December 14th, 2010 ended with me sitting on the edge of a bathtub in heavy heaving sobs.

Addie turns seven years old tomorrow and as I said last week, this transition from six to seven has been hard from the moment she turned six last year.

After doing everything in my power to give her a spectacular birthday last year and losing to cold weather and circumstances out of my control, she ended up saying horribly ungrateful and rude things to me and I snapped back. I’m not even sure snapped is a strong enough verb for what happened.

I think part of the reason tomorrow is weighing so heavily on me is because on that day last year I felt myself break.

I felt myself fall apart.

I saw and felt everything come crashing down.

Usually my descents into depression are gradual, imperceptible even. However 364 days ago I barreled into one of the worst episodes of my life after what could only be considered the worst parenting moment of my life.

I hate that my depression affects my kid, specifically that it affected Addie so hard on her birthday last year and the resulting anxiety is looming in the wings this year.

addie's sixth birthday

Thankfully *this* is what she remembers from last year.

I only wish I could say the same.

Tomorrow will be filled with wonderful surprises for my oldest. The one who has my ears, my smile and my stubbornness. It may not be exactly what she has planned out in her head, but it’s the best I can do.

I hope you understand my love.

Happy birthday eve.

xo

Comments

  1. Oh, I hope it will help erase the yucky memories of last years bday!

  2. It’s going to be wonderful. I can just tell.

  3. Sending hopes for an awesome day. Seven’s a lucky number, you know.

  4. You just fill the day with the same happy smiles you’ve been sharing with us lately. Addie is always going to remember those smiles…. because she’s the most awesome 7 year old there is.

  5. i feel badly for addie. someday soon she’ll be computer savvy and be able to read these posts. you often come across as if you do not like your eldest and as therapeutic as it may be for you to write things out, it could be extremely damaging to her. Imagine being a young girl and reading on a very public forum that your mother struggles with liking you right after a post about how her new baby has changed her life. think before you write.

    Heather Reply:

    @jr, get bent

    Shireen Reply:

    @Heather, So say we all.

    Casey Reply:

    @jr, Thank you for your brilliant insight into what is *probably* one tenth of my life.
    I’m absolutely sure Addie won’t remember me stringing dozens of balloons for her to walk through this morning on her way to her most favorite breakfast that started and ended with “Happy Birthdays” and “I love yous”
    This parenting gig is hard, and if I were to lie about it and say that everything is sunshine and rainbows it wouldn’t do me or the thousands of other moms who are struggling out there any good.
    Yes, one day she will read this and I will be ready to talk about her with it. What I wouldn’t GIVE to have an insight into what life was like for my mom as she raised me.
    I give a voice to the ugly stuff, and I give all the love in the world to my big kid with mopsy curls.

    Katherine @ Postpartum Progress Reply:

    @Casey, We LOVE your voice, Casey.

    Debbie Reply:

    @jr, Spoken as a child who grew up in a household ripe with repression – where no one talked about ‘the bad things’ – not talking about it isn’t the answer either. Laying the groundwork of permissibility to voice your thoughts – good, bad & ugly – is infintely more healthy than this girl having to try and piece together why things appear to be as they are. ‘Not talking about it’ leads to fear, guilt & uncertainty, as a child’s attempt at explaining very adult issues inevitably will. Don’t assume you understand their family life and values. It’s as ridiculous at my assuming I know yours.

    Jimmy Reply:

    @jr, @jr, your post is ironic, please take your own advice and “think before you write.”

    Also, do a little research before you criticize. Reading two blog posts from a blog that has been in existence for more than five years and drawing a conclusion as critical and condemning as yours is beyond ignorant.

    Untypically Jia Reply:

    @jr, My mother died when I was two years old and ever since then I’ve been told nothing but fairy tales about who she was and what life was like before she died. I would give anything for the truth. The truth that included how she got pregnant at 18 years old and was a single divorced mother at 20. I know it had to be hard and there had to be days when she broke down. But I never hear the truth, and I really wish I had that.

    Casey you are breaking the taboo of depression and how it can take hold of our life. For all we know, Addie could grow up to write a book to chronicle her own experiences through this. And the dedication in the front would most certainly be to YOU!

    Liz Reply:

    @jr, I never got the impression that Casey doesn’t like Addie. I do, however, get the impression that it’s hard being a mother to a seven-year-old. My best friend has a little girl who is about to be seven, and it’s hard. Kids are a lot different now from how we were when we were that age.

    When I read Casey’s words, I see that she adores her oldest, even when she’s not always sure how to be her mother. And I think every mother feels that way. There is no handbook. This is why I am procrastinating having children.

    To be fair, Casey is happier now than she did when Addie was a baby, but that’s depression for you. It has nothing to do with loving one child more than the other.

