A reply to: A letter from Kaitlin
Thank you so much for writing! I’ve been wondering how therapy has been going, how you are, and how the kids are.
You know me by now: I always have to get to the tough parts first. It might be silly, but I always think that if you only read the first part of the letter–you know, if you get interrupted or if something important comes up–I want to make sure that I’ve written the part that needs saying.
I have to admit that I felt a little uneasy reading that your therapist has a long and close history with your fiancé. In my coursework, the professors have been emphasizing the importance of professional distance as an element of ethical therapeutic practice.
If you feel comfortable with Dr. Bailey, and if you notice continued improvement, then all is well and good. Just remember that you have options. Every city has many qualified therapists, including ones who specialize in trauma and PTSD and who didn’t grow up with the man you plan to marry. You have options.
PTSD has the reputation in some professional circles of being “untreatable.” The program I’m studying takes the opposite view: people can heal their trauma and PTSD. The approach we use is called Somatic Experiencing, and, through allowing the body to complete the movements that were interrupted during the traumatic event, the brain is able to resolve and renegotiate the trauma, resulting in health. That’s a bit of an over-simplification, and we include many other steps in the total approach (including the art therapy that I’m involved with at present), but that’s the essence of the approach.
It works. I’ve seen it, and I’ve met people who’ve been through this course of treatment–and they’re healed. My friend Micah is one, and Ira is another.
Ira worked with an SE therapist before I met her. I always wondered how, experiencing what she did, she has managed to be so confident, funny, happy, and able to love.
I interviewed her for a paper I wrote on SE, focusing on the experience of those going through the therapy. She told me, “We get stronger. When we crack and then we heal, we touch life. We become more alive.”
Knowing Ira, I believe this is true.
I can hear that energy coming through your letter, too, when you write about the property and all your dreams for the future. We’re resilient, Kaitlin! All us humans are resilient and full of goodness at our core.
Speaking of the resilient, little Jena is doing great! She is not so little any more. She just turned four! Can you believe it? She loves pink and jewelry and little bows and frilly, twirly dresses!
And she is quite a mischief! Sometimes I catch her with a certain expression, and I just know she is planning something. It usually involves Uncle Jasper–either as partner-in-crime or butt-of-the-joke!
Jasper doesn’t mind. He is so proud of Jena. Can you believe it? He’s already teaching her how to use the computer to play reading and math games!
I’ve been encouraging them to wait. Jena starts preschool next week, and that’s plenty soon for her to begin formal learning. But Jasper says that Norm and I were both reading, writing, and solving simple math equations by the time we entered kindergarten. And Jena begs to get on the computer and whines when I suggest she shut it down. When I think of how much I love to learn, I guess it’s all right if she enjoys learning, too.
We got to meet a famous poet the other day, Bucky Duckson. Have you heard of him? I was so thrilled! He’s one of my favorite poets! He’s been traveling and my uncle is putting him up for a while.
Jasper asked him to write a poem for me–a birthday present. I’m embarrassed by the poem. It’s beautiful and so well-written, and if it were written for anyone else, I know I’d love it. But that it was written for me makes me feel shy ten-times over. Fortunately, when I met Bucky, he hadn’t even written the poem yet, so I wasn’t self-conscious and we had a wonderful conversation.
Jena enjoyed meeting him, too. They had a bit of a discussion about poetry.
“I don’t think poems do have to rhyme,” Jena said.
“No,” Bucky answered. “You’re right. Of course. But just because they don’t have to, that doesn’t mean that they can’t. Some of the best poems employ rhyming couplets.”
“I like them when they go ‘splat,'” Jena said.
Youssef is still our nanny. I can’t imagine life without him! Even after Jena graduates from high school and enters college, I think I will still have Youssef as our nanny. He just makes life better.
And I hope that Mizuki Suzuki will live with us forever, too. She’s been a huge help while I’ve been busy with school. She’s a student, too, but she always seems to find time to pitch in with the chores. She calls it a good study break. But I think she’s just got so much energy that she can’t sit behind the books for more than twenty minutes at a time!
I hope Reid’s trial isn’t too stressful for you and your family, Ben, especially. I’ve been surprised at the ways that children seem to be able to make sense of adults’ complicated lives–they sometimes seem to look past the complications and right into the person. I think that sometimes children can handle a lot more than we think they might be able to. At least that’s what Mizuki tells me, and she’s studying childhood education.
I’ve been so slow in answering your letter that I’m sure that many things have changed already! I hope that each change brings you closer to your dream of your home for you and your family on your beautiful property!
Take care, Kaitlin! And tell all your children and grandbabies “Hi” from me!
With lots of love,