A Broken Understanding

Last weekend, our little family among millions accomplished something grand.

It’s actually so monumental to us as a family that I imagine that the universe celebrated along with us at the very moment that it happened maybe even with the creation of a new star out there somewhere in the galaxy. The residue from broken egos gathered like magnetized dust particles and came together in agreement. At that moment, a new and positive energy was created, and it’s unfolding with great purpose. While our accomplishment may seem like no feat at all to others, it’s life changing for us individually and as a family.

Simply put…

Bill and Kim have learned how to work together, not just as a father and daughter, but as musicians. I want to say that they put their egos aside, but that’s not actually what happened. What really happened is that their egos chronically, like a long-term illness, collided day after day and year after year, and it wasn’t a pretty father-daughter dance. In fact, as in many parent–child relationships, it isn’t pretty. And that’s okay because from our experience, imperfection can result in something even greater than we had imagined. Bill and Kim didn’t put their egos aside. Instead, with broken egos front and center, they decided to finally, and truly, work together.

Getting to that moment wasn’t easy…

Last summer, Bill and Kim had talked about working together as musicians, and at one point in time it appeared that they had come to an agreement regarding the direction that they were headed with Kim’s music career. It seemed that they had teamed up and were well on their way to forming a working band. However, for us, it couldn’t be that easy. And in all reality, they were not practicing together. They’d talk about it, but they just didn’t seem to be able to sit down and practice together for very long before getting into some disagreement. Last week, Bill learned that Kim was not in agreement with him regarding the creation of music, lyrics and copyright. They were at a crossroad. It looked like the time had come that Bill would no longer be a part of Kim’s musical journey, and we sadly thought that maybe he never was a part of her journey. Bill and I talked about the possibility that maybe the accumulation of music gear, guitar lessons, healed blisters and melted ice-packs were a false reality that we had created for ourselves as parents, and if so, how unfair to Kim.

Had We been lying to ourselves?

After careful deliberation, we got to the point that we told Kim, “It’s your career. You are in charge of it. You do what is right for you. You know what you are doing. We will still support you, but we can’t move forward with mom and dad as direct partners. You’ll figure it out.” And then this awful dark feeling enveloped our little family, and our smiles dissipated as if they never existed before. Sadness filled my heart, and emptiness. I wondered if I was desperately clinging to Kim all these years later after her last suicide attempt by way of music, and I wondered if Bill was doing the same. The following day, we didn’t talk to one another. Rather, we existed together.

And then…

that same day, moment by moment lapsed…and without really thinking about it…and somehow with all the motherly confidence that I had ever gathered before, particle by particle, I walked outside to the patio where Bill and Kim were. Bill was standing there playing guitar, and Kim was seated at the patio table. I looked at each of them and said, “We have to make this work for you Kim, and for you Bill, and for Jaden, and for me.” I then walked back inside the house. That was it. That was all I had, and I like to believe that it was enough.

Later that evening, Kim shared with Bill and I that she had received an email from a potential client who wanted to know if she could perform at an upcoming event. Bill and I hesitated to get involved with her decision making process and told her that it was up to her to decide how to respond and move forward with this new and exciting opportunity. She then asked Bill for his help. She said, “Dad, I need help with equipment and sound checks. And I need a guitarist.” Nothing more needed to be said. Bill and Kim started to talk to one another again, and they started to truly practice together, and they’ve been working together ever since. We move forward with renewed respect for one another, and we continue to support one another’s definition of self: Kim – singer/songwriter, Bill – guitarist, Stacy – writer, and Jaden – busy being three…1 little family among millions doing it differently…

You can find Kim here: https://www.kimking.us/

~ Stacy (1 Mom)

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A Dad Takes Note | He Learns How to Play Electric Guitar and Joins His Daughter on Her Musical Journey

How is it that a dad in his early fifties decides to learn how to play an electric guitar?

Is it the fulfillment of a childhood dream or perhaps a mid-life crisis? No. It’s neither. It simply has to do with love and respect for Kim as a singer and finding artists who are compatible with Kim who don’t have: ulterior motives, hidden criminal backgrounds and a myriad of other problems and ramifications that come with finding musicians for a band. That is what led this dad to pick up a guitar, learn Kim’s original music and cover songs, and join her on her musical journey.

