A while ago I came to the realization that life goes by so quickly. It seems like yesterday that I got married. And it seems as if it was only the day before that I graduated high school. When I made my first bar mitzvah I said, “If this is how fast it takes for my child to turn thirteen, then it will only be another few minutes until I start marrying off children, iy”H.”
So I decided it is time to start enjoying the mess and the chaos that take place here at times. It is time to stop being annoyed at the towels that don’t get hung up after the showers and the clothes that are not put into the hamper. It is time to appreciate the many things I have to do, and the many things I am doing at once (although it seems as if my children forget that I am not an octopus with eight hands but rather a human with only two hands, which is definitely limiting).
The other day I was talking to a friend. The subject of my sister came up. The pain of not having her here hurt so badly it left me almost gasping for air. When thinking about it, I realized what was really hurting me. I feel bad that I didn’t take more opportunities to spend time with her. I don’t feel guilty. I know that I was there for her as much as I could have been at the time. And she knew that if she needed me I would show up for her. But for me it is a lost opportunity. How I wish for one more conversation, one more visit, one more argument – just one more.
Looking back I wish I had done things differently. I was always so anxious about my multiple responsibilities, never sure where I belonged and always doubting whether I was in the right place or not. Today I know I would make different decisions. I would spend more time with my sister Esti. I know that she would be my first priority.
But this is life. We grow and learn from our experiences. Today I look back and feel sad at my lost opportunities. Tomorrow or in years from now I don’t want to look back at today and feel that sadness again.
It is time to revel in the joy of what I have today. The business of life is not here to stay. The mess will stop creating itself long before I am ready for it. I want to look back and remember the good times my family had as they grew up. I don’t want to look back and remember the negative feelings I had when yet again I tripped over shoes strewn on the kitchen floor.
My family has so much to offer me. My older ones make me laugh as they recount their day’s experiences in yeshivah. My middle ones’ curiosity leaves me amazed. They ask me question after question on so many topics. I have no answers but they keep on asking. My youngest is still figuring out how the world works and leaves us all chuckling with her wise advice.
It is so pleasant when the atmosphere is light. Talking, laughing and connecting as a family is what creates memories that my children will carry with them forever.
Planting nectarine trees, trying out the new lawnmower and buying bikes together bonds us and makes us into a happy, well-adjusted family. So does sucking on frozen strawberries together, overturning pots and making a family choir or filling up every table and counter with painted pictures that need to dry. This is what I want to look back at and remember. Not the torn books, the disappearing phones and the missing CDs.
Oh yes! I want to know that from the pain of Esti’s death I have grown and made changes. So I will choose to revel in the glory of this family and all of its idiosyncrasies.
Uh, Oh! I walked away from my computer, and my determination is wavering. My son’s Shabbos shoes are still on the living-room floor. My other son left his pizza plate and the bottle of pizza spice on the table. And the briefcases are scattered all over.
I think I will just go to sleep. Good night.