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A Mothers Day Without Moms

May 13, 2012

Some people are wanderers. They are born one place, grow up somewhere else, go to college, and then head off to find their place in the world.

Others stay put. Maybe they’ll travel for school or spend a year abroad, but they will eventually come back home to the city, town or hamlet where their family has lived for generations.

Albany seems to have a higher than average population of the latter. Mrs. Fussy and I firmly fall into the former. And as a direct result are nowhere near our respective mothers on this Mothers Day. I’m not even entirely sure where my mom is today. She may be in Florida, but perhaps she’s on a plane, or maybe she’s recently returned to Providence.

It’s difficult to keep track of other people’s schedules when I can barely keep up with my own. So in lieu of gifts or flowers, once again I’m dedicating today’s post to my mom.

There’s just one problem. Well, really there are two.

They are called 2010 and 2011. The 2011 one is especially hard to beat because it includes a photograph of the most beautiful poached egg ever. I don’t know why I didn’t write a Mothers Day post in 2009. But it’s challenging to keep coming up with material that ties in food to moms. So instead I’m going to do something else, and get very personal.

I promise tomorrow will get back to food. Besides, what I’m about to unfold should be interesting to those who read the FLB with some regularity, and I hope it might help others who may find themselves in a similar situation.

It’s amazing to me that in this day and age there is any stigma attached to psychotherapy.

When I was a teenager and my parents got divorced, my mom made sure that I saw a therapist regularly. His name was Dr. B and he kind of reminded me a lot of Alan Thicke. It was a tough time in my life, and it was tough for my parents and sister too. Tacking on the expense of these weekly visits was not insignificant.

But they totally changed my life.

Not only did they help me make sense of my changing relationship to my parents, they also helped me get through a pretty dark period in my life. But even more than that, this early experience in seeing a psychologist took the fear and anxiety about consulting a professional when suffering from emotional turmoil.

So when I was out in California and I hit a bump in the road, I was able to find a therapist out there to help me get through it. And when I was suffering from depression after moving to Albany, I found a doctor and talked it out.

My mom always described therapy as a luxury, and in many ways it is, even though it shouldn’t be. It’s really wonderful to have someone to unload all of your deep dark thoughts into.

In some ways, while sitting in the chair, it feels like you are paying someone to be a close friend. But no matter how close your best friend is, anyone you are not paying would eventually tire of hearing you selfishly drone on and on about your thoughts week after week. And a professional brings more to the table than just being a patient listener. They also occasionally ask good questions, which make you think, and delve deeper.

One such question I pondered while sitting in a session here in Albany was, “If you could do anything, what would you want to do?”

After thinking about it, the answer was to try and improve the food in Albany.

Yes, as odd as it may sound, the FUSSYlittleBLOG is a mental sanity project. And you know what? It worked. However, none of this would have happened had it not been for my mom and her strident support for mental health.

If you have migraines that won’t go away, you go see the doctor. If you have an ingrown toenail that is starting to look infected, you go see the doctor. If you are sad and can’t snap out of it, you go see the doctor.

There is no shame in it. It doesn’t make you crazy. It makes you human.

Hopefully you’ve got good insurance, because it can be expensive to pay out-of-pocket. And it can take a lot of time to get down to some of the root causes. But if you are committed to it and put in the effort with a talented professional, you can get better.

This knowledge is one of the most important gifts I received from my mom. And it has not only helped to shape me into who I am, but it also directly affects what I do on a daily basis.

So even though I have no idea where my mom is today, I’m keenly aware of her presence in my life every day. She’s taught me well, and I love her dearly. And I’m a better man because of it.

Happy mothers day Mom, I love you, and I’m feeling great.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. May 13, 2012 3:36 pm

    Timothy’s Law requires insurers to cover therapy visits, so you only have to pay a copay. Of course, there’s an extra hoop to jump through, in that you usually have to call the insurer first to get approval for a certain number of visits.

  2. May 13, 2012 8:54 pm

    This is your first post to make me feel just a twinge of something happening in my tear area. But they didn’t quite well up, but it’s a start. Good ode to mom.

  3. Kerosena permalink
    May 14, 2012 2:13 pm

    Nice post!

  4. Uncle Laurie permalink
    May 14, 2012 5:58 pm

    So true, so true. Also sliding scale works for some and the colleges have students that practice on you. A good therapist is worth their weight in gold, but sometimes any therapist will do.
    Where is your Mother?

  5. Paul permalink
    May 14, 2012 11:23 pm

    Beautiful, Dan. From the heart and very well said. When your passion is your avocation and it helps you and others, that’s a beautiful thing.

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