Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents

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Hepatica

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Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« on: September 14, 2020, 01:09:48 PM »
I finished reading: But It's Your Family yesterday and if you haven't read it, I think it's really good and worthwhile. I know I will revisit it as I struggle with the guilt that resurfaces around FOO and the backlash I get at times when I open up about my family from people who don't understand (although I am keeping quiet about it more and more bc people have judged me.)

Anyway, there was a part later in the book where the author describes a scene with a baby born to a mother who smoked, and how the baby begins life in nicotine withdrawal. I read this part again and again and began to feel this incredible grief (to the point of sobbing) as I imagined myself as a baby - who was actually born to a mom who smoked two packs a day - and who bragged about smoking during her pregnancy my whole life, saying she did it to have a smaller baby and an easier birth.

I have so much grief and rage about this part of my childhood experience and I really wish I could time travel back and rescue myself as a baby. My mother is not, and was not able to handle any discomfort and I can only imagine the screaming that took place (from her) when I as an infant who naturally cried (esp. at night) and how she dealt with being forced to take care of me. Later she said that I never cried as a toddler. She could sit me in a playpen and leave for hours and she'd come back and I was quiet and playing.

That breaks my heart. For myself. And for all of us who experienced this in our initial stage of being on this earth.

In terms of therapy, has anyone ever gone that far back? Does anyone have ideas on what kind of therapy would help with healing this time of life? I am still the same way. I can sit for hours and set my needs aside. I am so so so passive. What would next steps be for someone like me to begin living bigger? It's hard I know with Covid, but i hope that one day I won't just survive my terrible childhood, I  really hope I learn how to live and thrive.

Wonder what your thoughts are out there. Any book recommendations? Anything you do to heal the really young parts of ourselves?
« Last Edit: September 14, 2020, 01:14:31 PM by Hepatica »
“There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
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Psuedonym

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #1 on: September 14, 2020, 02:03:12 PM »
Hey Hepatica,

This one is of real interest to me as well. uPD M (now deceased) had a decades long issue with Xanax/Valium/etc. After one of her hospitalizations for Xanax toxicity she claimed that she didn't even remember when she started taking Valium and my dad offered, "I do. It was when Pseudonym (holy shit I just saw my name's misspelled, ha!) was born, because you were so anxious'.  :blink: I heard many times about how she was 'nervous wreck' the first year or two (one time ominously adding 'but you don't remember that' as in, its okay because you don't remember that. She used to tell me repeatedly that ONE TIME I cried for 15 minutes and she was so upset that she had to call a neighbor over. Now I"m not a baby scientist, but my understanding is that babies actually cry quite frequently. I was also told how wonderful I was as a baby because I 'never cried'. Which again seems very questionable.

Richard Grannon has some excellent videos on this subject (will try to find them) which are great because he's also very funny, but I think the unfunny part of the situation is that when you don't get unconditional love/comfort when you are that young it has some serious effects on your sense of self. I actually don't remember a lot about my childhood, which is pretty common. I know that M never wanted kids, and then a friend of hers has a little girl she thought was awesome and thought 'I'll get one and then I'll have somebody to keep me company/cheer me up (literally said that)  :stars: I can only imagine what she was like based on how she handled any sort of stress, anxiety, mild frustration. My H says maybe its better I don't. I think acknowledging that it happened is a great first step and then learning how to take good care of yourself is the second. C-PTSD From Surviving to Thriving is a great one if you haven't read it.

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Hepatica

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2020, 02:21:40 PM »
Psuedonym, I thought you were just making that name your own. I like it.

I can only hope, for all of us, that we are a lot more resilient than we can even understand, but they do say those first 6 years are so important. I think, for me, it gives me some clues as to why I have issues around my "voice" - meaning I'm scared to speak up for myself. Here I am in my fifties and I break out in cold sweats thinking about confrontation. Plus I think I learned to cope rather than live.

