Kings and Queens for a Day

It was not an easy place to grow up. It left each of us all desiring to be the queen, at least for a day.

My sisters and I are constantly vying for queendom. It’s something we have been doing since we were little, undoubtedly because we did not get enough love and attention from our mother. She was actually the queen. She was beautiful, vivacious and desirous and her desires led our family. There was little any of us could do, including my father, to offer a different idea or perspective. Thus, she ran the household, with her strong opinions and desires. It was not an easy place to grow up. It left each of us all desiring to be the queen, at least for a day. So, when we are together, as we are now, taking care of our elderly mother, there is much tension between us as there is a constant underlying battle for supremacy.

I was feeling penned in and pent up from caring from my mother. My usual activities — seeing friends, having the freedom to come and go as I want, eating and relaxing when I want — have all been interrupted with mom care. For me, the pandemic is right at home. I felt invisible and like a barely knew who I was. I was angry inside. Then, I was given a gift from a friend. The gift of remembering my worth.

It is such a struggle to remember my own worth. Remembering brought tears to my eyes and a lump to my throat. The morning after talking with my friend, I awoke up early and looked out the window of my mother’s house. The tops of pine trees were silhouetted against an early morning sky. The light of the new day was so beautiful. I could see again! My soul, which had been shrouded in self-criticism, was now clear. I could feel, think and see with renewed energy and clarity.

This year, the year of the pandemic, we need to tune in and give ourselves and each other the gift of remembering the good of who we are. It may start with being able to breathe fully into who you are. It may be in seeing the beauty of your beloved…partner, child, friend. It may be a joyous moment of watching your dog run or hearing your cat’s deep purr. It could be a frosty morning’s fresh air or the sun lighting up a plant in your window.

This year, we can tell our inner critic to be quiet and say with admiration, “We made it!” This year, we can be glad to be alive. This year, we can notice each other and gift one another with words of appreciation and love. “Thank you darling for all the meals you have cooked!” “I am appreciative to you for all the time you have spent with the children!” “Thank you for your creativity in handling this tough time.”

In other years, we give gifts of things to express our love. This year, our gift can be the gift of recognizing each other and ourselves with words and thoughts, and with treating each other and ourselves like kings and queens for a day, honoring the beauty in our hearts. We all have hearts of gold, even if they get cloudy sometimes!

About Claudia Apfelbaum 6 Articles
Claudia Apfelbaum, LCSW, offers individuals, couples and families a protected space to talk about their lives and feel heard. She helps people who feel stuck, unclear, in pain, depressed or anxious in the current moment to become unstuck and create a life they feel good about. Her website is She can be contacted at

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