t I am a therapist. You may not know this. I’m licensed with my state, although I became inactive due to jumping back in to teaching when my boys were starting school. I thought it was the right thing to do…to be home when they were home…to have summers off, to help them with homework.
Early on in my zeal to meet my own needs, I took a job as a college counselor. My boys were 2 & 4, and they had to go to preschool. All day. I look back on this now, and it is the biggest regret of my professional career, and has kept me in the Mommy Hall Of Shame for a long time. That I wanted so much to have the *title*, I sent my 2 year old, in the most critical stage of his development, to be with other people. I was a Play Therapist, and for years had been preaching that the worst time you can leave a child is when he is two years old.
*a disclaimer* I am not bashing myself. Today we had our weekly family meeting, held in the spa: My youngest ran the meeting: “Okay who has a thumbs up? thumbs down? weekly props to another family member? something you want to say to someone?” It’s cool, because my boys can say anything they want during the family meeting and it’s not construed as misbehavior. They get to have their feelings, and I taught them that.
While I was a therapist, I was always doing some of my own work…the theory being that you can’t take clients to their dark place if you are not willing to go to your own. I processed every shred of childhood pain, I dealt with my shame, I moved on. A friend told me today that people often are dragging a suitcase full of their own unresolved shit around with them like a ball and chain, and that sometimes when someone is spewing on me, it’s because their own suitcase is jam packed. I realized that, while I still had my issues…I no longer had a suitcase…that I had figured out a lot of things.
One day I stopped working on my stuff. Stopped dealing with my own feelings, and started sucking it up. I became a teacher, and shelved that therapist person. How did it work out for me? My dysfunctions became clearer, I wanted to drink, I was insanely controlling. The rest of the story was played out one day at a time as my marriage ended. It’s taken 2 years to restore order to my psyche.
Today, as he drove away after visiting the kids, I grieved. A moment for him, but a long time for the girl I used to be…the one who could stay present in the room, who was afraid of nothing…who was honest. Now my satchel is sort of a mess, and I need to find someone to help me restore order to my world.
This week, I get to go back to therapy and find that girl. If she even exists any more.