| Diary Serial |

The Scenic Route: Chapter 5 of 6

“Chavy, chas v’shalom!! Don’t talk like that! Of course you’ll have a big family! Really really soon! Say amen!!”



friend Sari calls me one night after I’ve been doing treatments for over a year. I’m doing laundry while she talks. She vents long and hard about her four kids aged six and under. It sounds so overwhelming, and I really feel for her.

Suddenly she stops talking.

“Chavy? Is it bad that I’m venting about my kids when you’ve been married for three years?”

I think. “It’s not. It would bother me if other people did, but since we’re close, and you always listen to me vent about our treatments and everything, I think it just feels good that we’re both open with each other and have a normal relationship.”

“Phew,” Sari heaves. “And don’t worry, Chavy. Really soon you’re going to have triplets or quads, and then you’ll be venting to me about the same thing!”

I pause as I roll up socks. “Maybe. And maybe not. Maybe that’s not Hashem’s plan for me.”

“Chavy, chas v’shalom!! Don’t talk like that! Of course you’ll have a big family! Really really soon! Say amen!!”

I roll my eyes, but dutifully say amen.


“Listen, Sari,” I explain. “Hashem could have given me three babies in a row, like He gave you. He didn’t. He gave me a wait. And maybe that wait will last several more years, or maybe it won’t. I don’t know what His plan is. But I do know that my life isn’t Hashem’s ‘plan B.’ He’s given us these years intentionally, and I’d like to think that Betzalel and I are using them well. Giving me a brachah to ‘undo’ this stage of life with twins or triplets really soon makes me feel like you think my current stage of life is totally empty and meaningless.”Sari is quiet for a minute. “I hear you. But I’m just so sad for you that you don’t have a baby yet,” she finally says.

I roll up another pair of socks and add them to the growing pile on the couch. “I’m also sad about it sometimes, to be honest. But think about it. Hashem wants something from us during these years. And if He values this time, then I’d like to value it as well, not just feel sad about it.”

Sari mmms. “So then what am I supposed to say when I feel so bad that you’re struggling to have a baby?”
I laugh. “Sorry I’m so complicated. Maybe just say you’re thinking about me, and davening?”


Of course I wish we’d have a baby. Sometimes I lie awake at night and imagine filling the empty space near my bed with a baby bassinet. It’s a happy thought, but it also stabs me with so much pain. Sometimes women my age or younger share parenting moments with me, and I feel as though I’ve been left behind in primary, while all my friends have moved up to fourth grade. Sometimes I watch fathers and mothers hug their babies, and tears spring to my eyes, because I think Betzalel and I would be such good parents, and Hashem is just not giving us the opportunity. Yet.

Yet that pain is so sharp, I don’t think couples who didn’t wait can comprehend it. But the wait isn’t just about pain; it’s filled with so many other things, too.


I volunteer at an organization that provides free tutoring to kids who are struggling in school, and later that week, on a tutoring night, I find myself running into the grocery to see if there is anything I can make for supper that’ll be ready to eat in 20 minutes. It’s 6:35 p.m. — I’d stayed late at work to finish something nobody else had time for, and now I’m in an impatient rush. Betzalel is also going out tonight; he learns with an elementary school kid who has no father. And he drives the boy home after learning. In Lakewood, the drive across town can be 45 minutes, easy. So we’ll need to eat before we leave.

As I reach into the freezer to grab a bag of Mealmart breaded chicken tenders and some frozen broccoli, an old coworker stops me.

“Chavy! How are you?”

“Ohmigosh! Mimi! So fun to see you! What are you up to these days?” I’m genuinely happy to bump into her. We had a party working together before I got married. I look into her shopping cart. A toddler sits up front, and an infant seat is placed precariously in the basket space. Ouch. She got married after me.

Mimi smiles broadly. “Well, I’m on leave now after this munchkin… I needed more than six weeks this time, and my boss agreed to give me three months. And you? How do you keep yourself busy?”

Ouch. Ouch Ouch Ouch.

I open my mouth, then waver. With one question, Mimi has emptied my full life of all its valuable contents, just because my shopping cart doesn’t have two kids in it, like hers does.

What do you keep busy with? No one would ever ask you that, Mimi, right? I want to scream at her.

I don’t.

“Just doing my best with the deck Hashem dealt me,” I say quickly, as I rush to the front to pay for the chicken and broccoli.

I dash back to the car and back out quickly. At home, I don’t bother to take off my wig — I’ll be running out in a half hour. I heat the oven to 425, dump in supper, and put sweet chili sauce on the table. Betzalel dashes in 15 minutes later.

I vent to him as we eat.

“How do we keep busy? So patronizing!” I gripe as I dip chicken into sauce.

“You shoulda told her we’ve been watching the flowers grow outside,” Betzalel chortles.

“Nah, too fast paced. What about watching the paint dry?”

Betzalel chuckles, then checks his watch. “Whoops, I don’t want to be late. Eli is waiting.” He wipes his hands on a napkin, makes a borei nefashos, and stands. “Thanks loads for supper!”

He puts on his hat and jacket and grabs the keys from the counter while I clear the table and get ready to go.

“Try to keep it short tonight,” Betzalel throws behind him as he runs out the door. “We have to be up early tomorrow.”

Right. I have a 6:00 a.m. monitoring appointment at the clinic.

To be continued…


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 864)

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