As it happens, my mother is a clinical social worker and conveniently my psycho therapist. Yes, it’s complicated. Very complicated. No worries, though. As her gay son, I’m giving you a bit of the lighter side of my special relationship with my Mommy, dearest. (Disclaimer: Truthfully though, I’m sharing here a composite of many mothers I’ve come to know over the years. The good, the bad and the smugly —pieced together here for comedic effect.)
Hmmm….where to begin. I grew up on suburban Long Island. I am one of five children. The middle child, wouldn’t you know. I’m the one who’s riddled with more complexes than The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders – a shrink’s bible. It figures. I’m not the black sheep of the family, exactly though. I’m more a dark shade of je ne sais quoi.
In any case, I grew up in a picture postcard community with tree-maligned streets. Kinda like Twilight Zone, the soap opera. You get the picture. As far as my psycho therapist mother was concerned, it was a world in which she thought every other person needed a check up from the neck up. The truth is nobody was spared. Even our lovely boy dog. A rough coat collie, named Duffy. A pet with a sweet temperament and a real people person.
Sadly, though, my mother informed the family one day that Duffy was clinically depressed. Apparently, she discerned that the cause was that he lacked real purpose in life. For shame.The solution? No, not doggie uppers.(That’s my domain) He needed a job. Instead of just lounging around all day, she put the dog to work. His bushy tail was a fine substitute for a feather duster. It worked. Some of the time.
But most of the time it didn’t. The house was chronically dust-ridden. In fact, she had the family believing that it was scientifically proven that dust was a protective coating! I believed that lie for many years of my life. It totally messed me up. When I finally found out the truth, I was severely traumatized and rapidly overcompensated. As a result I got a real bad case of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). As in, the clean queen you don’t want to have around the house. I hoover the house ten times a day. And that’s when I’m visiting my friends in the Hamptons. Thanks, Mom! Where are my meds?
Growing up in my neighborhood, tree houses were quite the thing. Many of the boys had them. It was around that time I sensed that I was different from the other boys. In fact, I was different. I was the only one with a tree house that had a breakfast nook! Nobody else held festive tea parties either. My psycho therapist mother was full of self-recrimination about my predilection for girlish things. But for me it was just my nascent fabulosity shining through. Years after that I learned not to hide that light under a bushel. And today, I eat diamonds for breakfast and shine all day. THANKS, MOM!