Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Lifetakes: Waiting Again

Esther Kurtz

We stew, and we think, and we regret, and we memorialize, and then we just sit quietly waiting for the phone to ring

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

 Mishpacha image


A gain I’m left waiting. Mommy just called. “Did you hear, do you know?” she starts.

“I don’t know anything, nobody tells me a thing,” I answer.

“They’re taking Bobby in for surgery soon.”

“And?” I prompted.

“It’s not good if she doesn’t have it, it’s not good either if she does.” “What does that mean?”

“The doctor said there’s a 10 percent chance if she has it.”

“Ten!” I say. “Ten if she has it?! And what if she doesn’t?”

“He doesn’t know, but he recommends the surgery.”

I’m already crying. “Why are you so calm?” I ask.

She sighs, there’s a world-weary laugh in there. “I’m old, Esther,” she says. “I’ve been through too much. There’s an Eibeshter, and whatever will be, will be for the best.” A pause. “You think I didn’t cry? I cried. I’m okay.”

There’s a lull.

“Oh, they’re here, I’ll talk to you,” and she hangs up.

And now we wait. And we stew, and we think, and we regret, and we memorialize, and then we just sit quietly waiting for the phone to ring.

I grew up right near my grandparents. I used to threaten my mother I’d run away to Bobby. My mother would laugh, because Bobby is one tough cookie, who had my mother picking lint off the bedroom carpet every morning before she left to school. Bobby always made me hold my cup with two hands — I hated that. She hasn’t been that woman for a long time, though. At least six years.

The Bobby I know and love and grew up with, she doesn’t exist anymore. I said goodbye to her a long time ago. Sometimes there are moments where she’ll pop up with a sharp line, or really laugh in reaction to a joke, but mostly she sits in the corner and plays a lot of Rummikub.

My kids tell me they don’t like Great-Bobby sometimes. I don’t blame them. She tells them to stop jumping on the couches, to pick up all the pillows, and stop blowing bubbles with their chocolate milk. I grew up with that Bobby too, that strict Bobby, but I also grew up with her sewing a lot of clothing for me, inviting me over when I needed a little TLC, and shepping such nachas when I made a sharp comment.

Related Stories

Stage Fright

Chaiky Berger

If this girl was out, then the highlight of the evening and the zing of the show would need to be om...

The Family that Prays Together

Penina Pinchasi

On Shabbos, my daughters and I await our husbands and sons’ homecoming from shul — or I should say s...

House of Mirrors: Chapter 9

Rachael Lavon

After another girl in the park calls Cookie fat, Laylee returns home shaken — only to have Gavi bera...

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.

Weekly Struggle
Shoshana Friedman Cover text: promise big and deliver what we promise
Only Through You
Rabbi Moshe Grylak A response to last week’s letter, “Waiting in Passaic”
Are You Making a Kiddush Hashem?
Yonoson Rosenblum In communal affairs, “one bad apple…” often applies
Chance of a Lifetime
Eytan Kobre I identify with the urge to shout, “No, don’t do it!”
Work / Life Solutions with Bunim Laskin
Moe Mernick "You only get every day once"
Seeking a Truly Meaningful Blessing
Dovid Zaidman We want to get married. Help us want to date
Shivah Meditations
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Equivalence between two such polar opposites is puzzling
Magnet Moment
Jacob L. Freedman Everyone’s fighting a battle we know nothing about
Secrets and Surprises
Riki Goldstein Top-secret suits Eli Gerstner just fine
Blasts of Warmth
Riki Goldstein Keeping the chuppah music upbeat in low temperatures
Behind the Scenes
Faigy Peritzman The intrinsic value of each mitzvah
Good Vision
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Good or bad, nice or not? What you see is what you get
Day of Peace
Mrs. Elana Moskowitz On Shabbos we celebrate peace within and without