Thursday, December 27, 2012

Because sometimes I forget

I needed to write myself this reminder.

Dear Lindsay,
Because sometimes you forget:
Sometimes, you know like the days following after Christmas, or a Birthday, or a really, really good day....I find myself looking for my stolen and hidden cell phone. Or you know, removing the toilet for the one hundredth time to remove whatever it could be possibly plugged with.
When I see ANGRY eyes on the search for something, ANYTHING to justify their anger, I forget.

I forget the healing that has come, the less and lesser amount of urinated bedding I am washing, the fewer kitchen appliances I am missing parts to ...because well there are MORE normal days, and it ticks me off when they are interrupted by what “NORMAL” used to look like.

Because sometimes I forget.

When I am in the middle of restraining a child back from hurting a sibling, or themselves over a Netflix movie choice... or holding a childs hair back while they throw up from over eating a holiday plate they intercepted from well meaning neighbors...I FORGET that three years ago....this was my life, everyday, every moment.

I forget the months my Garbage can had to live on my counter top to keep from being raided, having to feed my animals in different rooms from my children, so the food would not be taken and hidden in pockets and underwear to be eaten later.

I forget. Because it is so easy to want everything good, and easy and perfect....and to remember that when we strive for that I am stepping on my own feet and setting my children and myself up for a fantastic FAIL.

Because sometimes I forget, and you forget, and it is O.K that we forget...

Forgetting what things used to be like means something miraculous, forgetting means quietly and slowly, they.are.healing.
It is so very Sssslllloooowwww. We don't catch it. But there you have it.
So what does that mean ?
It means it is O.K. that after a holiday of special and magical they HAVE to anty up those feelings of unworthiness, those feelings of “too much good” and neutralize them with speaking behaviors.

This is not going backwards, this does not mean we are back somewhere we don't want to be...this means our kids are STILL telling us things and need behaviors sometimes to speak for them...

Because sometimes we forget....
Because sometimes the healing is quiet and slow, but it is STILL there.

Hang in there, be gentle with you, be gentle with them...give it a week or two...

Love you,

Friday, December 14, 2012

Soul Cancer/The hands and hearts behind the guns

Oddly, I find myself yet again in my Kitchen, days before Christmas, this time making sugar cookies for my daughters Christmas singing review.
With the news of Connecticut tragedy adding salt to my batter, there is a part of me that disconnects and travels to the other part of this heart breaking issue at hand.

The death of so many children makes every parents heart and mind explode with fear and grief....the echoes of “This could have been my child lost at the hands and gun of that monster it could happen to anyone of our children at any school, mall, church, city, country...none of us are safe from this kind of tragedy.”

There are also few of us that whisper behind closed doors,  to one another in special closed support groups, looks passed between one another during parenting workshops, trauma parent to parent,that are parenting children with severe mental illness.. we nod our heads sadly and admit to ourselves...”My child could be that Monster.”

This fear for me is a double edged sword.
So many of us want to make this tragedy and others like it a “Gun Control issue”, yes, maybe. Many argue "this would be  prevented if less guns were being circulated and easy to get", yes,maybe. Others would say, "bad people will walk through any law to get any weapon", yes, maybe.

But may we talk about the hands holding these guns?

I have read over and over again:

and I answer;
A very, very sick, mentally unhealthy person.
A person so sick, so damaged, so deeply incapable of remorse and full of darkness ...that KIND of person.

A person that did not get help when they needed it most.
Possibly a child like mine, with Trauma or Mental Health illness that grew up without help, without a diagnosis, with out available services, with out those things he would need to heal and get help. With out prevention.

What our country needs, right now, to see this Tragedy for what it is, lack of mental health care, healing the hands and the brains behind the tragedy's.
Right now, mental health MUST become as much as a priority as physical health care...without out adequate mental healthcare we will continue with or with out new guns laws to see these tragedy's, any other solution is putting a band-aid on a gaping chest wound.

Our country is losing a battle to a disease they don't even see...