After I wrote the post, I could feel this heavy anxious ball of sadness in my chest, so I drank a glass of water. Cleaned, which soothes me, and then made a cup of tea and let myself watch Escape to the Country (my soothe of choice.) I realize that I have to go way, way, way back now and literally re-parent myself in a loving and compassionate way. I am really conscious of my inner voice and making sure it sounds like a good parent would.

I guess this is going to be a life-long healing process. But at least I know what I'm dealing with now and at least there are others to share this with here, because feeling alone with it was so hard. I wish there were support groups for childhood trauma - in person. But generally just AA and ALAnon where I am located.
“There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where
there is a confidence and tranquility." John O'Donohue

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2020, 03:21:49 PM »
Heartbreaking and especially heartbreaking that there's probably so many here that could relate including myself. Not during pregnancy but uPDm is famous for telling stories she thinks is hilarious about my childhood. Some of them truly break my heart.

Regarding your question on healing there are different inner child healing exercises you can try. One that I tried had to do with using your dominant writing hand as your voice and your non-dominant hand has your child voice. There are other methods for inner child work. I think Pete Walker might have something on his website too. There may be some stuff on our sister site out of the storm if I remember correctly.
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MamaDryad

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2020, 03:23:33 PM »
There are very similar things from my infancy/childhood. I was also either "the baby who never cried" or "an all-consuming, needy monster child" depending on what fit my mom's narrative at that moment. I haven't tried deliberately to go back that far in therapy, and I haven't done too well with inner child meditation because honestly, my memory of childhood is incredibly spotty, even long past that age.

But I will say that the most successful inner child meditation I ever did was connected to this. I realized that I have one really strong memory of my mother holding my head up while she washed my hair in the tub, the rest of me floating. I must have been tiny at the time. And this was a repeated thing. Whatever she was thinking on the inside (and I do wonder), she was always gentle with me then.

So in my meditation, I walked into the bathroom as an adult and told my mom "I've got this; you can rest." I cradled my own little-self's head in my hands, washed her hair gently, and then bundled her up in a towel, dried her off, and got her ready for bed. Then she sat on my lap and leaned against my shoulder while I told her that she was a good kid, that our mom has some big problems that aren't our fault, and that it wouldn't always be like this. I told her that some day, her life would be full of uncomplicated love. She fell asleep on my shoulder, and the meditation ended.

This is a bit of a tangent, and I hope it's okay. I've just been thinking a lot about that stage of life too, lately.

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Spring Butterfly

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2020, 03:31:55 PM »
That's beautiful
· Every interaction w/ PD persons results in damage-plan accordingly, make time to heal
· Individuation is one key to emotional freedom
· It's foolish to expect of others what they have no capacity to give
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Hepatica

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2020, 03:50:34 PM »
MamaDryad  That is absolutely beautiful what you wrote. Tears over here. Good tears. I love how you told your inner child that someday 'her life would be full of uncomplicated love.' Honestly, that phrase has touched the little one inside of me today adding hope and beauty to my day. Thank you.

Thank you Spring Butterfly as well. I will check out those resources. Interesting about the dominant and non-dominant hand. And I agree, much of this is heartbreaking. I think that's why it's difficult to go that far back, into infancy, bc we can't imagine such a sweet, vulnerable baby in the realm of such inept and often cruel people. It does hurt my heart. But all feelings must be examined and I am loving the lovely healing visualizations we can do to reach these parts of our selves.
“There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where
there is a confidence and tranquility." John O'Donohue

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hhaw

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2020, 05:40:47 PM »
Mamadryad that was so touching.

I had the amazing experience of working with a trauma informed T to actually change and replace memories using similar visualization techniques.

The mind is like a computer....every time we take out a memory its6like opening a program.  We change memories every time we pull them up.  We can work through them, change them, create the outcome we want, and replace the old memory completely, which is life changing, IME.

hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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MamaDryad

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #8 on: September 14, 2020, 07:04:30 PM »
I'm glad it resonated with people. Every other time I've tried any kind of inner child visualization, it's fallen really flat, felt like I was going through the motions. I'm not sure why this one tapped into something.

My therapist did point out that it was interesting that even in my inner child meditation, I had to begin by taking care of my mother.

