She picks up the little figures one by one, holds them for a while, with her eyes closed and then puts them back in the box.
She goes through the whole box and once finished she chooses the smallest figure, and places it on the table. A slightly taller version comes next on the left hand side. She then picks up the 2 tallest figurines and places them in front of the first two, neatly aligned, like a shield.
She sighs, sits back, looks at me uncertainly, and fidgets with the figures left in the box.
‘What’s up?’I ask her. ‘I miss one more family member, is that correct?’
‘Yes, I’m sorry’ She says. ‘But he is not there, he is missing, I cannot find my father.’
3 short statements, which make me shiver. These sentences are the core of the reason she made an appointment with me. Apologising, feeling she’s done something wrong, feeling something is missing. Looking for her dad.
‘It’s incomplete, we’re incomplete, he should be there, he was so overbearing when he was home.’ The paradox of her coach question: her dad was absent, but also overbearing.
I ask her to give me a minute and I pop into my son’s room, gather some toys and go back to show her the new material.
The Lego, Playmobil and assorted action figures get the same inspection treatment as the wooden figurines, until she sees a toy dinosaur with menacing open jaws and sharp teeth.
She places the dinosaur firmly in front of her brothers who are shielding her and her mom. The menacing jaws overshadow her brothers, its claws are reaching out as if to grab her.
She wipes her hands convulsively on her jeans as if the dinosaur is tainted.
‘This is how it was, this is what it still feels like, he was always looming over us, always menacing us, nothing was ever good enough. A shiver runs through her, but she adds with a half smile: If the dino had a suit and tie it would be the perfect representation.’
Taking the representation of her family as starting point, we embark on her coaching journey. Exploring her family history, looking for insights into her family of origin, looking for her father.