Soul Cancer
                                                                                               Thursday, July 5, 2012

Tonight as I bake cupcakes at mid-night for Bugs play ( because isn't that when most sane people bake cupcakes.) I started thinking, and then the thinking got passionate, and then while my confections baked...I decided to word vomit up the feelings I keep on pushing down...AND HERE YOU HAVE IT...

lucky you.

In our community there is something so heart breakingly tragic going on with a teen girl that we know and love personally. She is an AMAZING, talented BEAUTIFUL young woman, that is such an incredible leader and example to the youth in our area, just last year this girl organized a dance for relay to life, because she was inspired. One year later she has been struck down with a debilitating disease, that has been touch and go daily for weeks and weeks. I and our family pray so much for her daily. It has been such an incredible opportunity for my kids to work on building compassion. Through service, they have helped me plan and put together freezer meals, recommending their favorites. I love this girl and her family.

And as I read another update and saw so much love and support and amazing rallying behind this angel of a girl....I got jealous.

Yep, I did.

Not that ANY of the support, love and prayers that have been showered upon this sweet wonderful girl are not incredible, I continue to add my own, it's just that I began thinking about our battles last summer, with our teenage daughter...and my heart started to hurt.

You see, losing Papillion was hush, hush. The 10 hospitals, multiple suicide attempts, all of the pain, and scares, and scars, all of the visits, and hopes up, and then dashed were weathered alone.

When she finally disappeared from our home and community, there were no questions asked, no prayers of support, no phone calls...she just materialized into thin air...because well, we just don't talk about mental illness now do we?

It was the loneliest thing I have ever been through, with very little validation out side of other trauma parents...I get the “People don't know what to say.”....but even if they just saying THAT...”Linds I am so sorry I don't know what to say" would have been something...instead of avoiding me in the hallways at church, or changing direction when come face to face with me in the grocery aisle. Or completely stop being my friend...

Mental health is so isolating, but it is time in 2012, for it not to be...really.

If my daughter had, had Cancer, broken both legs, even terrible asthma, we could talk about it, and everyone would nod their heads sympathetically, ask questions, offer prayers, help, love...

But when it is a cancer literally eating away at someones soul, future,emotional health...when it is a broken brain, when your child can't take a full, deep breath because trauma has stolen it, well, that is something put in a corner, whisper and generally not ever bring it up.....and

It's not like everyone on this planet has never known someone that has not suffered from abuse, depression and even post pardum...we all know someone...whether it be a former soldier that gets skidish around loud noises, an Uncle that gets angry faster than needs be, a sister, Aunt, Grandmother or Mom that has quirky things she has to do, for “things' to be alright...getting hurt, being a little messy in the head, is part of the human condition we don't talk enough about, and we need to.

Medically in the last 100 years we have made leaps and bounds in the physical needs and healing of our bodies...but what about our brains? Our souls? There isn't enough demand, because no one is standing up and saying THIS, THIS NEEDS WORK, this need to be fixed, THIS needs to be a bigger priority than magic diet pills. It is not happening fast enough, it is not being prioritized.

I agree some amazing, AMAZING work and books have been written in the name of R.A.D., P.T.S.D, O.C.D and all around trauma and the effects of it...but why? Why is is so much easier for a parent to get a 504 for a child with A.D.H.D. That is hyperactive and struggles concentrating, than a child with severe trauma and behavioral and attachment challenges?

one word, shame.

Our shame as parents being judged for our kids behavior, or that we "did" this to them, our fear and shame as a community, that if all start talking about our emotional and mental health, that judgment will be passed. No one judges someone with Cancer, “well obviously they weren't doing something right.”

That does not happen, why? Because what they have is physical, and obviously not anybody’s fault.

BUT, Nor is what happened to my child...Or to me for that matter.

My name is Lindsay. I am parenting children with severe trauma, anxiety, depression, psychotic tendencies, suicidal ideation, addictions, bulimia, anorexia, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder,Hording, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and they are surviving by the skin of their teeth, everyday. Their diseases are devastating, everyday is an Emergency room of Soul Triage, deciding which “bleeder”/trigger must be dealt with first.

