Time and Energy @ 2:00 a.m.

I keep getting asked the same questions asked of me:   Where do I find my strength?  What do I plan to do to continue Amanda’s legacy?  Am I eating?  Am I sleeping?  Are you going back to work soon?

And I continue to have no real answers.  I live day by day doing what I need to do for Amanda and the message I think she put out there.  I don’t even know if I am doing it right.  I don’t know if I am saying the right things.  I just know that I am doing something that needs to be done.  There are so many kids and parents out there that are needing help.   From some of the conversations I have been having with parents from the west coast to the east coast of Canada, it seems that bullying/harassment is going alongside mental health problems.  What comes first – the bullying or the mental health problems? Or is there a predisposition?  Each case is different and each child is different , being their own individual person (like a snowflake dancing in the winter wonderland).  I can’t help but feel for the parents right now (at this very moment) who are sleepless and worrying about their child (or children).  Their anxieties and fears are so real.  Their emotions are raw.  And they tell their friends who also have kids.  But (sad to say), no one really understands how it feels to have a ultra-sad child who feels utterly helpless and wants to do things to themselves which may have potential fatal outcomes, unless that parent has been there in some capacity.   I understand, I was there not too long ago.

This past summer, Amanda attempted to self harm herself.  She didn’t succeed because she called me and she got the help she needed in time.  But I can say that even though she promised not to do it again, I was a basket case all summer.  I spent my time making sure that there was someone to watch over her.  I checked in with her all the time.  Weekends were spent at home so that she wouldn’t be alone and feeling abandoned.  As much as I wanted everyone to lead a more normalized life, it was very hard to.  Near the end of summer, as Amanda felt more comfortable to go out, I eased up and began to feel more comfortable. That’s not to say that I didn’t text her all the time.  I didn’t text her to ask how she was.  I found out she was okay when I asked if she wanted ice cream or candy or McDonald’s (when I was out). I checked her Facebook posts to make sure she was okay.  It sucked the life out of me but I kept on going.  September was another month that took lots of energy.  The going back and forth to the hospital.  Being a full time working mom took its toll.  I had a sort of new job.  But…  I was exhausted.  I was stressed.  I was worried.  Nothing in my life could have ever prepared me for this.  There was no more Mel next door to my office to talk with everyday to get my daily dose of advice. I did find others to talk to for therapy.  But Amanda was better and I felt we were going down a good path.  Until…

It is hard to be a parent in today’s life.  We believe that kids have it easier than we did and our kids think we have it easy as parents.  (After all, the money just comes out of those little cards we put into the debit machines, right mom.)  A story shared about Amanda at one of the memorial services was the story of the lemonade stand.  Amanda and all the neighbourhood girls would be so entrepreneurial.  They gathered lemonade crystals, cups, ice, tables, chairs and of course, the container (with a lid) for the money.  Then they would move themselves onto a ‘high traffic area’ of our neighbourhood so that people would buy their lemonade.  Never mind that the ice always melted and Amanda always volunteered our ice because we had an automatic ice maker attached to our fridge.  Well Amanda thought this was the best business.  They didn’t have to pay for any of their ingredients and they got to keep all their money – of course divided up by however many girls decided to help and sit out selling their drinks.  There were times when all my cookies disappeared out of my cupboard also.  I think they sold the cookies plus any candies that didn’t melt in the sun.  Oh the life of a child ….

Raising kids in this 21st century will be a challenge with the advent and ever changing world of technology.  Even though we keep reminding our kids about how to use it properly with the ‘safe internet’ lecture, I don’t really think they all hear us.  Yes they nod and agree.  But then they turn around and continue to take pictures of themselves by the hundreds (eg – pose and snap).  They send pictures of each other.  They give cell phone numbers away.  It’s no wonder that the % of kids out there have a higher degree of anxiety.  They continually worry about who will or won’t call or text them.  They want the clothes that will make them noticed.  Their hair and nails need to be done.  As you can gather, I am talking about the girl children some of us have.  Boy, the girls sure work hard at trying to fit it.  And then sometimes, it backfires.  Body image, what to say and do, how they wear their clothes…  it is all a part of it.  Putting your self together is a big job for a teenager everyday.  Then add school work on top of that, especially in the higher grades.  Now try to say ‘hello, how are you?’ to this particular teenager.  Ackkk…..

Bullying, attitudes, anxieties and depressive states won’t all go away on their own.  We have to help them along.  I thank everyone and admire those out there who are taking the time to  administrator a Facebook site,  helped gather links to articles,  keeping Amanda’s memory positive and helping me to save my blogs so I can post them somewhere else and be archived.    I think I said this last night too.  It is getting hard to write at night because I am soooo tired.

