Friday, February 20, 2009

The sisters

I have a group of female friends-- Nancy, Sheila, Lynn, Susan, Kaikay. I call them the "sisters," they are people with whom I connected immediately and permanently. In one corner of my heart I believe that they are the lost sisters from my past lives. I never feel a need to seek approval or support from these women; it's a given. Friendship does not need to be sought, or affirmed, or renewed, or nurtured. It simply is.

And yet, despite having these strong connections, I find myself investing my emotional energy in seeking approval and affirmation from people who are never going to give it. My boss, in fact, every boss I ever had except for Susan and Lynn (who are each one of the sisters). I have a positive knack for finding bosses who are stingy with approval, or insecure about accepting input from subordinates. Or perhaps it's not that I have a knack for this, but that the sorts of people who seek administrative positions are people who thrive on this sort of petty bullshit, or who need the affirmation of the title to feel a sense of worth.

Probably this stems from some emotional need not met in my childhood. I'm constantly seeking praise from a father or mother figure, or something like that. Which makes me wonder what neuroses, what bad decisions based on misunderstood emotional needs, my kids will suffer?

Friday, February 13, 2009


The seaman is back, ready to put the waves behind him forever and making noises about staying in Chicago after all. It is all I can do to sit on my hands, bite my tongue, and refrain from falling to my knees with a heartfelt "thank you jesus" that he might stay within shouting distance.

In the meantime, he's living at home, except he's not. I can count on one hand the meals he's shared with us since he got back, and the conversations lasting more than a few minutes. Gentle suggestions that he might contribute financially in tiny ways (buy every third bag of coffee?) are met with blank stares or amusement. I think back to when I was a young adult on my own for the first time, and realize that I never thought about my parents at all. I'd go "home" periodically, but when we were in Chicago I just never thought about them.

How strange, then, for my son, who is in that same life phase, where we are peripheral if not actually superfluous, and yet here he is, living in our house. He can't not think about us when we're underfoot all the time.