My children have soul cancer. Their illnesses and struggles are not their fault or a result of my poor parenting. The statistics are stacked against them. There are not nearly enough resources, well trained Dr.'s, or therapists around to suffice...but we are fighting this with everything we 've got, and not quietly. I am not going to be ashamed with or for my children's needs and illnesses. I am going to talk about them, I am going to get the word out.

And hopefully someday the help that will heal them, and help heal other kids like them will come to fruition...because when we don't shout, and demand, and talk about what needs to be done, without shame, without fear of judgment, that is when the possibility to be heard and have change can really come...

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

You get what cha get and you don't throw a fit...

I mean can, throw a fit if you want, or a ginormous tantrum, if you feel like it..but please. You know. Don't.

I have had a couple emails asking me:

Dear Lindsay,

“What are you giving your kids this year?
I would love some gift giving idea's.”

Well here is your long winded, Internet wide answer:

Dear Fabulous, Brave, AMAZING Parent/Friend/Superhero,

After last years post idea's, I have to be honest, so much of it is more in the same....but you know “kinda” different.

My kids with Trauma backgrounds still struggle with really “Playing” with toys. So dolls/barbies/miniature animals and action figures are kinda not played with, body parts ripped apart and shoved into heating vents, yes, played with, not so much.
I am also finding interactive video games are over stimulating for my kids that are already so much on high alert and over vigilant those are out too.

It's amazing how much we really truly go back to old school, less destructible toys for our kids as gift choices.
Every year we try to give one gift that is a keep sake/reminder that says “Hey kids you are part of this family, forever, and no matter what...”
Last year I made 15 (some for birth-parents) 12 x 12 hardback coveredIndividual Picture books of my kids...they were time consuming, but still by far their favorite gift. This year I am printing GIANT 16x 20 canvas pictures of each of my children, with my favorite qualities of each child listed...these will be put up high, out of arms length...but visible, every day.
For older kiddo's we are focusing on talents, things they like to do, or are interested. 4 of my kids are receiving piano our home, with an instructor that gets the whole need for safe controlled environment. Are they going to mess with refusing to practice? You bet. And then I can “la,la,la it was a gift, you do what you want with it, but if the teacher wants to stop teaching you my..that would be a rough...” and walk away.

Some of our older kids are receiving a “new to them” sewing machine” to start learning to sew.
A used digital camera to learn to take pictures, and a refurbished drum set my hubs is working on fixing up...the nice thing is, these items are not new, if they get broken, ripped apart piece by piece, meh...I will not be adding up things in my head...not sweating it....and walking away....

We do this with toys too....second hand, thrift-ed, yard sales...and that $40 princess bedding set that you bought for $5 gets peed on, throw it in the wash....and walk away....

Are you getting the stress free, FREEDOM of giving beautiful, perfect gifts...that will NOT break your heart, or make steam come out of your ears IF and WHEN something happens to them?
Give it and walk away, walk away, walk away....

Other items our children are receiving this year.
New hula hoops...with these AWESOME new duct tapes...I was in Duct Tape HEAVEN buying the glorious stuff to my little hearts content... Hello Kitty duct tape....seriously, is there anything more incredibly cool?

For the two little’s , we found these bouncy horses...hours of bouncy fun...and shhhhhh they are regulating too.
Then we went old school, legos, Lincoln logs, sleds, balls, new bedding, hoops and books..

We always, always give our kids something to read...and an Ornament that reminds us of what we did that year...this year we made them. As a family we dressed up like M&M's for Halloween, so we made felt Initial M&M ornaments...this is our kind of Christmas. Every year our tree says, see we keep your memories, you are now and forever more part of our traditions, part of us.

“But Linds,what about the stuff family members and friends want to do for our family, that most of the time is well meaning, but doesn't work for us, and lets be honest ends up triggering, causing issues, or being buried in the back yard?”

