Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Climax is Always Anticlimactic

My mom called yesterday. From her cell phone, from the gift shop at the synagogue where she volunteers. After ascertaining that my father was nowhere around, I told her our troubles.

"So, I don't know what Daddy is trying to do," I concluded after rambling through the story. "I mean, we're already aware that D. has issues and needs therapy. Which he gets. And if he's coming from the other side, the side where he thinks we shouldn't bother -- well, this is our son."

My mother sighed. "Well, I think Daddy's point is that if at some point in the future you see that D. is not progressing, you need to reevaluate. And he's sowing the seeds for that."

I think she could tell I didn't really like that answer, because she rushed to fill in the space. "When Daddy was practicing, he always told patients that they would have a terrible recovery, that there was a good chance the surgery would fail. I think he thinks it's better to have them be happy when it works than upset when it doesn't. And whenever I was pregnant and I came home from a doctor's appointment, I would tell him that everything was fine, and he would always say, 'Yes, the doctor heard a heartbeat. But he has no idea if the baby has six legs.' And I would say to him 'Well, what would you do if something was wrong?' And he'd say, 'I'd put it in a home.' And I'd say, 'Yes it might eventually come to that, but we could try first.'"

I guess it's partly my dad's generation, where children with Down's syndrome or other developmental issues, where people with disabilities in general were assumed to be unteachable, unreachable, and generally not worth the effort. I guess it's partly his own life experiences, where he had no reason or opportunity to encounter anyone different from his norm. And I guess it's partly his personality, that surgeon's God complex. And while it's painful to think that he will never be able to appreciate everything wonderful that D. is, the pain is not so much for D, but for my father.

Because my kid rocks, and my dad is missing out.


lisa said...

EXACTLY. I don't understand the mentality but it's their loss in the end.

Lisa b said...

this is perfect.
just like D.
I'm sorry you have to struggle with this.
I have enough trouble dealing with doctors I am not related to.

winslow1204 said...

That is so rough, I hope you dad sees what he is missing!

Andrea said...

Your kid definitely rocks! I'm glad you had a chance to talk to your mom about it. Even though you don't necessarily LIKE where his line of thinking comes from, hopefully it will help you communicate with him in the future.

Moonmaid said...

Good WG :) There are things stuck in all our parents' brains we will never be able to unwind. Just take it with a grain of salt and watch D. progressing. He needs his mum to be confident.


Miriam said...

My FIL is a doc, and while we have had nothing like your experience, he has definitely been the most critical of our kids and even more of our plan to adopt. (Along the, why would you mess with "tainted" genes line.) I think it would hurt me, too, because my kids are the best things I've ever made. They represent me, and when somebody in essence offers a form of rejection, it's hard to watch.

It sounds like your dad is terrified of being hurt by loving D. He's an intense guy, huh?

Mary P Jones (MPJ) said...

Completely your dad's loss -- and so sad. He must be living with a lot of pain and fear to keep D at an emotional distance like that.