Do you ever wonder why people ask that question –  “How are you?” And deep down, do they really want to know HOW you are?  My experience has found, that no people really DO NOT want to know how you really are.  When my daughter was diagnosed with leukemia in 1999 – I cannot tell you how many times I heard that question.  How are you?  How is Olivia?  If I would say more than “good”, “better”, “fine”, or “feeling poorly” I would most likely get met with the phrases – “oh, you should count your blessings”, “things could be worse” or “it’ll all work out”.  Do those phrases really help?  I would most like say no.  And these phrases didn’t just come from people I barely knew, most of them came from my family too!Sometimes, when Olivia was sick, I would be so frustrated at the world and the situation I would lock myself in the bathroom at work and cry, sometimes I would cry in the shower, on my way somewhere in the car, laying in bed at night, walking my power walk, or funnily (an Olivia word) enough, a grocery store where I would go and buy a coke and a hershey bar and cry on the shoulder of the clerk (who, funnily enough, has become one of my dearest, truest, bestest friends)…and I would talk to God.  I would ask Him “why doesn’t anyone truly want to know HOW I AM?”  I learned to keep it all inside, to just give the standard answer of “I am fine”, “she is well” to anyone who asked.  Only during the past six months did I truly realize that for 44 years I have kept “I am FINE” as a perfect answer and didn’t really explore my feelings, and I also realized the reason I do this is because I came from a Sally Jesse Raphael and Oprah mother!    When I would have a feeling, other then happy, I would be met with psychoanalysis of “how do you feel about that?”  While I appreciate the sentiment, I don’t need to be analyzed, I needed to explore my feelings and learn how to handle them.  I also realized I have been TOLD how I feel about certain things: religion, politics, schooling, parenting, eating, drinking, dancing, socializing, etc., that sometimes I truly don’t know how I feel.  But I am learning…slowly…and one thing I have learned is that I have raised my child to do her own thinking, to be totally honest at all times (though on occasion she could tone this down), to be true to herself first and stay true to what she believes, her goals, her morals, her ethics and to not change for anyone or anything – to be true to yourself.  What a concept…one I am truly proud of that I taught her all on my own!  So, in conclusion – when you ask me “how are you” be prepared, because I might tell you that I am sad, mad, happy, disappointed, disgusted, irritated, lonely, misjudged, misused, unappreciated, appreciated, confused, celebratory, hungry, overwhelmed, overworked, overtired, or, surprisingly, FINE!