Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter

Learning Curve: Chapter 28

Gila Arnold

Yael’s in-laws surprise her with a weekend getaway. Aviva has her 20-week ultrasound, and the technician sees something worrisome

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

A viva carefully pasted a big smile on her face and then opened the front door. She was assaulted at once by her entire clan. “Mommy! You’re home!”

“What’s for dinner?”

“How’d it go?”

The last one was from Zevi, asked quietly, and Aviva gave him a brief, private nod. “It was fine,” she said, though her heart squeezed hard inside her at the lie. Now, in front of the kids, was not the time to talk.

He smiled, an easy, reassured smile; she felt like screaming. No! It’s not fine at all! The entire world is tumbling down! But she had to get a grip on herself, because she was the mother here, and she had to be strong; she could not let her children see how terrified she was inside, how she was carrying a baby who might be wrong, all wrong…

She shook her head, struggling to place her anxiety inside a box and shut the cover firmly. Later, after she’d made dinner and put her kids to bed, after Zevi had left for shul in blissful ignorance, she would sit by the computer and research markers and amniocentesis and every little bit of information the technician had thrown her way, after insisting that she must speak to her OB to get actual medical guidance.

Aviva had sat rigidly across from the technician, knuckles whitening as they gripped the desk, and must have frightened the lady enough that she put her hand on Aviva’s arm and said, “Don’t worry, honey, it might not be anything at all. Either way, you’ll have a beautiful baby, and that’s all that counts, right?”

Aviva had not even bothered to reply. That’s all that counts? To give birth to a baby with who-knows-what kind of disorder, defect, or syndrome from the wide list of medical problems out there in the world? But she’d steeled herself, straightened her shoulders, and, with a tight smile, stood up and said, “I’ll be in touch with Dr. Resnik, then.”

And now she was home, and going to spend the next few hours feeding and caring for her family, and not thinking about anything else. She walked through the house in a fog, willing herself to keep moving, to do what she needed to do. Chavi, she noticed, was sitting at the dining room table, head bent over a notebook. Chavi. With a pang of guilt, she realized how much she’d been neglecting her relationship with her eldest lately. She walked over to her, put her hand on her shoulder, and said, “What’s that you’re working on?”

Chavi looked up. “Chumash. I have a big report due tomorrow.” She looked wary as Aviva sat down next to her.

Aviva swallowed and made her voice gentle as she asked, “Need any help?” Chavi gave her a slow smile. “Yeah, I’d love some.”

Related Stories

SisterSchmooze: Special Delivery

Marcia Stark Meth / Emmy Leah Stark Zitter / Miriam Stark Zakon

A box that disappears mysteriously, a truckload of floor tiles that brings back memories, a sandwich...

House of Mirrors: Chapter 11

Rachael Lavon

A photo shoot shows Laylee how people are judged by their appearances. Laylee’s parents invite the f...

Lifetakes: The Traveling Cholent

Rebecca Feldbaum

Then came the Shabbos I spent with a warm Moroccan family, where I realized I was insulting the coup...

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.

Not a Newspaper
Shoshana Friedman A deeper difference between newspapers and magazines
Services in Shards
Rabbi Moshe Grylak “Such a painful, malicious lie!”
The Pittsburgh Protests: All Politics All the Time
Yonoson Rosenblum The old rule — “no enemies on the left” — still applies
Danger: School Crossing
Eytan Kobre The hypocrisy of YAFFED’s assertion is breathtaking
Real Laughter and Real Tears
Rabbi Avrohom Neuberger The two sides of a life lived with emunah
Work/Life Solutions with Eli Langer
Moe Mernick I was proud to be “that guy with the yarmulke”
Is Ktchong! a Mitzvah? When Prayer and Charity Collide
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman These cannot both be done effectively at the same time
An Honest Shidduch
Jacob L. Freedman “Baruch Hashem I’m cured, and this will be my secret”
A Blessing in Disguise
Riki Goldstein “I never thought the song would catch on as it has”
Ishay and Motti Strike a Common Chord
Riki Goldstein Bringing together two worlds of Jewish music
What’s your favorite Motzaei Shabbos niggun?
Riki Goldstein From the holy and separate back to the mundane
Rightfully Mine
Faigy Peritzman Don’t regret the job you didn’t land; it was never yours
Growing Greener Grass
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Nurture your blessings and watch them blossom
My Way or the High Way
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt We know what we want — but do we know what He wants?