Thursday, July 12, 2007

A Therapist’s Dream

A great wave of contentment overcame me as I watched Rosa and her granddaughter play in the park this morning from a distance. I sat at a sun-drenched picnic table watching on like a hapless bystander while adding to the freckle count upon my fair skin. I do not have much experience with children as an adult. I am actually scared of kids and worry that I may scare them as well. I then turned around in my seat to watch the throng of Vietnamese immigrants fishing on the riverbank for carp which fascinated me. I don't see how they can eat those overly bony fish was the most pressing thought on my mind at the time, dividing my attention between them and Rosa and her granddaughter.

I often brag to my father about the lucidity with which I avoided children. My mother, also a schizophrenic, put us through hell as children with violence, mania, and general chaos and emotional abuse. She didn't regain her sanity until I was a grown man and she found doctors and medications that helped. I vowed to stop the cycle that had gone on for generations. I knew from an early age that I would make a piss poor parent. I have a hard enough time trying to keep my little world in order let alone the world of another small being dependent upon me as did my mother before me.

On the drive home, Rosa turned to me and looked long and hard as if she was going to say something. I was concentrating on driving and was also deep in thought about little dependent humans in general. I broke my silence and turned to Rosa to tell her I was sorry in an effort to read her mind about what she was going to say. I just knew she was going to say something about my aloofness at the park.

"Sorry for what?" Rosa asked, looking befuddled.

"Sorry for not being better with kids."

Rosa laughed and reached for my hand.

"You remind me of my father when he was a young man," Rosa said. "I barely remember him, but he always seemed so at unease around me."

"Kids get my social anxieties going," I replied. "I feel like I have to perform – have to set an example. I am a poor example."

Rosa scolded me for being so self deprecating.

"The main thing is just to love them," she said of children. "That is what kids want most."

I nodded my head in agreement thinking of my own childhood and the constant search for my mother's sanity and her lost affection. I wanted to just cry deep, long, and hard, but kept it together long enough to take Rosa and child home. I realized I could never remember my mother hugging me or holding me as a youngster. I still find myself searching for that affection I never got from her. Even as a grown man, I want to sob like a small, scolded adolescent over it and the deeply guarded resentment it fosters. Good thing I am in therapy. I will keep my therapist busy for years.


rfp said...

None of my abusive mom's 3 kids are having kids, either. That's one way to break the cycle, huh?

Portia said...

this is a wonderful post. each to his own journey, andrew. marriage and kids are certainly not for everybody and there's not a thing wrong with that.

C. R. Morris said...

I have six kids, and I can deal with my own six kids... the problem comes when I have to deal with other people's kids. I feel the same as you.. like I have to perform... and I'm scared to approach them.. scared to push myself on them like I see others do. The kids that like me usually have some shyness issues and phobias. I guess I just get them so I can relate and get on their level better. But I do find myself avoiding other kids 99.9% of the time.


I understand how you feel.
What a wonderful heartfelt post.
I really enjoyed reading it.
your hoesty always moves me.


whoops, I mean Honesty..


Great i stopped by,Very interesting.I am a Prince in my own right.Am I being head-nude?

Eric said...

What I appreciate so much about your blog is your honesty. You express you, all of you, ok, Ia sure there are parts of you that remain private, but for the most part, you don't put on airs or hide from who you are. May I aspire to do likewise.

justLacey said...

I love my own kids, but i don't for the most part like other people's children. People laugh when I say that. I feel uneasy around most of them and usually their behavior (which their parents allow) is annoying. There have been a few I haven't felt this way about, but I think it has more to do with their own reaction to me and making me feel at ease.
My parents have never been overly affectionate. I always knew they loved me, but it's only in the last several years I have realized how uninvolved with my life they were. Thankfully, I had a wonderful grandmother that did all those things. I think it's why I never noticed until after she passed away when I was in my 30's. I miss her often, more so since my mother has become ill and distanced herself from me. I talk too much.

Josie Two Shoes said...

We all mourn nurturing we didn't receive as a child, Andrew. At 53 years of age, I sometimes do too. What I love about you is that you realize your mother had serious issues that prevented her from being the mother she should have been. I am betting that deep down she loved you, and still does - just was unable to get that side of her out then. You are wise to have thought thru being a parent yourself - if the time comes when you feel ready, you will know it. Too many people make babies with abandon and no thought of how difficult it is to raise them. You are such a good friend to Rosa, and taking her and her granddaughter to the park was just one example. That is love, my friend!

CJM-R said...

I enjoy your writing style and your honesty. Thanks for sharing.

Anonymous said...

I grew up with a mother who had schizophrenia, too. Actually, I think her illness lies somewhere between schizophrenia and manic-depressive disorder. Unfortunately, none of the medications the doctors had her on ever did her much good. I think she had a period of 3 years where she actually felt great and lived a good life.

I try to remind my two sisters what she was like before the mental illness hit her in 1974. I remember a brilliant mother, who sewed our clothing and we all matched. She was like having Jackie O or Lady Bird Johnson for a mother - she was that meticulous in her love for us and teaching us manners, etc.

I now deal with my own social anxieties. I never know what real truth is, and I have been dealing with an anxiety-depression disorder since I was 22 years old. I am on medication and only tell my very best friend about my ordeals.

One day at a time my friend...Take care, A Single Mom

Anonymous said...

Hi there,

I seem to have stumbled upon your blog and being a true believer that all things happen for a reason I deciced to read it. What a wonderful expression of your life`s ups and downs. This my friend is your therapy...perhaps your therapist should be paying This is so beautiful and honest. It has truly touched me...Take care. T