As always Thom thanks for the words. I truly love 3WW
My father would patiently teach me to cut paper dolls. I would be so excited until, of course, I cut the head off or part of the legs and arms. The torso, forget, it would look dismembered. I would have made a good serial killer and I was–of paper dolls or anything that required the least bit of coordination.
I still can’t open an envelope that has a perforated edge without screwing up whatever is in it, and as it’s usually a check, uh!!!!!!!!!!
“Try harder,” my father would eventually scream. “Just try da da darn it.”
My father was a CPA. Accountants by profession and nature are perfectionists. He would lose his temper. I would scream. A good time was had by all. The evening would end with me dissolving into tears, and my father hugging, kissing me and apologizing. But still I knew if I only tried harder….My father knew everything. He must have been right.
I was a bad girl intent on making my parents life miserable. They never told me this but I knew. If I hadn’t thought this myself the child psychologist my parents sent me to when I was nine, beginning to bud, and throw temper tantrums. But only at home and only to my parents. OK my little sister too. Never in school. Never in public. I was considered a model child.
My father and I would drive to the psychologist. The car radio would be on. One week New York had a parade for Fidel Castro. The next week, it seemed, he was the enemy. I asked my father why.
He turned off the radio and looked at me sort of stunned. “You know that’s a brilliant question. I have no idea.”
it was the first and probably only time my father didn’t have an answer to a question. He talked whether he knew anything about the subject or not. He could have told me that Castro had been fighting Batista who was a dictator and America was glad. But then the American government decided to fixate on Castro being a Communist. Or he could have said that the American government just learned that Castro was a Communist, which I believe was the official story.
But he didn’t. He gave me a great gift that night. I think my father, then a “progressive,” later a lover of all things Nixon and then Reagan wanted me to understand that we lived in a crazy world where things didn’t always make sense. Or maybe he just didn’t know.
The child psychologist was an ugly short man with nose hairs and tobacco stained teeth. He was the professional and I was just a child who never yelled at adults or kids or anybody not in my immediate family. Like my father he didn’t believe in silence.
I loved doll houses, furniture and dolls but not in his office. Dr. Wiener would make me play with the dolls–a mother, father, sister and of course me. The dolls didn’t look like us. They were objects not people, and I thought it was a stupid waste of time. I was a girl who loved dolls almost too much. But these dolls made me sick.
It’s OK,” he would say, “this is your safe area. You can talk to the dolls and tell them how much you don’t like being adopted.”
“But I like being adopted. I love my family very much.”
“Pia, you have big problems and they’re caused by being adopted. In our sessions we’re going to make you see how much being adopted hurts you.”
Even when I was nine I didn’t understand how being clumsy, not being able to learn grammar, having temper tantrums and so much more was caused by being adopted. It didn’t make any sense to me. I didn’t remember life in a foster home. This was my family and I loved them very much.
My father would buy us O’Henry bars, and we would eat them on the drive home. He would play rock & roll then because I liked it.
I began to buy into the things Dr. Wiener said. I would tell my best friend, Ava, as we lay in the grass in back of the garden apartments we lived in that being adopted was very complicated and very difficult. I was so glad that it was me who was adopted and not my little sister because I didn’t want her life to be hard. Then we would lie in silence looking at the blue sky until one of us had something important to say. Usually about rock & roll stars or books we were reading together or separately.
Later I would understand that many therapists and others looked at being adopted as a disease. They were convinced that many parents only adopted to have a “complete” family, and that ADHD and other problems were considered problems of the adoptee. All that time, money, and effort wasted on trying to solve problems that didn’t exist and not trying to solve the problems that were real!!!!!
For the record I miss my parents everyday and can’t imagine life without my sister.