Little did I know, that my life experiences from childhood till today, would bring me to the understanding of the outmost importance of solid, loving, supportive parenting and its role in a child’s future resilience.
These realities also taught me the meaning of self reflection, and facing life over and over again with a positive attitude and faith.
My journey began in Israel. I was born in Israel to Argentinian parents who fought tooth and nail to give my brothers and I a good life. It wasn’t easy living in a country where war/peace were a constant topic. At times, sirens signaled to hide in the building bomb shelter for threat of missile attacks. However, in spite of this, we maintained a typical childhood of playing with friends, attending school and going on trips. I quickly learned even as a kid to persevere and enjoy life as it comes, no matter how unfavorable the circumstances.
Starting at the age of 12, I was faced with life altering events. My parents decided that we had to move to the USA due to financial and safety concerns. At first it was exciting. As immigrants we viewed USA as “the country where money grows on trees” which of course turned out to be more of a fantasy. Living in the USA did bring us opportunities which I must admit are not easily obtained in other countries. However, my life changed from that day on. First, I realized how difficult it was as a teen to move and make new friends while learning a new language and adjusting to a different culture. Also, living under threat of war and instability in Israel was replaced by the constant worry of being deported. We spent all of our savings on lawyers in order to reside legally and become US citizens. In the process, my parents marriage suffered too many hardships leading to my parents divorcing. To say the least, after all these life changes, our family as I knew it dissolved and was never to be the same.
Finally after high school, things appeared to be moving in the right direction. I married my high school sweetheart and embarked on a new adventure. I got my doctorate in OT, and saw my husband through law school. However, when we were finally ready to start a family, we struggled with infertility for five years. A physical and emotional rollercoaster. Again, I found myself having to deal with a life circumstance that seemed out of my control. Another situation asking of me to be resilient and have faith and guess what, it worked. After numerous failed attempts of infertility treatment and spending lots of money, we were finally successful and blessed with my beautiful daughter Arielle.
Again I thought, life appeared to be finally falling into place. I had the family and stability I craved. I prayed for smooth sailing. However, shockingly our tribulations didn’t end there. After 25 years of marriage, I unexpectedly lost my husband and mom simultaneously to the Big C – Cancer. Here I was left a single mom and widow at 43. What am I to do?. I decided again that my new unexplainable circumstances were not going to define me. I made a conscious decision to gather all my strength and life lessons and fight like a lion. I had to take responsibility for my child and life. I chose to be a warrior not a victim. I quickly realized I needed to take the “horse by the reins” and do what needed to be done. I had to build a solid new foundation and livelihood (being now the sole provider), paying bills, being a single mom, and starting all over again. I needed to quickly rebuild my and daughters’ life while grieving for the most important people that we suddenly lost – my spouse, mom, my daughters’ dad and grandmother.
The story of my life is a summation of happy memories and important lessons along with facing some very difficult realities of financial instability, immigration, divorce, infertility and loss. Throughout my life I was given lots of lemons, but I decided to try my best to make lemonade. As I went through each hardship in my life story, I quickly realized that I am not in total control of my past, present and future (that’s G-d’s job) but I am in control of how I face each day. I always had the choice of either surrendering or gathering myself and letting my inner light shine for all to see. I made a conscious decision each time to take my life experiences, and what I was taught along the way and start new chapters filled with hope and gratitude. My hope is to guide and empower each one of you to do the same.