When one of my daughters went off to college, we started playing a text game. I texted her a line of lyrics to a song, and she'd text me back another line of lyrics using one of the words in my text.
It was a fun game. We had over 200 texts just in music lyrics. And if we got stuck, people around us were always happy to play, too.
Music is this thing we have in our house. A single word will often cause one or more of us to break into random song before continuing the interrupted conversation.
I loved this game. It kept us connected over the long distance.
This particular child of mine speaks the love language of "Time Spent." None of us knew this until her senior year in college, but she knew she needed time. So while I was existing through post-partum depression, she would come home from wherever she was and insist on my attention to braid her hair. and once she had my attention for that, she'd sit on the step and talk about her day.
Midnight conversations. We've had them for years, from Jr. High until now. To this day she'll call around 11:30pm or later, needing her late night conversation. It's no longer every day. Sometimes it's not even every week. But it is a connection that *she* started years ago, when she refused to let me fade into the background of non-life when I didn't know how to cope.
Today she messaged me and let me know that her roommate is now playing the lyric game with a relative.
I grinned, but was also sad. I joked back that we were trend-setters.
However -- We haven't played the lyric game since April First.
In fact, after my suicide attempt, she wouldn't even speak to me for three weeks.
This is the child who called Rob that night and told him where to go looking for me after she'd calmed down enough to think. This is the child who patiently and not-so-patiently tried to pull me out of bed on bad days.
This is the child who said, "Mom! You were supposed to go get a tattoo! Not try to end everything! You were supposed to call me and we would go get your butterfly!"
So today, while grinning at the fact that we started a fad, I cried a little. She doesn't like to remember why we stopped in the first place. In fact, I think this is the first time she's willingly talked about the text game since April.
There are consequences you cannot control when you make a choice. I made a choice, and broke part of my connection to a child. It may never fully repair.
As this is one of the more visible/tangible connections I have with my children, I am also aware of the broken connections that are not so easy for me to feel/see. Connections I have to make an conscious effort to find and work on.
Mental Illness affects everyone, not just the one with who has it. I am fairly sure that my children and husband must have a much harder time going through life than I do, now that my brain chemistry has decided to play mad scientist.