I remember a summer when it rained every day. My daughter, now 22, was in a crib so this rainy summer must have been around 20 years ago. My sons were young-ish also, probably 12 and almost 14, somewhere in those horrid ages before they become your friend and way after they’re warm and cuddly.
I was pretty manic back then and, of course, depressed when the tables turned. I also had migraines that glued me to my bed three days at a time. But, even so, we did have fun when the sun came out between bouts of rain, especially if I was migraine free and steady or even manic. And I dare say they had fun without me.
Now, I can actually get bored. It’s a rare moment when I have too much to do. It’s those times, when I’m feeling guilty about not being very productive, that I look back and remember that I’ve paid my dues. Living most of my life without medication or even knowledge of bipolar disorder, there are plenty of nightmares I can conjure up. But, my memories are not all gruesome. We had some wonderful times together. And other times when I felt lonely being the only parent and disciplinarian in my house.
I remember the two boys spiking their tiny sister on the family trampoline and putting a stop to that. I remember the boys fighting, punching and kicking and putting a stop to that. I remember so many situations with my three kids that I felt completely unprepared for. I remember hearing blood curdling screams from my daughter and discovering that her brothers had hung her favorite doll up on the wall out of her reach and putting a stop to that. I recall all the 11pm laundry sessions, the dinners day after day until I resorted to making orange dinners (mac and cheese with carrots and breaded chicken) or brown dinners (baked potatoes with salisbury steak), so many dinners that now I rarely cook anymore. If you’re into it, try making a blue dinner – quite difficult. The bottom line is that life with children is busy and challenging and seemingly never ending. Until it ends. Until the last child is out of the house. And then it’s quiet, too quiet sometimes.
Sitting here in my living room now, with my four doggies on the couch with me, I am happy to say that my mood is steady even though it’s raining. I’m not particularly happy about grey light and chill air but I can take advantage of it and roll it into a cozy afternoon. It was only a week ago that I was sliding into depression; the sky was grey then too. What makes the difference between getting depressed and not getting depressed? Perhaps the number of grey days in a row has something to do with it. It was sunny yesterday. Perhaps a brain dictated by moods can actually save up sunny days. I don’t know. I do know that if it’s wet and chilly I lose a certain skip in my stride.
During this writing it’s been gloomy, rainy, sunny and back to gloomy. Uhg. If my children and I were still 20 years younger who knows what we would have done today. I could have been a screaming meanie or we could have all been on the couch together, talking and laughing, or we could be playing Clue at the dining room table. All I can say is: Go kiss your children, now, and save the memory of that kiss for a rainy day.