Can I, too, be created anew? Perhaps I can tap into the power of the day and become a new creation, sans impatience
There is glitter all over my face, my body. Externally, I am glowing. But inside, I feel choked and stifled. I can’t breathe. My heart is galloping so hard I feel it in my throat.
I’m smothered by my children. No, not physically (although that too, at times), but emotionally. I’m so totally and completely wrung out that I wonder where the Me is. I feel like an octopus, pulled in a million different directions, and I wonder when self-care became redefined as taking care of my basic physical needs.
I can’t seem to control my snappiness, my frustration at this endless, nerve-racking day. With Rosh Hashanah falling on the heels of Shabbos, it’s been five days of off-scheduled craziness, of sugar highs, of Ima completely and totally losing it.
Stop, just stop, I want to shout when they’re so entangled in a fight that I physically cannot tear them apart. They’ve been awake since 5:30 am, and it’s barely ten. Four hours down, more than four hours to go.
Even with all this adrenaline rushing through my veins, their strength outpowers my own. But I can’t scream at them, not today, so instead, I take a deep breath, and look up at the wall that we decorated on Erev Chag, amidst screams and tears and too many declarations of don’t put glitter in your hair!
In silvery words, our wall proclaims “Hashem Hu HaMelech.”
This moment, on this day of Rosh Hashanah, we’re making Hashem into our King. On this day of Brias Haolam, the world is being created afresh. Can I, too, be created anew? Perhaps I can tap into the power of the day and become a new creation, sans impatience.
The letters are wobbly, child-cut. The glitter is splotchy, large chunks where a heavy-handed child wielded his glue stick. Hashem Hu HaMelech.
I run my fingers over the words, leaving behind fingerprints only G-d can see. Only He is watching as I try to absorb this message through touch alone, beseeching His help in controlling my temper. Only He hears me wonder if I did this for my children or for myself, hoping that the exhibition would help the lesson trickle into my consciousness. Or maybe my motivations weren’t lishmah at all; perhaps I wanted to flaunt to my neighbors how very much of a good mommy I am, not only engaged with my children, but also inspiring.
I push aside my hair-splitting analysis, and remind myself to focus, to remember that this moment, every moment, Hashem is the King, Hashem is the King… He creates, He sustains, He renews.
There’s so much hanging on the line, especially now: We’re closing on a new house, I’m in the midst of a career change, three of our children are experiencing health issues (we’re still awaiting an answer from the audiologist, pulmonologist, and allergist), another child is being bullied….
I know without a doubt that all these things — each on their own — deserve hours of tefillah, of focus, beseeching Hashem. A friend tells me she wakes up for haneitz, davens before her children arise. Nice in theory, except my children greeted the day while it was still dark. No haneitz for me.
I remind myself of that mashal that every teacher everywhere tells women during Elul: If a mortal king hired a maidservant, and instead of taking care of his children, she lined up with the masses to put in her request, neglecting his progeny, he’d not only deny her request but be furious; she’s not doing her job. Surely, if she fulfills her obligation of that day, her wishes will be granted.
(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 661)