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)

Throwback Thursday | Remembering a Happy Full Nest

This Throwback Thursday post is all about remembering when I had a happy full nest. It’s still happy but just half empty now. The picture included in this post captures Kim, Katlin and Paul celebrating Katlin’s 3rd birthday and years later her 16th birthday. I think that both moments, that we somehow managed to captured, are adorable. Don’t you think so? Of course, as their mom, I think that they still are adorable even as grown adults. Wow. To think that now Katlin is in her twenties as well as Kim and Paul. How time flies. I love the fact that both Kim and Paul are giving her a celebratory kiss! Even though they are grown, and Paul and Katlin have flown the nest, all three of the kids are still very close. The fact that Paul and Katlin live over a 1,000 miles from us now doesn’t mean that the kids are any less close. They’ve just had to learn a new way to support one another via special trips home, Skype, their phones, etc.

As I reflect back on their younger years, I remember the bond that they had when they were growing up. Of course, sibling rivalry was alive and well back then, as it is with most siblings, but they always came together in the end to support one another. Years later, that sibling support system still is in place and stronger than ever. As a mom, this means more to me than I can say. Just this past Christmas Bill and I had the joy of having all three of them home with us, and it was so wonderful. Having all three of them home, even for a short while, made everything right in the world. It was so right that Kim, our songbird, wrote one of her original songs “Talk Too Much” during that time. There they were, three grown kids sitting together. Kim was sitting on the fireplace hearth playing ukulele (she had never played it before) and singing as she came up with the lyrics to the song and Paul and Katlin were sitting nearby. They sat smiling and cheering her on.  At one point, I remember hearing Katlin yell out, “Yah! That’s what I mean!” with a big grin on her face. I’ve included the video below so that you can hear the fun that they were having which comes through Kim’s lyrics perfectly. Of course, Kim refined the song after Paul and Katlin made their way back to their homes, but they played an important role in the development of the song. If you listen to it, I hope you enjoy it as much as we do.

A happy full nest became a half nest. Even so, those that have flown, return often. Therefore, it’s a perfect half nest after all.

Growing stronger…

5 Ways to Support a Loved One With a Mental Illness: Proof Support Matters

Have you heard about the importance of supporting family and friends who live with a mental illness? It’s so important, in fact, that our nations largest non-profit mental health organizations have dedicated space on their websites specific to the topic of support. If you go the the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) homepage or the Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance (DBSA) homepage, you will see the word “support.” If you look further, you will find helpful resources pertaining to support for the individual living with mental illness and for his or her family and friends. You will see that a person living with mental illness is actually encouraged to connect with others. And you don’t have to be an immediate family member to show your support. The more support an individual has from loved ones and friends the better.

So what can you do to show your support? I’ve noted below 5 simple ways that you can support a loved one:

  1. Educate yourself. The American Psychological Association (APA) provides helpful, credible information pertaining to a variety of mental illnesses. Click here to access All Psychology Topics.
  2. Learn how to communicate with your loved one. The DBSA provides a guide that I encourage you to read. Click here to access What Helps and What Hurts.
  3. Don’t enable your loved one to do something that he or she can do within reason. Karen Khaleghi Ph.D. wrote a helpful article that you can access on Psychology Today, and it is titled “Are you Empowering or Enabling?
  4. Create and offer a positive environment.
  5. Despite the challenging days, remember that there is sunshine after the rain. There is hope for a better tomorrow. Feel hopeful, exude hopefulness, and share this with your loved one.

Of course there are many more ways to support a loved one, but these are my top 5! With these 5 ideas in mind, I’m curious, have you actually seen and heard visible proof that supporting your family and friends is beneficial? I have proof that all 5 of these methods work. How? Keep reading.

I’d like to invite you to watch my daughter Kim King’s music video. In the video you will hear Kim sing Christina Aguilera’s song “Hurt,” and you will see, in her own words, how life has been unfolding for her and what her future goals are. During the last few minutes of the video, you will hear her sing Alanis Morissette’s song “Mary Jane.” I promise you that the next 9 minutes and 51 seconds you spend watching the video will be worth it. I encourage you to allow yourself to listen without expectations. This video, my friends, is proof that support matters.

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=bPCCRcnR9_Q

Thank you for watching and supporting Kim. Our hearts are filled with gratitude for your support. We’d love to hear from you as well. Do you have ideas regarding how to support a loved one that have worked for you?

Growing stronger…

Weekly Writing Challenge: Moved by Music – Wake Me Up

DSC_0160-004While driving home the other night, after picking up dinner at a nearby, favorite restaurant, I heard the new song “Wake Me Up” by Avicii.  I really like the song so of course I had to turn it up!  While keeping my eyes on the road I quickly reached for the volume button.  As I turned the music up, I started to sing, “So wake me up when it’s all over…”  I paused for a moment and listened to the lyrics, and then I continued to sing, “…So wake me up when it’s all over, when I’m wiser and I’m older, all this time I was finding myself, and I didn’t know I was lost…”  As I neared my neighborhood the song of course came to an end, but the lyrics stuck in my head.

With the lyrics still playing in my head I started to think about my daughter, who lives with bipolar disorder, and our experiences due to her illness.  She is 24 now and has a child of her own.  Due to her illness she currently lives at home with my husband and I as she works diligently to get back on her feet.  I have two other children, a son who is 26 and a younger daughter who is 22.  However, they both live on their own.

With that in mind, I have had moments when the stressors are so great that I’ve wondered if things are ever going to change.  It would be easy to just say, “Just wake me up when it’s over!”  That way I wouldn’t have to face the challenges that parents of a child with a mental illness face on a daily basis such as the perpetual, emotional roller coaster ride in regard to my daughter’s moods, the financial strain of taking care of an adult child with mental illness, the wear and tear on my relationship with my husband and other children, and the nagging concern I have in regard to whether or not my daughter has made it to her appointments and whether or not I should get involved in how she conducts her life, as well as other unique challenges.

