Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Mind Games: From Left To Write Book Club - January First by Michael Schofield

In all likelihood, despite Connor's current dream of becoming a professional baseball player, he will have a job similar to mine in the future. This job will have nothing to do with his body, and everything to do with his mind. That he seems to grasp math with ease is as much an insurance policy against the future that I can think of a child like him needing. And I am grateful.

Ed and I remark often that Connor and Helen have the whole world in front of them. He and I are lucky to have stable jobs, we have stable housing, they've never missed a meal because food wasn't available. My kids have everything going for them. Most of all, they have a community of people who understand them and who care if they are OK.

The book January First, details several years of living with a child who is severely schizophrenic, only to run into an enormous problem of realizing that no matter how much a parent cares, if there's not a community behind that caring to help figure out answers, it might not be enough. In Jani's case, the child in the book, not even the professionals in institutions can figure it out. It takes a long time to find Jani the community she needs to get her the help she needs to start treating her schizophrenia. It's mind-boggling sad to think about all the hours of her life that could've been made better if a diagnosis and better drugs had come sooner.

But even without the community, Jani had (and still has) something extremely important. She has parents who didn't give up - even though their daughter has no insurance policy against the future. In fact, she is almost guaranteed to face continued struggle.

And I think that someday when my own children are giving me a lot of trouble, I need to remember that giving up just isn't going to make things better, so I might as well give this parenting gig everything I have.

As a member of the From Left to Write book club, I received a free copy of this book. I loved it. I'm sending it to a childhood friend of mine who treats chronically mentally ill adults, including adults with schizophrenia.


  1. I love this line: "I might as well give this parenting gig everything I have."

    I'll have to remind that on those tough days!

  2. You go, mama! Give it your all!

  3. Being a parent is so so hard sometimes. But you're right, we can't give up...as much as we may want to sometimes. We have to move on and up and utilize the community we have helping us out.

  4. Ok, you got me all choked up now.

    "Most of all, they have a community of people who understand them and who care if they are OK."

    THIS. Is what I've always wanted my kids to have -- and what I get up every single day to do for them. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Elaine.

  5. I love that "give this parenting gig everything I have."

  6. Thanks for the book recommendation! I'll check it out... and pass it on to friends.

  7. I love the reminder that my kids are lucky to have parents with stable jobs, food on the table, stable housing, and an education that will hopefully ensure their futures. Those little things are hard to appreciate, but make all the difference.

  8. There have been times in this parenting journey when I have had to rely heavily on our community of support. I believe everyone needs that!

  9. I was following Michael's blog for a long time. It struck me that schizophrenia and autism have a lot of similarities at least in external manifestations. I haven't been to his site recently--thanks for reminding me.