Hello, everyone - it's been a while. Kids, family, house, and a busy pediatric practice keep living life at the top of the pile and blogging at the bottom. In any case...
A few weeks ago, I saw a boy and his father. I've been seeing them since the boy was born about 3 years ago. His parents are from different cultures, and some of the advice I have given them over the boy's 3 years has been concerned with helping them to a parenting middle-ground between their 2 cultures.
However, there has always been something nagging me about the father. He's a very large man, with his wife being maybe 100 lbs if she were weighed in full winter gear with a pocket full of fishing lures. I would often close the door after an appointment, wondering why I'd felt like his every point had been recorded on some ethereal tape recorder; why his every question strained with a hidden, threatened retort, should the answer not be what he'd expected.
A few times, the family arrived too late for me to be able to see them. It's hard enough staying on time with families who have arrived on time, and those who arrive 30 minutes late make the whole schedule unmanageable. After these times, I became aware of how my staff felt about him: intimidated and annoyed. Gradually, I would brace myself for their visits, knowing that the dynamic I have only touched upon would hold the door open for the family, and barge in to be part of the appointment.
Everything changed after a visit earlier this year. My eyes fill a bit just thinking about it.
I remember the father telling me that he'd been married before his current marriage. I knew he'd had other kids, but because of the extensive question-and-answer periods (which is the most important part of my job, mind you), I had been unable to fully interview him about this marriage. Now that I have known them for 3 years or so, and the boy is well, I decided to gently pull aside that curtain.
I can't reveal the exact sadness-es, but I will say that the 4 significant details of that marriage and family, 2 supremely tragic, gave me a glimpse of the footprints across the dune behind this man. The path he's taken, and how he keeps his family and kids together, is admirable; I could only hope to handle such circumstances so well, with the only side effect being that some people don't understand why I am how I am.
I'd like to say that I'll always be able to deal with the jerkwad who cuts me off and flips me the bird, or the kid down the street who blares his music, or the teacher who ignores the bullying in my patient's classroom, with the equanimity gained from understanding that people have baggage, but I'll have to settle with sometimes realizing, after my reaction, that I might have proceeded with a bit more circumspection.
5 hours ago