This is a time of transition in the westbank household.

After years of infertility problems, I honestly feel that having three healthy children is an embarrassment of riches. On the other hand, given the setup in Israel, having three boys means that they leave the nest pretty early, and I find myself putting the prefix “only” before this number.

My oldest is 20 now. Three years ago he decided to become a Chabadnik. I’ve never really written too much about it on the blog, since for most of the past three years we have slowly come to terms with it. (If three years ago we were completely freaked out, now we are only partially freaked out!). Part of the Chabad “maslul” (loosely translated as schedule) is to learn for at least a year in 770 Eastern Parkway  – the Lubavitch headquarters in New York. The boys all do this at the age of 20. So my son will be leaving for New York in a few days. Since they usually travel to another country to do shlichut after this year, it means that I may not see him for at least a year and a half, and probably more.

For him it means going to a good place to learn, and being “with” the Rebbe (yes, he is one of those). For me he is trading the beauty of Eretz Yisrael for a slum in Brooklyn. But, as many of the more veteran parents out there know, your children grow up faster than you expect, and become adults that make their own decisions.

My second son is now 14, and a week ago we took him to his new yeshiva. He is very happy there (so far!), and we are happy with the place (so far!). He will be coming home once in a while on Tuesday afternoons, and every other Shabbat and all of the holidays, so I will see him frequently. But he doesn’t sleep under my roof any more, and I feel his absence.

My third son is now 13, and has already expressed his wish to go to dormitory yeshiva next year (even though we think the local school is very appropriate for him). So I am already anticipating a very quiet house next year.

All of this makes me want to throw a tantrum. I want to sit in the middle of the floor and cry. But mature women of (almost) 48 don’t do those things.

On the other hand, even when I feel sad and uncomfortable with all of these changes, out of the corner of my eye I am looking at some new possibilites. From a mundane point of view, I am actually looking forward to being able to keep my house clean (or at least cleaner than it has been for the past 20 years!). I never had a cleaning lady, and with “only” boys in the house, the place looked it! (And yes, my boys do help by washing dishes and the floor, but they never take any responsibility. If I don’t specifically ask for something to be done, it isn’t done. In contrast I know of women whose daughters clean and cook without being told to).

I am also thinking that I will have more time to write (no more excuses, huh?). I have notebooks with scribbled notes on all kinds of things that I could theoretically turn into something.

Being a woman, especially a religious one, means taking what G-d gives you with gratitude. It also sometimes means accepting changes with good grace. I am hoping I can do this, because it doesn’t come naturally.


7 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Hannah
    Aug 31, 2009 @ 07:47:26

    Yup, it’s tough when kids grow up and don’t do what we think they should. I’m curious what yeshiva your son is in. Have a ketivah ve-chatimah tova.

  2. neshama
    Aug 31, 2009 @ 13:58:44

    Such a nice post, getting to know you is nice. Yes, I agree that we should hear more from you, about those ‘scribbles’ and feelings of living in Israel. This thought of yours, “Being a woman, especially a religious one, means taking what G-d gives you with gratitude. It also sometimes means accepting changes with good grace” was very poignant because it is timeless and very valuable, something that eveyone needs to hear every day until it becomes as ingrained as “modei ani”. It doesn’t cost anything, doesn’t take too much time, can be done many times over the day, and we let Hashem know that we appreciate all that He gives us.

    I believe that an extreme lack of appreciation is what has infected many of our brothers and sisters all over the globe, and especially in our Homeland. I believe this is the ingredient sorely missing in the lives of many Israelis, causing dissatisfaction, leading to discontent, protests, and fighting one another. There is so very much to be thankful for, even if it doesn’t ‘fit in’ to one’s religious or non-religious ideology. There are many paths of understanding the Torah (70 ways). The ingratitude of certain sectors is astonishing.

    HaKoras HaTov needs to be marketed and spread the way the “lashon hara” awareness became a household idea.

  3. neshama
    Aug 31, 2009 @ 14:00:05

    PS Just to let you know, I once has a music player on my blog and one of the tunes I enjoyed the most was none other than Shomei Tefilla by Udi Davidi, and I didn’t even know he was so admirable. Kol Tuv

  4. AidelMaidel
    Aug 31, 2009 @ 17:04:48

    Thank you for sharing your personal thoughts. Please check your email for a message from me.

  5. Jack
    Aug 31, 2009 @ 21:49:59

    Transitions is a good theme for a blog post as it seems to be something many of us are going through. My children are younger than yours, but I can see plenty of situations in which they choose to do something other than what we would prefer.

  6. aliyah06
    Sep 02, 2009 @ 19:03:12

    What can I say? It’s hard to see them leaving and all the rationalizations in the world don’t change that. They’re not really “leaving” — they’re transitioning, and once they’re older you’ll actually see more of them, believe it or not!

  7. Nancy (natural menopause)
    Aug 03, 2010 @ 00:42:47

    I love your style of writing, very honest and full of emotion. Glad I found your blog! Keep up the great writing…


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