I am going to put this to sleep and then I’m going to bed.  Maybe not to hear my ‘big teddy bear’ breathe loudly but at least to rest my brain which feels really heavy by the end of the night.  I am no longer worrying about Amanda in a fearful way.  I worry now about how I can keep her legacy alive and ongoing.  My message to the friends I know and to those I don’t, please help me in keeping the bonfire sparked and glowing.  We can all work together to make the SNOWBALL bigger.

Happy Wednesday!!!

Love Carol xoxo

 

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About Carol Todd

Being the mother of Amanda Todd has lead me on this journey shortly after Amanda's death on October 10, 2012. Amanda's prolific You Tube video has been viewed over 33 million times. Through this video, there has been an increased awareness about cyberbullying, social media safety and mental health. www.amandatoddlegacy.org
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3 Responses to Time and Energy @ 2:00 a.m.

  1. merle says:

    Predisposition to mental health problems I believe is the beginning. What one person manages to “brush” off, another will take to heart, and it will engulf their very soul. We are all wired differently as you said. I think it’s very important to NEVER forget what our own teen years were like. They say, “Be a Mother, not a friend to your child…I believe we can be both, and to better understand the “wiring” of a teenage mind, we must REMEMBER how we felt. Sometimes nothing will help…they just have to work it out themselves, that is the hardest part to allow… for me as a parent. Please keep writing…it’s so theraputic even if you don’t yet realize it. Everything you said in this blog is true, and you speak your mind very well. I imagine your relationship with Amanda was similar to mine with my teenage
    daughter…exasperating at times, but so joyful sometimes also. I remember once having a falling out with my then 17 year-old daughter, and she with a mind of her own, defied me… and my threats to keep her home didn’t work. I started screaming like I never did before…sounded like a nervous breakdown…only to realize that she was ME so many years ago! I realized why I was so upset, because I had to deal with ME! Needless to say, it was very enlightening…maybe karma? Thank you for your blogs Carol. They are important.

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  2. Tristan says:

    Very nice blog you have written here. This is obviously just total honesty and directly from the heart. I know what i went through as a teen, and now as i parent of a two and a half year old i have some challenging times ahead of me. I can only do the best i can to prepare myself also knowing that there will me many unexpected circumstances that i will not be prepared for, and can only take them on as they happen. It frightens me to think about my teenage years and the things ive done and gotten away with and stuff that had happened to me and nearly surviving a lot of the insanity that surrounded my life being a teen. Knowing that my son will probably be doing and going through a lot of the same things and experiences that i went through growing up but on a different level is really scary to think about. All of the times i would say to myself “man, that was a close one!” or “wont do that again!” all still lies in the path of my son to go through. Im 29 today, just ten years ago i was still a teen and in ten years from now i will be a parent of a teen. I often wonder and think about ” Is it harder to be a teenager? or is it harder to be a parent of a teenager in this wild world?” I guess it will all depend on how we grow, learn, teach and raise our kids and how we go about taking on the difficult situations and challenges that lay ahead of us. Time will tell,,,
    I remember the times i would self harm as a teen and scare the living daylights out of my parents for doing such things just to prove a point or express myself in a way to show them how unhappy i was with my life and merely putting the blame on them for the way i had turned out. I think back to those times, and have a hard time believing that i would actually do such things to my mom and what i put her through and how awful i was being a teen and the way i treated my parents. I can never apologize to my mom for the way i treated her back then as she is no longer with us due to cancer, and i will forever feel guilt and shame for all i put her through. I wish i had the chance to say im sorry,,,
    I know there was absolutely nothing easy about what you were going through in the last few months with Amanda. Its nearly impossible to be prepared for these kinds of circumstances and to try to figure out whats the right or wrong things to do or not to do as no one really knows until they happen. I think you’ve done the best anyone possibly could of done and even more,,, It really shows how strong you are as a parent and nobody could of taken all that on and done any better. Im gathering and learning lots of parenting skills and tools through your blogs and your words of wisdom are very helpful and inspiring to me. I appreciate all of it and i thank you for that. Just loved the part about Amanda and the disappearing cookies,,, had a pretty good chuckle about that,,,, -Tristan

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  3. Paul Klarich says:

    Hi Carol-Love the part of “The Case of the missing Cookies”.Maybe when business was slow they decided to eat the profits…”Paul from the Pier”..

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