No on was going to hurt Marina. NO ONE. Except Rachel herself, diagnosed with bipolar disorder-a condition Marina would face too.
This is the story of a tumultuous relationship seeded in pure love. And it's about evolution.
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.65(d)|
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“Marina, I asked you three times nicely to clean your room!” I said. I injected plenty of attitude into “nicely.”
We were at it again, this time over the balled up clothes, water bottles, and sticky wrappers everywhere. She wouldn't budge. I dragged the vacuum into her room.
“Come on. Let's go!”
She didn't look up from her magazine, so I plunked my upright Hoover closer to her, grabbed her hands, and wrapped them around the handle. She knocked it over and stormed into the hall, with me on her heels.
“Why are you so damn lazy? You live like trailer trash!” I fumed, not hearing what I would have pegged as nasty and bigoted if someone else was screaming it.
Marina spun around. “Stop! Stop, or I'll take you down the stairs!”
I froze in place, fixed on her hardened face and her once tiny body, now bulky from the meds. I realized she could do it. She could take me down the stairs if she wanted. Not until then had the thought of Marina hurting me crossed my mind. Not for a second could I have pictured it. I'd seen her angry, but never enraged like this, screaming with her fists clenched.
I wondered where my little girl was. The one with the pixie cut who let me hold her hand crossing the street. My good-natured “Pippster” who accepted my excessive hugs and kisses into early puberty. The sweet child who just last year smiled and told me, “When you dropped off my lunch today, my friend asked if you were my mom. She said you're pretty.”
I was losing her. No, I had lost her.
It's that time of year again, and the e-mails are funneling in from my college friends, letting everyone know if and when they're coming camping. Of course, everyone would be there; nobody's missed this long-standing tradition in twenty years. But they're elaborating on their itinerary. The details were always about their kidstheir gifted and talented offspring whose busy lives dictated when mom and dad could break away.
Janet and Dave would be late because their varsity quarterback, Bill, was playing in the state championship. And Steve and Marge were cutting out early because Karen was speaking at the National Honor Society conference, "again!"
Normally I was up for rendezvousing with the college clique, knowing moms will be moms. We're bred to bear children, then talk up their stellar qualities. But this year I was relieved that we'd be at a family reunion. I wouldn't have to sit mute around the fire pit listening to the women, wishing I was with the guys, playing quarters at the local watering hole where they've been detailed to pick up pizzas. The past few years, it's harder to sit through.
I closed out of the long e-mail thread and traipsed into the family room.
“Hey, Paul, did you ever notice that most of the gang doesn't ask about Marina? Do you think it's just that they don't think to? Or do you figure they feel kinda skiddish?”
“Probably a little of both,” he said. “Maybe they aren't sure we're comfortable talking about it, and it's easiest to just not bring it up.”
“Yeah, if you've never experienced it, it's probably hard to know what to think. Damned mental illness stigma. I wonder if they picture her jumping up and down and peeing in corners, or maybe pacing around a padded room.”
Paul kicked open the foot rest on his Lazy Boy, stretched out his ankles and grinned. “Maybe this Christmas we should send a card like the ones we get from our friends, highlighting their kids' accomplishments. Only we could spin something wild, like, 'Well, Marina's in jail again. But there's a silver liningshe's in detox, and this time she's cleaning up for good; we just know it. Meanwhile, her kids are in great foster-care homes while she does her time in the big house. Oh, she has four of them now.'”
I climbed into his lap, straddling him; now I'm smiling too. And I'm okay with just listening at the next get together when the Mommy talk starts. But as I passed the rolls around the dinner table, I had to get in a plug about how blow-me-away-creative my girl is. I'm tempted to slide in how insightful beyond her years she is, and how all she's been through has made her that way. But I put a lid on it, because I don't want to hear the voice inside me saying “Hey, fathat, now look who's bragging.” And I wonder how much anyone on the outside can understand.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Reviewed by Joy H. for Readers Favorite "Hopping Roller Coasters" starts with Rachel being diagnosed with cancer, but the story goes back in time, where a bipolar Rachel falls in love with her daughter, Marina, a small bundle of pink weighing three pounds. "Hopping Roller Coasters" takes readers on a journey from the beginning of Marina’s life through the times of Rachel being diagnosed with cancer, and their years after. Though Rachel failed many times as a mom, she was also there for Marina all during her life, standing up to teachers, doctors, hospitals, institutions, and any others along the way. For me, this book was sometimes very difficult to read, because of the situations Rachel and Marina found themselves in. It was sometimes very heartbreaking and touching. I appreciate the author's bravery and honesty in telling her story. It might have taken a lot of courage and just plain guts on her part to be so real in the situations that took place. Readers can clearly see the love and determination between this mother and daughter. I feel Rachel Pappas will help readers so much because her story is real and honest, lived by her, and readers in the same situation will identify with her and believe her. Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Rachel and Marina’s story. The strength and support that Marina shows to her mom was heartwarming and moving. Rachel clearly shows that the struggles, difficulties, illnesses, heartbreaks and heartaches, didn’t tear them down, but gave them a strength and courage and a love for each other that they probably wouldn’t have known otherwise. I highly recommend Rachel Pappas’s “Hopping Roller Coasters” to anyone. This is a book that can be of help and benefit to anyone who reads it. And I hope to read more from this wonderful family.