After waiting for months for a four-week support group about parenting, I had a conflict that could not be avoided.
The truth is, there is a bit of a back-story, which makes this even more poignant.
You see, at first I had a Bar Mitzvah that night. So, I tried, unsuccessfully, to get the date changed (of the support group, not the Bar Mitzvah. duh!) Then God smiled at me, and the facilitator needed to postpone the meeting. I was so happy that I would not have to miss it! Then God laughed at me, and gave me parent-teacher meetings on the new meeting night. That was so unfair!
Well, I went early to the parent teacher meetings, but we still finished meeting with all the teachers after the support group already started. As soon as we were done, I ran (okay, drove) to my support group. I arrived an hour late.
Even though there was still an hour left to the meeting, I felt like I missed a lot.
In the end, there was nobody new in the group, except the facilitator, who I had met before, at a previous event. Most of the women were from my previous support group (Ch, L, M, and R) and one, MZ, was from our first support group. S and EZ, who led our last support group, also attended. I felt like I was "coming home," but also like I was late for something really important.
The group was still doing an "introductory" exercise. I listened as my friends shared their stories about what they told/shared with their children.
The facilitator wanted to extend the meeting, but several women needed to leave by ten. So, when everyone had finished, the facilitator turned to me and asked me to take two minutes to share what I had told/shared with my kids about my cancer.
For various reasons, I felt really put off. I would have preferred if she had just asked me to wait and share my experiences next week. How was I to sum up in two minutes what everyone else had just spent 15 minutes, or more, sharing?
In the end, I just answered, "We told our kids everything."
The facilitator had asked all the other women follow up questions, but she did not really have time for me. She did ask me one or two questions, but I did not understand what she wanted from me.
It was clear that there was no time for any detailed answers, so I resented her questions. I did not really know how to respond. With no background, and no real understanding of our family dynamic, what could I say?
I was really annoyed, but I did not know how to express my frustration constructively. I felt like anything I said would come out sounding like I was pouting. How could I make any demands for attention, when I was the one who came in an hour late?
After the meeting, the facilitator was very friendly and nice. She showed me the workbook they used for the meeting and suggested I do the exercises at home. The workbook is in Hebrew, so I was not sure that I would really use it on my own. The facilitator offered to bring me some materials in English next time.
As agitated as I felt, I could not remain upset at the facilitator, who was exceptionally warm and welcoming.
So, though I was decidedly unsatisfied, I will see what happens next meeting.
After looking forward to this group for so long, the actual meeting, or what was left of it, was a real letdown for me.
I have so many questions and concerns about parenting within the context of cancer.
I really need this group to help me process what is going on in our home.
More than anything, I need help in understanding how cancer is affecting my role as a mother.
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,