I had a cervical spine fusion about 7 yrs. ago. Even though my difficult child is currently 29 yrs. old (gasp!) I was still having a difficult time not "owning" her behavior and letting her actions affect my day to day life. I was still in a funk about how life turned out in regards to our difficult child and actually how it all affected our whole family. As all of you know life with a difficult child is not for wimps. I never lost the dream of the wanting the "perfect" family, as in no difficult child's! So, it was difficult. Back to my surgery. Before I had the surgery, my doctor sent me to the lady that would be scheduling and arranging everything for me. I went into her office and we made small talk..... what do you do, how many children do you have, oh isn't it wonderful that you have three daughters!!! Well I am not a fake person and I was unable to say, oh yes, life IS wonderful with three daughters, because it was not. There was great sadness on my part, because yet again, I felt like a failure in regards to what my expectations had been for a family and I am not good at skirting issue's so I did mention that our one daughter was not too much of a joy to raise. It was very embarrassing! This sweet woman who probably has 5 yrs. or so on me, said honey, you need to know that you did the best you could and you are not responsible for your difficult child's behavior. You need to live and the rest of your family needs to live. Let me tell you about my life...... She has a son that she loved dearly and like all the rest of us mothers, she had hopes and dreams for him too. He was a difficult child and a difficult teen to raise, but she did her best. When her son turned 18yrs. old, he committed a felony ( I don't remember what it was and it really doesn't even matter) and was sentenced to a lengthy prison term. This mother went to see her son once. She told him that she loved him, would pray for him and would be there for him when he got out, but couldn't bear to see her only child behind bars. She told me she understood the hurt I had. This stranger hugged me and we both cried in her office. I was so thankful when I walked out of her office. Not only did I have my surgery scheduled, but she truly changed my life and the way I was able to look at it. I think I was ready then. Last week, I had to go back to that same doctor to have another procedure scheduled and I was again sent to this woman's office. She did not remember me, but I remembered her. I told her about our last meeting and what an impact she had on my life, she just smiled. I told her I am now able to accept with peace what happened in our lives and I've been able to share openly with other hurting parents, my experience and to hopefully offer them what she gave me. She was so happy to hear that! And I loved telling her. Funny how our paths cross to meet other people that can help us and that we can help when the time is right.