Getting Nachas from my Dad
Most parents get nachas from their children. But I’m a child who gets nachas from her parents.
I’ve written before about my mom’s important work, so you can already understand why I shep nachas from her… but I’ve rarely written anything about what my Dad does.
My Dad started out as a regular X-ray-reading radiologist, but over the years he developed a passion for cancer research, figuring out what causes cancer and how to detect it as early as possible in order to save more lives.
And then, about a decade ago, my Dad did something that doesn’t happen so often. He officially switched medical specialties, transferring from the radiology to the oncology department of the hospital where he’s worked for 25 years.
B”H, my Dad has had a lot of successes in his work, and today he’s a leading researcher in the fields of digital lung and breast cancer detection.
So when my 7th grader Hallel said she needed to interview somebody “who does something interesting” for her English class, she decided to interview her Saba. And today I received my Dad’s responses to Hallel’s questions.
When I read them over, one of the responses brought tears to my eyes. And this was it:
“I really enjoy my work… I like caring for patients and doing research. I usually am able to help patients, but the results of my research are failures more often than they are successes; this is what happens if you try to do new things. The successes are delightful to have. I know that the successes would not happen without the failures and I learn much from the failures. I’ve learned to keep trying and enjoy the challenges.”
Words to live by, right?
This morning, after Hallel headed off for school with Saba’s answers in hand, I realized that my 2-year-old Tsofia had never come downstairs.
“Where is Tsofia?” I asked my kids.
5-year-old Yoel giggled, “Tsofia is getting dressed all by herself!”
15-year-old Hadas clarified, “Tsofia is cleaning out all of her clothing drawers for Pesach…”
At that moment, Tsofia came downstairs with a Cheshire-cat grin between her marshmallow cheeks.
Amazingly, with no assistance whatsoever, Tsofia had gotten herself fully dressed.
The only problem was that she was wearing her sweater underneath her dress, and the sweater and the dress were backwards. AND, underneath it all, she was wearing a pair of Yoel’s black soccer underwear.
A few kids ago, I would have sighed in frustration….As though it’s not already difficult enough convincing a 2-year-old to get dressed every day–and now I’ll also have to fight with that 2-year-old every morning to get the wrong clothing off before I get the right clothing on?! Eema’le!
But my perspective has changed over the years, since I’ve witnessed my share of insanity-inducing Weisberg 2-year-olds grow up. I know that even though this “I do it myself!” stage drives me crazy, the next stage will be so wonderful that it makes this one worth it: when I will have a 3 or maybe 4-year-old Weisberg child who knows how to dress him or herself just right, IY”H.
As my Dad said, “The successes are delightful to have, and I know that the successes would not happen without the failures…”
I often get frustrated with myself. I am so sensitive that it’s sometimes difficult for me to cope.
Why can’t I be tougher?
New challenges take me so much longer to recover from than those Teflon-coated types I admire so much.
But I guess this is MY challenge, MY tikkun, MY life’s project, at least for now.
And I try, and I fail. And I try something else, and I fail again. And something else. And again and again. Failure. Failure.
But occasionally. Not so often, but occasionally, I succeed. And “the successes are delightful to have. I know that the successes would not happen without the failures…”
And I hope that one day I will also have, “learned to keep trying and enjoy the challenges” just like my Dad.