I always feel really silly talking to myself, but it helps. And really, things got to a point a few years ago where I decided that I was in enough pain to try anything, no matter how corny it might seem.

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hhaw

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #9 on: September 15, 2020, 12:29:32 AM »
MD:

One of the first emdr sessions I had with my T.....
I could choose how to change the events I wanted to work on.

I chose to step in, as an adult, and help my mother parent. 

I could have sent a Super Hero or visualized my mother parenting any way I chose.....anything.

I chose to help her....bc it seemed right and good to do so.  It comforted me to help her, and my younger self and siblings. 

Do you mind sharing the high points if the session you're referring to, MD?
hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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SparkStillLit

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2020, 12:32:03 AM »
My nmum overwrites my childhood, but I'm fairly sure it's untrue. She did it just to try to make me feel like a bad parent. DD was my first, and she was demanding. I didn't know what she wanted, or how to help soothe. I tried everything I could think of. I temember asking my mom for ideas, and she would akways say things like, "ohhhh, you guys NEVER cried. You were VERY HAPPY children. I gave you ONLY ORGANIC food and you played OUTSIDE in the SUNSHINE and FRESH AIR and..."
"Ok mom, great, gotta go, got something organic on the stove...."
It was a nightmare. I'm sure we cried as much as any kid, all that notwithstanding. And BESIDES, I think I might have been a little bit challenging. Of course, I'll never KNOW. And instead of trying to figure it out, she might have been mean. I have memory of her being very slappy and worse.
All I did was cry and stir things on the stove with a screaming kid slanted away on my hip. Or cry and walk out in nowhere with same screamer. I did finally teach screamer baby sign language, and that reduced some frustration so she could communicate. She wasn't even a year. I had to do SOMETHING. Didn't want to be like my mum.

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Call Me Cordelia

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #11 on: September 15, 2020, 12:36:30 AM »
My MIL tells the same story, about how her children never fussed about anything and never cried. Their childhood was idyllic in every way.

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MamaDryad

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #12 on: September 15, 2020, 01:15:03 AM »
I wish I remembered clearly enough to convey it, Hhaw. My sessions are kind of a blur lately; I don't do great with video calls. I know they're helping me, if only because I can put things that come up during the week in the "I'll deal with it in therapy" box, but it's not nearly the same as in person.

I just do talk therapy with an emphasis on CBT. I'm a bit afraid to try EMDR; I have learned some things recently about my family that make me really reluctant to potentially un-repress anything. I'm just not ready.

SparkStillLit, my mother did that about pregnancy. I'm married to a woman, so obviously it was not a seamless process, and my mother never missed an opportunity to remind me how effortlessly she conceived me as soon as she wanted to and how disappointed my dad was that they didn't have to "try" longer (something she's been telling me since I was too young to understand what it meant -- blech). Her refrain for my entire pregnancy was "oh, we never worried about things like that." Unfortunately, I was still deep in the FOG and sharing way too many of my struggles and anxieties with her.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 01:21:43 AM by MamaDryad »

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SparkStillLit

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #13 on: September 15, 2020, 10:36:14 AM »
Oh my STARS Mamadryad! Well hey, they just don't even let up! My second conception was not easy and required a bit of medical intervention. Just a little. I cannot even SAY the levels of absolute BS flown my way about that."It will happen when you aren't trying" "just relax about it" omg this is TWO YEARS ON. It's "had a chance to happen", I'm pretty sure we know how this works biologically? Already have one? Then my body wasn't that keen on hanging on to the pregnancy (more nonsense and bullshit) and DS was fairly premature (the most nonsense and bullshit ever). He was perfectly A OK as was I. Not even NICU. But it always and forever has to be All About Them and Their Glitter Shitting Unicorns Experience in The Glitter Forest of Perfection.
To her, I had absolutely fallen on my face in shit as a parent. UNacceptable!!
That's why she rewrote it. If it matches the experience of Perfect Family (my step sibs), it's a little bit more ok.
Annnnnyway, I really digress.

