So we (Courtney, Rian (twin A), and myself) are sitting here waiting for Tyler to have a therapy session. We are trying out the fit on a new family therapist. She has some big shoes to fill, Fran was one of a kind. We were all reading, but then I had a moment of inspiration.
Recently we had to have our furnace replaced and last night Courtney and I walked up to the home of the neighbor who did the job. We were taking him the second half of a very large payment, ouch. Anyway I often think how lucky one is to be able to be in a profession that they can benefit by cutting the costs in their own lives. So for example: a plumber’s family never has to worry about that aspect of home ownership. And then there are those real handy people (typically in my experience men) who seem to be able to fix anything in the home. Those are the ones I admire the most. I am in fact so interested in trying to be more efficient financially I would almost trade in my true sexuality for such a man. Just kidding sweetie. But seriously it seems so unfair that I can’t fix all of the hurts and issues that currently plague our home. Why can’t we take advantage of low cost, free really… in home therapy?
I mean I am sure we benefit from all the “family meetings” that my kids adore so much. They probably wish they had those normal parents that do what they are supposed to, but are careful not to venture into unknown territory. Afraid to shake up the system by having difficult conversations. Folks difficult conversations are the cornerstones of growth.
Things have been hard in our home lately. Resentments have been built between my children and currently they are holding onto anger in their hearts, and forgetting the true value in one another. And all the family meetings in the world don’t seem to be fixing it, because since I am Mom (and when I’m a therapist it’s annoying;)) I am rendered useless except when it comes to rides and money. Oh and cooking and cleaning.
I worry a little extra when this happens. This is because my Mom and my Aunt never grew up. They never evolved and I have watched their lives unfold; it appears quite unhappy from the great distance of safety I keep between us. Across that great divide I see lonely and sad women who spent their life hating one another. They never gave in. Never relented in holding the other in the absolute worst regard possible. My Mom was “the welfare bitch” who got everything handed to her, for what… having a child out of wedlock and tarnishing the family? And my Aunt was “a lonely cat lady who nobody wanted”. Every Christmas was the worst affair you can imagine. It has taken me a long time to create my own magic to holidays and leave the past behind.
I remember my grandparents having to carefully select just the right amount of gifts at the same value for each so no trouble occurred and they would still find something to fight about. My Aunt actually stayed living with my grandparents until her late 30’s at least I believe as a statement that if my Mom was going to get support she deserved it too. Would a person really stunt their own life’s growth as a means to stick it to “whomever”, their parents I guess or each other? She stayed and fought for her equal right to a place in the support of her parents.
These two used to take me off the shelf like a porcelain doll, except nobody was gentle with me. Random memory: My grandma collected porcelain dolls, they were creepy. Anyway if my Mom wanted to play Mom for a day she would entice me with some event making it sound fun, but it was always in her interest, it was not about spending time with me. If my aunt wanted to take me out, she was lonely and looking for companionship. She seemed to mean well and did try to take me to do nice things, but usually not without a few comments about my Mother along the way. And also without considering anything about what’s appropriate for a child. On one particular outing she took to see Silence of the Lambs, I was eleven. I also was highly sensitive (way before I knew what that was), and slept on my grandmas floor for months. Still to this day would probably never be able to help someone broken down on the side of the road.
This doesn’t mean I don’t have good memories of them, and this is the most confusing part. But for any nice or fun thing they did, their behavior along the way was so uncomfortable, and the way they treated each other so frustrating, the costs outweighed the benefits by far. I was a puppy begging to be loved, rambunctious and wild. I was outspoken and as soon as I found my own voice and stood up for myself, they didn’t like spending time with me much anymore. But not before my childhood was filled with uncertainty and chaos.
I lived above a bar called Hog Heaven once. The owner’s name was Paul, and he had a white pit bull named ice man. As a side note: I believe that relationship ended by her kicking him in the balls and throwing his engagement ring out into the grass (I’ve heard tell he’s still looking for it). They brought me Shirley temples and beef jerky for dinner. I thought it was great for a day or two, then I begged to be back in the safety of my grandparents arms. I was a novelty item, that nobody could quite figure out. But everyone was willing to lean on if I was willing to bare the brunt, and I usually am. I have always been strong. Sometimes I think it’s the best thing I know how to do, and some of the other important things like being soft and gentle, they don’t come as easily. Thankfully my partner now compliments me quite well in that way. And also I have learned we are not meant to be everything to everyone. We are a piece to fit together with other pieces to make the whole. Or at least with regard to taking on a gigantic task like parenting.
So here I sit in humble waiting in the therapist office as a woman we have just met replaces some of the nurturing parts for him that I couldn’t yet find in my youth, perhaps I never will. But the good news is I have found a way for that to be ok. As this woman helps my son know he no longer needs to be worried about his mother because I have travelled worlds away from whence I came. And because I heal daily alongside the other wounded and searching, and that is the best decision I ever made. My career constantly grows me and holds me accountable.
Journey on warriors, you never know what is around the next bend. There are always moments to appreciate, even when there is also much struggle. I still remember those delicious virgin drinks from “Hog Heaven” and Paul and iceman, and the way it felt to ride in my mom’s 84 Pontiac Firebird listening to loud rock music, the wind in our hair. A far cry from the grandparents church hymns. My mother was a mad woman, but to that little girl at that time she looked exciting and full of life. My childhood was eclectic and it carried lots and lots of lessons. I’m hoping to turn them into stories and to re-experience it in a new way as I do. I can write about it now because it no longer haunts me how it used to.
Anyway the hour is up, his therapy, and mine (writing) as well. Our reward is Bella Napoli Pizza and some much needed family relax time. Minus twin B who is studiously working on a project this evening and will be greatly missed.
Enjoy the little things…. every little thing…
P.s believe it or not these are not the twins! They look more like twins though 😉