My Three Little Atheists

three sticks

It’s birthday time around our house. One kid in April, two in May, I’m in June, and husband in July. Throw Mother’s Day, wedding anniversary, and Father’s Day in there and you get quite a food and cake fest. (And my last post was on dieting!)

Anyway, all of these events got me to thinking about my kids. I’ve been back to reading a lot of bipolar people’s posts. And the young ones are worried about carving out a decent life for themselves. They worry about having kids and a marriage. I don’t blame them. Mental illness is tricky. But I am here to say it can be done. I think my kids turned out pretty darned good.

This is one of those annoying braggy parent posts. Sort of like those Christmas newsletters you get? Where everyone’s kid was admitted to Harvard?

If you’re wondering about my kids and atheism, it’s a little bit of a joke. My kids were raised in the church…baptized, confirmed, and the whole bit. But none of them like church now. My youngest calls it brainwashing. My oldest prefers to sleep in. And my middle child works on Sunday. (Not that he would go anyway.)

But I do round them up for Christmas Eve and Easter. They go rather unwillingly but they do it. And I know if I ever couldn’t get there, one of them would take me to church. So they’re not too bad. But over the last ten years or so, they have been all sorts of things. Including atheists. I’m not sure they even know what that all entails, but I think they also say it to get a rise out of me. I really don’t care. As long as they are mannerly and good to people, I figure that is close enough to church. I’d like to see them give back more, but they are pretty busy right now, so I give them a pass. But as I looked down the pew last Christmas Eve, I called them (in my mind) my “three little atheists”.

Obviously, I love all my kids, but this is what I like about them. So here’s a bit of an update on how the kids are doing:

Rachel is my oldest and turns 27 this week. She still lives at home. I think we’re going to have to kick her out with a pitchfork. The good news is that she went to college, got her Masters, and teaches school. She teaches kids with behavior problems. She is the last stop in the district between the regular classroom and being farmed out to some city wide discipline school. The district has to pay for the special school, so they love Rachel. If she can keep the kids, the district saves a ton of money.

The negative on this is that they spit, bite, pull hair, and throw things. She has thirteen first and second graders and 2 assistants. She’s had a broken toe.

What do I like about Rachel? She looks good. She always has great make-up and stylish clothes on. She has a great figure. She’s objective enough to be tough with her school  kids. She is very picky about men. (Probably because her dad has spoiled her.) She was able to get a graduate degree.

Rachel has been diagnosed with bipolar. She had some bad times around seventeen, but we were able to get her on the right meds. Now she takes care of her own mental health and sees a psychiatrist. I don’t worry about her mental health wise. The meds are good and keep her happy and functional.  She has a great and very dry sense of humor. She still is very focused on herself, but that is starting to turn a bit. She is not a cook, but always says “thanks” for dinner. My husband loves that she pays $300 a month in rent. But frankly, why not? She has a good job.

David is my middle child. He turns 24 in two weeks. He’s a great kid. He’s tall, and in my opinion, good looking. I have a lot of emotion invested in this kid. Part of that is because he moved out at 18 so he’s not around the house. However, he comes over every Sunday night for dinner and to hang out. No girlfriend yet, so I know that may change.

David is the kind of kid that will do anything for you. I’ve actually burdened him with some of my depression (which was wrong), but it seemed to roll off his back. He said “Mom, it always gets better.”

Now David can be stubborn. He preferred to move out of the house rather than follow his Dad’s rule of “no pot”. But he has supported himself. We have not helped one bit. He works at a flag and sports store. And he saves his money. Very frugal. (He did not get that from his Mom.)

David is easily the brainiest of my three but he is also the laziest. He dropped out of community college after two years to “find himself”. His dad told him to look in the mirror. After much pleading and whining on my part, he went back to the university and is graduating in December. (Oops, when I said he supported himself, I did not include college. We pay the tuition.) In spite of himself, David has made the Dean’s list for three semesters in a row. His degree is in Communications with a Global Emphasis. I have no idea in hell what you do with that but it’s a degree.

Danny is the youngest. I wrote an entire post about him here. He’s off to the university this fall. He has changed his major to Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences. I’m not sure what that is either, but it is a degree. And that’s the bottom line for me.

So if you’re a young person with bipolar, it can happen if you want it to. My advice:

1) stay on your meds

2) continue ALWAYS to see a psych

3) look for a spouse who is caring…don’t worry overly much about looks. Those pass.

4) keep plowing ahead…you will have lots of stable times and can get a lot done then.

hugs to you,


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