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Hepatica

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #14 on: September 15, 2020, 11:16:59 AM »
I have never done EMDR or even CBT - just quite a lot of talk therapy, one on one. The last therapist was trauma based but I cannot figure out why I never felt quite bonded with her.  She was really a nice person, but I.. I don't know...

My issue currently is (probably a world issue) meaning feeling like I want to move from surviving to thriving. I feel like group therapy is the only thing that might help me work on my trust issues. I have become reclusive. I do have a few girl friends and my husband, but I wish to heal some of the trauma around group involvement. Anyway.

I think for me, it has just been incredibly eye opening that I have never spent time looking very very closely at the first year of my life. Last night I did some meditation similar to what how you described MamaDryad - and I felt that was very comforting. I'm grateful to read things that have worked for people here - to move me into a more courageous level so that I can engage a bit more with the outside world. (But Covid, of course doesn't help right now.)  :doh:
“There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where
there is a confidence and tranquility." John O'Donohue

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MamaDryad

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #15 on: September 15, 2020, 12:48:46 PM »
Hepatica, I'm so glad you found the meditation useful!

It can be so hard to find a therapist who is a good match. I really miss groups-- I've never done group therapy per se, but I was coming up on a year of attending ACoA meetings when everything shut down, and I really miss it. I found it incredibly healing to hear other people's stories, and I also struggle with group dynamics, so it felt like very productive, difficult work.

And wow, yeah, Covid sure doesn't help. Everyone I know is struggling, and folks with chronic pain and/or trauma are struggling even more than usual. No one I know is their best self right now. It's just all so much. All we can do is try to give ourselves some grace. I keep telling myself that it won't always be exactly like this. It might not be better, but it will be different.

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Hepatica

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #16 on: September 15, 2020, 02:06:27 PM »
Thanks MamaDryad.
I think ACoA is amazing. I attended a few years ago even though neither of my parents are drinkers or drug users. My therapist said it was ok bc I suspected my grandfather was an alcoholic based on some of my mother's stories. I really got a lot out of the gentle support and watching the care that goes on between the members. Very moving. I just kind of felt like I was not supposed to be there bc I didn't have a parental or partner with an alcohol addiction. (My parents addictions are gambling and hoarding.) So I felt a bit odd and to be honest, I need to reflect on that bc nobody there, when I explained did anything but welcome me warmly. I think I'll revisit this when Covid restrictions lift (if.)

In the meantime I am wondering what brings people joy and passion these days, since our worlds are so much smaller and esp. for those in retirement who have time on their hands like i do. (I retired early.) I find joy in baking and writing and reading. I live in a small city and I am trying really hard to decide whether to move to a house in the country, with land, to follow this dream I have of having a huge garden project. (My plot of land here currently is tiny.) Big decisions to be made, but it all comes down to, 'do I give myself the dream I have always wished' or do I stay safe and live small in the city?
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 02:08:58 PM by Hepatica »
“There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where
there is a confidence and tranquility." John O'Donohue

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MamaDryad

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #17 on: September 15, 2020, 03:20:36 PM »
The meetings I attended were very explicit about being for Adult Children of Alcoholics and Dysfunctional Families, and there were grandchildren of alcoholics as well as people whose families didn't have substance use issues at all. Also, I think any addiction, chemical or otherwise, is going to warp the fabric of a family in similar ways. I think it's a great idea to reflect on where that judgement is coming from, and to give the meetings another try.

I'm in a very different phase of my life from you: I'm full-time parenting a four-year-old, and now homeschooling him, in a 2-bedroom city apartment with my wife working in our living room. It's a lot; there's not much time OR space for me to feel like a person. I got the virus early on, in the first wave for NYC, and I've had lingering respiratory symptoms that make taking long walks with the kiddo (my usual coping strategy) more difficult. So for me, keeping my mind healthy right now is all about trying to take joy in the little stuff, making a conscious decision to relax and enjoy my son's beautiful weirdness in the way my mother never could with me. I daydream about moving somewhere we could have outdoor space— even a balcony would be life-changing— but I want to raise him amid the diversity and complexity of our city, which is the only home I've ever known. There is a safety factor, as well, since we're a LGBTQ+ family, and I want him to know other families that look like his. I do take a little time each day to meditate and to write my 750 words, and that helps. Also baking bread, which feels like a little bit of wholesome, useful magic.

