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Deborah Lynn, M.D. Headshot

A Mother and Child Reunion

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Paul Simon's 1972, "A Mother and Child Reunion" has been playing over in my mind, coming subtly into my awareness as I move through my work this week. And something is breaking my heart about it. As any self-respecting psychoanalyst would do, I took it to be a message from my unconscious. What am I meant to be hearing? I am straining to listen as I make my way together through the aches and pains of my patients. More specifically, the pain of how and why some don't feel understood or cared for or "mothered" well, whether young or old. For the young ones, sometimes we can work this out in family therapy with the actual mother and father. And for the old ones, we are trying to contact the internalized parents.

This song, these lyrics, and the feeling... I must be getting in touch with a plead that has now gained momentum as it emerges from the unconscious: can't we all, all of us parents, just reach out and get closer to our children? The less obvious piece is how do we heal inside? How do we transform the internal distant, hostile, and cold parent inside our selves?

For the more concrete problem, I ask, how can we get closer to our children? How many days and hours do we spend stressed and annoyed, unable to relax into the rhythm of our children. Only a motion away... If only we could make the motion to authentically hug our children just a bit more... get closer... not so anxious... know ourselves better as parents... take care of our own baggage... not lay anxiety and our own negative projections on our kids... A Mother and Child Reunion....

Now, I would not give you false hope, but it may be able to happen if we, as parents, can just put away our anxiety and connect with our children. Even if it's for a moment, even if it means you have to get yourself healed on the inside to make way for those special moments where a loving motion can happen. Even if it means you spend an hour in therapy a week to have an internal reunion of sorts. Can we heal our inner rift of the negative internal parent so that we can get a few minutes of reunion with your little darlin' in front of you? It would mean that a father can look at his son, and instead of dismissing him as "just lazy," he would pause. Why am I calling my boy lazy? How much do I hate the "lazy me" that I am putting into my son? What about the over critical father me on the inside always nagging at my sense of myself? These moments could be healing. That father could be then given a chance at pausing and going over to his son to spend the time and have the patience necessary to get at that "laziness." That would of course mean that we can make peace inside with the negative parent that resides in our psyche. Transformation for every parent would be very hopeful, not giving false hope.

I suppose this blog is a push on my part. Pushing us into therapy or self-examination of some sort. But it must be deep, for real and rigorous, as far as I can tell. There are no quick fixes.

The mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away
Oh the mother and child reunion
Is only a moment away.

No I would not give you false hope
On this strange and mournful day
But the mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away
Little darling of mine.

I can't for the life of me
Remember a sadder day
I know they say let it be
But it just don't work out that way
And the course of the lifetimes runs
Over and over again.

No I would not give...

I just can't believe it's go
Though it seems strange to say
I never been laid so low
In such a mysterious way
And the course of a lifetime runs
Over and over again.

But I would not give...

The mother and child reunion
Is only a motion away
Oh the mother and child reunion
Is only a moment away.

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