Join The Conversation With Mishpacha's Weekly Newsletter



Last Bird in the Nest

Rachel Bachrach

The once lively house has become quiet as the kids have established homes of their own. But it’s not over yet — one child remains. And that brings unique challenges, opportunities, and pleasures for child and parents alike.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

For more than three decades, the Schiffmillers of Oceanside, New York, had children at home. But a few years ago, with the four older ones married and their fifth away at school, Shaindy, the youngest, was the only one left.

“ ‘What’s it like with the old people?’ we would tease her,” Mrs. Helene Schiffmiller says.

The Schiffmiller nest had been emptying for a while already. The two oldest girls, who went to Israel after high school and ended up staying there, would come home in the summers to visit. “I just keep rotating my children,” Mrs. Schiffmiller remembers joking with her friends. “As some come back from Israel, others go to camp.”

But that eventually stopped as the ones who left the house got married and began building homes of their own. After thirty years with a houseful of children, everyone but Shaindy was gone.

Mrs. Schiffmiller was a stay-at-home mother, so she valued the extra personal time she could devote to her youngest, who was in high school. She was available to volunteer at school functions and to drive Shaindy to extracurricular activities.

For her part, Shaindy appreciated the fact that her mother was not tied up with parenting other children, that the car was nearly always available, and that she could come and go as she pleased. Also, Shaindy was treated like more of a grown-up than her older siblings had been.

“My mother was shifting out of mother mode,” Shaindy remembers.

There was almost a sense that Shaindy was the Schiffmillers’ final shot. “I view it as a golden opportunity,” Mrs. Schiffmiller says. “This is it, this is the last chance. I’ve got to do it great.”

 

To read the rest of this story, please buy this issue of Mishpacha or sign up for a weekly subscription.

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


MM217
 
Evolution vs. Revolution
Shoshana Friedman I call it the “what happened to my magazine?” response
Up, Up, and Away
Rabbi Moshe Grylak What a fraught subject Eretz Yisrael is, to this day
Where Do You Come From?
Yonoson Rosenblum Could they be IDF officers with no Jewish knowledge?
Heaven Help Us
Eytan Kobre Writing about anti-Semitism should rouse, not soothe
Work/Life Solutions with Chedva Kleinhandler
Moe Mernick “Failures are our compass to success”
An Un-Scientific Survey
Rabbi Emanuel Feldman Are Jerusalemites unfriendly? Not necessarily
Out of Anger
Jacob L. Freedman How Angry Lawyer was finally able to calm down
5 Things You Didn’t Know about…Yitzy Bald
Riki Goldstein He composed his first melody at eight years old
When the Floodgates of Song Open, You’re Never Too Old
Riki Goldstein Chazzan Pinchas Wolf was unknown until three years ago
Who Helped Advance These Popular Entertainers?
Riki Goldstein Unsung deeds that boosted performers into the limelight
Your Task? Ask
Faigy Peritzman A tangible legacy I want to pass on to my children
Are You There?
Sarah Chana Radcliffe Emotional withdrawal makes others feel lonely, abandoned
A Peace of a Whole
Rebbetzin Debbie Greenblatt Love shalom more than you love being right
Seminary Applications
Rabbi Zecharya Greenwald, as told to Ariella Schiller It’s just as hard for seminaries to reject you