(This is one of those blog award virus images that was floating around. I kind of like it to represent my honest scrap today. Thank you to (I think) Utah Savage for sending it the way of The Pagan Sphinx.)
I'm currently experiencing a sort of blog frenzy. In a couple of weeks blogging will become a low-priority for me, as I will be starting two new classes that overlap by a few weeks. There will a lot of travel and much to do and then it's the holidays. My mother has let me know that she is seriously considering visiting for the holidays, from Portugal. She has two little great-grandchildren (my brother's grandchildren). The last time she saw her GGD was when Anna was three months old. I have mixed feelings about her coming in winter. She doesn't do well in the cold or cooped up in my brother's suburban mansion. My house is too old and dusty for her. I'm really very afraid she'll get sick here.
My brother, whom I'll call Dr. Phil, is being a selfish jerk as usual by putting the squeeze on our mother to come for the holidays and otherwise laying a guilt trip on her about how her great-grandchildren are growing up and she's missing it. Ugh. He could go visit her. Dr. Phil, my nephew with the little kids and his wife are very well off. They could collectively more than afford to rent a flippin' villa near my mother's house, if they wanted to. My brother just has made no progress in getting beyond is anger at my parents for having moved back to Portugal for their retirement. I too was saddened that my children would grow up largely without their grandparents' regular guidance. But I have been over that for many years now. In fact, now that my father is gone, especially, I think my mother is much better off living out the rest of her life in Portugal. She has many family and friends within walking distance, so she doesn't need to drive. She takes the bus and train to medical appointments and if she is truly in need of private transportation, those same family and friends are available to drive her and are, in fact, happy to do so. My brother had been putting a lot of pressure on her and on me to support his "position", to move back to the U.S. And I know that is not what my mother wants. She's told me over the course of a lot of conversations over many years, that that is not what she wants. Why my brother can't accep that must be between him and his shrink. I certainly hope he has one, as he is truly in need. And I am dead serious, not a mean-spirited bone or wish in me. I hope only the best for Dr. Phil ( and that nickname does make me smile a bit wryly). I just wish he would lay off.
If only you could see Dr. Phil in action. He's tempered himself a bit over the years but I've lost count of how many times he hung up the phone on me in conversations we had a couple of years ago, during a particularly troubling period in my life: SG1, as I wrote about above, was in one of many psych wards and my husband and I were splitting up. He called to demand information about my daughter's "problem", as he put it. He accused me of "killing our parents" (my father was still living then) by telling them about SG's mental illness. I was fit to be tied and I told him the conversation was over and he ended it himself immediately by hanging up.
The other significant time Dr. Phil hung up on me had to do with his preemptive strike against me over how I should quit my summer school job one week into it (and I really needed the income then) to go care for my mother upon her release from the hospital after gastric cancer surgery. I hadn't even had time to digest (pardon) the news when he's on the phone telling me that I had to go and that doing so would become my "defining moment" (that's why I dubbed him Dr. Phil) He was really busy, you see planning his vacation. When I took issue with his confrontational attitude and not so much with what he was wanting me to do, which I naturally ended up doing because it was the right thing to do for my mother, not because he was brow-beating me into it. And I told him so.
My mother asked my opinion last weekend of whether she should make the trans-Atlantic flight to Boston a couple of weeks before Christmas. I told her that was up to her and how she feels physically and emotionally about the trip and insisted that it should be her decision and her decision only. In typical Maria-Style, she kept she kept urging me to elaborate but I stuck to my line. I am not getting in the middle of that one!
They are writing sudden flurry and frenzy of notes in my medical file these days. It is nothing serious but I'm having to jump through some hoops for the medical system so I can be properly treated for chronic UTIs. If don't know the acronym, I'm glad for you. If you know it all too well, I'd be happy to comiserate. ;-) I have one more appointment with the handsome Spanish urologist (he wears clogs. I have this thing for men in clogs) heheh.) and then I should be set-up with the proper treatment. I have tried every bloody thing under the sun to take care of the UTIs with more holistic approaches. We'll see what my options are.
SG1 and The Beloved are doing very well! SG1 and I talk most days.The Americorps stint was really difficult for the first month or so her position, but she made it through with flying colors and really enjoying it. I'm not sure she wants to follow in her mother's footsteps as a teacher of young children, though her placement is at an elementary school where she is a literacy tutor for kindergarten and first grade. She's expressed a mild interest in perhaps being certified to teach high school. I listen and try to be supportive. SG1 is worried that she will not be able to do what she wants to do for graduate school. She is a brilliant girl and always has to have goals. And right now she is where she is and needs to finish this Americorps endeavor. With the economy the way it is, she may even have to do a second year of the program. She has two years to think about what she wants to pursue in graduate school. She mentioned law school again recently, which she hasn't done in a while. It bothers her not to know what she will doing in two years. It's interesting, because it bothers me to know what I'll be doing in two years. ;-)
SG2 is happy to be in Boston. I don't doubt she will stick around those parts when she is done with her studies. She loves the city and also that it's close enough to home that it's not such a big hassle to make the trip. She's very social and has a huge circle of friends. Funny how this kid was so shy when she was a baby, only coming out of her shell in around middle childhood. She has a new boyfriend, whom I'll name Crocket. I have not yet met him but they are quite inthralled with one another. I've hinted plainly that he visit. :-)
WP and I are just plain happy together. I love my dearly crazy, socially-inept loving weirdo almost-husband.
And yes, the time for slacking will soon reach its end.
Meanwhile, I have things to share with you. I just found a mailing from CABF - Child and Adolescent Bipolar Foundation. I don't trust large organizations like this entirely. One critism I've heard of CABF is that they receive generous contributions from Big Pharma and therefore may be more predisposed to advocating drug treatment for children. Which is still a controversial subject among shrinks, teachers, parents and physicians.
My experiences with CABF all involved using their website for informatin when SG1 had the ultimate teen meltdown six years ago and ended up in and out of psychiatric hospitals for the next two years. (Some of you who have read this blog for a while may recall a bit about that.) I found the website to be very helpful and informative and since the correct drug or drugs was the only way to go for my daughter, I read a lot about medications on the site also. I am, in fact, an advocate of people receiving what they need to get better, regardless of the type of condition. Taking the medication route is a personal/family decision.
I was encouraged today to read this article in the newsletter I receive from CABF, about adolescent bipolar disorder:
Young Adults May Outgrow Bipolar Disorder Source: University of Missouri-Columbia press release
This was a slice of my life. I was inspired by Spadoman Joe at Round Circle.
Thanks, Joe and Peace