“I would love to buy Sebastian those tickets to Drake. Drake is his favorite singer; mimic’s him at every turn. But I cannot afford to. I have a hard time paying the bills every month. But you know what? Sebastian loves me and he knows I love him. That is what matters.”
This was one of the final things Sara said to me as our last session was winding down .Sara is a recent client that was having a hard time being the parent that could not buy Sebastian his favorite things or take him on excursions. Every time Sebastian would come back from his dads, he would have things like a new Xbox game or a pair of jeans from Hollister. It really made Sara self-conscious and she did not know how to deal with it.
We went through some gut wrenching sessions to help dig Sara out of her doubt and worry by focusing on some basic ideals.
Here they are:
The more we focus on that which we cannot control, the less we focus on that which we can. At one point I asked Sara how much of a distraction the money situation was for her. She admitted that it bothered her more than it should and that Sebastian caught her breaking down a few times. I then asked Sara what made her such a good person and a good mommy. “Dedication and heart”, she answered. Are you really spending enough energy letting these two traits shine if you spend so much of it worrying about money? She cried and then I cried but at the end of the day, she understood.
A mother/son date to ‘Captain America: Civil War’ is a fine substitute to a Drake concert. Why? Because life and love is about your moments together. Replace one moment with another and what remains is that you’re together. It can sometimes be the case that the parent with the most money and thus the most opportunity to spoil can do so with material things. But, as study after study has shown, as children get older, their closeness with their parents is directly attributed to the physical and emotional relationship they had with them.
You bring that physical and emotional energy that Sebastian is just not getting from his dad. Think about what you remember about your relationships. What stands out? It is possible that Sebastian’s dad does not know how to show love outside of material things and while that is not an excuse by any stretch, take comfort in knowing that you can bring the two things to Sebastian that he would otherwise never get.
Did I mention this was a tough discussion? For while I can ask questions, give insights and encourage her, I do not live in Sara’s world. I remind myself of that fact each and every time I get in front of a client. Sara reminded herself of one very important thing. “I may be broke, but I am not broken”.