All the Leaves Are Brown

DenaSeptember 18, 2013

There’s a gnarly, old crab apple tree in our front yard. Every year when the apples ripen, it’s a sure sign that autumn is upon us. I have such mixed feelings about the season this year. So many things that I’ve spent a lifetime dreaming about are actually happening. Soon I’ll take Roman pumpkin-picking, take him on his first hayride, dress him up in his first Halloween costume. Because I love fall so much and because Halloween is my favourite holiday, I’ve always dreamed of having a baby to share it with. All of the magic in life is even more magical through the eyes of a child. Everything is so beautiful, but it’s also overwhelming. Some moments I am filled with so much nostalgia, so much gratitude, and so much joy that it brings me to my knees.

I’ve been taking Roman for long walks. Today we walked around the elementary school that I went to. There were children walking, running, and playing. There were pumpkins and even Halloween decorations in front yards. Leaves crunched beneath my sneakers on the sidewalks. The smell of autumn was in the air. Suddenly, I was filled with such an overwhelming feeling of “life” that tears came to my eyes. I don’t know how else to describe it. I suppose that I am so happy but also there is always a part of me that is afraid and sad, too. For all of the beauty in the world, there is equal terror. I spent so many years of my life suffering in darkness and perhaps there is some part of me that will always be “waiting for the other shoe to drop.”

My mother once told me that 99.6% of the things that we worry about will never actually come to fruition. It’s a comforting thought for a worrier like me. Still, being a worrier, I do worry about that .4% too often. What can one do but focus on the beauty, count the blessings, and enjoy every moment.

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Comments (2)

  • Misty Carone

    September 19, 2013 at 2:22 am

    I just read your “CBT changed my life post”. That’s some pretty heavy stuff and I’m so glad to read that you’ve left that in your past and are a survivor from such a scary sickness. Isn’t it crazy how differently we look at things, now that we’re parents? Of course, as I read about your past, I had feelings of sympathy for you and what you’ve gone through…but…I’ve never known anyone who’s faced these struggles so this kind of a problem has never crossed my mind as a possible threat to my daughter in the future! I couldn’t help but to think, “will i have to face something like this in my future, not because I am suffering, but because my daughter is? Is this a result of parenting issues? will i be able to steer her away from negative thinking? will i be enough of a positive example for her so that she may be a strong, happy and confident person?” I don’t mean any disrespect towards YOUR parents with those last remarks. I’m completely ignorant on the subject, which explains why so many questions and worries crossed my mind while reading about your past. am i displaying signs of NI right now??? oh man. anyways, i just had to unload some thoughts here i guess. thanks for sharing your story. yours is the kind that needs to be told to help others out there who suffer the same as you did. that’s mighty brave of you. other than freaking me out a little, it was interesting, learning more about you. oh, and lovely photos as always.

  • denabotbyl

    September 20, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you so much for reading and especially for your thoughtful response, Misty. Yes. It is some very heavy stuff. I am so grateful to be passed it, but it is also a part of who I am, a part that I would not change. I certainly do think about it differently from the perspective of being a mother. But it is something that I thought about long before I ever got pregnant. My husband and I have both dealt extensively with mental illness in our lives. We took all of that into careful consideration as we embarked on the journey to become parents. I do believe that while there are biological components to mental illness — the vast majority of it is a result of learned behavior. We can absolutely shape the minds of our children. There was (is) a lot of negativity present in those that I have been closest to all of my life. There is no doubt in my mind that the negative, irrational thought processes that consumed me, were a learned behavior. I am so grateful that I was eventually given the opportunity to reverse all of it. And although it is still deeply embedded in me, I have the tools to overcome it. Even though every day I have to be aware and constantly vigilant.

    As for parenting and raising children — I believe that teaching children to “think correctly” is a critical part of raising a child and that, at present, it is unfortunately absent. We teach our children their numbers and their letters and how to fit into society and dress themselves and brush their teeth. BUT WE DON’T TEACH THEM THE MOST IMPORTANT THING: HOW TO BE HEALTHY & HAPPY. (When I saw we, I mean the majority of modern, western civilization.)

    This is definitely a topic that I want to explore further here on the blog. I am so grateful for your comments because it lets me know that other parents are interested, concerned with this, too. THANK YOU! <3

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