What got us here today…

Ever since Kim was a little girl, she dreamed of becoming an established singer/songwriter, and she has worked diligently to fulfill her dream. Throughout her formative years, she wrote original music and performed at school functions and competed in local and national singing competitions. And by the time she was 19 years old, she had also performed with a few different bands. Around this time in her life, Bill advised her to form her own band, but she didn’t. It wasn’t until years later, when we moved to Tampa, Florida, that she finally decided to take Bill’s advice. However, she had nothing but problems. Listed below are a few:

  • Egos
  • Musicians that expected to be paid
  • Musicians that didn’t show up
  • Musicians that purported to be one thing but were not and certainly were not looking out for Kim’s best interests

I imagine that you might be thinking, based on the short list above, that these are typical problems that anyone might experience when trying to form a band. And I’m sure they are. However, for us, we got to a point when we realized that we had lost control for a brief moment. Bill, Kim and I had an awful, and sickening, “Oh my God!” moment when we it dawned on us, during a frightening experience, that we were working possibly with a wolf or two in sheep’s’ clothing, and that we were actually putting our family, and especially Kim, at great risk as we encouraged her to continue to work through the challenges of finding the right musicians.

We had gotten to the point where Kim was Inviting people into her life that she didn’t know…

all for the sake of starting a band from the ground up. Eventually, it got to a point where she had people come out of the woodwork that said that they wanted to help her, when in all reality they wanted to work with Kim because there was something it for themselves. At this point in the blog post, I am choosing not to highlight our OMG! moment because it doesn’t deserve the attention it would get. Instead, I want to highlight the good that has come out of a negative situation.

To help Kim form her band, Bill came up with an idea…

Last summer, during a conversation with Kim, he said, “What if I become your guitarist? Give me a month to see how far I can get learning guitar, and if it looks like something I can do, then we’ll make a decision to move forward.” After Bill’s startling announcement, we decided to have a family meeting during which we shared our thoughts and concerns about Bill becoming Kim’s guitarist. Naturally, the main concern was whether or not Bill could learn to play guitar at Kim’s level. We all agreed to give it a try. Since that day, our house has been filled with an energy that we’d been missing for awhile, an energy filled with renewed hope and optimism for a new beginning, the normal anxiety and concern that accompanies doing something new, high expectations for one another, the continued support for one another, and music.

About a month after Bill’s announcement, he hesitantly asked Kim, “Am I hired?”

She replied, “Yes Dad! You’re hired!” And so, Kim is at the helm of a unique and promising adventure with her dad. The rewards of our family decision have become endless, and of utmost importance, we can protect Kim as she furthers her music career. Despite the obstacles, Kim’s not giving up, and neither are we. And life comes full circle. 1 daughter, a grown woman by now, gets to teach, guide and support her dad as he learns how to play electric guitar and all that comes with being musicians. A band is forming and magic is starting to come out of this very unique situation…can you feel it? Next up, I’ll be talking about egos that just might be as big as the Sunshine State!

~ Stacy (1 Mom)

How 1 Family Struck a Chord

Hello world!

Stacy’s Flutterings is back! I took a hiatus from the blog because, in all honesty, I thought the blog had run its course. That was then. This is now, and this 1 mom is back. It hasn’t run its course. Rather, it has just begun. I want to share what we have been up to as a family because what we are doing is so different than the norm, and I’m extremely proud of that fact. And what brings it all together is our unconditional love for one another and music, yes music!

If you are just now joining us…

I started the blog back in August of 2011. That year, for me and my family, was a time of healing. We had experienced the near fatal suicide attempt of my daughter Kim, and we were learning how to cope with the ramifications of that. We were also learning how to support her on her journey to wellness. Also, about a year prior to her last suicide attempt, she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and anxiety disorder so we were busy learning how best to support her during this time as well. She likes to say that I was her voice at a time when she struggled the most with her illness. Fast forward to today, and she is doing remarkably well. I’m thrilled, and thankful, as her mother, to say that she has her voice back in more ways than one. She has always been known as our songbird, and once again she is singing too and pursuing her dream of becoming an established singer/songwriter.

