One of the things that people don't realize is that when you have one child with big problems, this affects family dynamics in a major way. Sometimes, Dylan and Cara will complain about some aspect of my strict parenting. I explain to them that their sister's problems threw me off kilter as a mom. I had no confidence in my own abilities to parent. I felt like a failure. I also had a child who needed rules. Lots of them. And I tried to institute them, for her own well being. It didn't work. She left us again, and yet again, into chaos. Finally, we had to tell her that she could not come home again. As the dust began to settle in my home, I slowly regained my confidence. As Cara and Dylan grew into adults, it became easier to breathe. They were going to be okay, and as soon as I realized this about them, I became a much better mother, able to listen, able to stand back and let them make their own decisions, able to counsel instead of preach. Sometimes I think about it, and I feel badly. They were robbed of a portion of their childhood, as well.
Bi-polar disorder affects the entire family.
It is what it is.
Today, I was driving down a country road, pondering a high culex count. I sampled at the sewage treatment plant, and found nothing breeding. Looking about the fields, I had a hunch, so I walked around. Sure enough, wet areas in the fields were breeding mosquitoes. I got a sample to send off to Harrisburg. It will be interesting to see if they are, indeed, culex mosquitoes. I drove off, lost in thought, trying to figure if the field was actually treatable, what with all the tall grass hiding and protecting the wet areas. Mind working furiously, I went around a curve. A mother duck stood in the road. Two ducklings dozed at the side of the road, very close to the asphalt. A third duckling had been hit. The mother refused to leave. Mentally, I cursed at her foolishness, but even as I did, I understood why she couldn't take her other two ducklings and leave the one that was beyond her help.
I didn't get far. I turned around and went back, and I gathered up the dead duckling in a zip-lock bag, taking it with me. It probably makes no sense to anyone else, but I knew that it was the only way that she could turn her attentions to the children left.
Her anxious noises, her nervous watching haunt me this night.