My goodness I am glad you asked.
We have this offered to us all.of.the.time.

I used to graciously take it, put it away fro the future, or try to find someone that could use whatever we were given, but that just equaled MORE WORK for me, and I am pretty sure those well meaning thoughtful people didn't intend to add more work on me.

So I started saying “no”. ...nicely.

“THAT IS SO KIND that you want to give my kids an old game system...a new shiny toy each,remote control cars that they can race. I really hope that someday my kids might be capable of using those things with out breaking them, but we are not quite there yet.”

“This may sound weird or boring, but if you really want to do something that would be incredible for our family...everyone could use______________.”

Fill in the blank....
Ski hats
Art supplies
straight jackets

what evs....

Also some other things that have meant the WORLD to us, being a large family that are always budget Gift Certificates for FUN...
If we get cash, it goes to debt, therapy, medical..we have to be practical. But if someone gives us a Gift Card to the Movies, a Restaurant, or this AMAZING FUN ZONE with free trips to play Lazer Tag, well those babies are GOLD. We then have no it is.
And we therapeutic parents,

Another gift I want you to mull around in your brain, is life raft trips, for you, your spouse, or you two together...Trips for Mama like to ETAMM, are such a gift of refuge and release with so much love and acceptance.

If knowledge, help, and connecting with other parents is what you need...this, this is the gift would give you that. This is the gift that will keep on giving to yourself, your children over and over again. This is the gift you can tell yourself , your spouse and your family members that you need.
Parenting in Space Conference in Chicago.
I went two years ago, and it changed my life.
It gave me hope, friendships that carry me everyday.
In Fact I am speaking at this next one...terrified, but see you have to come.

And Happy hanuka!!!

Give or Get the gift you really want this year!

Register now for Parenting in SPACE 2013
and get the early bird discount
(it ends December 31)

While we're still solidifying the program,
this year's speakers will include:

First Time Presenters at Parenting in SPACE:
Emily Beard, Neurological Reorganization Practitioner
Karen Buckwalter, Chaddock
Lindsay Crapo, Therapeutic Parent and Beloved Blogger

Parenting in SPACE Favorites:

Jim Kling
Christine Moers

And from House Calls Counseling:

Billy Kaplan
Wendy Kovacs
Amber LeFevour
Rick Simon
Rosemary Spizzirri
Caitlin Travers
Candice Wu

It has early bird sign ups going from now until December 31st.
Ask for miles, $25 donations...plasma (I am only slightly kidding on that last one). I went that first year on a wing , a prayer. The next year we wrote family members and told them this is what we needed as a couple for Christmas. They came through, with Child care, and some money to cover our trip. If not this conference, is there another like it that will help fill that bucket up? That will be that life raft to get you by while you patch holes in your sinking ship...we ALL get there....none of us is alone in the struggle to parent hurting kids....

This is the season of giving.
What is the best things you can do right now for your family?
What can your kids benefit from?
What can you ask for?
What can you say “No” to?
What are you willing to give, shrug your shoulders and walk away from?

Find your Peace this Season.
Give yourself is there...if even for a just second surrounded in all of that chaos.
I would love to hear what you are doing...for your kids, you, your spouse,  for YOU.
Merry Christmas my sweet ROCK STAR friends, Happy Hanuka, and more than anything,

Tidings of peace and Joy....

From our Family to Yours

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Gonna find out if your worthy or not, Santa Claus is coming to town...

I have been mulling this over in my head lately.
You see, in so many ways my kids ARE healing...for REALZ.
It is very SA-LOW....if I didn't look at last year and compare it to this year, I wouldn't see it at all.

This time of year is rough on my kids for a number of reasons. In the summertime we tend to see the most healing, less engagement, more of the real them.
I think it is for a number of reasons, it is warm, we are out side 80% of the time. We are active, we play in water almost every day, there are no birthdays or major holidays that bring one word to me Summertime means HEAVEN. Winter time?

