I’ve always considered myself a strong, independent woman. Coming of age back in the ’70s was quite an adventure. For you youngsters, women were mostly still expected to get married before leaving your parents’ home and then pretty much be a housewife and mother. Few of us were encouraged to go to college, if we were it was just kind of a stop gap, something to do before marriage. By the ripe old age of 21, all my “girls” were already there!
In the early ’70s was when the full force of the “Feminine Mystique” was coming to the forefront. Women were reading it, talking about it, questioning their lives and decisions. Could we really have it all?
At any rate by the time I was 28 in a “man’s world.” I had already worked my way into middle management. I liked work, I found out I had a good head for business and technology and the rest is history, as they say.
Being good at your career is a great self-esteem booster; you feel confident in your workplace amongst your peers. It’s not always so easy to carry it into all aspects of your personal life.
My husband’s sister, in my mind, is a “mean girl.” I tried my best to befriend her, but I never knew what to expect from her. She had a proprietary attitude where her brother was concerned. Leave it to say, try as I did, she knew how to intimidate me for the years we all still lived in the same state.
It has been a long while since we’ve seen or heard from her. My husband’s family fell apart after both parents were gone. He and his brother have remained close, but that’s it.
I called his brother to let him know what was going on with my husband and he decided he wants to visit from out of state. Knowing how happy this would make my husband, I was elated. Then I got a late night call from hubby. Not only was brother coming but he called the mean sister and she was coming too!
My initial reaction was, “Oh no, just what I don’t need right now.” She’ll criticize how I care for hubby. She’ll interfere with our hard-learned routines. I’ll have to wait on her and I just don’t have energy to spare. The meanness is just something I cannot endure right now. I’m running on empty. All I have right now is what I need to take care of my husband and keep me healthy so I’m able.
But then a thought came to me. Now I truly am a strong woman. A woman who can stand up to doctors, nurses, insurance companies and anyone I need to in order to ensure my husband gets what he needs. I have been able to overcome obstacles I never thought possible. Over the past few years I really have become braver than I ever thought I could be. We have climbed mountains and scaled the sides of buildings. I am a Caregiver and an Advocate!
I wouldn’t recommend this boot camp to anyone, let alone wish it upon them. But the end result is surprising, even to me. So tonight, with real confidence, I picked up the phone and called mean s-i-l.
I began with “Hi, I’m so glad you’re coming to visit.”
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