After pulling into the drive-way, and turning the ignition off, I sat for a moment in my car with silence surrounding me.  I sat alone thinking how nice it would be if everything my husband and I are working towards just fell into place.  The picture I imagined in my mind was my husband and I sitting down to a celebration dinner.  I imagined that as we talked we congratulated one another on a job well done, as far as raising our children.  As we smiled at one another we clinked our wine glasses together and said, “Congratulations!  Now it’s time for us!”  With the blink of an eye the image faded, and I got out of the car and headed inside the house.  That’s not our reality, at least not yet.

And it was as I ran up the steps that I realized that I would never want to wake up when it’s over!  Imagine what I would miss!  I now have a beautiful granddaughter that I get to help take care of!  Additionally, I believe that it is in experiencing that we live!  Yes, some days are difficult to get through, and there are times when things just don’t make sense.  And then there are those moments that I want to hold onto forever, like the moment I saw my daughter hold her daughter for the first time and the moment when I realized how far my daughter has come in relation to her illness.  She is an amazing mother and headed down a very healthy path.  Our family has come far as well, and that my friends is enough for a celebration!  We are not lost.  We are right where we are supposed to be!

So, I have to ask, would you want to wake up when it’s over?

Growing stronger…

DPchallenge

The Good Fight: Advocacy

I recently heard “The Fighter” by Gym Class Heroes featuring Ryan Tedder of One Republic.  Their video, which you can download and view here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxV-OOIamyk , showcases the inspirational John Orozco, world class athlete and 2012 Olympic gymnast from the Bronx, New York.  I love it!  It inspires me to keep up the good fight, as my friend calls it, regarding mental illness awareness and erasing the stigma.  I may not be an Olympian, but this Mom is a fighter too.  How is she a fighter?  She is an advocate.

As I listened to the song I thought about those that advocate for mental health awareness and erasing the stigma like Bring Change 2 Mind, Karla Smith Foundation, Silent Siren and The Balanced Mind Foundation.  I find that I feel thankful to each of these organizations for instilling a sense of hope and universality as they work diligently to provide free educational materials, resources, support groups, community partnership programs for emergency responders, partnership programs for military installations and so much more.  Simply put – these four organizations are phenomenal for all they do and stand for.  Talk about advocacy!

You may be asking, “What is advocacy?”  According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, an advocate is “one that pleads the cause of another, one that defends or maintains a cause or a proposal or one that supports or promotes the interests of another.”

Furthermore, while listening to the song, I also thought about my family and how far we have come since Kim’s battle with bipolar disorder unfolded.  I am so proud of my husband Bill, my children Paul, Kim and Katlin and our parents, siblings, extended family and friends.  I am thankful for us coming together to lift one another up during one of the most challenging times of our lives.  We are beyond blessed to have such an amazing family!  I love all of you beyond measure!  You are my Olympic team!

If you find that you would like to become an advocate and help raise mental illness awareness and erase the stigma or fight the good fight for another cause whether it’s animal rights, children’s rights, elder care, human rights, medical/health or another cause all it takes is reaching out to your community of interest and asking what you can do to help and advocate no matter how young or old you are…

Or as Gym Class Heroes sings:

There goes a fighter, there goes a fighter

Here comes a fighter

That’s what they will say to me, say to me, say to me

This one’s a fighter

What we gonna do?  What we gonna do?

What we gonna do?  What we gonna do ya’ll?

A couple of excellent places to start are:

www.bringchange2mind.org 

www.karlasmithfoundation.org 

www.nami.org/Content/NavigationMenu/Inform_Yourself/About_Public_Policy/About_Public_Policy.htm 

www.silentsiren.org 

www.thebalancedmind.org 

www.worldadvocacy.com/  

Growing stronger…

I’m Glad You Came…

No matter how old I get I absolutely love music!  It is so uplifting and inspiring.  Music has a magical way of reaching in and touching my soul.  When I hear a favorite song I like to turn up the volume.  When I surround myself with the sound of music life’s stressors melt away like fresh winter icicles dissolving under the hot sun.  And if you asked me what song is my favorite I would have a difficult time picking just one.  I enjoy a variety of genres new and old.  Actually, thinking about the word “favorite” takes me back in time to when I was a little girl.  I remember visiting my grandmother who lived in Spokane, Washington.  I would sit at her kitchen table anxiously awaiting to try a bite of her newest creation like lemon meringue pie.  Each time that she would bake something I would say, “Nana!  That’s my favorite!”  She would laugh and say, “Stacy, everything is your favorite!”  Nana was so right.  The same holds true for music.  I think every song is my favorite!

Currently, one of the songs sweeping the nation is “Glad You Came” by the British band The Wanted.  It is one of my favorites!  The lyrics include statements like, “…all that counts is here and now…” and “…my universe will never be the same…I’m glad you came…”  Every-time I hear the song I think of my amazing husband and children.  I understand that it is written for couples, but I think that some of the lyrics apply to relationships beyond the scope of lovers.

When I hear, “My universe will never be the same.  I’m glad you came…” I instantly think about Bill, Paul, Kim, Katlin and my granddaughter Marissa.  My universe truly would never be the same without them.  I am so glad they came!  I can’t even begin to write how I feel about my husband and kids because there are no words.  My love for them is beyond anything I ever would have imagined.  I can say that with them everything is right in the world.

And in closing, I want to share with everyone else in my universe…family, friends, my readers and newcomers as well…”I’m glad you came.”

Growing stronger…