The best-laid breakfasts

By Mir
March 15, 2005

I had an entire post planned about The Great Pop Tart Debacle. It happened this morning and it was… majestic. In the worst possible (yet quite amusing) way. I wanted to share it and the utter JOY that is the thought process of a child that renders one foil packet SUPERIOR to another–identical!–foil packet by virtue of… ummm… well, I hadn’t really worked that part out. But there was a fabulous insight in there, I’m sure.

But screw that. No quirky uplifting breakfast stories, today. Nope. Warm-n-fuzzy exasperation at 7:15 can turn to a not-altogether-unexpected but still heart-wrenching downward spiral by 7:45. Because when you’re a parent, the only things more intense than the highs of the Good Stuff are the feelings of failure and helplessness with the Bad Stuff.

So instead of the Tale of Two Pop Tarts, I could tell you about the ongoing saga of a beautiful and brilliant little girl who battles demons I can’t seem to keep away from her. I could tell you how ashamed I am of how often I lose my temper; how I never seem to have enough patience, and how just when I think it can’t get any worse, it always does.

I could tell you how many times this child has gotten in trouble at school in the last month. I could tell you all about how the medication that restored her from being a withdrawn shell of her former self, a year ago, has now apparently turned on her, urging her brain chemistry to forsake all boundaries, common sense, and empathy. How we have been working at this, so many of us, trying to untangle the mystery of what is happening and what has changed and where oh where has my sweet Chickadee gone.

I could try to analyze why this was the last straw or whether I should’ve known (I always think I should’ve known; a dear friend asked me tonight if I suppose I should be a god in these things and I said OF COURSE) and somehow fixed it earlier. I could tell you how after giggling to myself over breakfast politics I then ended up spending my entire morning on the phone. The school, her father, the doctor, the therapist. The school again. Back to the doctor’s office. Once again with her dad.

I could detail how I closed my office door, tried to stifle my sobs and pull myself together between each call. How I wrestled with a project between (and sometimes during) each conference and how the software I was using kept mysteriously vanishing huge, random chunks of my copy, until I didn’t know if I was crying about the continued sabotage of my work or the frustration of not being able to be the mother I want to be. How I worried through all of it that here I was screwing up the job I’d waited for so long, and now I was officially even a failure at the very thing that was (I was sure, for I am nothing if not a wiz with the self-guilt) both the trigger of the current crisis and the thing keeping me from handling it better.

But I don’t want to. I don’t need any help to dwell on that which will only make me crazy.

Instead, let me tell you the rest.

I want to tell you that my ex stepped up. That he’s getting it and working with me. That for the first time in a very long time I’m grateful to have him involved.

I want to tell you that my coworkers gave me clear berth until I had somewhat gathered myself and opened my door partway. And then I was gently checked on, given reassurances that I should go do what I needed to do and not worry, and generally shown a kindness and genuine concern that really touched me.

I want to tell you that the teacher who really has not been my favorite person gave me her entire free period to conference over the phone. That she assured me that she knows my daughter is a good and special child. That she told me not to cry because we will get this figured out.

I want to tell you that the doctor’s office bent over backwards for us today, and got us scheduled when there were “no openings.” That the doctor understood my despair. That she listened to both of us, and addressed all of my concerns, and explained what she was doing and why, and told me to not to forget to take care of myself.

I want to tell you that in the midst of all of this, the support just kept rolling in. To everyone who emailed, IMed, or called me today: thank you. I was a mess and you loved me anyway. And helped. And were kind enough not to point out what a mess I was being.

I want to tell you that by the time I got the kids into bed tonight, I felt like I’d been up for a week straight. That I came back downstairs, and before I could remember what I’d come down to do, I turned back around and went back up. I perched on the edge of Chickadee’s bed in the dark, and smoothed the stray hair back from her face.

“Do you know how much I love you?” I asked her.

“More than anything,” she answered. I exhaled the breath I didn’t know I’d been holding, and kissed her forehead. I bid her goodnight (again) and left her room.

I want to tell you that tomorrow is another day, and we’re starting a new med at breakfast. I want to tell you it’s going to get better. I want to believe it’s getting better.


  1. ben

    To the moon.
    And back.

    If your love is this clear to total strangers reading your blog, Chickadee knows it in ways we cannot.

    Be there for her. Don’t give up. And? We want the other pop-tarts. The ones you just put away. Yeah, them.

  2. Momsyomomsy

    My heard aches for you and your little family. Hang in there and know that we are holding you all in our thoughts and prayers.

  3. diane

    Oh, Mir. Do you know what an amazing woman you are?? I have breakdowns at work when my dumb cat is misbehaving!! Know how truly incredible you are.
    You will get through this. I am sending lots of extra special thoughts and prayers to you and your family.

  4. alektra

    Chickadee has quite a crew pulling for her. You are a good mom. I promise you are. And Chickadee knows you love her. And she’s SUCH a good little one that everyone is willing and wants to help her.

    So, obviously, it’s because you’re doing such a good job raising her. And the bad stuff will be figured out. Even the scary teacher says so. All the best, and I hope you get a good night’s sleep. You deserve it, pretty lady.

  5. Mamacita

    Bless you with all the blessings I was saving for somebody special. They’re all for you.

