Book Details

an extraordinary journey

father stories is an unusually candid and poignant account of a father's struggle to be a "good enough" dad. Written by a child psychiatrist with great sensitivity and insight, father stories is a powerful memoir: real experiences of a real father. The stories are vividly told and sobering and reveal a glimpse of a father's soul. The reader is drawn into his world: his respect,love and compassion for his two sons and his patients coupled with anguish,doubt and the rare delights of being a father. At a time when little attention and respect are given to the work of being a father, father stories is a welcomed contribution to families and worthwhile reading for fathers and mothers alike, as well as professionals who work with parents and children.

 

Book Excerpt

excerpts from father stories "sandwiches and SpaghettiOs" My making /my son's/lunches was my way of maintaining my presence in his expanding world. I longed to keep him close. I was afraid of losing him – to his friends, his school and his teachers, and his wondrous fascination with learning and life. My sandwiches and the SpaghettiOs were my breast milk. They were my way of keeping him connected to me.…I clawed to hold on. His forgotten lunches were profound rejections of my bosom affection – poignant reminders of his slipping away. It was as if he didn’t need maternal offerings from me anymore. And, indeed, he didn’t. The problem was that I did! I felt like two atrophied breasts. "the suggestion box" Suddenly, a brief but noisy exchange erupted between David and Jonah. A push, a shove, a bump, a nudge ensued. Who knows?... “What’s goin' on?!” I shouted. I was furious.

“He pushed me!” David announced. ...“I don’t care who did what!” I exclaimed. Then…I shouted looking directly at Jonah. “Now get out!” Jonah was stunned and lashed back in defense: “You always pick on me!” He took a step toward me, then moved by and kicked the base of the nearby drill press. It started to fall.I lunged to catch it. There were no more straws. There was no lid…I lunged at Jonah and grabbed him by the shoulders. My heart pounded. My hands shook. My fingers tightened on his jacket. I felt like I could kill him. When our eyes met, his face was filled with fear. Stunned, my fingers went limp and I let go. My shoulders dropped. My heart sank. Shame shot through me. “Get out!” I said. I wanted to cry and scream... Jonah walked away quietly, out of the garage and into the cold. He did not look back…. Any suggestions? “when I’m taller” …The junior high school shower room had been a nightmare…I dreaded undressing and showering after gym class. The locker room was too crowded to hide.… I remember plotting how to disrobe, concealing my small genitalia behind the locker door; how I would time my entry into the open shower area to get a shower near the sidewall. By facing the tiles, I thought I could avoid the glare of onlookers. I remember all too vividly entering the toweling area one day, only to be met by the chuckles of older classmates who laughed and admonished me for my lack of pubic hair. I remember the terrible feeling of inadequacy when I compared my small, still-unclad genitalia with the seemingly gigantic appendages that hung from others’ pubic forests, from even the shortest of my classmates. This was the ultimate nightmare – and it had come true!... ...little did I know how indelible the feeling of inadequacy would be….

 

About the Author

stewart l wolff, md

stewart wolff, md was born in 1945. After college, he worked in Africa, attended medical school and went on to complete training in pediatrics, child development and adult and child psychiatry.

He has worked with and on behalf of children and families for over 30 years. The author of a number of professional articles, he has given numerous presentations, consulted with child health programs and served on the board of directors of a number of child advocacy programs. Currently, Dr. Wolff lives with his wife and two cats in Hartford, Connecticut. He is a supervisor in psychotherapy and has a private practice of adult and child psychiatry. He drives a red pick-up truck purchased from his older son and writes on an ol’ computer passed on to him by his younger son. He was once the water-boy for his son's football team.

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