Faith vs Fear

Faith vs Fear

Monday, January 26, 2009

The Joys of Grandparenting

We had two of our grandchildren (6-year-old Gabby and her 3-year-old brother Brad) spend the weekend with us. Such fun! We played Barbies and dress-up; David played "tiger" with Brad; we went shopping and bought them a dollar toy at a second-hand store and doughnuts at the grocery story; we made cookies, watched some movies, and read a few stories. We enjoyed their happy chatter, and the sound and energy of small ones running through the house. They were sweet and well behaved; it was just what we needed to bring sunlight into the winter doldrums we had been struggling with. Their tight "squeezes" and "I love yous" made our weekend.
It also reminded me of what attracted me to David in the first place: his way with young children. We met at a singles dance, and decided to meet the next day after work for cokes. I told him I had 3 children and had to pick them up from the daycare first. He said, "They're not brats are they?" I reassured him they were not.
The next day we met at a restaurant, and my 8-year-old twin boys, Ben and Brian, proceeded to tease their 6-year-old sister, Lara, to the point of tears. I ended up leaving him with the boys while I took my daughter kicking and screaming to the ladies room. When we left to go home, David asked me for my number, and I thought, "yeah, sure you'll call." I wouldn't have called me.
Two months later he was cleaning out his wallet, found my number, and on a whim, decided to call. After we laughed about our first "date," we ended up spending a lot of time together, alone and with the kids who hit it off from the start. Two months later we married and began life together as a blended family with Jonathan, Ben, Brian, Lara, Brittany, and Shannon (ages 10 to 4). Later we added Jeffrey and Katie. We also consider Krista, David's ex-wife's daughter, to be one of ours. They are the joy of my life and are worth every last grey hair, and "wrinkly eyes," as Gabby put it when she was making me a "princess."

Friday, January 23, 2009

Beacon of Hope

I don't know the story behind the site Beacon of Hope, or why it hasn't been updated for a long time, but I'm truly grateful the information posted there is still accessible.
I went wandering around the site again recently while trying to figure out how better to cope with David's moods. Several items in the coping section were welcome reminders that I'm not alone in dealing with a mentally ill spouse.
I especially relate right now to the section on "burnout." It's easy to get so involved with the drama surrounding him and his moods/needs/demands that I forget to take care of myself. Last week I made a stab at spending some quality time by myself, and it does help. For me, time by myself is as important as eating and breathing. I don't function very well when I don't have enough time alone to think and dream.
David's moods are still dark, but he finally went to his doctor. He's working with the doctor to adjust his medicine, and he needs to take some more blood tests. We were very lucky to have landed with caring, competent doctors when we most needed one. Last fall we had a Dr.'s appointment that coincided with David having a severe anxiety attack. Our regular Dr. was concerned, talked to the psychiatrist on the staff at the same clinic, and got David in to see him within just a few days. We're grateful for their good care and compassion.

Monday, January 12, 2009

It's been one of "those" months

David's moods often reminds me of winter weather. Like overcast skies and stormy days, his mood lately has been mostly gloomy with occasional patches of light. He's been struggling again with depression, more hallucinations, and an obsession with my body image.
This particular round has also been hard on me, and I realize that I need to explore some better coping techniques. Part of the problem for me has been that daily verbal attacks mostly about my weight, and ongoing financial challenges has taken a toll on my sense of worth.
On days when I wonder how I can keep going, I remember the words of a poem that one of my favorite high school teachers, Richard Pratt, taught me years ago:
I can't—a poor, pale, puny imp
Too lazy to work and from every duty does shirk.
I can—a giant, unbending he stands.
And he can conquer who thinks he can
In spite of the throngs who doubt him.

As with all storms, however, this one seems to be lifting at last, and I see some signs of improvement. Yesterday when I came home from work he surprised me with these flowers! I seldom get flowers, and I especially appreciate these:

It's a welcome reminder that every storm eventually ends.