When my kids were really little I figured every single problem they had was the result of my depression. They were colicky? Blame my PPD-driven weepiness. Seemed overanxious? Blame my own anxiety. Didn't potty train early enough? Didn't sleep through the night? Didn't learn to read fast enough? Me! Me! Me! It was as if I was constantly shaking my head and muttering, "The apple doesn't fall far from the tree." It seemed we were all stuck with seeds that had been sown ages ago and we had no choice about the fruit we got.
Now that my children are the ripe old ages of 7, 5, 3, and 1 all that has changed a little. They are still not perfect. I am still not perfect. But I don't play the blame game. I find myself thinking more along the lines of "When life gives you lemons, find some sugar, ice, and water and then make lemonade." Lemons, and depression, on their own are not inherently wonderful--but they certainly offer a lot of possibilities when you combine them with other good things. Being depressed has been horrible, BUT when combined with the things I've learned in therapy and the way it has deepened my relationship with my Savior, it seems to be turning into something pretty good. A little bittersweet, but good.
I'm optimistic it is going to be the same for my kiddos. Life threw them a big lemon every time my depression flared. When mismanaged, it had negative effects on them in so, so many ways. But *hopefully* it also is giving us opportunities to learn from each other and to love each other more fully and deeply. Now that I know how depression ruins my relationship with my children I'm a much more conscientious mother--not perfect, but aware and thoughtful.Who knows? Maybe they will turn out more aware and thoughtful, too.
Yesterday was the last day of school for our school district and as we were walking away from the elementary school my kids and I passed this field.
My first thought was, "That field is ruined. Look at all those weeds." My seven-year-old was mesmerized, though. She stared at the field thoughtfully while I loaded all the others into the minivan. Then as she climbed in the car she looked at me and said, "Wow, Mom! That's a LOT of wishes!"
When given a choice, my child saw possibilities, not problems or dead ends. Maybe, just maybe, they are going to turn out okay.