Was it possible to make a friend in two weeks? Maybe I can get Rafi to change the terms. I really, really wanted to go
was in my workshop putting the final touches on Shifra’s earrings. The split-lapping machine was on, and I fumbled around for the compound and poised the earring to polish it. I was so excited, she was coming by tonight.
“Abby?” I heard Rafi calling my name. Were he and Daniel home already? They’d gone to the Mishkan fair, a father-and-son affair. I wasn’t complaining, it was at night, and one less thing to have to go to.
I checked the time, 8:30 p.m., not so early, I’d totally lost track. I took off my goggles, wiped my hands, and entered the house. I was about to ask, “How was?” but I didn’t have to. Daniel was glowing with sheepish pride, and Rafi might as well have been thumping his chest in paternal delight.
“It was amazing!” Rafi thundered.
“I’m sure a whole bunch of kids’ Mishkan projects was fascinating. Popsicles sticks and all.” I remarked.
“No, most were a mix of Lego, Duplo, and Playmobil. Daniel’s blew everyone’s out of the water. It almost wasn’t fair to have his there; it made everyone else look so bad.”
I looked at Daniel for confirmation; he smiled shyly at me and tried protesting.
“Plotzker’s father made really big Mizbeiach and spray painted it gold,” he offered.
“Father?” I said after him.
Rafi cut in, “Yeah, no one told me it’s a father-son project.” He winked. “Good thing Daniel had you, or I’d be in the ER with a nail through my thumb, and he’d have a plank of wood with some glue and glitter on it.”
“But you did it mostly yourself; I just helped you in the beginning,” I said, talking more to myself than Daniel.
“Right.” Daniel smiled with unabashed pride. I did something right, or rather Rafi helped me do something right by not letting me help more after I got him started and showed him the techniques.
I looked around the kitchen. “So where’s the Choshen?” I asked.
Daniel beamed again, “The rebbeim asked if they could keep it; take turns using it to teach from in class.”
“Really?! Wow.” I shot Rafi a look, he didn’t seem to notice; he was too busy smiling.
“Yeah, and so many kids wanted to check it out; they want you to teach them how to do it.” Daniel was bobbing like an eager puppy.
I laughed and pulled a face — in their dreams. “Not sure about that,” I said.
“So I can teach them!” Daniel said, undeterred. Suuuure kid, you do that. I studied him a moment. He wanted to do it, he wanted to be with others, this whole Choshen business was like his final ticket to social acceptance — both ways.
There was a lull and then Daniel said, “Thanks for everything, Ma.” He came over and hugged me. Daniel hugged me. I can’t remember the last time he did that. My heart melted. I looked at Rafi, he shrugged and smiled. I looked down and leaned my head on Daniel’s, smelling his hair, oh my, he needs a shower, but I was so happy he’s happy.
Yet something nagged at me.
(Excerpted from Family First, Issue 576)