For a change, it’s been a while since I’ve written on this blog, but not for lack of ideas – as usual, lack of time is the culprit. I have tons of things that I want to say/write, and hopefully I will one day. About motherhood. About daughterhood (which doesn’t come up on spellcheck so I assume is a word?). About some really divine things that have happened to us in the past few months. About living in Israel, and living in a ‘faraway place’ which isn’t always as fantastic as the fairytales would make it seem. But those posts are not for now.
Now it’s a new year, and even though the year is less than a week old, I’ve learned a lot in the past few days. A lot. About my making peace with the challenges of daily life, and trying to see the good in every situation. And Lord knows, that is hard. But I guess it’s part of life. And so, without further ado, I’d like to share with you some of the challenges (aka crises) we’ve been facing lately, and the flip sides to these potential disasters. I certainly don’t mean to speak from a soapbox or to make my challenges seem worse than someone else’s – I just hope that these slightly odd perspectives will encourage you to find new perspectives during the tough times. Even when that seems nearly impossible.
Challenge #1 – Two beloved family members in the hospital at the same time. On a different continent.
My first response – Panic, fear, frustration at being so far away.
My new perspective – Well, at least I’ll know that they’ll be near the phone when I call! What a great captive audience for all of my other sob stories! Or cute-child stories! And, perhaps a bit more seriously, what a great opportunity to take the 10 days of teshuva a bit more seriously. After all, we pray about health, life and death constantly during the High Holidays, but how many of us actually internalize it? Now I’ve had a real chance to think about these prayers and to mean them when I say them, even if it’s one I’d have been happy to live without.
Challenge #2 – My cell phone simply stopped working one day.
My first response – How will I call everyone before the holidays? And why, oh why, do I have to pay for another phone when I just replaced it a year ago? And where can I store all of the numbers that seem to fly around at the beginning of a new school year (will I have to actually find a pen and paper? Do those things still exist?)
My new perspective – Instead of calling everyone in my address book, I can enjoy the quiet in the hectic pre-holiday days (and I am, though I’m still happy if you want to call).
Challenge #3 – Two broken ovens at once. In the days preceding a week-long holiday that generally includes hosting lots of hungry guests.
My first response – Crap, I really didn’t feel like paying for new ovens this year (which is why I didn’t fix the first one when it broke a few months ago). I REALLY REALLY don’t feel like paying overinflated Israeli prices to replace my American ovens. Oh, and how on earth am I going to cook normally for the upcoming holiday? (Perhaps) worse, how can I replenish my rapidly-depleting cookie supply?! Should I suck it up and get a tiny Israeli oven instead? Then I’ll also have to replace all my pans, since none of them fit in there. Did I mention I’m not very good at making decisions when it comes to spending money? Especially when I’m cookie-deprived?
My new perspective – Firstly, I feel grateful for my fantastic friends who invited the family for the upcoming holiday, so that I don’t have to rush into a decision quite as quickly. Though I always appreciate our wonderful community, I have another opportunity to be especially grateful now. And hey, maybe it’s not so bad if I can’t bake cookies. My thighs (and cholesterol) might thank me later. That is, if I survive the withdrawal (which is slowly setting in). Also, now I finally have the opportunity to try out all of those crock pot recipes that I’ve been hoarding for the one-day that hadn’t yet arrived…until now.
Challenge #4 – Azi lost his hearing again (no, just because this is last doesn’t mean it’s the least important).
My first response – My poor baby…he hears a fraction of what everyone else is hearing, and is slowly going insane from frustration (so are his parents). It’s no wonder all he says all day is WHAT? WHAT? And that he doesn’t respond to over half of the questions directed his way. It’s no wonder he cries so much more than he did before this problem returned, and that he screams at the dinner table instead of speaking in an indoor voice. (Boy, have these things been difficult for us all).
A simultaneous first response – OMG, a third surgery in 3 years?! And when it takes so long to get appointments for everything, it’ll take forever to get to the doctor, get a confirmation for the hearing test, take the hearing test, go back to the doctor, get on the surgical schedule, get another confirmation for the surgery and then do the surgery…and then go back for more hearing tests and follow ups. (Gosh, just reading it all is exhausting!).
My new perspective – Well, at least his brother’s coughing and crying in the night isn’t waking him up! And, at least he doesn’t hear when I kvetch about his newly aggressive behavior on the phone…This challenge, though hopefully temporary, also provides an excellent opportunity to connect with my son on a closer level, to take him on my lap and to speak directly into his ear, allowing me to sneak in some extra snuggling.
Are these things the normal stressors of life? Probably. Am I one of the few that freaks out quickly rather than remaining level-headed? Likely. Maybe by next year I’ll be able to get over this ‘personality quirk’ (there’s a good new year’s resolution!). But until then, I’m satisfied with just the ability to find a new perspective and hopefully to learn something from each experience. And I’m continuing to look forward to the day when these simultaneous nightmares will be something to laugh about, rather than to stress about.