A Gift that All Moms Deserve
“Do you know what I really want to do?” I ask, leaning against the counter, coffee in hand.
“What?” She asks, in a very nine year old way –- big because of the tilt of her head and the loll of her voice and little because of the raise of her cheeks and the light in her eyes.
“I want to go back to bed!” I say, and we laugh. Our laughter is deep and rich and threaded by all that motherhood is — sleepless nights and two year old tantrums, first days and scraped knees, brushed hair and passed lip gloss.
“Well, why don’t you?” She asks, angling her head to the side. Her auburn locks graze her shoulders when she does this. She’s lovely.
I start to answer with all of the reasons written with my mind pencil. Articles to write, errands to run, phone calls to make.
She looks at me with wide eyes because, for her, the answer is simple. When our days are hard or our bodies are tired, we gift ourselves a break, a rest, a time to rejuvenate.
My Grandmother was amazing at this. A Holocaust survivor, she worked tirelessly into her 80s. She’d take city buses through hot Jerusalem streets to put in her time at the Holocaust Museum, meticulously translating diaries in one of the many languages that she speaks.
There’s so much to take away, to learn, to admire in her.
Work hard. Learn a lot. You can do things by yourself. Make your own money. Work harder. Make your own success. Pull yourself up. A little spitfire can change the world. Work even harder.
Glimpses of her traits and beliefs and ways cross my heart quite often.
But when I think of my grandmother, my Safta, what I really remember is long summer afternoons spent in her bedroom. Windows open, midday sun slicing in, a fan cooling our background.
We’d lie in our pajamas — a long cotton nightgown on her, sweats that she hated on me – and watch trashy television. We’d do this for hours at a time laying on our bellies, shoulder to shoulder, laughing and gasping and tearing up at all the right places.
When we had our fill, we’d lazily walk barefoot to the kitchen. She’d place store bought cakes and pastries laced with chocolate and nuts and frosting on a flower edged plate and I’d make two cups of instant coffee.
We’d take our afternoon treat to her porch and sit, quietly, and just be.
That quiet and that fun and that relaxing and that indulging made both of us better. I remember that, too.
So today, when my mind was humming with too much on my plate, I cleared it.
I took everyone to school, then I changed into sweats that my Safta would have hated and I jumped into bed and read several chapters – back to back — of a new book, a latte sprinkled with cinnamon and a piece of dark chocolate in hand.
And it felt like a gift to myself, one that all moms deserve, just like my Safta taught me.
Image via Galit Breen