The Sixth Street Bridge

The Sixth Street Bridge
At the tender age of 17, I walked across this bridge, alone, into Downtown Pittsburgh, with $300 in my pocket that my mother had given me to get an abortion. I went into the Fulton Building (in the picture) and did what I was told to do. I didn't have a choice - if I did, I wouldn't have chosen abortion.

Friday, April 26, 2013

7 Quick Takes Friday

--- 1 ---
Fridays for me mean the day off from work.  This can be a good thing or a bad thing and sometimes both - fluctuating by the hour.  The original idea, since I work part time, was to have Fridays as a catch up day for housework, grocery shopping, meal planning, etc.  That lasted about one Friday.  There is way too much household stuff to catch up on in one day while the kids are in school, let alone grocery shopping, meal planning, ironing, whatever.  More often I've taken the "screw it" attitude and use Fridays as a catch up day for just me with grand intentions of reading, writing, going to Mass, taking a pottery class, blah blah blah.  More often that not - those grand intentions are screwed too.  Before I know it, the bus is pulling up and I've got next to nothing to show for my day off.  But, darn it, there will be 7 quick takes today!

--- 2 ---
Speaking of hours alone on Fridays (or the hours of school time at a fine Catholic school where my kids spend their time 180 days a year), are my kids the only ones who are magically transformed by asphalt driveways?  Here's the thing, my kids get on the bus in the morning and are transformed into polite, caring, empathetic, attentive, respectful, lovely children.  When they return home, the opposite happens, the minute their precious little Mary Jane clad feet hit the asphalt of the driveway they are transformed into disrespectful, crabby, pantry raiding, smart mouthed little monsters.  Okay, maybe the little one isn't too bad because her cuteness factor can usually override any bad behavior which is usually fleeting.  The other one? Oh my goodness.  I was in no way prepared for the wrath of a tween.  I've tried to be understand.  I've tried to be overly loving. I've tried to be patient.  I've tried to be kind. I've tried to ignore it.  I've tried not to engage the monster.  Ive tried engaging the monster. I am failing - miserably.  I'm convinced this child either hates me or the curse my mother hatched on me ("I hope you have one just like you!") is coming true ten fold. I've entertained the idea that Satan himself is using her to torment me.  I'm at a complete loss.  My husband and I both are.  She is a screaming, rage filled, possibly hormone wracked, alien impostor of my once sweet little blue eyed beauty and I am her prime punching bag.  What's most frustrating is that she saves up all of this ugliness for me, for us.  If I video taped her for 20 minutes at home and showed it to her teachers or anyone outside of this home they would never believe it is the same child.  So, if she's capable of being one child during the school day - why is she not capable of being that same person, heck I'd be happy with a 1/4 of that person, at home?  It is honestly making  me question God's decision to make me a mother.  I'm questioning never sending her to daycare.  I'm questioning everything.  No answer for those questions today.

--- 3 ---
At times of frustration I like to think back to when I was pregnant with the above mentioned tween-monster, and how exciting it was and how fascinating it was to be pregnant at all.  After some infertility scares and issues and finally getting pregnant on our own was a miracle.  I remember the first time I felt her move inside me, those first little butterflies - wow.  And all the rest of it - even the dramatic delivery and NICU swat team's appearance - all of it was so fantastic.  People say you forget all of it with time.  I don't think I ever will, with either of those pregnancies.  I was so enraptured by what my body was doing.  It was beyond my comprehension, yet happening right inside of me.  When this picture of Pope Francis starting circling this week - it so touched my heart.  His tenderness and love jump right out of the picture and her hand on his hand, her smile, the husbands' expression - it's all absolutely perfect. What a perfect and powerful expression of the Church's teaching on human life.  Just wow.  They have to name that baby Francis or Francesca, they just have to!

