He’s going through a rough patch. His migraine medication (anti-seizure medication topiramate aka Topamax) interferes with his memory and cognition (why it’s nicknamed “Dopamax”), making it challenging for him to read, complete his homework, or take a test. Especially frustrating for him, for he’s gifted (yes, I’m biased and boasting – I’m his mom and I’m proud of him). With his neurologist’s input, reduced the dosage of his topiramate. He prefers migraines over not being as bright. Hopefully the reduced dosage will still prevent migraines, and lessen or eliminate the side effects.
I remember when I was seven years old – the day I turned seven. We, my sister and I, were staying at the Hans Brinker Inn in the Netherlands as our parents enjoyed two weeks in Paris.
I was furious with my parents for having abandoned us for those two weeks. At Hans Brinker every meal consisted of toast – toast with sugar and cinnamon for breakfast, toast with cheese or tomato for lunch, for dinner – I do not recall.
But that day, the day of my seventh birthday, we were eating our lunch of toast, and our parents came to pick us up. My sister, who was only four at the time, ran up to our parents. I, on the other hand, held them responsible. I was incensed.
The owner had pushed me down the stairs. They separated me and my sister into different rooms. She didn’t understand. Her roommates didn’t speak English. I was punished for going to her when she cried. I begged for them to put us in the same room.
So, I ignored my parents. Seething, I kept my back to them. They thought I didn’t want to leave.
Saturday I wrote this memory exercise (prompt = “I remember”) at Judy Reeves‘ Speak Memory workshop at the Southern California Writers’ Conference LA14 (Irvine). Thank you, Judy and all the other great workshop leaders, speakers, and conference organizers.
When my son was a preschooler in daycare
His class had a field trip to the local In ‘N Out
As we walked back to the daycare center
My son held my hand
We walked in pairs down the sidewalk
His daycare teacher said
Everyone stay on sidewalk
Do not step into the driveway or the road
My three-year old son touched his foot in the gutter
Just his tippy toe
His teacher swiftly grabbed him from my hands
Took him with her to the front of the line
She gave me another child to walk
A more compliant, less rebellious child
My son, he was rewarded
He got to walk at the front of the line
Beside his favorite teacher
I was punished
Cannot control her child
Later that day when I returned to work
I told this story
One of my bosses smiled
Kitt, you love that in your boy
That your boy rebels against the rules
Just like the Berkeley rabble-rouser you once were
Pushing the limits
Yes, it still brings a smile to my face
That I have a son who dared touch his toe to the gutter
He understood the importance of staying with the group
He understood the spirit of the law
He did not run out into the road
Yet he questioned, dared to test, the letter of the law
What happens, he wondered, if I break this rule just a little bit
The memory also hurts
How dare that teacher rip my son from my hand
How dare she judge me and my child
Deem me unfit to walk my son back to daycare
Before I had to return to work
Return to work judged an ineffective mother
Return to work rather than stay with my son
Now that I think about it
He punished me
How dare I go back to work
How dare I not stay home with him
Originally written October 2015, a month before my mother had her stroke, before my life changed. Still settling into my new normal.
How do I describe myself? How do I best describe my blog? What has my blog become? What direction do I want to take it?
What direction is my life taking? Is my writing taking? Is my (dare-say) art or photography taking?
Back in the 90s when I registered my first corporate URL, I knew that some day, some year, some decade, I would register the URL kittomalley.com. I knew that I wanted to post my writing online.
I never envisioned kittomalley.com as a community. Didn’t realize that I’d be conversing with others. Never imagined what it has become.
This upcoming weekend, I’m attending the Southern California Writers’ Conference, about which I’m understandably worried for I find conferences exhausting and am a bit anxious that I will be out of my depth there.
Conferences can be exhausting and overwhelming for anyone, whether or not they live with mental illness. The social interaction of conferences and trainings overstimulate me, trigger hypomania, and exhaust me, requiring rest to recuperate.
The following weekend I’m walking 5K for NAMI Orange County. Please support me and team STIGMA SMASHERS for NAMIWalks Orange County 2016. NAMI Orange County’s programs have helped me live well with bipolar disorder.
NAMI Peer-to-Peer introduced me to the concept of mental health recovery and gave me HOPE. I volunteer as a Provider Education presenter and just trained to become an In Our Own Voice public speaker to share my story of mental health recovery.
NAMIWalks provides NAMI Orange County with 1/3 of their operating budget, enabling them to offer free mental health educational programs, meetings and support groups.
|Saturday, October 1st
Check in: 9:00 AM
Start time: 10:30 AM
|William R. Mason Park
18712 University Drive
Irvine, CA 92612
Thank you for your support!