Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Dear Sigmund (A Letter)


Dear Sigmund:

It's that time of year again, when the early sun reflects off the trees in the back yard, turning my north-facing bedroom window into a visual alarm clock. 6.00 AM this morning it "rang," and things are only going to get worse with the approach of summer. For a night person, this is cause for serious groaning. Naturally, I've tried to stave off the inevitable intrusion with a set of curtains, but they only seem to magnify the effect. Since fighting with Mother Nature seems futile, I've decided to use your defensive strategy of sublimation -- converting my resentment into productivity and hence, this letter.

Wherever you are, I hope you are well and find the company to your liking. Mine, at the moment, is a male turkey in the backyard beckoning for his lady friends to the delight and fascination of my cat, sitting in the window, watching. Personally, I love the progression of life that presents in these simple ways. It's a wonderful corrective to all the stress I manage to accumulate in the hours before sleep once again relieves me of the burden of consciousness. You like that, I know, because then the real drama begins.

I came across a quote by French author and filmmaker, Marguerite Duras, that I also think you'll like. She said,
"I believe that always, or almost always, in all childhood, and all the lives that follow, the mother represents madness. Our mothers always remain the strangest, craziest people we've ever met." I know nothing of the relationship between her mother and she, but mine had ways of making me wonder, occasionally, whether I'd been born on another planet and was just visiting this one.

For instance, I recall her belief that some children were genetically predisposed to become academic high achievers. That little tidbit followed me into adulthood, fortunately to be torpedoed amidships by the realities of medical school. Genes are great, but hard work brings home the bacon. And besides, we all have to find ourselves and that, too, is a work -- one in progress for most of us.

Child rearing can drive anyone crazy once in a while, no matter who they are or how well they do it. I couldn't have been the easiest task mine ever undertook and that we both got through my youth with most of our marbles still in the bag is nothing short of miraculous. Mothers and madness? Shoot, I think it comes with the territory and God bless any woman who's nervy enough to give it a try.

All the best,


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