A client’s comment reminded me of this recently.  They said their mother had died when they were between 3-4 years old and so they didn’t have that experience of having a mom in their lives.  They had a wicked-stepmonster (my word) who was a defining presence in their life, but not in a good way.  The way they put this was as if they were a china cup that has been broken at the handle and could never been repaired.  I mean, you can glue those back on, but the cup just isn’t usable as a tea-cup any more.  It becomes something else, repurposed, decorative, and most often just a bit sad.

This is the common wisdom of the moment, but it just isn’t so.  As Melody Beattie puts it: “Whatever pieces we don’t get, we need to go back and retrieve if we want to experience joy.” In this case it’s not about going back to try and retrieve her Mom through séance or medium, although that might be part of the process, but to now as an adult work to retrieve the mothering she deserved and still does deserve.  She deserves to be validated just because she’s alive.  She deserves to be seen and delighted in because she is who she is.  She deserves to be supported and loved and nurtured in all of her talents and explorations.  And above all, she deserves to be a kid.  That was taken away from her by circumstances, but that doesn’t mean she needs to continue to be bereft.

We can go back and we don’t even need a time machine.  In some cases we can do this for ourselves. I have helped people go back and reclaim teenage moments that went horribly wrong like the rock concert that she never got to goto, the theme part that the parents refused to spend money or time on, or the picnic that should have been and wasn’t.  I also have helped myself and others find people who can provide the mothering and fathering that we never had. I have watched people give themselves permission to open up and live the life that got taken from them even though it happens late in the game. We can’t move forward if we’re missing a piece.  By definition we can’t be whole if we are defining ourselves as broken.