The overarching theme for my past year in psychotherapy was my relationship with my mother… which seems not a little cliché, but it was something that needed to happen.
We only discussed my mother for a few minutes this time. There just wasn’t much to talk about. She has been staying in her lane for the past few months, and leaving me alone. Which has been a nice change. We don’t have a lot of contact, just dinner once a week, and I do maintain a website for our local historical society, which she’s in charge of… but I can do that from home.
Instead my psychotherapist and I talked about other things.
…like how my oldest son, Victor, who turned 13-years old a few months ago, recently told me I was a lousy father.
I heard him yelling at Quintin, his little brother. When I entered the room, Quintin was sitting on the end of the couch, looking up at Victor. Quintin looked confused and upset enough that he was getting ready to cry. Victor’s face was red with anger, and his hands were balled up into fists.
When I asked what was going on — in a loud voice (but not yelling), Victor kept going on about how Quintin was playing online with one of Victor’s friends. .
Victor kept yelling, when I asked him to calm down and just explain to me what was going on, he told me I didn’t understand, and rushed upstairs, crying. As I was telling Quintin that everything was going to be alright, there was a huge crash. I ran upstairs to find Victor leaving Quintin’s room, still crying and angry, but now panicked as well…
There was broken glass all over Quintin’s floor, I asked Victor what had happened and he told me he bounced a ball and smashed the overhead light. He showed me his ring finger, and there was a little blood from a small cut. I was still confused as to what was going on, and got Victor a bandage. I asked again what was going on, and the anger flared back up.
Quintin, he said, was playing with one of Victor’s friends.
Then he demanded to know if I was going to put him in a timeout. It was pretty much a challenge. I told him I still wasn’t sure what was going on, but because of the ball, him being in Quintin’s room, and the broken glass, I had no choice but to get him to sit in his room for five minutes and calm down.
He sat down on his bed, and yelled at me that “mommy is the better parent”, and that he didn’t want to be here anymore.
That’s when he started demanding to talk to his mother. He wanted her to come pick him up and take him to her place. After some back-and-forth, I finally made the call… I told her what had happened, and that I needed her support, and that I wanted Victor to remain with me so we could settle things. I told her I thought the main thing that was going on was Victor was acting like a 13-year old. He was upset about something small, and the puberty hormones were just driving it into something major. She agreed with me… then, when I gave the phone to Victor, the first thing she said was he could come to her place.
…so that was that. Except I drove Victor to his mom’s, after getting him to clean up all the broken glass. And that was the last I talked to him for the remaining three days of my week.
…during that time I had to go into Victor’s room for some reason. That’s when I found the photo of the two of us, that had been beside his bed since we moved in here, in his garbage can.
On… I think, the following Monday, Victor showed up at my door after school (his mom stayed in the truck). He told me that “as my father” I should have made sure he was okay after the glass fell on his head, and that was why he was so upset with me. I told him I didn’t know the glass hit him. We said a few other things, I knew he was waiting for an apology but I honestly thought I didn’t owe him one.
I still think that way. As he was walking away, I told him I loved him, he told me he loved me. As he was getting into the truck, I asked if we were okay… he said he guessed so. And that was that. I spent the rest of his mother’s week second-guessing myself… should I have just apologized and got it over with? He called on the Sunday night, asking if he could stay with his mother for one more night, which I thought was a good sign… that he was asking permission, not that he was staying there. I agreed. Then I asked if I was picking him up from school on Tuesday, and he agreed it would be me.
My psychotherapist thought I did the right thing by waiting, and not apologizing… and that 13-years of age was going to be an adventure.
We also discussed a few other things. Like how I’ve fallen behind on cleaning my home. The dirty dishes are all over the counter; the laundry hasn’t been done in a few weeks; I have to move piles of crap from my chair to the dining table to sit down, and back again so the boys can have someplace to sit when they eat. She suggested I get some professional help just to get things under control. When I told her I have something like 300 DVDs scattered around the house, she thought a ‘decluttering’ might be in order. I agreed to both ideas… but haven’t started with either yet.
We also talked about my Book Project. We’ve discussed it before, and she’s a big fan of the idea. I told her I had been reading the interviews that I had done, and that there was some really good stuff in them. And that it was all still relevant. But there’s just too much stuff that I’ve lost over the past few years… including a crap-tonne of notebooks, photos, and magazines that my Ex threw out.
And that was about it. She also told me that it might be possible for her to see me for another four or five sessions before she has to stop. Which will be helpful… especially if we’re going to start talking about the other themes in my life.