Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Mad Men, foster care and the rest


My love of Mad Men knows no bounds. Like everything else I like, I don't just like--I obsess. The season is over for now and nothing will appear until next year. I like how the final season is going. Don is starting become a human being.

The writer of this show, Matt Wiener, enjoys exploring the sequelae of ugly childhoods. Don is a child from a neglectful and abusive childhood. He was born a bastard and unwanted. He was molested in his early teens by a prostitute that lived in the same house. That house up there is a house of ill repute, his childhood home. He is showing the house to his children. Meta!

Neglectful and abusive childhoods cause a child to be centerless. They don't form a center from which we trust, seek out and reciprocate love. Don is not able to do this. He is a self centered and manipulative man. Good looking as he is, his suit is quite empty.



In the words of Queen Ellen, "He is all sizzle and no steak."

The steak that makes us who we are suppose to be. We are to exchange and be intimate. We are to love and get crazy together. It's a stupid, hard world out there and we need each other.

I place all of this in context of my foster daughter's life. She's been with us for 17 months now. Parenting her is somewhat like parenting my own kids. The evil one fights to come out, the kids give lip,  be disrespectful and display general childhood grumpery.

Then there is this:

"I don't want to be a child in your family.",  my foster daughter said to my husband last night.  I had sent her downstairs to brush her teeth. The signal for bedtime. She said, "Other families watch movies and stay up late. Other families don't have bedtimes.You guys are boring!" 

In her 6 year old mind,  she wishes we were like her mom and her other family. They stay up until 10 pm and watch movies. They have no rules or structure. I can't say I blame her, I'd want to live in Neverland too. Except Neverland is a nightmare. They do all sorts of things we don't do. Like smoke weed, stab each other, kill family dogs and do lengthy jail stays.

Her mom is currently in jail, in segregation  no less. Segregation means she can't even keep calm and behave so she's in a cell by herself. The more I know about this woman, the more I want to throw up. She's chaotic and violent. She has no center. She can't attach with others on any sort of healthy or sustainable level. My heart aches for this woman. I can't help but love and care for her because I love and care for her child. I pray for her.

It makes me mad because she's not going anywhere. If we adopt our foster daughter, she's not going to just die. She won't stay in seg for ever. She'll be there in the background. The Lord has a plan for this woman and we're becoming part of it.

I know what would fix this woman. I know what will fix my foster's daughter's yearnings to be free from rules and constraint. I know what will fix my anger and my husband's sadness about all of this.

Proverbs 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight.
 
So I pray. I pray and pray and pray . . .

I pray that His love will come through us and form the center she needs not become like her mom. That'll be my start.

4 Left a message at the beep:

the queen said...

I believe it was Don himself who said that. Or someone in the sixties.

Tejal Chawla said...

You seem like such a lovely person. All the things you said about your foster daughter showed that you really care about her. I watch this show called "The Fosters" and it gave me a new perspective of anyone who was or is in the system. Also I just wanted to ask if you could visit my blog? You don't have to but it will help me to be excused from one of my final exams. Thanks for reading this. I enjoyed your post. :) tejalchawla.blogspot.com

Bruce Johnson said...

A few things on Don and company. While Sterling Cooper seems to be totally in flux the characters are solidifying up very nicely, with the possible exception of Betty. While she is comfortable in her new role as trophy wife, I don't see here 'going' anywhere. And Sally is becoming a carbon copy of her mother.

I don't believe that Don was 'molested' as a child. Mentally neglected for sure. His view of woman was evidently shaped by the fact that he grew up in a house of prostitution. But I don't see him as being a physical victim of physical abuse.

I thought that Burt Cooper's song and dance sequence at the end was endearing. A nod to Robert Morse's long history on Broadway as a song and dance man. Since it was Don's hallucination, maybe he finally will come to realize that the best things in life are 'free'.

As for your foster daughter, she is the product of a family that had the same lack of structure that she now craves. We used to call it babies having babies. How can you parent, if you were never parented yourself. I don't know about the social services in your neck of the woods, but if they are like Arizona, about all you can do is pray for them. Keep up the good work.

Heather said...

Hi there! I'm Heather and I wanted to know if you could answer a question I have about your blog! Please email me at Lifesabanquet1(at)gmail(dot)com :-)

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