Being a mom is tough on the best of days. But when crisis hits a mom - from work to grief to health concerns - the stress of managing her own issues can make parenting even tougher. Join this Charlotte mother as she shares her tale of being mom and keeping a positive attitude while facing a personally challenging diagnosis.
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Part 7: A lesson learned...you are not in control
"I can’t fight cancer and fight you all at the same time," I cried from the driver’s seat on Christmas Eve as the children and I were heading to dinner. They were bickering, probably because the stress of things out of our control were affecting all of us. Additionally, expectations and emotions during the holidays are high in the best circumstances. Unfortunately, I had always wanted to be in control of things-I craved (and still prefer) order. So, here I was with something that I simply could not control--in a very dramatic way. I even wondered if the "joke was on me". Cancer had been sent to teach me this valuable lesson: You are not in control.
Of course, I managed what I could--diet, rest, exercise, medicines, stress. I desperately wanted my children to help me by not arguing with me. But, I could not always "control" them either. They are spirited children with teenage brains and they want to be heard. I had already turned all my focus to my health and to my children, so I wanted to listen to them but only if they could be respectful and calm while sharing their thoughts. This was the ideal, and I have to say that it started working much better than I expected. Because I did not have the energy to engage, I learned to control my voice and my words.
But, the struggle would continue because ultimately my children would some day be adults (one in just a few short years). I would not be able to control every aspect of their lives, their thoughts, or their words much better than I could control the cancer.
Even so, I could make each day meaningful. I could control my own attitude towards my children and my life and my circumstance. I could try to find the good in a bad situation and hug my children a little closer. Cherish each moment and relish in each opportunity to see them grow. I have never felt more thankful to just "be". And maybe they will feel that as I loosen the tight hold they are less likely to argue. Not everything will need to be a fight. They will be free to choose, knowing all the while that I have unconditional love for them, and hopefully learning that life is too precious to be wasted.
Up next: Part 8, Looking ahead to brighter days