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Sunday, August 19, 2007

Making Changes

I have a new idea:

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,
RivkA

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

so you've been busy, I see. I appreciate the honest, candid updates. I really wanted to know what's been going on w/u. thanks for sending me the blog address. May God shower u w/His Healing Powers & w/the fortitude to remain happy at all times. sending love.

devra.ariel said...

Hey woman - my blog is anonymous, so you might not know who this is (unless you look at my blog). I love that you've started this, and thanks for filling in the holes. I daven for you every day, and we are right in the middle of YOUR two weeks in our mishmeret shmirat halashon. I think about you all the time.
Wishing you strength, further insight, lots of laughter and hugs. Trying to figure out how/when we can get together. Thanks for starting a blog.
Dev

devra.ariel said...

Whoops! Thought this would publish under my blogger ID. Oh well. :)

Yehuda said...

Nice to hear from you in blog format. Keep us posted.

Yehuda

Anonymous said...

ok rivka maybe guilting me into working on kibud av veem will work! i need all the help i can get. thank you for your inspiring post. it literaly brougth tears to my eyes. continuing to pray for you and sending happy thoughts. all the best faith

Anonymous said...

I was deeply moved by your post.
You are doing important work.
May this be your healing!
Refuah Shlema,
basmat

Anonymous said...

Dear Rivka,
What a wonderfull idea, we"ll be sure to do mitsvot in your refua shelema. Wishing you all the best and a wonderfull year full of happyness, health, shlom bait, ahavat chinam and kiboed horim.
love you
Naomi W.

Anonymous said...

Ah... as ever, you are everyone's inspiration. And, in return for bettering us all, we (all your friends), in our humble way attempt to contribute to your refuah shlema by davening, saying tehillim and rising to higher spiritual levels. You've moved me to consider in what manner I might do best with making some changes. I shall not fatigue you with the ponderously long list of improvements which my character could suffer to make. But, of my many shortcomings, I shall detail one. I have the nasty habit of becoming truly irate when murderous, maniacal cab-or-other-drivers wantonly put my own and my children's lives at peril. I respond with the fury of one who is beholding evil incarnate. No temperate wind or mild mannered niceties are at my disposal during those moments and, I confess to you, not without some measure of embarrassment, that when in the throes of righteous indignation against these seriously dangerous menaces, my tongue often lashes out in a most unguarded way. Now, I don't really want my children to speculate that, in fact, their mother was raised by fish-mongers or sailors when I've been trying to impress upon them these many years that I'm a good Jewish girl (even if I have spent a formative year or two on the South Side of Chicago). I believe the time has come to exercise some moderation of parlance while continuing to be uncompromising in the 'tzedek tzedek tirdof' department. I shall have to find aternative ways of getting the point across to our criminally reckless brethren on the roads. Now, there's a worthy challenge you've set before me. I'll get right on it, Boss.
So, thank you, RivkA with the capital A, bat Teirtzel. Love you dearly. Keep up the good work, Ad Meah Ve'esrim. Amen.
Nomi (Lerner Rosenberg)
PS I have a great book for you to borrow on the virtues and strengths of saying (or being mezakeh others to answer) Amen.

Anonymous said...

RivkA,
Bless you! You are in my best thoughts and in my tefilot.
Warmly,
Erika Lange

anitra said...

Leave a comment, what leave a thought! - how does one leave in such a small space such complex, complicated, and continuous thoughts?
We haven't been in touch in so long - yet with you it's always like only a short time has passed. I told a friend about you, before you or I knew what was happening - I described you, to her, as meeting my double - even down to the love of swimming - is this presumptuous? do you feel it too?
You take your hardships and make them into challenges and throw it out to everyone to share (truly a generous attribute). Kibud Av Ve Em - what a hard one you threw at me - may i use your strength to conquer this challenge? Even if i don't succeed may HaShem grant you extra points for reminding me of my obligations.
Thank you for including me in your circle of friends.

love nitra (for you without the capital A - does that mean you complete me?)

RivkA with a capital A said...

Anitra -- I LOVE YOU!!!

Defintitely lots of similarities.

What I love best about you is that you are TOTALLY REAL. That's awesome! You tell it like it is. No nonsense.

And you make me laugh!! Which is just great!!

Thanks for being part of my "research team"!!

:-)

vasilisa said...

YOU have impressed me greatly!
It actually is MY button that I can not raise my children passing them what I got from my parents
THANK YOU RIVKA
and YES I AM THINKING OF YOU
Vasilisa

Linda said...

Dear Rivka (and all you other mothers out there). In response to your second resolution, patience with the kids, I firmly absolve you from PMS days (as long as they number between 1-3 monthly).

Yes, the queen has spoken. And it was good...