Thursday, March 4, 2010

Law and Order as Therapy

I would like to have done a lighter toned blog for once, but it's been a rough couple of weeks for the Veldman family so, aside from the momentary lift of the hockey game, there haven't been many bright spots to reflect on. I think of what we're going through a bit like grinding gears when you're trying to drive up a steep road; it's sort of messy transitioning between phases in our new lives. We're not really sure what's around the bend, but we are definitely on the road, whether we want to be or not. But I have to confess I'm really tired of working on recovery, worrying over Mother's situation, watching my other family members suffer.  Sometimes all I want to do is lie on the couch and watch Law and Order. This is why I was actually sort of glad to get the Olympics behind us so we could get back to lots of different versions of it.

I became addicted when Kelsey first went into treatment. I was a little shell shocked when I first came back from dropping Kelsey off to her first residential treatment in St. Louis. I couldn't quite reconcile where my life was with where I always thought it would be. I was trying to re-dedicate myself to my children, and absorb the early lessons counselors were trying to teach me, mainly the mantra, "It's not all about you." But, we were told a couple of times by a couple of different therapists that we also had to "take care of yourselves." So, how do you reconcile those competing ideas? By a little trial and error, but, for as much as I have preached putting your kids first in this blog, it is also sincerely true that you cannot completely lose sight of yourself. If you do, I think, you'll find you have nothing left to give your loved ones. And I sincerely believe they don't want that of you. So, I kept up volunteering with the Humane Society and I watched Law and Order as often as I possibly could. Back then TNT was using Law and Order re-runs to launch itself to the number one cable channel. And they milked it like it was a herd of happy cows. This worked out great for me. Mondays were particularly great fodder. I think the show was about to hit its 13th season, I hadn't watched it before (always working), so I had lots of ground to catch up on and episodes began at 5:00 PM and ran straight through until 11:00 PM. One Monday shortly after Kelsey entered McCallum Place I sat down in the living room chair and watched all five episodes without moving. Of course, that was not smoothest parenting move on my part that night since I have no recollection whatsoever as to what Marissa was doing, but there was so much of it on that I could watch it when the rest of the family was doing something else. Everyone in the family caught a bit of the fever anyway, and it became just what we did with any scrap of down time. Marissa and I are watching a Criminal Intent re-run as I write this. But, it was definitely my big guilty pleasure. The draw was simple: the crime and its detection and prosecution are the main character, and I could watch hours and hours of people who were worse off than I was. It was highly therapeutic. Whether I honed in on the victim or the perp, somebody was in a bigger jam than me. I would end my viewing, whether one or many episodes, feeling a little better about things. Almost re-energized. Weird? Maybe. But, sometimes, you go with what works.

I did become fond of the stars of the show, though, even though it is carefully crafted not to focus on the personal stories of the detectives and prosecutors. I was, and remain, particularly fond of Ed and Lennie. I cried when the actor who played the wise cracking detective Lennie Briscoe passed away. Most of the women I know knew who he was from Dirty Dancing. Others know him from his successful Broadway career, but I loved him as Lennie, and I miss him. But, then again, I'll always have him on Sunday morning re-runs. I would have a lot of fun at first checking the case law they cited. The law they use is generally sound from what I can tell, and some of my favorite scenes are when they argue a motion. It's like little snippets of actual cases. They make it seem to flow a lot faster and easier than even I know it really does, but when they state a statistic, it's generally a real one. Made it easier to not feel like a complete slug watching so much TV.

I don't know if I spent more time watching than I should have, but it helped me through lots of dark, dark days. And, here Marissa and I sit, bonding over Goren and Eames out-smarting a clever conspiracy, trying to feel a little bit better about our own bumpy road. For a few hours anyway, it'll actually work.

1 comment:

  1. I love Bobby Goren. But my new addiction is NCIS...and now I have TiVo, so I am free again!