Ongoing Life...Ongoing Therapy, by Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe, MEd

I have been in therapy for over 20 years, most have been here at the Estuary. I’m still coming and I now get to write for this place. It is a blessing and a curse. The blessing is that I get to write, something my soul has been longing to do since I was a young child. The curse is that I have to write and now I’m being held accountable. 

When I first came to this place, I was coming to feel better about having left my first husband. What I discovered was I was coming to peel back the layers to figure out why I had made the choice to leave. Or, why I walked the aisle in the first place. 

I thought by now I’d have peeled back enough layers to stop coming back. Therapy done. Life is good. 

The problem is that I keep adding new layers because although life is great; it doesn’t stop. Since the first day I walked into this place, I’ve re-married, had two children, but 4 pregnancies, finished a graduate degree, renovated two houses, opened a school and bought three I-phones and four cars. With these things, including the purchase of I-phones and cars, I’ve found that I’ve needed help along the way. I’ve needed a safe place to walk in and learn how to deal with this life thing we've all chosen to experience.

My most recent experience of life I needed help with is that of accepting that being a mom, sucks. I hesitate to even share this story because I have the easiest kids on the planet. They are fun, kind, respectful, loving and easy going. I don't have one or more children who have daunting special needs. I don’t have out-of-control children who cause sleepless nights. I only have two children, not 3 or 10. The hardest job I’ve had with these kids is remembering to feed them. And, I have a supportive husband who is an active participant in the parenting process. I have it easy. Yet, it doesn’t always feel so easy. 

Last weekend I planned a surprise for my husband’s 45th birthday. I flew his sister and brother in and bought tickets for us all to see a cover band, playing 90s and early 2000s music. I arranged for my kids to spend the night at a friend’s house. I couldn’t wait to surprise him and then to celebrate with him and his siblings. It would be a fun, kid-free night out. The first in a long while. 

With the kids all squared away, IDs checked to make sure we all were over 18 (as we all look very young in our 40s), and our hands stamped, we were ready to have fun and to hear some music. As the band is about to start, I get the text [my daughter] “is crying and saying her stomach hurts.” She is not one to want to come home from a friend’s house, so I call. She is crying and I say “I’m on my way.” 

It wasn’t a hard decision, just a bummer of one. It was an easy decision because I always want my children to know that I will be there to pick them up. I want them to trust that if they are out and do not feel comfortable, they can always call.  I’ll always come to get them. ALWAYS. My daughter is only 7, but to build that trust now for when she’s 16 or 25 is so very important. But it sucks. 

I needed therapy for that, you ask? Yes and no. When I walked into my appointment last week, I didn‘t know that this experience would even come up in the session. It did, in the form of tears. It hit me how disappointed I was that I didn’t get to celebrate my husband’s birthday with him that night. It hit me that making hard choices between staying and “partying” or building trust with my daughter are not fun choices. 

For me, having a therapist is having someone I can say things to like “being a mom sucks” or “I left my husband” and I don‘t feel judged. Instead, I feel validated. I feel seen.  Just like writing for this place, therapy is a blessing and a curse. I leave feeling better, but I also get held accountable. I can say “being a mom sucks” and feel it, and feel seen and validated, but I don’t get to leave here a victim. They don’t allow that here, nor should they. 

Upon deciding to pick up my daughter, I order an Uber, as it was also the first night in a long while I decided I would not be the designated driver and enjoy one whole drink. (I‘m a lightweight). I beg the Uber driver to please wait for me as I gather my daughter and to please then drive us both home. I then pray that my daughter does not throw up in this guy’s car on the way home. Upon arriving home and waving away the driver, I realize I don’t have a house key. The spare key we always hide was the one we took since we were not driving ourselves. 

The music, by then, has started and I‘m calling and texting my husband asking him to please help, knowing he will not hear his phone. It’s cold. It’s dark. I cannot get into my home. I eventually find a window that is unlocked. Little, ole’ five-foot me climbs into the home, our “guard dog” wagging her tail and my daughter watching with her jaw dropped. I bring her inside, tuck her into bed and find gratitude because even when life doesn’t go as planned, it is still good. And now I find gratitude when I forget this life detail, that I have a place to go to help me remember. 

The Estuary has lots of good therapists that can help you remember when life sucks, it is good. If you need help, call.  I am forewarning you, however, that you may end up writing for them 20 years later. 

Thanks for reading. 

Jacqueline DeSelms-Wolfe, MEd

Estuary Blogger

P.S. I don’t get paid for writing here, so you can trust the recommendation even more.