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Wednesday, March 4, 2009


I just got home from chemo when my mobile phone rang....

"Ima, would you like to spend some time with me?" my daughter asked so sweetly.

Is she kidding?!?

"Of course!" I responded enthusiastically.

"Are you doing anything important?" she asked thoughtfully.

What could be more important than spending time with my daughter?!?

"I'll change my plans! I would love to spend time with you," I assured her.

"Great!" she replied, "'cause there are all these great sales in town...."

My face fell.

"I can't go shopping today," I reticently told my daughter, reminding her, "I had chemo today; I am just too tired..."

I was not surprised when she chose to call a friend and go without me. She met up with MM, a good friend of hers from elementary school. They had a great time together. I was happy for them both.

Later in the evening, when I asked her to help me with something that her brother usually does, she was resentful. I explained that he can't do it this time and that either she will do it or I will have to do it. She continued to complain and express her resentment in a not-so-positive way.

I suggested we could be spending time together. She was not interested. I pointed out that she was spending more time complaining than doing the task! She would not stop. I demanded that she stop. She did not listen. She was angry. She made a nasty comment about my not wanting to spend time with her, earlier in the day. She told me that I chose not to spend time with her!

Now I was angry.

It is one thing for her to tantalize me with the prospect of spending time together. But for her to choose to go to town rather than spending time with me, and then accuse me of not wanting to spend time with her?!? That was outrageous!!

She even had the audacity to imply that I chose not to go. As if I chemotherapy were some fun activity that I chose to do and now I was inexplicably too tired and therefore choosing not to spend time with her.

I could not believe my ears!

Did I choose to have cancer? Did I choose to have chemotherapy? Did I choose to be tired all the time!!

"It doesn't make sense," she complained, "you don't seem tired when you are with other people. You are only tired when you are home!"


"Yes," I explained, "when I am too tired, I do not go out; I stay home. The only people who see me when I am so tired are the people who live in my home."

"It is not fair," I continued, "It is not fair that I have cancer. It is not fair that I have chemotherapy. It is not fair that I am too tired to go shopping with you."

"But Ima," she said, looking up at me, "you don't really enjoy shopping."

"True," I admitted, "but if I had the choice between spending the morning in chemotherapy or spending the afternoon shopping with you, which do you think I would choose?"

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Ilana said...

Maybe she was hungry? Or almost 15?

rickismom said...

I think almost any teen will have moments like this. It doesn't mean not to put them in their place, and give them a reality check. But all of this must not be too easy for her either.

Anonymous said...

I noticed this with my kids too. I wonder if it's because we do so much to stay strong in their eyes throughout the misery of chemo that they forget how hard it is. She sees you (and they need to see you) a pillar of strength for everyone, and they just forget. Also, is she 15? Because I have one of those too...boy oh boy does the world revolve around them!

RivkA with a capital A said...

My daughter just read the post... she says that I did not just suggest that we spend time together, but rather that I criticized her for choosing not to spend time with me. And that was what led to her accusing me for not spending time with her. (even though she now knows that she was mistaken....)

Batya said...

We all hear what we "want to" hear. Teens and cancer...
G-d willing she'll grow upo and you'll have a refuah shaleimah.

Gila said...

To a certain extent, "you" do not have cancer--your entire family does. Stands to reason that tempers are going to fray now and again. (Including your own!) Cut them some slack and cut yourself some slack. It is clear from your blog (and from meeting you guys) that you are doing the best you can under incredibly trying circumstances.

And yeah, your daughter is 15.

A Living Nadneyda said...

It gets really difficult when it becomes an issue of "you give priority to this and not to me." My kids accuse me of that on a regular basis and you know, sometimes they are right, they are not my top priority every second.

Beyond chemo, a huge challenge, it is hard sometimes just being female; a wife, mother, career person with many different talents and interests. And alongside all that, cancer and its side effects. Good L-rd. No wonder you feel torn. It's frustrating and it's no one's fault.