Friday through Sunday, Brady P. gets to hang out with his little brother, Cedar.  A five-month-old baby (his dad's baby, not mine!).  Brady P. gets to be a big brother for real.  And he is so good at it!

I'm not actually there to observe it myself, but I heard that Cedar just adores his big brother.  Awww!

Brady P. gets jealous when other people love on Cedar, but he is realizing that he is not the baby anymore.  A huge milestone for any child.

Monday through Wednesday, he gets to hang out with my boyfriend's son who is two years older.  Both of those boys get to learn a different dynamic now!  

As he just jumped into these new weekly roles this summer, I think my little man misses being the only child.  He exhibits signs of jealousy due to both the other boys in his life.  But I know that somewhere in there, he loves them.  He just needs to process it all and express it the best he can.

Even if it's expressed by momentary clinging on to me or Grammy or Dad and telling the other boys "Okay, bye!"

Lately, sometimes when we play out in the yard, the neighbor girls come over to play too!  So then we have four kids running around with each other and two moms who get to feel like people and have adult conversations.

It's so good for everyone!

Watching these kids run around with each other, chase each other, use their imaginations together, set boundaries for their own personal space, laugh together, make mistakes with each other and so on, is so wonderful.

Parents can't teach that the same way kids can teach each other.  Kids are more like equals -- whether they are bigger, older, faster or stronger -- they are still kids.  And they need to relate and form bonds.

I'm so grateful for this summer time.  It really is starting to feel like summer!  And I know there are other kids we can still put into the mix.

It's not just good for the kids, it's good for everyone.  Let them be kids!!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2020

Dancing Machine


Wow, did we ever have a day!  I forgot about you until this evening.  No offense.  In a way, that's a good thing.  It means we're enjoying the moment, right?

Well, the moment I realized I forgot was when we were watching Brady P. dance.  I mean totally kick up his heels and bust some moves.

Craig was being the DJ.  He knows what Wee-man likes to hear -- mostly bass guitar.  

So Craig was playing some classics that B has never even heard before (to the best of my knowledge) and B was dancing up a storm.

If I would have had a way to record his routines, I sure would have, but my music and video are on the same device, so... I couldn't.

I will try to describe what we witnessed.

But first let me say that B and I dance a lot.  We have a couple dance parties each week.  At least.  We both love to dance.  But it wasn't until I really watched him tonight, unbridled, that I realized how good he really is.

You know how ballerinas spin and spin and spin and never seem to get dizzy?  He can do that.  He was spinning so fast with quick feet while twirling and swinging his arms around.  Sometimes he was so fast that he was airborne during his twirl.  It was amazing!

Then he would do this move where it looked like he was playing the trombone (I play one sometimes, but not sure if that's where he got it from).  He would pump his fist in and out from his chin while he was twirling, standing and even squatting.

Then he would do this move where he reaches his hands under and through his legs while he is in a squat position.  His head touches the ground.  Then he pulls his arms back through with his hands on the floor and kicks his feet up into a handstand-type move.  Tonight he even did one so high that he held a handstand for a few seconds -- long enough for me to realize he was going to land on his other side, so I could catch him in the air.  It was amazing!

He also did these awesome moves where he would hang onto the book shelf with either one or two hands and throw one leg out to the side or behind him -- and hold it with his head thrown back in this elegant pose.  Outstanding.

He did this other one where he kicks one leg out over and over while balancing on one foot for seconds at a time.  A sure way to impress his physical therapist!  I wish she could have seen him!

He did break dancing butt spins and whole body side rolls.  He did outlandish head bobs with goofy facial expressions.  He even acted out some of the words right after the singer said them -- to songs he never heard before!

And he always, always (since he was two years old) ends it perfectly with a dramatic stop.  How he does that, I just don't know.

I don't even have a good picture to share with you.  Sorry!  He was moving so fast that I couldn't capture it well.

But I hope you got some good visuals.  I will try to capture his moves at some point.  

The kid is impressive to watch.  This is not like watching a five-year-old dance.  It's like watching a gymnast or a ballerina warm up for a show.  We clapped and hooted and complimented his new moves so much that he just kept going.

What a guy.  He is really going to be something someday.

He already is.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020



I'm back!

Like, back in my own skin.  Back with my spirit.  Back in my normal reality of strength, positivity and light.

Did you miss me?  I sure did!

