Archive for the ‘mother’ Category

Mommy Day

In Bipolar, Children, Miss Helena, mother, Parents, School, Uncategorized on May 6, 2011 at 1:31 am

My Mummy

“My mum has very funny moods…”

(Marissa Charles, aged nine, June 1985)

My essay about my mother.

Anyone who knows my mum knows that she is a hoarder. It’s not just that she is untidy. (She is. As am I. Life is too short to obsess about everything being in its place. There are far more important things to do – like read.) It’s that she is sentimental and it’s that sentimentality that leads her to save the smallest of items, things that to you and I may seem insignificant.

Mummy still has the cot I used to sleep in when I was a baby. (I’m 35 years old. President Jimmy Carter was in the White House when she bought that thing.) She saves the messages that I leave on her answer machine. (She played about seven of them back to me the other day.) She even saved a kitchen towel from her local pub. (Last month I cut my arm and needed first aid. A kind stranger in the pub where I sought help used it as a tourniquet.  Thankfully Mum washed the kitchen towel before she saved it.)

So it should come as no surprise that my mother has a collection of my old school books. I’ve tried to encourage her to throw them away but all my attempts have failed and Mum has a library of my compilations – from the days when I could barely write “see Jane run” to the present day when I have had exclusive features published in the Daily Mirror.

Every now and then, under the pretence of clearing her “rubbish” – her word, not mine – she will leaf through my greatest works, cry, laugh or both and put them into a pile of things to keep.

It was while doing this that she discovered an essay I wrote when I was nine. I was at primary school at the time. My teacher must have asked us to write about our mothers because I composed a piece describing Miss Helena (Mum). But I didn’t just describe what she looked like. I also wrote in detail about her moods and what life was like for my dad and I when she was manic and when she was depressed.

It is an insightful look into a child’s mind and how a little girl views her life with a bipolar parent. You can tell that I am aware that my mother has manic depression but what is interesting is that I don’t seem to fear her moods. By the mid-Eighties bipolar was a normal part of my life. Mummy had her breakdown and was hospitalised when I was five. I was sent to live with my grandparents in New Jersey and returned to the UK after a year. I was a precocious child so there is no way the adults in my life hid my mother’s illness from me.

The second part of my essay about my mother.

Below is a typed version of my essay. I have corrected the childish spelling mistakes. (If you want to see the unedited original have a look at the accompanying pictures.)

As Mother’s Day is celebrated in the West Indies and the US I want to remind all bipolar parents that their children are resilient. Talk to them. Be honest about your condition. (Make it age appropriate of course.) But rest assured that once they understand why Mummy or Daddy has “funny moods” they will learn to cope with it and they won’t love you any less.

That is not to say that when my mother was in the midst of her nervous breakdown in 1981 I wasn’t afraid of the disorder that surrounded me. No little child will feel secure with his or her mother ranting, raving and swearing, especially when that mother is usually so kind and gentle. What it means is that children are smarter than you think and clearly at nine-years-old I was smart enough to know that, yes, Mummy can be moody, but she is my mummy and I love her whether she is high, low or in between.

M x

Factual Description of My Mummy

My mummy is beautiful so first of all I will describe her beauty.

My mummy looks half-caste but she is not. My mummy has red, black, brown, gold and grey hair. (I have the red and black, brown and grey hair bit.)

My mummy has brown eyes and a flat nose, with lovely, lovely soft lips. My mummy is between slim and fat. My mummy is beautiful in my eyes because beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Secondly, I will describe my mum’s kindness. My mum is very kind because she loves me, buys me clothes every day and has sent me to such a nice school with such nice teachers. My mum’s kindness has made me feel happy even if it has not to you [sic] because kindness is in the heart of the beholder.

Now I will describe my mummy’s moods. My mum has very funny moods. When my mummy is happy she will either cry or dance and sing. When my mummy is sad she either cries or reads her Bible or prays. When my mummy is angry she cries and sometimes goes to sleep.

When my mummy is all these things my daddy and I join in with my mummy and now you can guess her name – Helena L Charles.