Disturbing Self Portrait
I think it might be important for me to think about my past and try and discover why I am having such a difficult time thinking about my kids leaving home. I am propped on my couch, head on a soft white pillow, typing away.
I have become my own personal shrink! And boy do I need to get shrunk.
My Dad died when I was 19-years-old. So, my flying the coop thing didn't work out like normal people. I think looking in from my perspective now, as the aging parent, I worry that life will come to an abrupt end as my kids grow up. "Interesting!" The pretend therapist sitting in the chair opposite me says, "Go on."
I think that when my kids do leave I will be left a little old lady who clings to her children's visits and phone calls and has no life of her own. My bones will ache and my life will be filled with the dreaded doctor appointments that will determine if I live or die.
"And why do you think such macabre thoughts?" my imaginary shrink asks.
I think that my kids are the only thing keeping me vital. I see myself barely getting out of bed, not knowing how to fill my days, and nothing feeling quite right.
"Sounds like you are worried you will become depressed," my fake shrink suggests.
Yes. I am afraid of that. Because I don't have any role models to aline myself with. I need successful role models. I need to know people who rediscovered incredible passion and creativity later in life. Do you know that I can't even get a flu vaccine up my nose using the mist stuff? I am too old. If you are past 49 they don't recommend this because of our compromised immune system. My best friend of 45 years had a small stroke last week. She is the most vital of all my friends, fit as a fiddle and gorgeous and on Friday she has to visit the stroke center for a consultation with her Doctor. She is brave. I am not!
And I can't stand to say good bye. It is impossible for me. It has been since my Dad died.
"Well that's very understandable," my therapist says rubbing his imaginary beard.
Do you know I dated a guy after my Dad died. My Dad had known him. So, I felt like there was a connection there. So I dated him for almost nine years. And I don't think we ever broke up. I moved to NYC and he moved to DC and we continued to date until one day we didn't. Do you think he knows by now that we are broken up?
"He probably realizes this, since you are now married and have two children. But it is odd that you never broke up."
It was just too difficult. And I never thought anyone would ever love me again. I really thought that if we would split I would never find my true love. And I did! But before I did I had a great time with my girlfriends, some incredibly funny blind dates that I will share with you on my next session, and then miraculously I found Tom. It worked out better than I hoped.
"Is there a possibility that old age will work out for you too?" My sly therapist asks almost rhetorically.
I am too afraid to think that it might.
"That was a good start for the day, Terry. But we have much work to do. You might want to come four times a week for the rest of your life!"
Am I that F- - - - - - up?
He doesn't answer. Our fifty minutes are over. I pay him $175.00 in monopoly money and leave. (I have to get breakfast for Kyle and drive him to school) Instantly I remember a real therapist I had in NYC a long time ago. The only thing of value she told me then was that therapists in New York charge according to the cost of a slice of pizza. They just add a couple extra zeros. I guess pizza is up to $1.75 a slice now.
I feel better already.
Thanks for listening.