I was out of town last week and didn’t have a chance to write a post in my A Day in the Life Series. This post will be a reflection on how my mom dealt with raising four lively kids while coping with her paranoid schizophrenia. We weren’t always the easiest kids, having many of our own sensitivities and idiosyncracies. She endured two separate sets of teenagers roughly ten years apart, and I must admit we were not very nice about her symptoms. At times we laughed at her, cursed at her, taunted her, and like any other teenagers, arrogantly thought we knew it all and tried to argue and reason with her, which often made things worse.
Here is a short rundown of how my mom tried to cope with her symptoms and how we typically responded in our ill-equipped state of adolescence:
- When she meditated and did naked yoga in her room at night, chanting ooms loudly, we yelled at her to shut (the F#%^%) up.
- When she drank a spoonful of cod liver oil each day to give her brain more power, we gagged with disgust and told her obviously it wasn’t working.
- When she spun around in circles in our family room until she wore a path into our rug, we were horrified and told her spinning wasn’t a thing.
- When she watched religious programs all day long, we argued with her about why her religion was wrong and she shouldn’t be sending all that money to those phonies.
- When she sat on the pool table with her feet swinging back and forth, talking to us non-stop, we completely tuned her out and kept on talking to each other.
- When she slept outside in our backyard in a tent for an entire summer, we laughed and joked that maybe a wild animal would take her away.
- When she excitedly told us about her mental telepathy, we smirked, wishing she could read our minds right now.
- When she chased the ice cream truck down the street yelling “Turn it Down” we said “thanks a lot, now we are never going to get any ice cream!”
- When she carried a role of quarters in her purse in case she ever was committed again and needed to make a call, we stole the coins to buy candy.
- When she sat in a chair by the window and rocked for hours after being heavily medicated, we stood outside under the street lights with our friends and made fun of her.
- When she scrunched up her nose and said she smelled condoms when we were at a restaurant, we rolled our eyes and told her to knock it off and act normal for a change.
- When she burned our books on the grill, we said maybe she could actually cook us some real food for a change instead of barbecuing our books.
- When she listened to the radio between channels, believing the static would keep people from transmitting message into her brain, we told her she was right, everyone was out to get her.
- When people who lived in other parts of the neighborhood starting asking who that strange lady with the two little kids was, we denied she was our mother and kept on walking.
Having raised two daughters, I now get how difficult this parenting thing can be. It amazes me that my mom held up as well as she did, all things considered. Yes, we were emotionally bruised and still carry some of the scars with us today, but we also learned how to be strong, and perhaps a little more compassionate and empathetic than we were in our adolescent days.
To see the previous post click here.