--- 4 ---
I could go on and on about Papa Francis.  I'm just so in love with him for so many reasons.  Granted my love affair is solely based on social media images and videos and transcripts of his homilies, but I guess that's all it takes sometimes.  I remember when he first came out on the balcony and he just stood there for the longest time just gazing out over the people and he wasn't smiling.  My eldest asked, "why doesn't he look happy?" I didn't have an answer, I think I said maybe he's just contemplating what he's been asked to do and how he's going to do it. Well, whatever conclusion he came to on that balcony - it's working - at least for me it is.  Since then we've seen him smile so many times and he just radiates peace and joy while at the same time carrying himself with a quiet confidence that I guess comes from having the Truth on your side.  Everyday I look forward to my Twitter feed to find out what Papa Francis did while I was sleeping.  The little girl in this video expresses my feelings toward him perfectly - though if were to break through Vatican security the outcome may be a bit different. I want to know what the note said!

--- 5 ---
The little girl in the video is how I feel on the inside sometimes, her enthusiasm, her ambition, her no holds barred I'm going after what I want attitude.  Okay, maybe her parents bribed her with gelato, but still, she has no fear!  She just runs towards her goal and succeeds!  Then after mission accomplished, turns around and goes back to her place in the crowd.  What would this world be like if we were all that unafraid?  What would I be like?  I've spent a long, long time cowering in the shadows for so long I'm not sure how to break free.  That's a lie, I know how, I just don't.  Part of the reason is I have struggled for the better part of my life with chronic and sometimes crippling depression. I don't talk about it much on my blog because I'm ashamed of it, embarrassed by it.  It's humiliating to have something wrong with you that you can't fix and it's not something that is easily seen or easily understood.  My husband doesn't even fully understand it and he knows me better than anyone.  I recently stopped taking any antidepressant and antianxiety medications - about two months ago - which means, scientifically, that all of the chemicals are out of my system.  And oh what a roller coaster ride it's been.  I've done this before as I have been off and on medications for years.  I cycle downward, go get some medication, feel better for a while, then start to feel like a zombie, then go off, then go back on.  This time I'm determined to not go back on them at all.  There's got to be some way to get through this life without my head in a fog.  There has got to be some happy medium between despair and zombie.  I haven't found it yet.  At first I was happy for real tears being shed, now I'm crying at the drop of a hat.  At first I was grateful for restful REM sleep, now it's hard to get out of bed and stay out of it.  I'm not sure how much longer this experiment will last.  The scariest symptom of my particular brand of depression is suicidal ideation, also not easily understood.  It's not easy to talk about without people thinking you need to be 302'd immediately.  Just because I won't commit suicide for a 100 reasons, doesn't mean I don't think about it, sometimes constantly, and that constant rumination can wear a person down and it's wearing me down. Sometimes it's a fleeting thought, sometimes it's hours or a whole day of "what if's."  The commercials are true - depression does hurt - but all those side effects they rattle off - they hurt even more.  It's one hell of a catch-22.  A day off like today is a good example.  Not going to be solved in 7 quick takes, so I ask for any prayers willing to be said. 

--- 6 ---
There is something that can be done that has been scientifically proven to increase serotonin in the brain - exercise!  Do I do it?  Nope!  Why? Because I'm depressed which causes me to be unmotivated and not care.  Typically, stopping antidepressants leads to a slight weight loss of the weight you gain when you start an antidepressant - that has not happened this time around.  I think my sluggishness and lack of doing much besides lay in bed is a contributing factor.  I want to be outside pulling weeds. I want to take my dog for a walk. I want to play with the kids outside in the sunshine.  I want to go for a hike on the weekends.  I want to. I want to. I want to.  I can't. I don't.  It's a vicious cycle.  Perhaps I'm afraid of what happens if I take one step.  The endorphins might kick in and that means I'll take another step and before I know it I'm tramping all over my depression like a cute little Irish step dancer.  I think I may be getting close to that point, I'm not sure.  I know I feel horrible emotionally and physically.  I know my health is going to suffer soon if it's not already. To know all of this and to do something about it is not an easy step for me.  I used to be in great physical shape. I used to be at the gym every day (before kids of course).  I used to know my way around a weight room and craved the high that came from hitting my target heart rate.  There remains a flicker of that somewhere deep down inside.

