You're Still a Good Mom

 I have a friend whose child has special needs.  One of my children has some special needs as well.  She and I were talking the other day, as we sometimes do, about our children.  The great thing about someone like this is that things can be short-handed.  We can share our frustrations and triumphs and know that the other person just gets it in a way that would need to be explained to anyone else. "I have to tell you something," I said.  "I haven't taken my kiddo to the dentist yet."  This is a great shame of mine but one born from survival.  We have had so many issues to deal with.  Things have been so very overwhelming for such a very long time.  We have been taking baby steps for years, and those baby steps have been working.  This one thing, however, has remained one thing to many for some reason. My friend paused and looked me in the eye.  "That's okay.  You're still a good mom," she said calmly. Tears sprang into my eyes.  I hadn't kn

What Depression Looks Like - For Me

1989 I fall in love for the first time in 8th grade.  I fall all the way in.  We hook up but never date seriously.  I am poor and not cool, I think I embarrass him.  I am swallowed whole by all oft he feelings in this relationship.  Eventually he turns on me, him and his friends tease me, shame me in front of friends, embarrass me.  At school one day, I take a bottle of Tylenol, washing it down in the drinking fountain.  I go to the school counselor and tell her.  I wind up in the ER with my mother,  I get counseling from an awful counselor.  I don't remember my school counselor ever reaching out again.  I am not medicated at that point.  I have some other cries for help at that age, but eventually move in with my father and away from these negative influences.  I get a job, make friends, go to college and do well for some years. 1997 Nearing the end of graduate school, I experience my first episode of major depression.  I have always been chubby, but during school I t

The Greatest Man I Never Knew

There was a song some years ago, more years than I care to remember, with the title "The Greatest Man I Never Knew".  I connected strongly with the song when I heard it.  The song tells of a man who works hard but has a hard time connecting to his family.  I knew, and didn't know, that man.  He was my own father. My father died earlier this year after a long battle with cancer.  He is now the greatest man I will never know.  It is a strange feeling to close a door to a relationship that scarcely existed in the first place.  I am sad for the loss of him, but perhaps even sadder for the loss of what might have been. My father was a quiet man.  He was never one for long, deep conversations, at least not that I ever saw.  He communicated what was necessary.  He held so much in.  He grumbled under his breath.  I can't tell you how he ever felt about most anything.  Except I know he loved God, or at least he wanted to.  And I know he loved his family, or at least he wan

Paper Trail

I still have a clear memory of myself at age 18 in Big Lots, shopping with my mother.  She was helping me buy supplies before I headed off to college.  Her, squatting and rifling through stacks of paper pads; me, watching, on the verge of adulthood but still very much used to being catered to by my mother. I remember that when my mom would talk to her sister, they compared notes on children.  Each anecdote about one sister's child would be answered with an anecdote about the other sister's child.  Points of pride shared like pieces of currency.  Each mother rubbing her mental thumb over the bits of knowledge she had collected about her child, like smoothing a stone in her hand.  One such note I recall my mother sharing was the type of notebook paper I liked.  "Meloney likes the college ruled.  The kind with a perforated edge." My mother didn't graduate high school.  She didn't live long enough for me to get to a phase where I might have asked her about tha


I have lived in the same place for a little over 8 years now and have become strange friends with an unlikely candidate.  A tree.  A dead tree.  She has been dead ever since I knew her.  She used to have a friend, also dead, but years ago the friend fell down and rotted into the fertile soil beneath. I don't know that I can explain my love of this tree.  I liked how she stood there, strong and defiant.  An old, apparently useless thing; she dared me to love her beauty, to accept her just as she was.  And I did.  Any time I drove back and forth to town, my eyes would light on what I came to think of as my tree.  Just a moment, a brief nod to this steadfast friend.  Part of me always wondering if this would be the time that she would be gone, blown over by the wind or simply having given up and fallen down, roots flailing in the air as sometimes happens. Recently, construction started in the field nearby and I knew this was my cue.  I pulled my car to the side of the road one sun

Say What - The Munchkin

I am aware that The Munchkin gets much less attention than her sister did in terms of documenting her life.  I'm trying, but a second child adds something like 4 children worth of activities.  Here are a few things she says (or said recently): 1.  When she saw a photo of herself recently, she would point to herself in the picture and say, "my you".  Of course we would confirm, yes, that is you.  Now she calls the photo by her own name. 2.  How she came to know of them I don't know, but she is afraid of "monkers" (or monsters) and "gose" (or ghosts).  She is convinced that the light that shines on her ceiling from her nightlight is a ghost (but doesn't want to get rid of said light). 3.  In the path of her older sister, she can make a verb of any noun by adding "ing".  She said, "It's darking" instead of "it's getting dark" the other day. 4.  When she wants something, she will say, "I WHANT it&q

Changing Seasons

It is officially Fall.  August and its sultry weather stayed with us well into September, and Indiana days are just giving way to the cool sunset evenings that call the entire family out of doors.  Tonight I marveled as I watched my daughters play together, both pretending to be super heroes who could fly (on our swings) and then chase criminals as they giggled their way through the yard.  The dog chased the cat through the too-tall grass and I looked at the Mister. "I don't know if you've noticed," I said, "but our family is just about perfect right now." "I have," he replied, smiling. All of this comes on the heels of one of the deepest depressions I have ever experienced.  It is one that frightened me with its insidious nature.  Even now, I cannot look back and say when it began.  Was it three years ago, after our miscarriage?  I admit that I did all I could to avoid the feelings surrounding that time, choosing instead to stay busy.