Now that I’ve shared a little about how the blog started…

I’d like to share with you why I stopped blogging back in 2016. I felt that my daughter was doing so well that it was detrimental for me continue the blog. I was worried that I was somehow defining her with the use of the blog. I also felt that it was time for my girl to fly as an independent young woman. I didn’t want to stunt her growth as an individual. My thinking was that the blog had served its purpose, and the last blog post that I wrote, titled “An Open Letter to My Adult Child, Now a Mother Herself, Who Still Lives at Home,” marked the end of Stacy’s Flutterings as I knew it. No longer did this beautiful young woman need her mom to speak for her. I set my daughter free. This was an extremely significant time in my life too because after finding her after her last suicide attempt, that ended with her on life support, I clung to her because I feared that I could lose her, literally. It took a lot of healing to get to the place that I was the day that I wrote what I thought would be the last blog post. What I didn’t know was that the last blog post wasn’t the last.

What is different now is that…

it’s not just 1 mom writing, it’s 1 mom and 1 daughter. Kim has decided to join me, and I couldn’t be happier! We are 1 multigenerational family making it work, and music really is at the heart of what we are doing. Don’t get me wrong, mental illness still is a part of our story, but we’ve learned, and continue learning, how to cope individually and as a family with the challenges that accompany mental illness. Mental illness does not define us. We define us. And what’s really cool is that Bill, my husband and Kim’s dad, has joined Kim on her singing journey as her guitarist! I took the picture above last week while they were loading the Jeep with equipment for a gig Kim had that evening. She was actually teasing Bill and pretended she was helping him load the Jeep, when in all reality, he loaded the Jeep! I’m excited to share that he’ll start performing with her at her next gig!

The blog has a new look and vibe as we begin this next chapter…

and we hope that you will follow us as we chronicle our unique family story that involves mental illness, mental wellness, awareness, support, the ups, the downs and ultimately, phenomenal music by Kim and 1 cool dad!

~ Stacy (1 Mom)

The Sound of Silence

Do you know what depression or mental illness sound like? Can you hear depression in a friend’s voice? Do you recognize it in your significant other’s cry? And if you could hear mental illness, what exactly would it sound like? Mental illness has a few different sounds to me. It’s a whisper so quiet that only those paying full attention can hear. Even the ones who are paying attention sometimes miss the whisper, and it fades until it is unrecognizable. Mental illness can also be a yell. It can be a yell so loud that those around are frightened and try to avoid the sound as it pierces the sky.

Whenever I’m depressed, I go silent. My body aches, and I feel like I haven’t slept in far too long. Depression can be draining and so can mania. I once spent a whole year barely speaking to my friends, family and boyfriend at the time. It was easier to stare off into the distance and imagine I didn’t feel as bad as I did. It would be easier to not speak words than to simply say how I felt. Admitting I was depressed was easy. However, trying to find the courage, strength and energy to say any words was exhausting to even think about.

Important to note, I’m not the only one in my household that lives with depression. My mom also experiences depression. Since she is intimately familiar with depression, I asked her what she thought of this blog post, knowing that she’d be honest with me. With her permission, I’d like to share what she had to say:

“First, thank you Kim for asking me how I feel when I get depressed. No one really has ever asked me,  probably because I’ve never shared that I experience depression from time to time. I’ve only shared this with you and dad, and Paul and Katlin. When I think about how I feel, when depression descends for awhile, immediately a song comes to my mind. That song is “The Sound of Silence,” but it’s not the Simon & Garfunkel version that I’m talking about. It’s the remake that the rock band Disturbed did. When I hear the first 12 words,  I feel an eerie sense of familiarity. Those 12 words are painfully familiar to me. It sounds silly maybe. I can’t believe that words alone can have such an affect on me, but they do. If you decide to share my thoughts with anyone, don’t tell them the words. I’d like to invite them to listen to the song, especially those first 12 words. I think the words have a way of getting to the core of silence somehow. In silence, depression resides…”

Silence is not the only sign of mental illness. The National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) provides a helpful list of signs and symptoms. If you’d like to learn more, click here: Know the Warning Signs. I hope that you find this blog post to be helpful, if not for you, for someone you care about.

Until next time…

~ Kim (1 Daughter) and Stacy (1 Mom)


References

D. (2015, December 08). Retrieved April 20, 2017, from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u9Dg-g7t2l4

Help With Depression. (n.d.). Retrieved April 20, 2017, from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression

Know The Warning Signs. (n.d.). Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.nami.org/Learn-More/Know-the-Warning-Signs

Parekh, R., M.D., M.P.H. (2015, November). What Is Mental Illness? Retrieved April 19, 2017, from https://www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/what-is-mental-illness

 

 

 

An Open Letter to My Adult Child, Now a Mother Herself, Who Still Lives at Home

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To My Beautiful Daughter,

I’m writing this letter to you to let you know that your dream of becoming independent hasn’t gone unnoticed and to let you know that you’ll get there. It must have been tough to have watched your siblings, who you grew up with, complete college, land steady careers and move out of our house and into their own homes. It appeared to be easier for you to see your brother move on with his life since he is the oldest. However, I’ll never forget the yearning for independence that I noticed in your blue eyes when your younger sister moved out of the house for the first time. That was about six years ago. Today, you still live at home with Dad and I, and now you have your very own little one to care for. It was, and still is, painful for me to see you long for a life of your own. To help you on your way, I have a few questions for you.