Let's be real here.  All this... stuff... turbulence... chaos... whatever you want to call it (it will get its name as a historical reference some day) is really hard to deal with.  Not just at the governing levels, but in our hearts.  And souls.  Collectively.

As in, all of us together.

This is not easy for anyone to deal with.  Whether we are aware of it or not, we are struggling as a human race and as individuals.

Maybe you already had your deep dark moments.  Maybe they are still coming.  

As for me, I already had my... ummm... darkest moments of my life.  I bet you could tell by reading my recent posts.  Some people even reached out after reading the last couple to ask if I needed help.  (Thank you for that!)

Also, I just had nothing to say.  Nothing that wasn't completely mopey.

Do you want to know my story?  

It's pretty dark, but I want to tell it because it's real, and I just hope it helps you feel not so alone right now.

Or, hopefully, ever.

It involves depression and suicidal thoughts -- two things I never understood or experienced at this level before.

See?  It's dark, I know.  You can stop reading if it's not your cup of tea.

I won't judge.

But if you continue, you might actually want to pour yourself a cup of tea!

Remember when I had to send Brady P. to his grandparents' house during a pandemic because it was just too hard for me to do it all by myself?

Well, I've been raising this boy for five years (basically on my own), so I should have been able to endure the six weeks that lead up to that time.  Sure, I've been exhausted and needed a break before then, but depressed?  No.

Here's when I knew something was different.

Remember that pandemic were (are?) having?

Yeah, that's super stressful in itself apparently.  

It was quite soul-repressing here in Michigan (and many other states) for weeks.  That weighed on me more than I knew.  

I noticed something was going on when, four days after Braeden came home after being gone for two weeks, I suddenly started trying to figure out a place where I could jump into Lake Superior and swim as far into the middle as I could before I drowned or died of hypothermia.  

It had to be fool-proof because I wasn't coming back.

Then I thought, "Oh, man.  What about Braeden?  I just can't abandon him.  Who will find him in the middle of this mess?  Who will take care of him?"

And downright seriously, the amount of energy it would have taken for me to get him ready to be with someone else who could take care of him until another member of his family arrived was so overwhelming that I just never got around to it.

Yup.  Something else was going on.  That was my first suicidal thought since middle school.  Middle school is way awkward.

But I didn't know what was going on.  And I could not understand how a cute, sweet, loving, funny, smart, entertaining, simply amazing little boy could make me feel that way.  Even if we were together all the time and I had to halt all my other jobs.

May 27, 2020 ~ I took Brady P. in my bed to snuggle that afternoon because he was cranky (well, he was dealing with me!) and I thought maybe he would rest or nap.

No such luck.  Then I thought about maybe taking him for a drive, so he could possibly fall asleep.  Even though I was tired too.  I wanted to nap.  I had been crying already that day.  And the previous days.

While we snuggled and he massaged my eyebrow, he suddenly smacked me in the face a couple times (totally unwarranted from what I could tell), and I lost it.

I slammed my hand on the bed, making sure I did not hit him.  Even then I knew better (thank you!).  Then I bawled to him, "You can't hit me!  I'm already broken!  Please, just be nice to me!  Remember?  Please!"

As his face filled with sorrow, I doubled over and sobbed.


Where could we go for a drive where I could end it by driving straight into the lake as fast as possible making sure that we flew in deep enough so we could not be rescued?

The docks and cliffs and beaches flooded my mind as I searched for the perfect one.  Then I realized that I would be taking Brady P. with me... to die.  

That didn't seem fair.  He didn't want to die.  He is here to save the world, and I couldn't take that away from him.

So the moment I asked myself: do I take him with me or not, I started sobbing a whole different cry.  It was total and utter despair.  It was dark and apathetic.  It was so absolutely void of consideration of any other person I knew and loved (except for my little man, who really didn't need to come with).

Then what would I do with him?  How could I go in alone???

Good lord, did I bawl!  

Ask my sister because the next thing I did was call her and bawl and bawl and bawl.

And let me give kudos to her because everything she said was the right thing at the right time.  

Quick depression tip: if you are that depressed (or even start to be), call someone who has been there.  They can empathize with you.  It also helps if they see their own therapist and love to give advice (I love you, Katie!).

One thing she kept saying was, "Who can you call to help you with Braeden?  Who can give you a break?"

"I was going to call Miss Sue," I sobbed.  "She's his aid at school.  She loves him and understands him."

