Going Home, Part Three

FD was in the bedroom and it was dark. He was standing opposite the twin single beds, just staring.

"Which one is yours?" he asked.

"What do you mean?"

"Which one did you sleep in when you were a kid?"

"Why, both."

"You can't sleep in both."

Fact is, I clearly remember the moment it dawned on me that there were two beds, two big twin beds in my bedroom and there was only one of me. Maybe I didn't actually have to sleep in the bed I had been sleeping in for the past three or four post-toddler years. I could choose. There was the one under the windows, the usual bed, and there was the other by the opposite wall.

Soon after that decisive moment I shyly asked,

Mom? Do you think I could switch beds?

Sure, she said.

The strangest things can give a kid power. Two beds. Can you imagine? And some people grow up sharing one, sometimes sharing one bed with more than one person.

I did appreciate it, you know. I never took it for granted that I had that choice, a second bed. And I switched off on a regular basis.

Although pondering the bed situation in the dark with F.D. was interesting, I slipped off to get a drink of water from the kitchen. The skin, the skin. It has to be hydrated at any age (that's what they tell me in InStyle). My parents were reading in the living room so I joined them, not quite sleepy enough to go to bed. We talked a bit, caught up on who is sick and dying, the latest funerals. So many people I vaguely remember but remember! Pretty soon F.D. joined us in his pajamas.

They were thrilled. My parents adore him. More than me. He is a doctor, after all. The real kind. We all settled into some serious reading and then F.D. excused himself and went to bed. I still wanted to read more before joining him. By the time I tossed my book to the floor and stumbled to the bedroom, he was asleep in the bed by the wall. I snuggled in next to him for some heat.

When I thought it possible to brave the cold sheets alone, I slipped away to stretch out more comfortably in the other twin. In seconds I was out.

Woke up the next morning hearing the bedroom door close gently. F.D. was returning to bed. He'd been up at 4:00 learning. (When I refer to "learning" on this blog it often means learning Jewish law or Talmud, like it does now). He sat down next to me.

"I have bad news."

"Oh no, WHAT?"

I was nervous. When parents are getting up in age and sleeping more than usual, bad news is something you don't want to hear.

"The 30-cupper went out. The water's cold."


"No coffee?!(expetive)"

"I'm afraid not."

another expletive, not a bad one.

"They have orange juice," he said. "Lots and lots of orange juice. With calcium. Must've been on sale."

"I hate orange juice."

"Maybe there will be coffee at the hotel. They often serve it with a little cake just outside the room where we daven (pray-rhymes with Mahvin) at the hotel," he offered hopefully. We were invited to a Bar Mitzvah at a hotel. That's why we were staying with at my parents' house.

"I can't wait that long."

"It is bad, I know." He patted my hand.

"Yup. More than bad." I already had a headache that didn't quit that week. Maybe allergies, maybe stress. For sure a combination of both. The thought of no coffee was too much.

"I'm going to take a little nap before shul," he said softly, resigned.

We traded places. He took my bed and I put on my slippers and headed for the kitchen, thinking about how I could make coffee without hot water. (You don't cook anything on the Sabbath, remember, not even water.)

Dad was sleeping sitting straight up in a chair in the family room. He heard me and woke up.

"How are you, Dad?" I asked.

"Good." Then as an afterthought. "Have some orange juice," he said.

"Okay," I answered. He went back to sleep.

I opened the refrigerator door and found what I was looking for-- the Hershey's chocolate syrup and the milk. I took a large plastic cup, two teaspoonful of Folger's instant coffee, a huge glob of Hershey's, a half a cup of milk, a half cup of water, and stirred vigorously.

It fizzed like a phosphate and wasn't half bad. Try it.

I made one for F.D. then looked in the cupboard where they keep their daily medications and found some Tylenol. Took two with my chocolate phosphate.

Exhausted, joined F.D. in my old bedroom. "I brought you some coffee. It's iced coffee but without ice. Want some Tylenol?" I asked.

"Uh, no." He turned over.

I set down his drink, finished mine, joined him in that bed by the windows.

We lay there under the covers just looking around as the early morning sun gradually brightened up the room. It had been a pleasant bedroom for a kid, pink carpet, pale pink, hot pink, and peach curtains, matching bedspreads. I remember picking it all out. (note, choices). Now the decor is muted down to pale pinks, creams and cranberries, walls are off-white. Mom's made many nice changes.

"Do you remember when I used to sleep in the other bedroom, your brother's room, when we were engaged?" F.D. asked me.

"Uh, huh."

He continued. "I thought to myself, maybe one day, one day, I'll get to sleep in HER room. With HER."

"You did not."

"I did," he said. "Of course I did."

"Nah, I don't remember."

"That was a nice time of our lives," he said.

"Yup, we were 21 years old. Doesn't get any sexier than that," I said. Then correcting myself,

"Intellectually sexy, I mean, of course. We were young, but not too young. Old enough to make our own decisions, mature enough to consider everyone else's feelings. Still we felt good about making the choices we thought were right."

"What do you mean?"

"Oh, you know. Like it was good that we told the parents to do whatever they liked with the wedding. Just let us get married already."

"Uh, huh. I see."

"There were other choices that we made, some weren't that hard," I said. "They seem harder for the kids these days."

"We were religious."

We were both thinking the same thing.

"Yup, decisions, decisions."

"We need to make one right now," he said.

"You mean, Should we get dressed and go to shul?" I asked him, closing one eye, then the other.

"Uh, huh."

Decisions, decisions.

"We still have time to nap awhile," I said.


Copyright 2007, therapydoc


What a very sweet and wonderful relationship you have.
therapydoc said…
There's much to be said for sweet.
I like the stories behind the stories. There's just something about those return trips home that always bring on the most bitter, sweet, explative moments. LOL

boogaloo said…
This is the kind of story I was asking about earlier - how it affects your patients to read this and know so much about your intimate, personal life. Has intense transference truly never reared its head in your practice? Have you ever gotten any feedback about negative feelings raised by your blog? I realize patients have the option not to read, but still.. it's there.
Sorry about all the skeptical questions, I am working with a very warm, very open and friendly but definitely psychodynamic therapist and cannot imagine what knots it would tie me into to have this much access to her personal life. I love reading your blog though, many thanks for all the valuable psychoeducation!!
therapydoc said…
Nope, no intense transference issues raise ugly heads. And my parents love my blog, too. But if you read my response to you in the post on self-disclosure, you'll recall that I don't suggest that newbie docs self-disclose unless they know how they'd handle that sort of fall out. My patients like that it's not about us, that the therapy is about them and the people they really do interact with on a day to day basis.