Have I told you lately that I love you?

I love you. In fact, I can’t even begin to express how much I love you. I have loved you since before the day you were born. I love you beyond measure. I know you’ve heard me say the famous Toy Story quote; I love you “to infinity and beyond!” I really do. Don’t ever forget that. When times get tough, and you wonder if you’ll ever gain that independence that you hunger for, and deserve, know that no matter what, you are loved.

Have I told you lately that you matter?

You matter. Yes, your brother and sister have moved on with their lives. However, in time, you will too. Regardless, you matter. You are an integral part of this family. You are part of what makes “us” work. It doesn’t matter that you are still living at home. That just happens to be a part of your story, and it’s okay. Every person on this Earth approaches life differently, and life unfolds differently for each person as well. That’s what’s beautiful. You are beautifully unique just like the next person. Never forget that you matter.

Have I told you lately that you are smart?

You are smart. There are many indicators that express just how intelligent you are. For example, you successfully completed grade school, middle school and high school. You successfully completed CNA training in college and worked in the field. You have successfully been a member of the work force in various positions. This alone shows flexibility as well as smarts. You are musically intelligent. As a singer, songwriter and performer you exude brilliance. And you have emotional intelligence that is rare. You are able to connect with people, no matter who they are, and reignite their passions just like you did for your friend who is a pianist. You’ve never met him in person yet the connection you made with him online, including the support you provided him, will have an ever-lasting, positive effect on him. You helped him learn that he matters too. That’s emotional brilliance that many desire. And I’ve only just begun. You are intelligent in so many other ways as well. Never forget that you are just as smart as anyone else.

Have I told you lately that you are strong?

You are strong. You are a survivor. You’ve endured and survived, to name a few: bullying, mental illness, unhealthy relationships, suicide attempts and stigma. And as a new mommy, you’ve survived a difficult pregnancy, a C-section and the absence of the father. It takes a strong woman to survive what you’ve survived. You’ve managed to climb the walls of what seem to be insurmountable life obstacles, and though scarred, you’ve safely landed on the other side. You’ve done it. And now, you live to care for your beautiful daughter as well as yourself. Never forget that you are strong. You are a warrior.

Have I told you lately that you have my support?

You have my support. I’ll be here for you as you take on more responsibility. I imagine that as you move forward with creating a life of your own that you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how well you can, and will, care for yourself and your daughter. And, if needed, we can discuss how best I can help. You know that I can’t always help monetarily, but there are other ways that I can help. You have my support.

Have I told you lately to not be afraid to take risks?

Don’t be afraid to take risks. It can be frightening to put ourselves on the front line of whatever it is our heart desires. You just need to trust yourself and know that you can do it. You know that you have a strong foundation from which to grow: you are loved, you matter, you are smart, you are strong and you have my support. Moving forward with whatever it is you desire is one of the first steps to success. And if you don’t get where you are going the first time, keep going. Don’t give up. As you move forward, and take risks, you just might land right where you want to be. Sometimes, as we chase our dreams, we realize that the end outcome looks a little different. And it’s okay. Don’t be afraid to take risks.

Have I told you lately that you make me proud?

You make me proud. In fact, I couldn’t be prouder because first and foremost I have the privilege of being your mom. I’m proud of the person you are. I’m proud of the mother you are. I’m proud of your achievements, and I’m proud of who you strive to be. You make me proud.

Have I told you lately that you will make it?

You will make it. It won’t be long, and you too, and your little one, will move out of the house and into your own home. You too will become independent just like your brother and sister. Never forget that you have the tools to do so. You will be successful. In fact, you already are. Stand tall, knowing that you have what you need to move forward, and create that beautiful life you’ve dreamed of for you and your beautiful little one. It’s waiting…

Love Always ~ to infinity and beyond!

