I have been an avid student of all my children. Each one has taught me something I didn’t know I had in me, imagined I could do, would want to do, and so much more. My middle daughter’s mental challenges changed me. Her bipolar disorder also enriched my perceptions. I have been turned upside down, right-side up, yet enlightened in ways I can never express. Living with mental illness is a day to day wave and all you can do is surf it without restraints or expectations. When she arrived into my life at the age of 9 from Romania, I knew my life would never be the same. I have witnessed tenacity, perseverance, disorder, disarrangement, and complexity in myself. Our mirrors have reflected personal issues that I wouldn’t have addressed at other times in my life. I have been pushed to learn things of the human spirit I didn’t even know existed. She has taught me the meaning of unconditional love, surrendering, acceptance, forgiveness, grace and patience. I am not a patient person and she has been the button-pusher of constant reminding how much I can tolerate. I am always shocked by how much I can endure and where the lines are drawn.
My daughter, in her struggle for understanding while living with severe anger and mental disorders, has gifted me with the most precious experience of all. She has given me a child, my granddaughter, to raise again as a child of my own. I hope this seventh child will make the rest of this journey magical. This little girl has reshaped my reality. She has allowed me to throw all plans out the door. My daughter is very present inside of this little girl and I marvel at the preciousness of another generation teaching me more about life and myself. I am aware at this love that I wasn’t expecting in this time in middle years.
The mind is our most priceless commodity. It creates, modifies, regenerates, releases, and forces us to see past the boundaries of time and space. My daughter has taught me to love fiercely in a way that I didn’t know was available. She is not capable of understanding many of the issues that created the loss of permanency for raising her daughter. Her dissociative identity disorder does not permit her mind to see normalcy and stability. She will forever be stuck at 13 years of age. The older she gets the more noticeable it becomes. But, she’s taught me to see the exceptions to all the rules.
Recently while I held this two year old in my lap I told her what I say every day, “I love you, sweetheart.” She immediately responded as a matter of fact, “I know.”
My husband and I laughed out loud and she returned the giggles in exaggerated form. She has brought tremendous light into our home. I am grateful for this journey. I never imagined it in a million years. There are days I don’t think I will survive another childhood but then love is seen through the eyes of a sweet baby girl and I know that God is staring right at me. Who else is gonna join me to dance with tutus and tiaras? Who else will sit and listen to fairy tales and stories of unicorns and wizards? This journey is a pure gift of love!