“S o, who’s going to be my walking partner?” Malky asked the women sitting on the bench. It was just after Succos and they were taking last licks at the park.
“Not me! I have better things to do at 6 a.m.”
“What time?”
“Wait, Malky. Don’t you go with Shira?”
“Not anymore,” Malky said. “I’m not on Shira’s schedule anymore. I’ll be in bed at 6 a.m. I’m off this year.”
“What? Good for you!”
“So exciting, Malky.”
“How’d that happen?”
“I’ve wanted to take an extended leave for a long time,” Malky said. She wasn’t ready to share the news of Chaim’s promotion. “Baruch Hashem, it’s working out. You cannot imagine how much I’m looking forward to this year. To just slowing the pace.” Malky tried to wipe what was surely a goofy grin off her face, but couldn’t.
“Wow, Malky! You’ll wonder how you ever worked.”
“But now I need a new walking partner. I can imagine all I’ll do the whole day is bake.”
“You’ll have no time for that. Life is so busy, you’ll see.”
“What are you doing with Dovid?”
“He’ll stay home with me and the baby.”
“Different life. You’re going to love it.”
Malky nodded and sighed. It would be a wonderful Year of Respite.
“Shulamis, how are you?” Malky asked her sister. It must be 4 p.m. in Israel, not the best time for a phone call, but Malky had been looking forward to schmoozing as she did morning cleanup for so long. (It hadn’t counted before. Then, she was on regular maternity leave. Now, she was a stay-at-home mother.)
“Malky! Today’s your first day, huh?”
“Miri’s sleeping and Dovid’s playing cars. I’m so excited, I literally don’t know where to start. Beds? Kitchen? Laundry? Supper while everything is still such a mess? I want to get everything organized.”
“You’re so weird, Malky. Where do you always start?”
“But now I’m setting the routine for the rest of the year. This is epic.”
“Uh, start by hanging up the phone, honey, and get to work,” Shulamis said.
“No, didn’t I tell you? Chaim gave me the best present ever. A Bluetooth for my house phone. He’s all for me living this year up. Who know when I’ll get another chance to be a stay-at-home-mom?”
“I am so jealous. I wish I didn’t need to send my kids out.”
“Give me a break, Shulamis. Your kids are out for two hours a day while you teach. You make mommy camp in the summer.” Malky sighed. She did not want to fall into the trap of this conversation. “Yikes, Dovid is throwing things. Talk to you later.” (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 570)