At The Therapist’s Office
I sat in the waiting room of the therapist’s office while she escorted Gleek back to get set up. For a moment it was just me, a pair of couches, and a television which was off. The emptiness of the space felt peaceful to me, but in a moment the therapist would be back to ask me how things are going. She likes to check in with me before spending the bulk of the hour with Gleek. I wasn’t sure what to tell her because my head felt like a storage unit packed full of furniture. I knew there were thoughts about Gleek in there somewhere, but I was going to have to pull some other stuff out before I could get at them.
I ended up speaking a lot more about Link than about Gleek, because thoughts of Link were in the front of my brain. He was the one who’d just finished a really rough week. I know it could have been much worse, but I still felt a little heartsick and helpless at times. That is part of the experience of parenting. There are times when I want to help, but I can’t or I shouldn’t. Sometimes it takes all my strength to not interfere. I met with a school administrator about Link last week. She asked how he’s doing academically. Glancing at his grades, he’s fine, better than he has been in years. Only, I’m having to work really hard at making sure that he’s tracking all his things and I feel like I’m always telling him to do things he’d rather ignore. This too is part of parenting.
The therapist was kind and listened to all the things I had to say, which is her job. Some other trip I’ll have thoughts about Gleek to share. Right now we’re all still getting to know each other, the therapist and I. Perhaps listening to me talk about a different child is actually helpful for her to form a picture of how our family works. Even if it is not helpful to her, it was helpful to me. I could have rattled on for a lot longer. I didn’t though, because I felt wary of using up time that belonged to Gleek. These are her therapy sessions, not mine. Gleek likes this therapist. The office has a sand table and a room full of story props, so Gleek can tell stories. The therapist learns something from these stories, because after this session she sent Gleek home with some things to work on. Mostly being calmer and slower. Over time we’ll establish a familiarity with therapy and hopefully Gleek will gather tools she can use for the rest of her life.
The waiting room was empty while I waited for Gleek. No other clients came in while we were there, so I was spared from looking at some other child and pondering why this young one was so troubled as to need therapeutic intervention. There was no other parent there to look at my daughter and wonder the same thing. Years ago I wrote in a blog entry that I never wanted to be the reason that Gleek needed therapy. Now I drive her to her appointments. The fact that I’m not the right person to help her untangle some emotional things does not mean that I caused those things. It is not my fault even though Freud instilled the field of psychology with a strong impulse to look to the parents, particularly the mother, when a child is struggling. I tell myself these things, trying to make peace, trying to make all of this routine–just a thing we do. But the truth is that sometimes I blame me. Deep in my heart I count the things I could have done differently. I map the paths I maybe should have chosen. I know the things I feel I ought to have handled better. Taking my child to a therapist forces me to confront all of that and deal with it. Which is also a good thing. Good is not the same as easy.
Things are good right now, and they’re aimed at better.
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