Mom

Happiness | May I have this dance?

This is a previously published post form several years ago that I wanted to share again because I think it captures, beautifully, the essence of happiness. Happy Friday everyone!

I’ve been thinking about “happiness.” What is it really? Where might I find it?

It seems to escape me, especially lately. Interestingly enough, it found me just the other night! I was in the kitchen with Bill and unintentionally began to notice several sights and sounds…Kim smiling and laughing in the presence of her new boyfriend and Paul chuckling with Marissa as she sat at the table playing with her snack. At two and a half years old she is quite the comedian! She had two Puffy Cheetos sticking out of her mouth as she grinned from ear to ear! She giggled as the Cheetos twisted between her teeth, flipped up and tickled her nose. Her little face and fingers turned an orange tint the more she played with her food. The dog could be seen running around the dining room with her nose gliding across the floor as she sniffed out any dropped and forgotten morsels of food. And even though Katlin was at work she was in my thoughts at that very moment.

The radio could be heard playing in the distance.

Hit after hit played like Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” and David Guetta’s “Without You.” All the while, Bill was busy making pizza…and I? Well…I started to dance! I encouraged Bill to dance by gently grasping his hand and pulling him near to me. He turned and looked at me with a smile that I hadn’t seen in a long time. The kids looked at us with surprise and beamed. Kim actually peeked out from behind her friends shoulder and asked, “Mom? Are you okay?” Then we all burst out laughing.

Later, when we found ourselves alone in a vacant house, Bill mentioned to me that he hadn’t seen me that happy in a long time.

I have to admit that I haven’t been genuinely happy for a few years. I think the stress that accompanies the mood disorder of a loved one had really taken its toll. The more unpredictable life became the more I retreated inwardly. I isolated myself for reasons I still don’t understand. I think that the night I have described was the night I let go of the stressful baggage I had been lugging around. As I let go of the needless weight of past life experiences…I felt lighter. I was able to embrace the moment and truly enjoy it. I was happy…

The Truth About Empathy | Do We Really “Get it?”

I imagine that you’ve heard the word empathy. However, do you know what it really means? The truth about empathy has escaped many people, but there are those that know its true meaning. I’ve had a reoccurring thought lately that gets to the heart of empathy. What is this thought?

Do you ever have reoccurring thoughts about what others might be thinking about you…

especially in regard to how you orchestrate your life? I sure do. Even though I know that this type of thinking isn’t helpful, I still have moments where I think that I know what someone else is thinking about me. When I have those types of thoughts, I try not to linger with them for long because I know it’s self- destructive. Also, I try not to take these thoughts too seriously because I think it’s just part of our nature as humans. Even though I know what others think of me and what I do doesn’t matter, lately, I’ve had this reoccurring thought that perhaps others might think that I’m looking for sympathy through writing. It seems so strange to actually write out this thought. And by writing it out, I see how silly and unjustified it is.

Regardless of how silly and unjustified the thought is that others might think that I want sympathy…

now that I’ve shared this thought with the world, I find that I do want to clarify it. Maybe if I do, the thought will disappear into oblivion. The realist in me whispers, “No, it won’t.” I’ll give it a try anyway. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me or my family. This would be sympathy, and I’m not seeking sympathy. I don’t want anyone to feel sorry for me. And I certainly wouldn’t want anyone to change what has happened. To do so would invalidate my experience. Without my experiences, I wouldn’t be where I am today. What I do want is for other to “get it.” To me, if others could “get it” then we’d make tremendous strides in erasing the stigma of mental illness, providing the highest quality of care possible for persons living with mental illness and preventing suicide.

Without empathy, to me, it’s a hard sell.

How do I know? Because I’ve been there. Before my experiences with my loved one, I didn’t think about mental illness or stigma. I didn’t have to, and therefore I proceeded with my life as if it didn’t exist. If it didn’t exist in my life, as I knew it, why would it matter? However, once my life was impacted by the mental illness of one of my children, I took notice, and suddenly mental illness and stigma mattered. By the time it came to matter in my life, I almost lost a child. Let’s not continue to risk losing one another because we don’t “get it.” Let’s come together to share, talk and listen. Let’s come together and put aside our viewpoints. Let’s try to see things from the other person’s point of view. Let’s examine our attitudes. Let’s ask what the other person would do. Let’s walk in each other’s shoes so to speak so that we can make the world a better place for those we love and those around us. Let’s “get it” together.