Thursday, January 17, 2008

Thanks Mom, It Could Be Worse by Nannette Croce

Whenever I whined about inevitable miseries of childhood––the last day of summer vacation, the Christmas tree coming down––my Mom had a standard reply. “Would you rather be so-and-so?” (So-and-so being a child, usually about my age, who had suffered some terrible fate like a major illness or a death in the family.) Thinking back it was hardly original, just replacing the old Pollyanna, “let’s find the silver lining,” with a more typically Italian, operatic twist. I chafed at the injustice, but it worked, not just in shutting me down––my Mom’s immediate purpose––but in weening me from a "poor me" attitude.

Since then I’ve faced more painful events than the end of summer vacation, but Mom’s “it could be worse” outlook has kept everything in perspective, and, I believe, helped me heal more quickly. It’s not healthy to shut out grief entirely, and we shouldn’t beat ourselves up over a slight funk even for small things like rain ruining our vacation or a child going off to college for the first time. But looking outside myself has taught me that there can be good things even in the very bad, like the friends you didn’t know you had, who come to your aid.

So, thanks Mom, for always pointing out that “it could be worse.” Your motives may not have been pure, but the benefit was long-lasting.

4 comments:

Angie Ledbetter said...

Mama mia, that's one smart lady! Love your attitude and outlook. Great post.

Kathryn Magendie said...

When you see my "yog" tomorrow, you will see I kinda had the same theme, in its own way --*smile* That "well, it could be worse" thing...I have a love hate relationship with it - I know it is true, but sometimes I don't want to hear it - I want to wallow in self-pity! *laugh*

Good post....

Nannette Croce said...

When I used to teach exercise at senior centers there was a woman who suffered with rheumatoid arthritis so bad she literally moved like a robot. Her shoulders were perpetually hunched up under her ears and her fingers were like knots. I almost mentioned her in my post, because she always had an upbeat attitude. Once I was talking to her and she told me that from time to time she throws herself a "pity party." She keeps to herself and wallows in her misery, but she limits it to only one night now and then, and then forces herself to go out and do something with friends. I found that a tremendously healthy way of dealing with things.

Barbara Quinn said...

Sometimes you're at the bottom of the heap, and boy it does suck. It's hard to keep your perspective, and stay positive. But you're right, it can be done. I've seen some amazing things, been with some incredibly astute people who manage to rise above the worst situations. How humbling and worth a shot at emulating.

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