| LifeTakes |

I Want One, Too

The way I see it, if someone’s meant to have it good, I’m glad it’s a member of the Jewish nation

As told to Raizy Friedman

I don’t think I’m jealous by nature. Generally, I’m happy for people when things go well for them. It’s great that my friend found a big apartment to house her growing family. It’s amazing that she got it for a great price and now owns a two-floor home. My own small rental is good enough for my family now. I don’t relegate her gain to the list of “my losses.”

I’m thrilled that some of my siblings were able to go away for a few days. One doesn’t work at all; another one has a boss that lets her make up her missed hours from home throughout the year. My need for time off and my stickler boss doesn’t come into the equation. If I feel that I want (or need) a vacation and don’t get one, that’s my own personal gripe; it has nothing to do with their getaway.

Jewelry and bank accounts fare the same way. I’m happy, genuinely pleased, that some people can afford full-time help and host lavish simchahs. I hope it brings them joy, and if it does, great.

I don’t join the club of “bashers” who need to find something wrong in the lives of the rich, thin, beautiful, and content. You know the people who are always on the lookout for doom in successful people’s lives by mentioning a child with disabilities or a past tragedy? They seem to take pleasure in finding the thorns in the lives of others. The way I see it, if someone’s meant to have it good, I’m glad it’s a member of the Jewish nation.

Yet, on occasion, when I see some stranger wearing a skirt I love, I eye it until it’s out of sight, wishing the skirt would whisper the name of the store where I, too, could purchase a similar one (usually in a larger size!).

Even then, I wouldn’t call the feeling jealousy. It’s more of a yearning for the same, not a wish to take hers off her hands. I don’t mind if she keeps her own; I just want it, too.

Lately this want has extended to babies. I have my family, a true blessing, and I love each and every one of my two growing angels. Um, okay, teenagers. Yet lately, when I see a woman with a baby carriage (I’m partial to the pinks, but I’ll take a blue, too), I’m tempted to relieve her of her load. Not kidnapping, per se, but, please Hashem, I really want one, too.

I’m thankful, I really am. In no way do I want to switch my big ones for little bundles of sweet-smelling tulle. I just want those also. I want to have a carriage again. I want to debate the virtues of Urbo and Zoomas, of grey vs. off-white, of Pampers or Huggies. I want to blame my exhaustion on something substantial, on my baby’s ear infection and teething.

I’d like to blame my weight loss struggle on my pregnancies (I still do, but nobody’s buying that excuse anymore). As I shop for black suits and white shirts and an endless supply of socks, I dream of built-ups and onesies and a knit — oh, a newborn baby knit — for Yom Tov.

I’ll take a toddler, too, at this point. When I meet the serious gaze of a two-year-old in a high chair at the pizza shop, I’m tempted to scoop her (or him) up and slowly stroll home with her.

I now have the patience I once didn’t have to waddle home at a snail’s pace and analyze each bird and ant we meet on the way. I’ll stop to watch tractors, too. Where was I rushing to all the time, all those years ago? The important errands elude my memory now.

I want to push a swing in the park again and again and again. And yet again, if needs be. I can read The Very Hungry Caterpillar over and over. I’ll kiss the grubby hands that leave handprints all over my mirrors and hug the warm bundle in the towel who smells like shampoo and heaven.

Don’t get me wrong. I love the endless discussions with my teenagers. I analyze their chavrusos and offer advice on their choice of belts. I buy them Danishes and cook roasts for Yom Tov with joy. I pick up their socks and straighten their beds and purchase the right brands of ketchup and coffee just to see their face light up when they open the cabinet. I wouldn’t trade it for anything in the world; I know that I’m blessed.

I don’t want a baby because other people have them.

I just want one, too.

(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 696)

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