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October 28, 2016 / 26 Tishri, 5777
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A Mother’s Lament

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      I recently became a bubbe again with the birth of a granddaughter, Kayla Elisheva. While I am delighted, I am still trying to wrap my head around the fact that my youngest child Moshe is now a father. When he and his wife Maya told me that they were expecting  (silly me, I attributed her nausea during Pesach to matzah and the late-night feasting at the Seders) I called my sister-in-law to share the good news.

   ” My baby is having a baby,” I told her, and as I said it a wave of excited disbelief sprinkled with droplets of sadness washed over me.

     Just yesterday, he was tugging at my skirt and asking me for a “dink,” toddling around the house barefoot cause he’d pull his socks off almost as soon as they were on.  When did he and his brothers grow up?

      This is a head-shaking question that is surfacing more and more frequently in the minds of members of my generation, who with awed wonder – often paired with regret  – ask themselves,  “Where did the years ago?”

   I wrote the following poem on a particularly chaotic day when my children were still children.   I had no idea then that the time in my life that I “longed” for at that moment – one that seemed endless years away, would come upon me so quickly  – that I am still catching my breath.

    However, even then, I understood that time is a river whose current becomes faster with each passing day, and that I would one day look back and miss the yesterdays that were forever out of my reach.

A Mother’s Lament

For years I dreamt of a house so neat,
No toys on the porch spilling out to the street,
No coats, no book bags, piled up on the floor,
No clutter, no mess, as I opened the door.

For years I dreamt of a house so still,
No screams, no yells that pierced like a drill,
No quarrels, no squabbles to referee,
No rebellion, no defiance, no testing of me.

For years I dreamt of time for myself,
No stopping what I was doing to get toys off the shelf,
No early dawn breakfasts, no demands for more,
 No mopping up spills on a newly washed floor.

For years I dreamed of a childfree house,
No more canceled plans for me and my spouse,
No simchas left early because of a call,
Or lacking a sitter – not going at all.

No need to dream – the years have flown,
The children have left – all are grown.
They are immersed in lives of their own,
So busy and distracted – now and then they phone.

 When I come home, and turn the lock,
I’m greeted by the faint ticking of a distant clock,
I gaze into a hallway that is silent and dark,
The once- crayoned walls are shadowy and stark.

No longer are there explosions of noise,
No playtime invasions by girls and boys,
There is just a heavy quiet that is loud to my ear
And an absence of laughter that gets harder to bear.

This was the time I looked so forward to,
There were so many things I had planned to do.
Yet these longed- for activities have lost their appeal,
Life has a void my many hobbies can’t fill.

To pass the time, I often walk,
 I usually end up in our neighborhood park,
And as I sit and watch the children play,
How I ache for yesterday.

Cheryl Kupfer

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