"Call her," she said,

But I was too emotionally wrapped up.  Too dark.  Too down. Too full of tears.  And still talking to her because her understanding helped me talk it out.

Just then, I heard a "ding dong."

"Oh, God," I thought.  "The last thing I need is a visitor right now."

But guess who it was.

Miss Sue. 

*** Insert angelic choir "ahhhh!"***

She had her bike helmet in her hand as she started to walk back down the steps because I was so slow to answer.

I hung up with my sister and thanked her for all her words.  Then I opened the door.

"Miss Sue!" I called.  "We're here.  Come on in."

Knowing how much she loves Braeden, I figured she would just navigate toward him.

"Pardon the mess," I said.  "I've been really depressed."

She stopped walking, and I thought she was just looking at Braeden who was watching his computer (my quick technique to distract him while I called my sister or jumped into the lake...)

But she was staring at me.

"I've been having a really hard time," I continued.  She took me in her arms and just held me while I bawled to her about how broken I felt.

She just hugged me and whispered, "It's okay.  It's okay."

Her voice was soft and calm like she was trying to quell a crying baby.  

Haha.  I guess she was.

When we pulled apart, she asked, "How about if I take him for the evening?"

My tears stopped for the first time in nearly an hour.  "The evening?" I thought, wondering what that really meant, yet finding peace in it.

"He can come to our house," she continued.  "What time does he go to bed?"

I was in shock.  Who was this angel who appeared out of my prayers to save my life?

"Like, 8:00," I squeaked.  I looked at the clock.  It was 2:15.  "Let me just give him some lunch and change him and get him to you proper." I decided, so I didn't feel like such a failure.

I quickly did some math and realized that I would have 5 hours to myself.  5!

That was time enough for a nap.  And an outdoor activity.  And some tidying up.  And... whatever else my body told me to do.

I instantly felt a glimmer of freedom.  And a twinge of hope.

Miss Sue may very well have saved my life that day.  (Thank you, Miss Sue!)

Oh, man.  This is getting really long.  I'll try to nutshell the rest.

Long story short...

I started to rest, reflect and recover.  I had a friend hang out with B for at least a couple hours each day for the next few days, so I could do whatever I needed to do to heal.

I talked to my friends about how I was feeling, and they were sooooo helpful and supportive.  And, maybe not so surprising, they had recently felt the same.  I made sure to check in with them each day, if they didn't find me first.

Slowly, but surely, the darkness and heaviness began to lift.  I began to feel the vitality that I'm made of.  And as I looked back and back, I just could not believe what I had been through.  Those few weeks feel like months.

One day I had a revelation that it was not me or my lifestyle that made me feel that way.  I am one part of all of humankind. We are in really hard times, and I felt it.  I had to  feel how deep it was, recognize it for what it was, learn from it and let it go.

Remember when I said we have to "face the turbulence?"  Holy crap, did I ever watch it staring at me!  I had visions of it grating my soul with both hands against the pavement as little bits of it ripped off and rolled away.

But hey, I am still here!  And so  are you!  Congratulations!  We are doing it!

We need to be here for each other.  In a big way.  We need to be honest about what we're feeling in a constructive way.  We also need to focus on what we want to happen, or we will go down the spiral of all that we are afraid of.

And that doesn't just go for times of global unrest.  It goes for every day life.  We don't know, at any given time, what might make somebody feel like the world is too much for them.  We have to keep a close group of friends that we can trust to talk to about anything.

Who are your people?  Do you have them?  If not, please reach out to some one you can talk to face to face.  A phone call is a good start, even.  It puts another person on the line.

As for Brady P, he is doing well.  He is much more loving to me because my spirit is flowing freely.  I am not stuck.  I am not depressed.

But do you know what?  If someone that I know and love is, I can try to help them!  And hopefully I can say all the right things like my sister did.

Love yourself.  Love others.  As we become stripped down, we will find that's all we really have.

Thank you Katie and Miss Sue.  Thank you Craig and Miss Snow.  Thank you Windy, Mom and Dad, Erika, Staci, Ronna, Barbie, Stacia and everyone else who helped me through more than you know.

And thank you, Brady P.  I'm sorry you had to see me like that for those weeks.  It was not your fault.  But we got through it together.  Brighter days are ahead.

Let's do our best to be around so we can enjoy them.