Empathy No. 065
10/07/02, Brawney off. 3:34 PM
ELEANOR: This weekend was Brooke's birthday. She spent most of the day with her friends, but we had a little party for her too.
DR. BRAWNEY: And how did that go? You've said before that you feel you relate better to Brooke than to Lloyd's other children.
ELEANOR: I enjoyed it. I mean, it was nice, just for a change, to have a party for a little...I'm sorry, I can't - I know we're not supposed to talk about Roderick all the time in these sessions.
DR. BRAWNEY: We're here to discuss what concerns you. If you have concerns about your son, then that's fine.
ELEANOR: I'm worried about him. Not like before, it's different. He's different. Okay...he's always very quiet, but he talks to me. Not a lot maybe, but he always keeps me in the loop about his life. And then this last few weeks, he's clammed up, he's uncomfortable. It looks like he's guilty about something.
DR. BRAWNEY: Do you have reason to suspect him of something?
ELEANOR: No, that's the thing! He's never done a wrong thing in his life! I mean...I have my suspicions, and I know I should just sit him down and talk about this. It's this Carlie girl he's been hanging around with. She's been fighting with Allison, and Allison won't say why, and then a couple weeks back Roderick came home a lot later than usual. And just some of the things I've heard, I...I'm worried that he's having sex with this Carlie girl and I don't know how to talk to him about it.
DR. BRAWNEY: And this worries you?
ELEANOR: Of course it does! He's a brilliant boy but he just doesn't understand the world, he doesn't understand how a decision can change everything. And now I hear that this girl has a reputation for this kind of thing and I don't want him making any mistakes.
DR. BRAWNEY: Eleanor, I'm reluctant to discuss details of a session with a parent, but given some of his behavioral patterns, I can disclose certain things.
DR. BRAWNEY: Roderick told me that he has been physically intimate with his girlfriend.
ELEANOR: Oh my God. He can't...I can't deal with this. I...I can't let him be an eighteen year-old father! I can't...everyone warned me about this. They said that the worst part of raising kids by yourself is watching them make the same mistakes you did and not being able to stop it.
DR. BRAWNEY: Eleanor, please try to stay in control.
ELEANOR: I am not in control! You know, Roderick was always so shy with girls and to be honest, I was happy. I thought that meant that he wouldn't start a family until he was really ready. But I know how this ends up, I've been there.
DR. BRAWNEY: We've never gone into detail about how you felt when you found out you were pregnant.
ELEANOR: Scared. But not scared to have a baby by myself or anything like that. I was scared about how my parents would react. My sisters didn't do things like this, they had children with their husbands in nice, stable homes. I knew they expected the same from me.
DR. BRAWNEY: How did they react?
ELEANOR: That's the thing, they weren't...okay, they were upset, but they were also totally supportive. We talked over what I was going to do, and when I told them I wanted to keep the baby, they accepted that. I worried for nothing.
DR. BRAWNEY: What if you were in that situation? If you found out that Roderick had fathered a child, what would you do?
ELEANOR: I don't know.
DR. BRAWNEY: What would you want him to do?
ELEANOR: ...I don't want to think about that. But I guess...I guess I'd leave it up to them.
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