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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

An Unusual Shabbat

I was looking forward to our first quiet Shabbat in a while. I was eager to spend some quality time with my children, now that everyone but my mother has returned to the States.

When Y came to ask if she could spend Shabbat at a friend's home, I was disappointed. I wanted all of my kids to be with me. I was looking forward to reading (Harry Potter 4) to them on Shabbat -- but I don't read if any of the kids are missing (even MD, who has read through HP 6 in Hebrew). And I was eager to catch a few moments to talk with Y alone, just the two of us.

"Perhaps you'd like to invite your friend to stay with us?", I ventured.

"Not this time," was Y's thoughtful response.

Though I wanted to keep her to myself, I knew that I had to let her go.

Y had been so helpful during the chaos of my family's visit. And, since my mother is still sleeping in A's room, A is still sleeping in Y's room. So Y doesn't even have her own space.

I knew that Y deserved a little space of her own. So I smiled and let her go.

One door closes, and another opens......

When Y is home, she sets the tone. She is often the social director, and serves as a buffer between MD and A, who can fight like two little puppies, nipping and baiting each other -- not to mention barking and whining, and the inevitable whimpering and crying.

But this Shabbat.... something magical happened.

A & MD were like two little puppies.... but in a good way. The were giddy with playing with each other. They were scampering about and conspiring together, with giggles and secret glances.

And then there was that unexpected mantra.....

"Shituf Pe'ulah, Shituf Pe'ulah, Shituf Pe'ulah...." (cooperation, cooperation, cooperation....)

Every time something needed to be done, they both popped up, started chanting in unison, marching to the rhythm, and doing everything.... together!

They were a real team! And they worked well together!

As the evening wore on, they created another version. They quietly counted backwards "3....2....1...." and got all "sleepy" and "woozy". Then, they would count forward "1....2....3...." and BOOM, energy and... "shituf pe'ulah, shituf pe'ulah....." and off they went....

Somewhere along the way, they opened up one of the couches and set up a bed. When they pretended to be asleep, they really looked like two cute little puppies, all tangled up together.

They were sweet and thoughtful and MD was very much in the "big brother" mode. He even said Sh'ma (evening prayers) and sang to A to help her sleep.

It was one of those precious evenings that we try to impress in our minds. A moment in time to savor, and treasure.

Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.

With love and optimism,


Ye'he Sh'mey Raba Mevorach said...

We call it the rule of one. Take one kid out of the equation and things suddenly get... different. And usually better. Why? Dunno.


Lady-Light said...

RivkA, I just discovered your blog (and look, a blogger friend of mine is already here!). First, I want to wish you רפואה שלימה והחלמה מלאה, וכל הברכות הטובות משמים על משפחתך .
I am humbled by your blog. May you have light and love and health, Amen.

Anonymous said...

This phenomenon happens in our home too! Even if only one child is missing -- and it doesn't matter much which one -- things usually go more smoothly. Go figure!

Anonymous said...

i think having one child temporarily absent helps the others to escape the roles they (and we) are constantly reinforcing them to take on.... it's an opportunity for them and for us to "try on" something new, make a change.

go mom, for letting her go! you all got to discover a different side of your family.

rachel j.

mother in israel said...

With six kids, it's still amazing how empty and quiet the house seems with only one gone. But the flip side of the story in the previous post is that it wears off quickly. At first I missed my oldest intensely, but I ahve adjusted now (of course the army sees to it that he visits from time to time to take care of bureauocracy).

RivkA with a capital A said...

I always find it fascinating when the same phenomenon happens in multiple families....