Thursday, August 30, 2012
Sunday, August 12, 2012
Wednesday, January 4, 2012
My whole being is on fire. The love courses through my veins, pulsing hot and thick, making my limbs tremble.
He sits, heavy in my lap, drowsy and weighted, his hair smelling of sweetness and standing out in puffy spikes like it does after each bath. He gives a contented sigh and melts in further, nuzzling his cheek against the soft of my sweatshirt and letting his eyes close.
There were hard days and long nights. A thousand dreams were born and died, a thousand tears traced letters down my face and into my arms. A million whispered, feverish prayers, a lifetime of yearning…
And now, this. This moment, this golden boy, this gift beyond all the fleeting dreams I ever had. I look into his face, trace the lines on his eyelids, feel the soft warmth of his sleeping breath. He is alive, warm and heavy, and my breath catches.
There will doubtless still be hard days and long nights. There might be times of whispered conversations with G-d and days of tears and longing. But right now, holding this living, breathing, wondrous gift, holding him tight and feeling his aliveness with every heartbeat…this is tasting a tiny bit of gan eden.
I am a mommy.
Sunday, January 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
And my oven is still disgustingly filthy.
Some halachos are relatively easy to keep. If you were lucky enough to have learned to say brachos as soon as you started to talk, remembering to make them on food can be something you do without any effort. Or something like helping the elderly shopper next to you read the price it says on the label of the can of corn she’s holding. Or being kind and friendly to the woman who runs the cash register at the dry cleaners. Sometimes keeping mitzvos is easy; they're the kind of things that don't take up much energy and you know they're the right thing to do. Then there are those mitzvos that are not just easy, but doing them makes you feel good, too.
And then there are the mitzvos that are tedious and hard. That sap you of physical energy and wear you down. That sometimes you secretly wish you didn’t have to keep.
So I sit here on the floor leaning against the fridge, my arms heavy and aching, my nose burning from inhaling the cleaner I’m using, my knees raw from kneeling on the hard floor for hours, my arms scratched from reaching into too many sharp corners, feeling like there is no end in sight. My oven is hopeless. I’m feeling kind of hopeless, too. (Do I get a new oven? New grates? Do I just keep cleaning? Is there a halacha that permits one to stop cleaning after having cleaned a certain amount of hours? And what in the world is wrong with the couple who lived in this apartment before us?!? How in heaven's name can you live in such a disgusting kitchen???)
And then suddenly I think of my grandmother.
Cleaning the floors of a Polish police station on all fours. Without rubber gloves to protect her hands. Probably with poor cleaning utensils to help her with the job. Scrubbing hard, because her life depended on it.
And I think about my great grandmother, and her mother, and hers. They cleaned, too. They kashered their homes with just rags and cold water and perhaps some soap if they could find it. They toiled for hours over their kitchens.
Because Hashem said so. So they did.
And I sit here with steel wool and cold grease cleanser and paper towels and Windex and rubber gloves and hot running water. And I complain that it’s too hard to keep a kosher kitchen?
I take a deep breath. I go back to the oven grates that are sitting in the bathtub and scrub as if my life depended on it.
Because does it not?
What does my life depend on if not keeping His Will to the best of my ability?
And I sort of feel proud to have such hardworking women standing behind me. I can almost hear them whispering small words of encouragement. They would be proud of my work, I think. This is hard for me, and I am tackling it with all I have, despite my exhaustion and the niggling thoughts of giving up. As I scrub, I take my mind off the aches and instead feel grateful for the tools He’s given me to help me keep His mitzvos. I whisper my thoughts upward as I work.
Soon…perhaps in one hour, perhaps in many…my oven will be clean.
And I'm beginning to feel a little cleaner, too...