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KJ Hannah Greenberg

"Channie"

Although big children are required, upon reaching their twentieth birthdays, to turn over their copies of Advanced Methods for Adolescent Insanity to their younger siblings, my "adventures in good parenting" continues with them all the same

November 2012 Posts

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Life With Teens & Twenties
Blog Entry

After the Confetti

Sunday, November 11th 2012 @ 4:09 AM    post viewed 1687 times

At many of the sheva brachot, held for my daughter and my new son-in-law, the bubbles, confetti, and kindred accoutrements available, were meant to enhance the “fun” tenor of those evenings. Now, days later, fewer and fewer bits of those sparkly appurtenances showed up in my family’s laundry, in our laundry baskets, and on the floor, in front of our washing machine.

Today, the most interesting small pieces of whatnot found among my family’s clothes, in our wash vessels, and on the floor, once more, are dust bunnies and twigs. Little glitter remains. In addition, I’m no longer receiving frantic emails about photographers, musicians, hair stylists or the like. As well, no blond-haired twenty-something is slinking around the halls of our home trying to avoid attention; as of nearly two weeks ago, she resides in her own home.

Her striped robe, though, remains here. Not only did she leave behind her last name, but she also cast aside many manners of material goods from her original life. Missy Younger snatched up a lot of Missy Older’s discarded clothes. I snatched up many of the discarded crafts projects fashioned by Missy Older’s finger. My husband snatched up Missy Older’s former bedroom as his new, “proper” home office.

Meanwhile, our collective family life ebbs toward a new normal. Consider that when Younger Dude pokes his head out of his room and surveys our domestic landscape, he returns to his space a tad sullen. His big sister is nowhere to be seen and she will not, except for visits, surprise or planned, dwell in our home again. She’s married.

As per Older Dude, who’s currently sorting out hesder and army choices, he says nothing, but acts as though everything has shifted. It’s palpable to us, his other loved ones, just how much how he wishes his “twin” (as Missy Older and Older Dude, two years apart in age, were referred to by strangers when young) was here so he could bounce his thoughts against her good judgment. He misses trading IPod tunes with her, too.

Missy Younger slams the door more and says I understand here less and less. It’s as though some change in family dynamic has morphed our relationship.

As for my help-opposite, he gives over, to me, all of the jokes he used to share with our daughter. I appreciate the gesture. The ritual, though, is not mine.

It’s not so much that my family is in mourning, albeit, a real phase in our shared lives has passed (never again will we be the six of us), as it is that we are traveling a span of commemoration. Remember how Missy Older left the dishes in the sink when the family cooked for Shabbot? Remember how Missy Older huddled with Missy Younger when the boys went off with Dad for Mincha and Ma’ariv? Remember how Missy Older would tap on my office door, nearly every Motzi Shabbot, just to “check in,” just to make sure the world, as she knew it, was still predictable, and, consequently, safe?

I practiced attachment parenting. I birthed the kids at home (except for one whose medical situation required a different venue), nursed them through their toddler years, tried to support their expressions of creativity even when their shared lexis included digging up our lawn (I supplied the shovels) and coloring homework-issued tree tops with purple crayons.

I learned herbal medicine from Susun Weed so that I might be able to provide my little dears with a greater array of responses to their health needs and became a baalat teshuva in no small part so that my sons and daughters could tuck into their heritage. When the opportunity to move to Israel came, my husband and I jumped at it for ourselves and, especially, for our children. Then the first birdie flew away. 

The ever wise Shlomo HaMelech espoused that “this, too, shall pass.” He was advising a troubled soul. In spite of that application of his insight, such astuteness, as we learn in Kohelet, applies to seemingly wonderful qualities of life, too. Raising a child to the chuppah, a summit that parents pray for, is a wonderful point in life. Bear in mind that parenting, in the final evaluation, is merely a means of accessing a higher good. Our children, after all, are on loan to us from Shemyim. Nurturing them, one hopes, creates routes by which we might achieve our ultimate goals; to fear HaKodesh Baruchu and to keep His commandments.

I suppose I will continue to shake out our shirts, skirts, pants, and tzitzis, that is, the ones piled into heaps in my family’s laundry, in hope of espying yet one more blue, silver, red, green, or gold spangle. I suppose I will continue to sigh every time I discover the sprinkles Missy Older, who adored them, mixed with soup croutons, with her ice cream, left behind in our pantry. I suppose I will continue to run my fingers on the seferim she left on our salon’s shelf, and will continue, especially when no one is looking, to hug the outgrown sandal, which she forgot to retrieve from behind our sofa.

Sure, she and I will remain, IYH, in regular communication. I’m open to any stream of calls or emails, from my dear kallah, about vegetable soup, about bleaching bathroom floors, or about bus routes to and from her new abode to her school. I’m happy to give her motherly encouragement on time management, on budgeting, and the like. I have no problem with supplying parental mussar, either. It’s just that that golden daughter of mine doesn’t live here any more.

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Comments

Yael Resnick
Aishes Chayil
Yael said on Sunday, November 11th 2012 @ 10:50 PM:

Channie, this is just beautiful. It brought me to tears. Mazel tov on your daughter's marriage, and I think I understand...


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