We have been having a tough month in my household. Some of it medical concerns, some more minor things. The other day we had a tragedy, when my sister in law's parents were in a car accident and her mother was killed.
My 19 year old son who was in the army at the time was given a car and a driver by his commanding officer. He wanted my son to be able to be at the funeral and support his cousins who lost their grandmother and his aunt who lost her mother. He also didn't want my son to have to drive back after the funeral on his own.
Jewish funerals are generally on the same day and here in Israel they are even tougher to attend because there is no casket, just the body wrapped in a shroud.
At the funeral my eldest son took charge of his 18 year old cousin and stood by him with his arm wrapped around him for the whole funeral. He was comforting and strong and watching him bought tears to my eyes.
My mother in law also came to the funeral, even though her husband had just been released that day from the hospital. As an ER nurse I had helped with my father in law while he was hospitalized and when I heard about the accident I right away went to the hospital to help my sister in law and her family.
My mother in law made a comment to me after the funeral about how my eldest son was just like his mother, taking charge and helping out whenever is needed. It was only a day later as I was making dinner that the comment registered.
I was finally able to accept a compliment about myself because the behavior that my mother in law said my son had inherited from me, is one that had made me so proud of him. I had watched him watch over and support his cousin during the funeral and his strength made me strong. If I was allowing myself that pride about my son for a trait that is similar to one of mine, then I needed to learn to accept the compliment.
So I did. I thought about how proud I am that helping others and being there for them in their time of need is something that my son has ingrained into his behavior. In that way my son is like me and by default this time I accepted the compliment to me as well, because my son has made me so proud.
Sometimes it takes your teen's reflection to see the good things in yourself.