--- 7 ---
So I've spent the better part of these quick takes in the negative for the most part - I've been trying to find some positives to cling to.  I'm not very good at positives currently.  I used to be quite an optimist -I'm not sure I have that in me anymore.  Maybe if I throw some out here they will stick.  My positives for today are: I have a fantastic husband who is handsome, committed, dedicated, hard working, funny, attentive, sensitive, and kind and not to mention at 40 years old - smoking hot.  I'm sure it's a sin when I look around at other husbands and beam with pride over my "trophy husband" but I'm sorry, he's freakin hot and he just gets better with age. It's patently unfair.  We also have a rock solid marriage which is often times the one thing I can cling to through all the crap.  It is sometimes the only thing I'm 100% sure about.  Despite my children wreaking havoc when they are home with me, my kids are smart, funny, beautiful, cute, and caring little human beings.  I constantly feel like a failure as a parent, but I guess if they are doing okay out of my sight then I'm not failing totally.  I have a nice, comfortable home.  Sure there are stains on the carpet, our landscaping is lacking, there are fingerprints on every wall, and our décor is mostly crayons and glitter, but I'm lucky to have it.  I have a wonderful furry companion of the Golden Retriever variety who absolutely, unabashedly worships me.  Sometimes I feel she was sent to me to keep me alive sometimes.  We don't have a lot of money and we are about to soon have a lot less, but we have everything we need and for that I'm grateful. 
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!


  1. First: I don't have a tween, but I'm stymied and flummoxed by my 4-year-old, who is often known to undergo a similar transformation to what you're talking about. And although it doesn't help on the home front, it might help to have this perspective, given to me by another blog commenter when I was expressing my frustration: she was an educator, and said it's far better, and indicative of a healthy child, to have them do things in this order rather than the reverse. If they're a hellion at school and too scared to act out at home, it has much worse ramifications long-term. This is frustrating, but kids who do what yours & mine are doing are going to be okay in the long run. FWIW. (Hugs.)

    As for the rest--I will be praying for you! Do you have someone in town, in your neighborhood, who can be your "kick in the pants" to get you started doing something active? Because there's something about momentum: once you get started, it's so much easier to keep going!

  2. I am so, so, sorry about your depression. I have had to fight it on and off and reading your post, wow, I've so been there and it's not pretty or fun. I hear you about the meds too (as I've done that also) and I don't have any answers for you, just prayers and sympathy as someone who has been on that road. I always feel so much better on the meds (at first) that I tell myself "next time I feel that depressed I'm going to get the meds sooner" but then the side effects settle in and I wean myself off. Happily, I have not had to walk that road lately, but your post hit home.

    Love, love, love the picture!! What a treasure for that family (and a blessing for the rest of us)! So awesome, and the video...just precious!!

  3. Perhaps you just don't have the energy for it right now, but I have a post on how to get your kids to always listen to you, it's very simple, but not easy at first, you just have to: Always Mean What You Say

    LOVE the girl running up to Pope Francis, I wish I had thought to do that when we were in Rome a couple weeks ago!

  4. The picture is absolutely beautiful. I don't know you, but I will be praying for you and your depression. God bless you for sharing.

  5. I absolutely love that picture of Pope Francis blessing that woman's belly. I gave birth to our daughter a few weeks ago, and I burst into tears the first time I saw that picture. So beautiful.

    I'm many years away from the tween stage, but my husband and I are already dreading it! :) Something to think about...the fact that you think you're a failure as a mom proves that you're not. You love your children so deeply and want to be the best possible mother for them, and that's the sign of an amazing parent. *hugs* Praying for you.