Sunday, March 30, 2014

What would Freud say?

I don't usually sleepwalk (I think?) but the other night I discovered sleep running. I dreamed that I was in my bedroom when what I can only describe as a creepy ghost boy came through the wall at me. In my dream, I ran away from him. In real life, I woke up as I bounced off the frame of the door I was trying to run through with my eyes closed. I hope this doesn't become a thing.

It was creepier but less weird than a few nights before that, when I had a dream about helping a secret agent for the FBI clone a pig. It was really important to national security, apparently.

I don't know what that dream says about me. Dr. Freud would probably have some ideas. But if I was going to see a shrink I would see the "I think you're feeling sad because you just got divorced" type instead of the "You saw a dog in the inkblot test so let's talk about how the time you were three and your mom wouldn't let you have a puppy messed up the rest of your life" type. Technically, I've never seen a therapist. But when your father's one, it's basically free therapy for life. I didn't need to pay by the hour to know who moved my cheese and what color my parachute is.

The free therapy is the upside. The downside to having a dad as a therapist is that he tends to use real-life examples when he's talking to his clients. And I have a strong suspicion (and sometimes proof) that quite a bit of his source material comes from inside the family. Dad always assures my brothers that he says "one of my sons" to protect their identity, but considering some of his clients know I'm his only daughter, I don't think not using my name in the story really helps much. When I was a kid my classmates would usually tell me when my dad was their therapist, but now that I'm older that doesn't happen much and so I'm left wondering who in town knows about the time I ... well, never mind about that.

If a client comes in wondering how to deal with their children fighting or misbehaving, or if a teenager needs help dealing with sibling rivalry issues, my father is definitely not lacking in anecdotes. The other day I heard sibling defined as "your best friend and worst enemy rolled into one" and I've got to say that's pretty accurate. Lance, Logan, Cole and I are all pretty tight now but when we were growing up we definitely had our moments. A lot of them.

There was the time Logan got mad at Lance and I while we were babysitting the younger ones and yelled "Help! Call child protective services!" out the window in retaliation. That could have been bad.

There was the time I watched with unadulterated glee as Lance pushed one too many of mom's buttons on the way to school. She pulled the van to the side of the road, pointed at the door and commanded him to get out, then threw his backpack out after him, sending papers and books flying everywhere, and drove off as he stared at the receding minivan in utter shock.

There was the time when I was really unhappy about not being the only child anymore, and so I expressed my displeasure by writing all over the carpet with lipstick while Mom was feeding the baby.

There was all the times we were fighting and my parents made us sit on the couch and hold hands. It was a pretty effective method of punishment, because you can only try as hard as you possibly can to crush each others' hands for so long before you give up and start laughing instead.

And yet through all the tears and yelling and slamming doors and occasional punches thrown, we all turned out alright in the end. We made have made Mom cry a few times, wondering if various pairings of siblings would hate each other forever, but now we stay in close contact despite living in four different cities. Logan and Cole bonded over being on the tennis team together in high school. Lance had Logan over for pancake nights when they were both at BYU. And Lance and I may have had some pretty epic fights growing up, but I was the one who he took when he went engagement ring shopping and I was the first person in the family he called when he found out the gender of his baby.

Freud would probably say that's pretty messed up. I say that's family for you.

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