    You’re somebody special, you see.

  6. Cristin

    Thank God you and Chickadee are getting so much support in this. As has been said, she knows you love her. You are her mom, but no one can do everything perfectly. All of the stress you are under right now, especially with the new job, It is amazing how WELL you are handling it!
    Hang in there, and God bless!

  7. Psycho Kitty

    Oh, my heart really goes out to you. I read your blog so often because I see so much of my family here. I have closed my office door more than I like to admit. Good luck with the new meds. I will be praying for you and sending you good vibes and anything else I can think of.

  8. chris

    as a mom with a little man on meds (gonna try a new one on him during spring break) and as another mom who absolutely thinks she should be doing God’s job and fixing this for him right now, i raise my hand with yours. the speed at which we cycle from laughter to tears and back again cannot be measured. we are not alone and we will get through this. failure is not an option. blessings!

  9. JenL

    Mir, my heart goes out to you and Chickadee. When I was a single parent, I had many many days like you describe: solely survived because of the intense support I received. Praise be that your crew stepped up when needed. Hopefully things will smooth out soon. Keep us posted!

  10. MoMMY

    My thoughts are with you and your family. I hope the new meds work well. Maybe they are just what you’re looking for.

    You’re doing a great job!

  11. Oliquig

    I wish I could be all wise and say something that made all the hurt and worry go away, but that isn’t going to work, so I’ll justsay; I know things will get better. Chickadee has a great mom, and that makes all the difference in the world.

  12. Zuska

    Damn! Where’s a magic wand when you really need one? My heart goes out to you and Chickadee, it really does. I’m so happy you got alot of support and help yesterday when you needed it. Fingers crossed that today will seem brighter.

  13. dad

    Take it from someone who has lived through a similar but equally difficult situation with a child who was just as special and brilliant as Chicadee and also had to deal with demons; IT DOES GET BETTER!
    You shouldn’t have to look too far to see that this too shall pass and you will all be better for it. In the meantime, roll with punches and stick with it. We all love and admire you.

    PS: Pardon the multiple cliches. It happens when I’m proud.

  14. Mia

    Hugs, Mir. We’re with you.

  15. dave

    Hugs and cliches and pats on the back and prayers and wishes.

  16. Her Ladyship

    Just wanted to jump out of the lurking bushes to say my thoughts are with you and I hope that things get better, pronto.

  17. Coleen

    Sending you and the Chickadee nothing but good, warm, healing thoughts, Mir. I’m thinking of you.

  18. Michele

    I second Ben and add what my sons tells me; “To the moon and back, then back again, then to mars then venus to home and then to your heart mommy.” I know that your love for your child will get you all through this. Love is the most powerful thing in this world, stronger than hate.

    one mommy to another–((hug))

  19. Bob

    I don’t have anything I can add to what everyone else has said, but I felt I had to add my 2 cents.

    Hang in there, I’m pulling for you & yours.

  20. poopie’n Ben are STILL waitin’ for our poptarts MOM :)

    this too shall pass girlfriend.

  21. laura

    I’m rootin’ for you, Mir. It will get better.

  22. La Pixiatrix

    I think I wanted to comment last night – but I really couldn’t. I was crying too much.

    It was so profound, your daughter’s response “More than anything.” I’m sure because of my own experiences with my mom, who couldn’t care for herself, much less three kids. But she loved us as much as she could sometimes, and sometimes that was enough.

    You are really a wonderful parent. Not perfect maybe, but I honestly don’t know, having seen many bad parents, and a handful of stellarly (is that a word?) supportive, accepting, flexible, consistent, empathetic, loving, concerned, fun and empowering parents in my day. And as much as I can see, through the internet, you are one of those.

    Please take heart that she knows this about you. Not just that you love her, but that you’re a good parent.

    She doesn’t blame it on you (right now, but she might when she’s 13) help her learn that it’s no one’s fault. Help her trust her body and mind.

    My ex’s academic advisor in grad school had a beautiful and brilliant daughter who was depressed and at times anti-social, something they were aware of about the same age your daughter is now.

    I am going to ask them how they got through it, and if you want, send you an email with their response. Their daughter is now a college student at Smith. They got through it thus far somehow, closeness intact, and with love.

    Here’s to your deep deep breaths. Best best wishes. La Pix

  23. carson

    I wish you were my mommy. (Please don’t point out that I’m probably older than you.)

  24. PB

    Been lurking here, but had to speak up.

    Today, I had to have the worst day in the history of bad days, so I thought. After putting my child to bed and descending into a computer coma and a good cry, I checked in on you. Yes, I could have used a good pop-tart debate — but to hear Chickadee declare she knows how much she’s loved — I got the hug I so needed today.

    I can’t actually tell you anything that anyone else didn’t or won’t tell you. I not only have no words of wisdom; Wisdom tends to run away from the vacuum that is my world.

    But I guess I was meant to read this today — thank you!

  25. Kym

    I’m late… per usual. But (((hugs))) anyway.

  26. part-timer

    delurking to say…
    God bless you! and I hope you get some peace soon. You are doing all you can possibly do. And that is enough. You are a great mom!! I am thinking of you and hoping things get easier soon. xoxoxox

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