Three weeks of answering the friendly query “What’s new?” with “Not much”
It’s been three weeks since a tall young man first walked through our front door.
Three weeks of trying to keep the house clean for twice-a-week dates — of studying exactly which parts of the kitchen are visible from the dining room and moving the clutter to the parts that aren’t. Three weeks of trying to find baked goods to put out for the dates — but maybe I shouldn’t bother, he never touches the food anyway.
Three weeks of trying to hide my daughter’s shidduch from her younger siblings — and failing miserably (“Hey, why’s the house so clean? Why’d you buy rugelach? When’s the date?”) Three weeks during which everyone in the family, down to the six-year-old, found out the name and identifying information of the young man in question. (People around here aren’t very good at keeping secrets.)
Three weeks of marveling at the Hashgachas Hashem that led to this improbable shidduch — and at how perfect this match appeared to be. Three weeks of davening for clarity — but feeling like it’s already so clear.
Three weeks of indecision — should we have the bedrooms painted during that week after Tishah B’Av when the kids are away? Or might that be too much upheaval during a week when there might be an engagement? But shouldn’t we paint the dining room first, in preparation for a simchah? But what if we can’t have the simchah in our house because our dining room is in the middle of being painted?
Three weeks of thinking that the time of our yeshuah has come, of not having to wonder what hishtadlus I should be doing today, which shadchan I should contact, what lead I should follow up on. Three weeks of talking flippantly to other mothers in this situation, since I secretly feel we’re almost done with this nisayon.
Three weeks of answering the friendly query “What’s new?” with “Not much,” even though there is something very new and very much that I just can’t yet share.
Three weeks of not having to wonder why all those prospective shidduchim that were looking into my daughter haven’t come back with a yes. It was all min haShamayim so this one should come to be!
Three weeks of not having to deal with the mood swings of a girl in shidduchim who hasn’t had a date in six months, and instead dealing with the mood swings of a girl dating a boy who she really likes/doesn’t like/kind of likes/can’t make up her mind about.
Three weeks of wondering if we should put down a deposit to hold the wedding hall for the date that makes the most sense for our daughter to get married — even if she hasn’t yet dropped the shadchan.
Three weeks of going through the regular motions of family life — picking up this child, dropping off that one, running to the grocery and cooking meals — believing that something big is about to change in our lives.
Three weeks of looking at recipes for fancy but simple cookies and baking some just in case there’s a l’chayim without much advance notice — and wondering if we’ll make a vort in our house or a hall.
Three weeks of thinking that it might be premature to bake for a vort, but I have to do something… and going through the local phone directory page by page, making a spreadsheet of people to invite to an upcoming simchah. (I’m sure to need it sometime, even if this shidduch doesn’t work out!)
Three weeks of telling my daughters that we’re not choosing a color scheme for their sister’s wedding — we’ll go to the gemach and see if we can find gowns that work for all of them in a similar color… but not yet.
Three weeks of looking forward to meeting mechutanim who seem to be so similar to us and really share our values.
It’s been three weeks, but now it’s over.
I tell the hall manager to rip up the deposit check — let some other happy couple get married on that day. I tell the painter he can come paint the bedrooms after Tishah B’Av — it won’t interfere with any other plans. I ignore the mess the children are making in the living room — who cares? — and warn them not to make any comments to their sister. I pick up the phone to do some hishtadlus and send some emails to the shadchanim I’ve blessedly forgotten about for a few weeks.
It’s the Nine Days, and there’s another reason to mourn, a personal loss of a simchah that almost happened — but didn’t.
And yet I know that when Tishah B’Av ends, we’ll pull ourselves up from the floor and go on with life. There are messes to clean up and a dining room to paint, so that we’ll be ready for a simchah whenever it comes. Achakeh lo b’chol yom sheyavo. This young man wasn’t The One, but maybe the next one will be.
And when he shows up, there will be sprinkle cookies in the freezer awaiting his arrival.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 853)
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