Thursday, February 11, 2010


My baby is 9 today.

It happens so fast. One day they're throwing food off their high chairs and keeping you up all night, and the next day you're worrying about shidduchim.

Where does the time go?

What happens to the moments?

We're on a treadmill, racing to keep up with all the demands of raising our children, running the home, and holding down a job. We are so busy being a parent, and doing all the things that entails, that we have no time to stop and experience the moments that make it all worthwhile.

Last week my little boy was having a crisis. His class was having a siyum to celebrate completing the parsha. He promised to bring the soda, but he didn't tell me about it. He was crying because if he didn't bring the soda, he was facing what in his life would be considerable embarrassment and humiliation.

If this were just an ordinary soda, I could have possibly spared 5 or 10 minutes to run to the corner grocery. But this was a very specific soda. It would mean going to several stores some distance away, hoping that one might have what I was looking for. I just couldn't do it.

We were about to leave the house to catch the bus to school. I had to leave for work, and we were running late. But he was frantic.

We scurried down the stairs together, him still sniffling about what was going to happen at school, me rushing and hoping he wouldn't miss his bus, and feeling really bad for my sad little boy.

Just as I watched him get on the bus, I had this moment.

It was a crystal clear moment. I knew that work wasn't important. I was going to be late. I would go to the many stores as it takes...and get him that soda. Then I would go to his school and bring it to him.

Later, during work, I began to berate myself for the choice I had made. What lesson am I teaching? He didn't tell me about the soda the day before. Shouldn't there be some consequence to that? Am I spoiling him? Did I do the right thing?

I believe I did. In fact, I am proud of myself for the choice I made.

Who needed me more at the moment? To whom was my attention more crucial? Who else would have gone out and taken care of what, in his little world, was so significant? Who would have even cared?

I began to notice dozens of moments every day.These were moments that had occurred hundreds of times before...mostly seemingly inconsequential things, like bruised feelings, a dream from last night, misplaced headbands. Moments where we sat and talked about their life or problems at school. Moments that happen every day...that I never give much thought to. Only now they were crucial moments.

Yes, my baby is 9. And my older ones already have one foot out the door. But my children still need me. And they will need me for many years to come. I am indispensable and irreplaceable.

And I want to hold on to those moments. I want to make the most of my time with them.

Because tomorrow they will be all grown up.


  1. Of course you did the right thing, you're a good mother. I still remember when I was about that age and my mother did things like that for me, it's important for kids that age to feel that someone is listening to them.

  2. I find one of the hardest things about mothering to be distinugishing between negligent irresponsibility and basic childhood behavior. And then, to filter out my convenience factor. When one of my kids had to have licoriche twists for a siyum and had forgotten to tell me the day before, I got very frustrated. In the end, because she was old enoug, I required her to babysit for all the other kids while I went and picked them up.

    What would you have done in this exact situation if this was the fifth time the child had done this?

  3. This post hit home. It's always a balance, should we have them feel the consequences, or should we cushion them and get them out of their predicament. As parents, we naturally err on the side of giving in, and I think it's natural.

    But it's that moment, just as they are about to go to school, where we are the most vulnerable. We are soft. The thought of the sweet little kid going off for the day on a sad note. We can't stomache it. We can handle the burden of discipline when we know we have the time to mop it up and close the loop. Like when he doesn't put his toys away on Shabbos, so no ices in the afternoon. But when they are about to get on the bus, waving goodbye, I for one would fold. And be glad I did.

  4. There's always the einiklach

    Yes...the things we do for our children...not the things were obliged to do...the things that show that we go out of the way for them..because we love them...they're what form the strongest bonds that last a lifetime.

  5. Thank you so much for visiting me and leaving a comment. I'm afarid to say that Boise has no mikvah whatsoever. No kosher restaurants, or grocery stores.

    I can only dream of what it must be like to live in a city that has such amenities.

    Your blog is lovely, and by the way, I think you did the right thing, too, by buying the soda.

  6. Bored Jewish Guy...

    That's why the moments are so important. Those are the times we remember.

    Staying Afloat...

    That IS one of the hardest things.
    Funny thing is...just after I put up this post, I got a call from my son's school saying that he missed his bus because he ran back in to get his glasses...or his gloves...or whatever it is he's always forgetting. I was at work without my car, because I still hadn't dug it out of the snow. I would have to walk at least 20 minutes in the cold to get him, then walk with him home...another 20 minutes. I was annoyed. And I was gonna let him know that.
    But I JUST put up this post...and it made me stop and think.
    I went to get him, smiled when he came running out, and we walked home together while he told me all about his day. I didn't say a word about his forgetfulness...or his irresponsibility.
    Did I do the right thing? I don't know. I think I did.
    Will this happen again and again...because there were no consequences?
    Time will tell. But I think not.


    There are times I let the moment pass. We are rushing to the bus stop, and he remembers something he left home - something that seems unimportant to me, but is terribly important to him. And we just can't go back.
    When that happens, his sad little face haunts me all day. I think he forgets about it before I do.


    Those strong bonds...that's what I hope I'm doing.

    Hasya Ya'ara...

    Thank you!