Holding My Hand.
It was pure joy this morning to learn that Dov still reaches for my hand as we walk to the bus stop on this, his last day of school. I thought things might have changed. He lost his first tooth. He’s reading in two languages. He is hilariously popular. I thought perhaps, over the year, our morning ritual might have moved on. I was happy it hadn’t.
At some point, in the middle of the year, we left the world of hand holding and bus stop waiting and I began driving him to school. His school is right next door to the bakery and, on most days, I start my morning there anyway. It just seemed easier to toss him in the car and go.
This last day of school is always an emotional one for me. Even as someone who has spent over 20 years in the world of education, I rejoice at vacation. I love vacation. I count down to vacation. It is the healthiest air for me and my small people. I plan it down to the smallest detail — what books will they read, what will we learn, which movies, which fun, which adventures, which friends.
This morning my backyard furniture came in anticipation of a summer full of reading books and hosting cozy dinner parties. The landscaper came to turn my backyard beautiful. I met with tutors for next year to set out our plan. I met with the vice principal of the boys’ school 1o minutes after school let out for the summer to set out the boys learning plan for next year. And by noon I was ready to breathe summer. My three littles joined me in Jerusalem meeting my sister and some of hers’ for celebratory lunch and then we continued on to the movies where there was popcorn (!) and soda (!) and everything that shouted vacation. Because it is vacation and they earned it and they are children.
But in the back of my head (who are we kidding? in the absolute forefront of my thoughts) is the other child Hallel Yaffa Ariel who is gone. One minute here. Next minute gone. I can’t talk terror and I can’t talk politics. But I can talk children. And I can talk about what it means to put your kids to sleep at night, to tuck them in and then to head off to work. I can talk about what it means to leave a child sleeping in a house as the summer day unfolds.
Dov falls asleep in our room most nights. We watch Phineas and Ferb or PJ Masks, sometimes we talk and then he snuggles in and falls asleep. And I know that someday he’ll outgrow this too but tonight it seems like perfection to start the day holding his hand and end the day with his snuggles.
Hashem Yakom Damah.
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