It’s a discussion we bring up often. Are we going to have more kids or are we done at two? It’s impossible to come to a decision. Because it’s not just from day to day we are back and forth, it’s from hour to hour, minute to minute, even second to second.
My crying only lasts a moment, and then I steady my foolish heart. She doesn’t shed a tear, though. Not one. You don’t need to cry over the small hurts, I’ve told her before. They aren’t worth it. There are so many of them, you’d be crying all day long. Like a piece of gravel trapped in your shoe.
I’m a practical woman and a rabbi. I’ve always preached that there’s enough mystery in the here and now not to waste much effort worrying about what comes after this life. Yet now, in the silence of my home, I wonder if I, too, have begun to detect the echoes of distant heartbeats. I wonder if I believe in ghosts.
The craft had, for decades, given my 90-year-old mother a solid sense of pride and accomplishment. The repetitive motions of wrapping and pulling stitches have a calming meditative effect, and the mathematics involved in structuring a garment is good exercise for the brain. Even with the dementia, it was the one skill she had been able to hold on to. It was an anchor that kept my mother from completely drifting away.
“We wanted to get married, but his dad thought we were too young. If he’d let us get married . . .” Her voice trailed off, heavy with sadness. The regret in her voice made me uncomfortable. Talking with Mom about her love for another man felt disloyal to my dad, asleep just down the hall. And it was clear that Mom had been in love: Only real love could yield so much sorrow.
Uncertainty slips in like long shadows from the trees. I shiver, wonder if I’ve done the right thing, taking these two little girls away from their father, dividing everything: a house, a dining room set, their chances for someday finding love that doesn’t look like half of something.
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