Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Short Story: The Top of the Stairs

Shoshana Schwartz

Lunchtime in the Schwartz household. Five children return from five different schools at five different times. They reject my food eight different ways, jostle each other with their ten elbows, and vie for my singular attention. Two return to school — and will come home just in time for supper. Therefore, if lunch isn’t on the table at exactly one o’clock, the words “smooth day” temporarily disappear from our family vocabulary (temporarily being anywhere between one day and two years).

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

I made the financial arrangements, and then haggled with the driver over where he would drop Avi off. The driver’s goal was to drop him at a place on his established route. My goal was to be out of my house for as few minutes as possible during lunchtime, while not overtaxing Avi.

Picture a rectangle on a hill. My home is the top-left corner of the rectangle — X marking the spot — at the very top of this hill. In front, the building faces a stone-paved street not used for cars (correction: not supposed to be used for cars). In back is a long staircase (we’ll call this Staircase A) down to a main street. The driver’s idea was to have me wait for him at the bottom of this staircase. I did not share with the driver the logistics of my being outside for ten or 15 minutes while my other children help themselves to ketchup; I only told him that I could not wait outside for any length of time. We compromised: he would phone me just before he reached the bottom of Staircase A. I would then come outside, wait at the top of the stairs, and he wouldn’t let Avi off until he saw me there.

I prepared Avi for the van. Being a person who doesn’t like to leave things to chance (nor cause irreversible trauma to persons of the tiny persuasion), I decided to execute this plan in stages. On the first day, Avi would be personally greeted at the bottom of Staircase A by an older sibling (“Reuven”) and escorted home while I watched from the top landing. The second day, Reuven would wait halfway up the staircase. On the third day, if all went well, Reuven would be home on ketchup patrol while I waited at the top of the stairs as the driver had suggested. I would wave to him as soon as Avi got off. He’d climb the stairs while I watched from above, and we’d go home together, happily ever after.

All did not go well.

 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

Share this page with a friend. Fill in the information below, and we'll email your friend a link to this page on your behalf.

Your name
Your email address
You friend's name
Your friend's email address
Please type the characters you see in the image into the box provided.
CAPTCHA
Message


MM217
 
What’s in a Name?
Shoshana Friedman “What does Writer X have to say this week?”
Atonement — Fake and Real
Yonoson Rosenblum White confessionals and faux rituals
Four Walls Coming Full Circle
Eytan Kobre All the while, there’s been a relationship in the offing...
And Yet We Smile
Yisroel Besser We are the nation that toils to be happy at all costs
Out of This World
Rabbi Henoch Plotnick Dirshu Hashem b’himatzo — we are in Hashem’s company now...
Steven and Jonathan Litton
Rachel Bachrach The co-owners of Litton Sukkah, based in Lawrence, NY
Tali Messing
Moe Mernick Tali Messing, engineering manager at Facebook Tel Aviv
Sick Note
Jacob L. Freedman “Of course, Dr. Freedman. Machul, machul, machul”
Avoiding Health Columns Can Be Good for You
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Only one reliable guide for good health: our Torah
Endnote: Side Notes
Riki Goldstein Most Jewish music industry entertainers have side profes...
Me, Myself, and Why
Faigy Peritzman Where there’s no heart and no love, there’s no point
Can’t Do It Without You
Sarah Chana Radcliffe When you step up to the plate, you build your home team
Eternal Joy
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz The joy of Succos is the fruit of spiritual victory
The Appraiser: Part III
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP and Zivia Reischer Make sure your child knows his strengths
Hidden Special Needs
Rena Shechter You won’t see his special needs, but don’t deny them
Dear Wealthy Friend
Anonymous There’s no need for guilt. I am truly happy for you