Yesterday was dia de los Igor, the day I make my pilgrimage to Beverly Hills, CA for my weekly session with Igor my psychoanalyst. I was a bit worried about the session as I was so gosh darn happy and I was fretting that I would have absolutely nothing to talk about with him. When I got on his leather couch we made a bit of small talk about the holidays and I explained that it had gone well because we had gotten Lily. Being the smart man that he is he asked if I had a picture of her and I did have a picture at the ready just in case he asked. He did the right thing upon seeing her beautiful face, he oohed and aahed and said she is beautiful and smart and he asked things like where was she now that I was hear and what do I feed her and am I hiring a specialist in her breed to train her as she is clearly an exceptional dog. He asked how big she is and would be and what I fed her and where she pooped( you haven’t experienced real comedy until you have had your European accented highly-educated psychoanalyst ask you where your dog poops). He had lots of questions and I had lots of answers and with each answer I could see Igor falling harder for my furry daughter. Igor loves Lily and I love Igor because he loves her.
I told him what it was like since we got Lily and how I was feeling uncharacteristically happy. I did tell him about one incident on day three of Lily living with is that was less than lovely. Here’s what happened: It seemed that Lily was only interested in He-weasel and not at all interested in me. At best she seemed indifferent at worst she seemed to not know I was in the room. When he would walk in the room she would light up brighter than our dying Christmas tree.When He-weasel would get anywhere near Lily she would go mad and kiss his face and when I came around I got the cold paw and a whole lot of bupkis.
He-weasel started to worry that she was going to be a daddy’s girl and not so keen on me. I silently worried the same thing. He-weasel showed me how he played with her and tried to get me to play with her with the same exuberant and wild energy that he and Lily shared. I tried to play with Lily like he did. I tried to match his voice, enthusiasm and exuberance only it didn’t work. He-weasel tried to correct me and show me how I was not doing it like he did it. He did this not to say my way was wrong but rather was trying to show me what had worked in his bonding with Lily. It still wasn’t working for me even when I tried to do it exactly like he did and when it didn’t the tears started. I cried, “If I have to be you to get her to like me I cannot do that for 15 years, I just cannot be you.” I melted into a puddle of grief that I imagine every mother has felt when she feels she is failing to bond with her beloved.
The next day Lily and I were alone together for the day and I discovered that Lily loves-loves-loves me to hold her like a baby. She will stay in the crook of my neck for as long as I am willing to hold her. She nuzzles and sighs and relaxes absolutely in my arms. She, however, will not do this for He-weasel. When she is in his arms she is squiggly and wriggly and will not settle down. That night, after our hours of me holding her in my arms I got puppy kisses like you wouldn’t believe. I think she not only removed my makeup but also exfoliated my skin better than Dr. Brandt’s Microdermabrasion in a Jar. I got the message, I do not have to be He-weasel or anyone else to bond with my baby girl.
When I recounted this story to Igor he immediately said “this is not about Lily or about He-weasel, this is about something very old in you. This is about you learning that you have to be someone other than you for your mother to like or to love you”. Bingo! As soon as he said it I knew he was right. That was it exactly. And, I just cannot do that any longer. I can’t be anything other than me. As my new and improved good luck would have it Lily seems fine with me just as I am and I love her just as she is.
Lily update for those who are interested: One of her ears went up. She now has only one puppy ear and one full blown adult Westie ear. My girl is growing up too fast.