I had about 6 months when I thought I was "done" -- i.e. I thought I was "over" breast cancer and could "get on with my life."
(little did I know...)
Anyway, during that time, I decided to try and "fix" all sorts of things. I'm not sure if it was the cancer, or turning 40, or what, but I decided it was time to change things.
So, I determined to work on:
1. conquering the mess in my home (not a small feat)
2. improving my parenting (be more patient, parent the way I know I should, etc)
3. improving my relationship with my husband (accept the "Y" chromosome thing, and that he might never develop telepathy, so I actually have to tell him things!)
and, most importantly,
4. correct the way I treat my parents, particularly my mother.
Now, I must say that I have a wonderful relationship with my mother. When I was a teenager, my mother was my best friend. Today, in many ways, she still is.
I love my mom. Most of my good qualities come from my mom. I could write an entire blog about my mom. And most of it would be positive!
BUT, my mom pushes my buttons. So, instead of responding to her like a "mature, 41 year old, independent woman", I respond the same way I did when I was 14! (and not quite as mature as I liked to think!)
Well, for years my husband told me that if I want to teach my kids how to treat their parents, I must model the kind of behavior I demand. Talk is cheap. It doesn't matter what I tell them, it matters what I show them.
I didn't really "get it", until the day that one of my kids said to me (and I quote): "if we talked to you that way, we would be in really big trouble!"
Well, the kids knew it was true, and I did too.
And that was the catalyst. I finally internalized it. (it took me long enough!)
So, I've been working really hard on giving my mother the respect she deserves. To put her needs at the top of my list of priorities. To be patient, even when she's bugging me. To try and attend to her needs, even when I think they are silly. And to learn when not to argue, because (as my little sister pointed out to me) I am an adult now and I can make my own decisions (what a novel concept! I just have to be respectful; I don't necessarily need to do everything my mother says).
Anyway, I've been sharing my efforts with some friends. And a friend recently wrote:
"Thank you for the advice on parents and other things. I am trying very hard to put them into practice - and am dedicating that effort to your refuah shelama."
And I thought, this is the best gift that anyone could give to me!
So, if you are looking for some way to help me, this is it: Focus more on respecting your parents. And dedicate a part of that effort to my refuah shlayma.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,