“Please, sit down,” she said, as I walked into her office. Tastefully decorated– it was comfortable, yet professional. I imagined her telling the designer, “I want my patients to feel like they can relax, yet still recognize that I’m here as their doctor, not their mother.”
That part made me smile–not because it was funny, but because it would be difficult for anyone (especially a man) to look at her as a mother figure. Few mothers I knew looked like her. But I was getting distracted, and at the rates I was paying, I couldn’t afford that. If I wanted to get my fantasy kicks off, there was always the Internet.
There were two seating options for…um…patients; an overstuffed leather chair, and a similarly classic leather half sofa–the kind of thing you traditionally see in therapists offices. Since I’m not “there” yet, I opted for the chair, eschewing the ottoman that was off to the right–positioned more for looks I imagined than actual use.
“So Chris, please tell me what brings you to my office?” she opened.
“Well,” I began, “I’m not sure really. Nothing you can put a finger on really. But I suppose if I had to sum it up, I would say that I’m just generally dissatisfied with…”things.”
She didn’t have a notebook, but the way she held her hands and the tilt of her head led me to believe that nothing I would say there would be forgotten and for just a moment, I wondered if in fact, we were being recorded. Though I was pretty sure you needed permission of the other party to do that.
“What kinds of things?” she asked.
I chuckled quietly and half-muttered, “Everything.”
My usually contagious, self-deprecating charm didn’t appear to affect her and instead of warming to me, she simply asked further, “Let’s see if we can narrow it down a bit. Let’s start with today. Tell me what you did today and tell me how you felt while you were doing it.”
“Ok,” I replied. “Well, I got up around 5:30 this morning. The baby woke up around five and my wife got up to feed her. I lay there for a bit and finally decided to get up.”
Quickly interrupting, she said, “The baby? Tell me about the baby.”
“Um, she’s about 5.5 months old now; her name is Lynn.” I said. “We weren’t expecting another baby, but she was expecting us…apparently. We already have two boys and though I have always wanted a daughter, I was perfectly content with my two boys. They’re really great kids; I mean, they drive me nutz sometimes, but all-in-all they’re good boys. Anyway, she’s a good baby, when she’s healthy. But, she’s been sick a lot and that’s made her really cranky. But I guess that’s what you get with a baby, huh?”
“Is that what you think?” she asked.
“I do now,” I replied. “I mean, all that stuff you hear about how great it is to be a parent, is just crap. Sure, there are great parts to it, but mostly it’s just a lot of work. People aren’t prepared for the amount of work it is, at least, I wasn’t. Still aren’t even.”
I paused and looked to see if perhaps she wanted to say anything, but she just sat there looking at me so I continued. “I’ll admit I’m terribly selfish. I like my quiet time–always have. When I was a kid, I spent most of my time at home by myself, so I’m used to doing my own thing. But kids don’t let you do that; kids want your undivided attention from dusk till dawn and that’s very difficult for me. And even when I am with the kids, my mind’s on the dozen of other things that I need, or want, to do and most of them involve either cleaning something or fixing something or just doing…something–ANYTHING–other than sitting there on the floor doing whatever it is I’m doing right then. ”
“When you were a child, why were you alone so much?” she asked.
“Ah now that’s a complicated story,” I replied.
“We have the time and that’s why you’re here,” she said. “Tell me.”
Sighing, I began to tell my tale:
(to be continued…)