It’s been exactly one week since my surgery. Last Thursday was a tough day for me. My surgery was scheduled for 4:30 pm which meant I had to fast all day. I don’t do very well with fasting as is and add the stress related to the surgery to it, it turned out to be perfect storm for me. Around 11 am last Thursday I was in bed with a migraine. An hour later, I started throwing up. Things kept getting worse during the course of the day. I threw up on my way to the hospital. I cried a couple times at the hospital as I was being prepared for the surgery. I admit that I was nervous, stressed, overwhelmed and even felt a little sad for myself. But I did my best to handle it all with dignity. I remember closing my eyes and remembering the sweet faces of my kids which helped me gather the courage to face the unpleasant situation that I was in. I got through it. I will not pretend that I got through it without any fear. Oh, I was scared. But I did it anyway.
As I sit here today a week after the surgery, reminiscing the incidents of the day of surgery, these lines by one of my favorite authors, George R.R. Martin, came to my mind. It’s true, a man (or a woman) can be brave only in the face of fear. All the illusions of toughness and bravery that many people try to display under ordinary circumstances are just that – illusions. I learned that as a parent, I cannot prepare my kids to be tough and brave by deliberately exposing them to situations that I think would toughen them up or by giving them tough doses of love, although many parents tend to do this. A person has to find real courage within themselves, on their own, by going through life’s natural rhythms, by embracing the unexpected trials and tribulations. I have learned that as a parent all I can do to raise courageous kids is to love them unconditionally, be there for them when they need me and raise them in a manner that would allow them to treat me as an anchor in their lives that they could rely on at any time. If I can do this, then I believe that they will find the courage that they need on their own.
My daughter told me the other night that she thinks that I am the bravest person she knows. This means a lot to me because all my life I have been told by various people that I cannot be so sensitive, that I need to toughen up. People generally equate sensitivity to cowardice. After all these years, I have learned that I can be sensitive and brave at the same time. My sensitivity is in fact my super power. I believe that I am able to find the courage that I need to face the challenges that life throws at me because I have learned to embrace myself unconditionally.