    If my family talked about depression as openly as Casey does, I probably wouldn’t have had such a hard time with mine when it hit. When Addie is older, she will be able to understand these things, and if for some reason she does resent Casey for the words written here, that will be between her and her mother to discuss.

  6. I must ignore jr or the things I say would not be pretty.

    Casey,
    Sending lots of positive vibes and love to you guys tomorrow. It’s so easy to see what a great momma you are and your kids are so lucky to have you!

    As someone who has reached out to you and you cared enough to contact back, I’ll be thinking of you and Addie tomorrow on what I’m sure will be a wonderful bday for her!

  7. I have Addie’s birthday on my calendar. I have been thinking about it for a few days. When she was at our house, she was the age my MA should be now. How has it been that long?

    C, you are a great mom to her. Know it. Own it. xo

    Happy birthday to my second-favorite MA.

  8. I love your honesty. One day when she is old enough, you can share these posts with Addie and she will understand. JR is a dick.

    As the daughter of an unmedicated/untreated anxiety riddled mother, I wish I had some insight into how/why she did/does the things she does.

    As a medicated mother, I know that being honest with my kids has been the best thing. I don’t share things with them before they are ready, but my now 16yo knows a little of the reason behind my issues (plus she’s seen her grandmother!) and I think it helps her to understand.

    Thank-you for your honesty. You probably have a little inkling of all the help you have brought to your sometimes troubled readers. Please ignore trolls like jr.

    Mim Reply:

    @Mim,

    PS Happy Birthday to Addie! May you both have a spectacular day!

  9. You are a fantastic mom. Happy Birthday Addie! xo

  10. Happy Birthday, Addie! I hope this year is so awesome that it wipes out all the not-so-awesome memories from last year.

  11. ack, if we didn’t have a few crappy parenting moments, we wouldn’t have anything to compare the rest too – right!

  12. Happy Birthday, Addie! December Birthdays are a mixed bag (mine is Christmas Day), but it is obvious that your mama is doing her best to make sure you get the best she has. And one day, her very honest accounts on life are going to mean a lot to you. I’ve told her this before, but you should know it, too. Your mama has helped lots and lots of people, and you are oh-so-lucky to have her. Have a wonderful birthday, pretty girl!

  13. Happy Birthday to my second favorite seven year old! Enjoy your fancy cakes you got coming your way….

  14. Happy birthday – to BOTH of you!

    Addie is a lucky little girl. And one day, when she is old enough to understand these posts, maybe not until she has kids of her own, she will be SO THANKFUL that you wrote it down.
    xo

  15. Happy Birthday Addie!

    Hoping the day is filled with laughter and much love. And cupcakes.

  16. I’d have loved to read about the good, bad, and ugly from my mom, too. I know being a mom isn’t all sunshine and roses, damn, do I know. You, Casey, are an amazing mom. And your pretty girls will love you even more as they get older, because they’ll appreciate your honesty. You are a great mother. You love your children. We love you! Happy Birthday to your big girl with the gorgeous eyes and smile. I hope she – and you – have a happy day.

  17. I can’t believe she’s 7! Holy ****.

    Happy birthday Addie!

    -Uncle Adam

  18. Happy Birthday, Addie! Happy Birthing Day to you, Casey! Hope you BOTH have a glorious day! :)

  19. Wishing Addie a happy 7th!! Chelsea’s turn is up in the new year! Lucky #7!! Take care!
    xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxo

  20. She will!

    I was a fairly well behaved child. Overachiever. Clingy. Yet I lashed out at my mom at times. She did the same to me too. But I can tell you one thing – I always tell her she’s a great mom and thank her from the bottom of my heart because neither of us are perfect, and I had my own battles with a disorder to add to the struggles, but she is the best mom she could have been for me and I know I was loved. I would be lost without my mom.

    You are loving – that’s what matters. She will remember that the most. :)

  21. Happy birthday Addie!

    I hope today takes away the memory of last year Casey.

  22. PS: Happy Birthday Addie!

  23. I know how you feel… I was in the hospital over Christmas… this time of year is hard, and I dread it, sadly. I heard a song, Just Let Me Cry by Hilary Weeks… could be the depression theme song. I put it on my blog as well. Good luck. One day at a time.

  24. From the photos I saw on twitter it looks like she is having an amazing birthday.

    Casey, you always do the absolute best you can and that’s the most anyone can ask for.

  25. I hope Addie had a fantastic birthday! Thanks for sharing snippets of your “real life” with us and Addie. Bad parenting moments (and the ability to recognize them) are what make Great parents…because it prompts us to strive to be better.

  26. 7 will be a magical year … for Addie and for you. Happiest of bdays to Addie. Can’t wait to see the pics!

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