I chose to be a social worker because I believe in the power of family. When I was 14 my parents divorced and my image of family changed forever. I didn’t like to admit it – but my mother no longer lived with me. “How can she be my family if I don’t live with her anymore?” I thought. “Weren’t we happy?” “Don’t we still love each other?”
Fortunately, I found the answers to the questions I asked and came to peace with my new family. More than ever, my siblings were my family. I hadn’t paid that much attention to them before, but after the divorce we rallied and found pride in being together, being strong, being happy. It wasn’t easy, but I learned how to make new relationships with my parents too. After years of yelling at my mother, I found myself crying at her ordination from Rabbinical school several years after the divorce. I was so proud of her ability to chase her dreams and make them a reality – even while raising 4 children.
Redefining my relationship with my father took harder work – for he remarried and had to navigate the waters of pleasing his children and his new wife at the same time. For the first time in my life I realized that my father has flaws too. “How dare he let this happen to us” I remember saying, “He’s a psychiatrist he should know better!” But the truth is – he is human and can’t fix everything. He wanted a new relationship with me too. Now that I am older, at the age of 33, I can appreciate his desire to be cared for as well as his strong ability to care for others. My father is the one who implanted my passion to help other families unify in times of trouble.
I still believe that my mother and father were and are good parents despite the divorce. I try and emulate my parents as I raise my two children, now ages 2 and 4. I even take my parents’ advice when it comes to my own marriage. My mother urges us to nurture each other, my father reminds us to look at our own actions, and my step-mother advises us to focus on our blessings. Today I am married just seven years to a wonderful man who reinforces my belief in the healing power of family. I know we will make it to see our 50th wedding anniversary with our children and grandchildren present. I know we will continue to care for each other and encourage each other the rest of our lives. I know that the road will be bumpy at times, but in the end, I believe in family. Happy Anniversary Michael. I love you.
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