Rainbow Hills

 

Arlyn

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PARENT COLUMNS

ADVICE FROM DAD

Now that my “baby” has graduated from college, she has chosen to reside on the other end of the American continent. And how I miss my little girl.

She will always be Daddy’s little girl too. I feel compelled to pass on some of Dad’s wisdom.

Recently, we had taken to referring to her as “Miss Homeless-in-New York” as she was sleeping on friends’ floors and couches while she tackled the nearly impossible East Coast rental market. She was working long hours on a project with a tight deadline and had driven back to her college town to see the doctor there because her new insurance had not kicked in yet. Needless to say, we were worried about her.

She called and her dad got on the phone. “I have two things to tell you.” He said. You could tell he had been thinking about her. “One, breathe.” That may sound odd, but we’ve come to know that this is his shorthand for stop and just be in the moment.

“Two,” he continued, “you don’t have to be Wonder Woman. Who you are is enough.”

When he said that, I had a picture in my mind of my daughter at three with her pink nightgown tied on like a cape, spinning around, yelling, “I’m Wonder Woman!” Then flying through the house on some mission to save the world. And look out to anyone who got in her three-year-old way. She hasn’t changed much. Okay, she’s given up the pink “cape.”

It is often difficult for many of us to feel that we don’t have to be Wonder Woman or Superman. This society judges people by what they produce. None of us feel that we are enough just to be who we are. If we haven’t become a dot com millionaire by the age of 21, we feel like failures.

So, Dad’s advice is needed. Needed by all of us, not just those with IBD. All of us who don’t even take a moment to hop into the phone booth anymore to don the cape, but wear it full time as super mom, workaholic, or wonder kid. We don’t believe for a moment that who we are is enough. Yet, Dad just said it. “Who you are is enough.”

So there was Miss Homeless-in-New York, working ridiculous hours in an internship position that pays peanuts and nervous about taking time off to go to the doctor. Even worrying about taking time to get a prescription filled. You can see why Dad tells her she does not have to be Wonder Woman. Perhaps many of us need to hear this good advice. Do the best you can, then stop and breathe. Take care of yourself.

Take a deep breath and as you exhale, start to count all of the things you have done instead of all of the things yet to do. Count the accomplishments and take time to acknowledge them.

Take another deep breath and as you exhale start to appreciate who you are. This is not a contest. You don’t need to compare yourself to those that you think are more or less. On my deck I have several plants. The rose grows taller than the azalea. The mums are bright in the fall. One little plant had to be moved over to the side of the steps to get mostly shade because it could not take full sun like the others. I do not ask the azalea to be tall like the rose or the rose to be bushy like the azalea. It is fine with me that the mums bloom in the fall instead of the spring. I do not scold the shade plant for hiding behind the steps out of the sun.

So I am happy to pass on Dad’s wisdom to you. And from Mom, as always, I wish you well.


 

Copyright 1996 - 2002 Arlyn Serber