Feeling confident despite the differences…

27 Feb

I wish my mother knew how much she helped me prepare to live without her.

I must assume that both of my parents played a role in helping me to be self-assured, even when feeling so different from those around me. Growing up, I had perfect opportunities to feel inadequacies and be embarrassed. Yet, I was unaffected by these situations. For example, I have never felt frustrated at not having average or seemingly “normal” height. And, even though I did not have the most common and accepted religion, I always felt proud to be Jewish. I did not have the almost perfect grades that my sister had, yet I felt proud of my schoolwork.

And, for the past 17 years, I have not had a mother and constantly encounter opportunities to balk at my unfortunate circumstance. Sometimes when my friends talk about their mothers, I drift off into thoughts about my mother and then I find a way to disassociate myself from their discussion. I might think about how my mother’s death separates me from women and mothers who have mothers. My mother cannot stop by for dinner, ask me how my day was, or bring my family important groceries or special treats. She cannot criticize my parenting practices, busy schedule, outfits or housekeeping. Even though this is the first handicap that does make me feel crushed and sad, I still do not feel defeated. My parents raised me to advocate for myself and to be strong and proactive.

How do we deal with such huge differences that set us apart from our friends? How do you help yourself accept your differences without calling attention to them? How do you ignore a deep, heartfelt loss while helping your friends enjoy the very thing you do not have?

 

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