Ok, I lied. Long story long.
C is the youngest of 3 girls.
She was very different from my other babies. She would go rigid if I even changed positions while I breast-fed her. To call her colicky is a HUGE understatement. She would scream from the moment she woke up in the morning, until 10 pm at night. The fact that she slept through the night by 3 months was the only thing that saved what little sanity I had.
I had her in and out of the emergency room so many times, it’s ridiculous. “There is something wrong with my baby!”, I would yell at her pediatrician. He told me there WAS something wrong with her, she had colic. We even did gastro studies to make sure she didn’t have some sort of blockage. This wasn’t just ordinary colic, this was non-stop rage-y screaming until she turned blue. All. Day. Long.
I starved myself for 2 days and gradually added one new food item a day, to see if maybe it was something I was eating. No dice. Didn’t matter. She still screamed. Tried to wean her and put her on some fancy-pants formula for “irritable” babies. Still screamed. Started nursing her again, the screaming continued. I went through so many bottles of infant Mylicon drops, I was going broke.
The doctors finally put her on Bentyl syrup for about 6 weeks, Bentyl. Gasp. Of course, now my brain is saying, “Well, shit- no wonder your kid is an addict, you had her on an opiate based syrup to shut her up.” Not. Going. To. Go. There. Even that only helped a bit. By the time she was about 8 months old, she calmed down a little.
She was a very “excitable” child. Unbelievable excitement on Christmas, opening presents in a frenzy, followed by very long naps. She had what I now know as “sensory issues”. She refused to wear clothes most of the time. She would only wear certain undies or socks. If those clothes were being laundered, she would fly into a fit of rage- kicking, screaming, crying uncontrollably until she almost passed out. This was the early 90’s, I was a young mom. I just thought she was unique. She was super creative and smart, and I knew “creative types” were eccentric. I was and am a “creative type” and I was eccentric.
As an adoptee, it is very hard to know what is “normal” in our own children. We have zero genetic mirroring. We are nothing like our adoptive family, and we have to wing it. Statistics show that many actors are adoptees. Why? Because many of us learn to act like the people who raise us, in order to feel like we fit in. Acting is a way of life for many of us.
My children were very similar to ME and my husband and his family, but who was I similar to? Maybe her behavior was “normal” in my natural family, but just unfamiliar to me.
Puberty set in, things got worse. This was also when I was diagnosed with breast cancer. <<Trigger. She would sleep all day on the weekends, she became even nastier. Her personal hygiene wasn’t the best, but I chalked it up to normal teenage assholey behavior. I was an asshole when I was a teenager, so like Mother, like daughter, right? Wrong.
She saw her older sisters excelling in every activity they were involved with. She struggled to find “her thing”. As soon as she found something she was interested in, we jumped on it. “I want to play the guitar.” A guitar would be purchased, along with lessons, until she tired of it. “I want to be a photographer.” Bought a chi-chi camera, enrolled her in classes, until she tired of that. And on and on and on it went.
I started to suspect there was really something wrong, so we started taking her to counseling when she was 14. They said she had depression, and gave her some sort of anti-depressant. I cant remember what it was- maybe Effexor? She hated the way it made her feel, and refused to take it. She would sit in the counselor’s office and not say a single word. This went on for about a year, and the shrink “released” us.
I found signs of drug use. The “usual”- a few seeds and clips here and there. Her group of friends changed. They went from preppy kids from well-to-do families to grungy kids who came from who knows where. She started listening to The Grateful Dead and became obsessed with Janis Joplin (whom her great uncle dated, lol)…Wow, that sounds like Im stereotyping people and Im getting all judge-y. But that is where I was at that stage. We were a 2 parent home. Got married at 18, worked our balls off from nothing and finally were living “the good life”. Nice house, nice cars…you know, all that stuff people think makes them happy.
Except we were not happy. Her father and I had divorced and then remarried. <<Trigger. I had abandonment issues, stemming from my adoption. I was always waiting for someone to leave me, because I was taught from day one that “my mother loved me so much she gave me up”. <<That is the worst thing to EVER say to an adoptee. It sets them up for heartache, because it tells them that the people who are supposed to love them the most will leave them.
That was MY addiction. I left before anyone had the chance to leave me. It has taken me a lifetime to work on my adoption issues. Adoption loss is an ambiguous loss, it is one that is very difficult to grieve, because society tells us to be grateful. But I digress….
I was also raised in a very dysfunctional home. Co-dependent mother, alcoholic father. Physically abused. I started my recovery from that very early on in my marriage. I was not the perfect parent, but I was pretty damned good, considering the parenting model I had to follow.
I did all the stuff my mother never did. I was a stay at home Mom. I was the room mother, the Brownie & Girl Scout Leader. I went to PTA meetings, I was on the board of their school’s athletic associations. I took them to the private swim club every day in the summer. We did “crafts”. I was involved. I gave a shit.
Wow. “We did crafts”??? Seriously? This is starting to sound like a justification thingy. I guess I really am still stuck in the “this shouldn’t be happening to someone like me” mode. I realize that making macaroni necklaces and popsicle stick frames is not a guarantee you kid won’t be on drugs. Just trying to make sense of it all, I guess.
This is entire entry is making me scratch my head and say, “Get over yourself, bitch, you are not unique because you were a good mom and now your life and your daughter is a hot mess.”
When C turned 17, she got caught with a joint at school. They wanted to kick her out permanently. We went to school and told them that she was an honors student with a problem, and that expulsion would cause a lot of damage to her. We gave them our word that if they would reduce it to suspension for the rest of the year, we would make sure to get her counseling and rehab.