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hhaw

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #18 on: September 15, 2020, 03:35:16 PM »
My experience with Ts is....
the ones doing their own work are capable of putting their ego aside while working with clients.  My T does yoga, goes on silent retreats and shares links and sites that are timely and help integrate lessons.

She never pressures me and always backs off and finds another path to help me get take new information on board.

I feel super lucky to have found her. 

A friend did some very dark childhood trauma work with an EMDR T utilizing a light.  She moved through it super quickly....it was a goid pairing for them.

My T uses her fingers, back and Firth very quickly I follow with my eyes. 

On Zoom calls I focus on points on the wall....at eye level.  The T moves her fingers and I can see her and the points on the wall.

The EMDR is helpful, bc it facilitates right and left brain hemisphere  integration, as I understand it.

Because our brains shut down access to the frontal cortex it's difficult to move traumatic experiences into our processing center and deal with it so it can be moved into historic files. 

By engaging the brain through EMDR we have access to logic, reason, creativity and problem solving skills to help our brains get past the trauma and emotional looping....as I understand it.

The EMDR is a piece of what my T does....Reiki and tapping and memory reconsolidation..... All amazingly helpful, IME. 

Whatever you choose, make sure you trust your T and feel very cared for and supported.  Sometimes, shockingly,  just looking into my T's warm compassionate eyes brings me to tears.  Mirroring is an important part of therapy too.

In the beginning we'd identify an issue in one appointment, then actively work on the issue in the next appointment on a weekly basis.

We're going longer between appts now, and I feel so much better.  Everything we work on lasts. 
Mamadryad:

What a lucky little chap your son is.  To be embraced as he is and celebrated by parents who are stable enough to drop judgment and accept him for who he is.  Lovely.










hhaw



What you are speaks so loudly in my ears.... I can't hear a word you're saying.

When someone tells you who they are... believe them.

"That which does not kill us, makes us stronger."
Nietchzsche

"It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness."
Eleanor Roosevelt

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Hepatica

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Re: Parents Who Brag About Being Bad Parents
« Reply #19 on: September 15, 2020, 04:31:31 PM »
hhaw Thank you for such great description of EMDR. I have heard only good things about it. I went for many years, when I lived in Vancouver, to see a Jungian therapist. She saved my life back then and much of it had to do with the warmth of her expression when I explained things to her. (I had probably never ever been looked at like that.) I still keep in touch with her and she is one of those people that I will remember for as long as i live. Since i've moved I have sought so many other therapists and I think I was spoiled by my former, bc I have yet to find a good fit. I esp. don't like when they tell you what to do like they know best. Have had far too many tries with ones like that. One in particular would say "Just go no contact with your parents." Of course, that was the right advice, but at the time I had no idea that that was even a thing. It isn't really a matter of fact choice like that. For me it has been a process of shaking off the FOG and she also did not give me any forewarning as to how the entire FOO would eat me alive.

Mamadryad I think I know what you mean by the safety factor re: urban vs rural living. I get a little agitated at times when I go beyond our city, as my husband is Latino and our son looks just like him and there is more judging that goes on in the rural communities. I feel safer in the city where I live. It's a big university town and much more multicultural and open. I raised my son in a small two-bedroom house downtown in the city and I've loved having that physical closeness. I think it made a difference in terms of intimacy as a family. I really think that. Big houses seem lonely to me in some ways. And you're so fortunate to have NYC to roam. I wish!!! :) Yes, about baking bread. I've been doing it too. It is the best. That must have been so scary having Covid. I was tested in April for it - had flu symptoms - came back negative, but I've been really fatigued ever since and wonder if it was a false negative.
« Last Edit: September 15, 2020, 04:33:32 PM by Hepatica »
“There is a place in you where you have never been wounded, where there's
still a sureness in you, where there's a seamlessness in you, and where
there is a confidence and tranquility." John O'Donohue