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Shoes kicked off, kids coloring quietly, the baby on her way to sleeping, Patrick listening to his music, and me kicked back in the passenger seat blogging about our trip. We have packed up, checked out, and headed home. What an awesome trip we just had!

My phone died last night right after our midday break so I didn’t get to take as many photos. I’m not sad about that though. Yesterday I feel I was more pulled back from experiencing the trip because I was worried about getting photos of everything. I was constantly waiting for the right moment to snap a picture. It was exhausting. Every second of a trip like this is photo worthy and thus every second was anxiety ridden.

Without the camera I was taking everything in and processing it for long term memories, accepting all that I could absorb in each moment. I smelled the air that felt amazingly fresh compared to the stagnant air of the house I have been cooped up in. I felt the light of sun blinding me while I watched my daughters run hand in hand down the boardwalk, with my heart absolutely melting at their bond of sisterhood. I swooned at the sight of my husband coming out of a quick peak inside Caesar’s wearing a little girl’s Hello Kitty backpack stuffed full of essentials and the random smattering of children’s things they promised to carry but soon after left behind in their excitement about something new. Life was infinitely better without a camera blocking my vision. I could see my feelings in the world around me and I was present enough to absorb their positive flow. It was exhilarating.

There were so many mishaps, tantrums, arguments, and pure craziness that occurred that could have set me off at any given moment. I consider myself a ticking time bomb that had a faulty trigger this weekend. I literally felt my manic explosion trigger going off internally at least eighteen times and never experienced the blowout projecting itself to affect my family and their experience. Unprecedented! I still experienced my negative attributes but they never grew to become anything tangible or more than “Mommy being grumpy”.

During one very weak moment in the bathroom before dawn this morning, I sobbed to my husband about how hard living life is for me. At every single moment I take a breath, blink an eye, or thump out another heartbeat I am depressed that I lived to do it again. I wept as I told him I could write a book about the trip we had that wasn’t even over, filling it with only the details that I enjoyed and took extreme pleasure to be a part of or witness, and yet despite being able to experience and poignantly express so much euphoric happiness and utter contentment, there stands the cold hard truth that any given moment if given the opportunity, I would lay my life and not even think twice about what I was leaving behind.

I begged him to explain how I reconcile loving every second of life but hating it all the more for my love of it. He didn’t have answers but he was there with me in my darkness. He carried me through my low moment so I could come back together for the day ahead with the family. He sedately and knowingly took the verbal blows that always come when I am losing my mind and spewing my hopelessness. I let my husband into the blackhole I feel my mental illness is and he didn’t implode. Instead he told me it sucked what I am going through. And with that acknowledgement of my epic struggles to feel alive, I was able to start reconciling this mental puzzle and putting down the negative emotions that had cropped up again.

Putting down the camera helped me put down my negativity, that armor I mentally constructed to wear as I live life. My shiny breastplate keeps me separated from everything around me so I can’t experience the true depth of enjoyment so I won’t know the true pain of loss when it finally comes to an end. But not after the camera went away. I threw caution to the wind and let my heart lead the way through the second half of this trip and it was worth it. I hit a soul fulfilling jackpot. I was able to live in my mania, enjoy life in the moment, spend precious moments with my family, and keep my cool long after I felt I should have checked into the psych ward for another breakdown.

I’m finally coming to grips with the negatives of being bipolar and finding really creative ways to morph them into positives. Life is still ridiculously hard, rapidly changing with all the ups and downs and swings around the mood loops, but I have built myself an internal surfboard to rides the ever flowing tides of emotions and attached myself to a man who is able to buoy me back to the surface when my bipolar darkness pulls me under for anther dip.

I’m tired and starting to drift to sleep. I hope I dream of this trip. I have so many details I want to share. I don’t know where to start.

Patience’s undying belief she could swim in the could ocean?

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Watching Providence toddle along the beach, just a little peanut waddling around, but a behemoth of personality drawing all eyes to her every step she took?

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Patrick knowing I was manic and feeling distant from him but working tirelessly to prove himself to my high maintenance manic side?

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Prudence running around with reckless abandon and a gleeful laugh that never stopped while both parents were ecstatic to see her being so carefree?

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How exciting it was for me to have a real family vacation done on the fly because the father of my children desperately wanted to make his daughter’s dreams come true?

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How beautifully tender a man can be when his baby sits down in the freezing ocean as the waves swept up the beach?

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Loving how animated and alive Patience is while recognizing she is exactly like me in so many ways that absolutely drive me bonkers, but wondering if she is acting like me or if I’m behaving childishly?

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Or Providence and her love of glasses, focus on destruction, and development of games that make you laugh like a fool?

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I may not know where to begin my next story about our family vacation but I do know where to end this one. Currently the sky is crystal clear and I feel as though I can see every star in the sky. I am picking out constellations and gaping open mouthed, dazzled by the beauty and significance of the night sky and how minuscule I feel by comparison. I love that as we are driving home Orion is located directly in front of us high on the sky.

Why is that significant? Because Orion currently rests right over top of my house at night. As we are driving home I am getting to witness Orion climb himself upward through the night. The higher he goes, the closer I am to home. Such a cosmically uplifting feeling. 🌒

I’m ready to get back home for real.

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