The school did not press charges, took our word and agreed with our “plan”. We enrolled her in an alternative school for the remainder of the school year. She did well….until we heard she was using coke.
I was recovering from abdominal surgery when I confronted her. Her father was not home. She took a swing at me, and I called the cops. They pulled my daughter out of the house and put her in the back of the squad car. Oh, and ironies of all ironies, she was wearing a “DARE” tee-shirt when this happened.
My family gave me 3 kinds of crap for having my kid arrested. I was not embarrassed, but they were. Not my problem. My kid was my problem and I wanted to fix her. I knew this was going down hill fast, and I had zero regrets. This episode happened on a Friday, so she would be in juvie jail for the weekend.
We went to court Monday morning. The judge took one look at us (you know, oh so well manicured and such) and was ready to let her go home. Nope. I told the judge our home was not safe until I could thoroughly sweep it for drugs. I was finding paraphernalia everywhere. I found something that I thought was coke, but was not sure. My friend told me to rub my gums with it, and if my gums buzzed, it was coke. Well, buzzy buzzy buzzy, it was coke. We wanted her in rehab. Now.
We left her there. She started their rehab while in juvie. They had “school” while she was there. She had to do a book report on a “Babysitters Club” book. My honors kid, who read Tolstoy, was now reading books written for 3rd graders. She was starting to realize she had a problem and was throwing her life away.
She stayed there for 3 weeks, and then came home with an ankle monitor and had to attend 2 meetings a week. She did well that summer. She respected rules, and did what was required of her.
Her senior year started. She was once again on the honor roll, even after missing a semester. She got a scholarship to a pretty prestigious college for her art/photography. Big D and I separated again. <<Trigger. She lasted 2 months at college. Dropped out, said she was afraid for herself.
Damn…my girl was recognizing triggers.! That was healthy. She wanted to go to another college about 3 hours away. We agreed. That lasted about 6 months, and we then figured she was smoking pot again, and her life was spiraling out of control.
That is also when we learned that Big D’s cousin had bipolar and that their grandfather had schizophrenia. This was news to us. My mother in law is pretty fabulous. I mean, if you’re into the Christian thing, she is the definition of Christian. She is full of unconditional love. But she was raised in a world where you do not EVER discuss mental illness. Not ever. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t upset. Every doctor we had ever been to with C asked if there was anyone in our family with mental illness. I knew my paternal half-sister suffered from depression, but had no idea about Big D’s side of the family. Not that it would have made much of a difference, but having that knowledge would have helped to make “some” sense of it all, and might have helped get a better diagnosis sooner. Whatevs. Can’t go back.
We again started the mental health game. Find a shrink, lose a shrink. 3 months of calm with C, followed by 3 months of chaos. Drop out of school, start back to school. Get a job, lose a job. Fight with C, make up with C.
3 years ago, she was so out of control, Big D kicked her out. She got violent with me again. She would sleep for days. Her then boyfriend broke up with her and she had her first suicide attempt. Granted, the cut did not require stitches, but “normal” people do not do this.
We gave her 3 choices- enter an inpatient mental facility, day-to-day outpatient therapy, or we would have her involuntarily committed. She agreed to outpatient. She had a job, and we got her an apartment. We kept very close tabs on her. Things started turning around for the better. Until they started going downhill….again. She bought a pit bull. WTF? She cannot take care of herself and she buys a pit-bull?
She would not be permitted to bring her dog to our home. Breedist much? Yup. Please don’t give me a lecture on how “bully breeds” need love and are given a bad rap. I don’t give a shit. We have 2 old dogs who have had surgeries, and Im not going to take any chances with them. Her dog is not properly trained. Her dog scares me. End of story.
We finally told her last year that she was to sign the hipaa form giving her shrink permission to let us know what was going on with her. She was not improving, and unless we could take an active role in her mental recovery, we would no longer pay for her apartment, car insurance, etc. She agreed to let Big D become involved, but not me. That was ok with me. She started another new job last winter, and she was doing well. She had to be drug tested, and she was clean. LOLOLOLLERS. Yeah, I know clean piss can be bought. Duh.
3 months ago, she posted a pic of her dog on a beach. The nearest beach is 800 miles from here. She said she had “vacation time”. Ummm…people on a job for less than 3 months do not get “vacation time”. We were sliding back into the chaos mode.
She got evicted from her apartment. It was being renovated and the owner did not have the proper permits and they shut it down. That’s true, we looked it up. She lived with several friends off and on. We told her she would have to find a temporary home for her dog and she could come here. We had just built our “dream home” in the country. <<<Trigger. Every time we have any change in our lives, whether it was a birth, death, move, etc, she went down hill.
All of a sudden, she meets this guy, “N”, and is going to move to Colorado with him, because pot is legal and he makes bongs. Well…isn’t that special. His brothers are glass blowers, too. Awwww….a family trade. How nice. I googled him, found nothing. Of course, I was googling the wrong name.
I last saw her 3 weeks ago. She looked fine, she looked happy. I couldn’t force her to stay, she is 25 years old. We told her that her decision to move was not a good one. We would not be flying her back when she got bored. We couldn’t fix her car from 2000 miles away. Hell, her car would barely make it to the next state. We would continue to pay for psych care and birth control through our insurance. Off she went.
They made it about 250 miles away. They were going to stay there until the fall, and then head to Colorado. She came home last week. He was arrested, she went missing, found out she was a hot mess again. This time, it was hotter than we could ever imagine. Hell hot, I suppose.