Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Musings: Normal No More?

Yael Machsman

Time, I thought, did not fly by so fast. He is 20 and, doggone it, it took me 20 long years to get here

Wednesday, March 21, 2018

 Mishpacha image

 

W ell, it’s official. There’s something wrong with me.

I was normal once. I remember those days fondly. The births of my first several children brought me unmitigated joy.

My oldest was born before I’d been married two years, but I did not take his arrival for granted. Earlier medical issues had augured a long and bumpy quest for motherhood. So I treasured this bundle with every ounce of my being. With his thick dark curls and huge eyes, not to mention his learning to smile responsively before he was a month old, I thought him the most brilliant, beautiful child who ever lived.

As his siblings arrived in quick succession, my pride and joy only grew. Each baby brought a surge of the fabled primal love a mother is supposed to feel. A lone stay-at-home mom in a sea of working women, I was inordinately proud of my growing brood — and my dedication to being their full-time caretaker.

And truly, they were unusual. When other mothers kvetched of sibling rivalry or homework struggles or bedtime battles I clucked appropriately, but silently, I was smug. My children never fought. They never needed help or prodding with their homework. They practically put themselves to bed. Clearly they were superior. And by extension, so was I.

Two decades passed slowly in a blur of diapers and feedings and laundry and cooking and shopping and messes and life. And suddenly, I wasn’t just the mother of a few young children anymore. My older children had grown up; the younger ones were proving needier. Now I found myself spending hours daily on homework and baths and bedtime. On top of that, I had a difficult, colicky baby.

And then, it happened. My oldest was flying off to the Mir. All around me at the airport mothers dabbed at moist eyes and blew leaky noses. In a pack, they threw out clichés in solidarity. “Good thing I wore sunglasses.” “Time flies by so fast!” “It seems like just yesterday we cut his hair!” They leaned on each other for support. But I needed none, had none to give.

My heart flooded with guilt. Time, I thought, did not fly by so fast. He is 20 and, doggone it, it took me 20 long years to get here. I had worked hard at my task, and, I thought, done a pretty good job of it. I was — gasp! — ready to move on.

Was it the fact that I’d spent more tangible hours with my children than most mothers that made me so oddly prepared to let go? I wondered. And — what blasphemy was this? — I actually felt more relieved than grieved. 

(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 585)

Related Stories

Windows: Beggar in the Basement

As told to Leah Gebber

The name Berel elicited a sigh — apparently, it wasn’t easy to help Berel. He was too rich, too poor...

Map the Starlight: Chapter 42

Leah Gebber

She turns to face him. “I did not come here for this. I came to tell you that you should be walking....

Lifetakes: A Gift and a Promise

Leah Friedman

Now, suddenly, on this night before bedikas chometz, my old father has reappeared. The father who kn...

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


 
Drink to Eternity
Rabbi Moshe Grylak Redemption doesn’t simply mean being let out of jail
Klal Yisrael Is Always Free
Yonoson Rosenblum "In that merit will Klal Yisrael continue to exist”
Home Free
Eytan Kobre My baseline for comparison is admittedly weak
Believe in Your Own Seder
Rabbi Judah Mischel Hashem is satisfied when we do our best
Picture Perfect
Yisroel Besser Take a picture — and this time, send it to yourself
Flying Solo
Rabbi Ron Yitzchok Eisenman As Pesach loomed closer, his resentment was growing
Hanging on by a Hair
Jacob L. Freedman MD “Do you still think that I’m not completely crazy?”
A Song for Every Season
Riki Goldstein Influencers map out their personal musical soundtracks
Subliminal Speech
Faigy Peritzman The deeper the recognition, the deeper the effect
The Big Change
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Spelling things out clears clouds of resentment
The Count-Up
Mrs. Shani Mendlowitz Tap the middos of Sefirah to recreate yourself
The Baker: Part 1
D. Himy, M.S. CCC-SLP with Zivia Reischer "She can't get married if she can't build a relationship...
Know This: Infertility
As Told to Bracha Stein There was no place for me. I didn’t belong
Dear Shadchan
The Girl Here's the thing: I need time