Once fall hits we have a whirl wind of birthdays, then cold hits, next snow, and being stuck inside...and to open the wound entirely this very over stimulating, over gifting, over commercialized holiday that leaves grown adults asking my children:
 “if they have been good this year”, and “What is Santa going to bring them”....
One certified emotional crap-storm coming up in a jiffy.

In their heads they are thinking, “Of course I have not been good, I am never good enough, thanks for pointing it out Jack Wagon, Santa shouldn't bring me anything and if he does he is a bigger idiot than YOU.”....I know this because my kids have actually vocalized these feelings.

In our home, believe it or not, we still do Santa. Not in a “lie to your kids about a mythical man that is indeed stalking your every-move and has creepy little elves making sure you are minding your P's and Q's”...
But in a magical, spirit of giving. Magic for my children that have been robbed of much of childhoods is in short supply. They KNOW he is pretend, but what is the HARM in pretending when it feels loving and good. Santa is the “Fake it till you make it” nice guy that loves everyone and gives them gifts...We all should want to be more like Santa.
We want that kind of magic in our home....
We treat Santa like we treat parental and Religious figures in our home, an out pouring of love and acceptance, NO.MATTER.WHAT.

When it comes to gifts my kids are on HIGH ALERT. They know they CAN NOT LOSE CHRISTMAS....most the time I like to blame that little ditty on Christine. But the truth is, they would never lose it any way. Yet REALLY, that is NOT what they are afraid of. In fact I think they would feel almost relived if they did lose it.

Chatterbox told me just yesterday.
“Mom you know how I lose it the day after stuff”.
“I am going to try to not do that after Christmas day, but maybe I shouldn't get what I want to get for Christmas, so I won't feel like I want to lose it.” (my heck she is ALREADY worrying abut this)

“Sweetheart, why do you feel if you don't get what you want it will be easier not to freak out?”

“Because I know I didn't earn it, and then I will feel bad for having something that shouldn't be mine.”

and there you have it.

I SO Sooooo get this for her.
ME, Lindsay who LOVES to give, send and surprise people with random gifts, and somewhere in my head likes to be given things... well sorta...still struggles with feeling worthy of them. I do. I have this AMAZING friend whom has tried to teach me to knit. I SUCK at knitting, which makes me more in awe of the things she knits. This friend sent me beautiful wash cloths on a really crappy day.
I still look at those beautiful washcloths and feel a little unworthy of them. Same goes with the scarf she knitted me and gave me for my birthday. I never know how to appropriately respond to gifts...because if I acted out what I was feeling when I am given would look a little like this:

Or I try to play it too cool and don't even act like I care. “Yo, cool, thanks and everything.”
“Weirdo” Right?...but it is OH so true.
When people do things for me, I feel weird, even though I do nice things for them all for the time, I am comfortable giving and doing things...but if a friend offers to do my hair (C you know who you are), or friends that pay for my meal, give ME a gift...WEIRD OUT CITY...
SO I can 'get' this for my kids....

Which is why we started our version of “Secret Elves” $ is ever used. Instead my kids draw names the day after Thanksgiving. Everyday afterward they are required to do a small kindness.
This could be vacuuming a bedroom, not engaging in a fight, writing a poem or a is good anonymous giving and receiving, it is safe and it is great practice for the anxiety of giving and receiving yet to come. They “return and report”, and for the reporting, they receive a “Sweet for the Sweet, a little treat for their being willing to serve and tell me about it. It really has been a beautiful process in seeing what my children come up with for each other.

Just a couple thoughts jotted down before we start our day....we are all worthy of love, goodness, acceptance and even GIFTS...even if it makes us feel all freaky beauty queen inside.
Fly that Freak flag baby, fly if for your kids, fly it for you....The Holidays are a coming...

 Don't you run, don't you hide, I don't give a friggn'-freak-a-do if you have been naughty or nice...
I know you are worthy, because we all deep down are, especially our sometimes very Angry elves.
Merry Christmas y’all.