Even as a psychologist, my logical side, and emotional side are often at odds with (or even at war with) each other. It’s probably a result of being forced into a state of extreme survivalism as a child. I used my logic to save my life and/or avoid pain. Emotions poised like a runner waiting for the shot indicating they must Go-o-o-o. I capped them. I had to survive.
When I had my own children, I made a silent vow not to subject them to what I had suffered as a child. I ogled childhood through their eyes as they emerged from babies into little people. It was glorious. I was so entranced by the little lives I guided that I wrote the poem below, had it done up by an artist, framed it, and hung it on the wall surrounded by pictures of them.
One of my favorite memories is of three garden slugs that traveled up the stairs to our concrete platform outside our back door. They were feeding off of dry dog food from our dog’s dish. I came up with the idea that we should remove the dog’s dish (sparing our dog, Tag, the slime), plunk ourselves down, and feed the slugs ourselves. We’d lace ourselves up the stairs and enjoy ourselves with discovery. I’d have one child on either side of me. We’d pat the slugs and watch them eat. I had thought they would be slimy all over, but they’re not. Their upper bodies have a skin that is akin to snakes. It was a marvel. They greeted us every day during the season.
Boys grow into men. I made the transition easily, calling my men men. But these men could not transition into friendship with me—leaving me in an advisory capacity only. They became strong—stronger than me, and they reveled in it.
We all have trials with our offspring. Some are different—some the same. I guided my children with a firm and loving hand. I fought for or supplied everything they needed during their growing years and then some. My sons remember those traits as control and sought to impose that on me in retribution. Since I never saw control as an issue, I could not see it. Not until now. Perhaps a woman raising men alone was not a good idea.
My house is gone. My youngest—nearly forty-one-years-old—must go off on his own. He has stopped paying his way here, so I carry the burden. About ten days ago we had a conversation in which my son’s face screwed up in anger, and he loudly declared.
“You finally got control.”
My mind boggled, and I was stunned. I never saw control as an issue. The rules I applied were only in regards to safety and security. He has done some things to jeopardize our insurance coverage. If they cancel our house insurance, they cancel my mortgage. No roof for either of us. Rules are imposed on me as a homeowner—I just pass them along.
I’ve had to emotionally disconnect from my sons. Logically, I know I have to. But if there is one case emotions can rule—it is Love. Splitting off from the relationships I have with my sons now, and the relationships I had with them depicted in my poem is hard. As I age, I want to hold on to those happy memories I had with my little men without the difficult times I have with them now merging. I want them to be pristine and pure. I gave up a lot but got much in return.
I don’t want the water to wash my sand castles away.
Paul and Nasso
Sobre el autor: Joyce Bowen es un escritorindependiente y orador público. Las consultaspuedenhacerse en firstname.lastname@example.org