Photo Credit: Jewish Press

Throughout these trying times, each one of us has their share of experiences that have been throwing them off track. Collectively, it’s a difficult time, whether it’s not praying in minyanim together or not having weddings or other family events celebrated as we dreamed of. It’s also a time of self-reflection, of looking within one’s self and trying to understand what it is that Hashem wants from us, personally, during these trying times.

Thank G-d I’ve been blessed to be a mother and a grandmother. These jobs, other than the professional jobs each one holds, are certainly full time jobs. There are the mothers who are over-protective and the ones who want to teach over-confidence by letting go too much. There are doers and there are more passive ones. There are strict ones and more lenient ones. There are also the mothers who have children that are not in touch with them. And there are other women who wish to be mothers and have not been blessed yet with children.

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No matter which category one fits into this “job” takes up a huge part of our day. Even for the women who wish to have children or for those whose children are not with them, the thoughts and constant prayers that fill their minds and lips, take up a large part of their day whether it’s on a conscious level or not.

Therefore during this time period specifically when almost everyone is home, this “job” we hold down is more trying than ever.

The grandmother roll especially in the first years when all the grandchildren are still very small, resembles motherhood at its best. On one hand you take care of these small children like your own, but give them over to their parents if things get too hard or if you just want to see them for a few minutes. The best of both worlds. There is always someone who needs you for small matters and for large ones and you try to always be available.

Nowadays, when we are all closed up in our homes, there is a great yearning to see the family which isn’t at home with you, whether it’s the grandchildren or the older children who don’t live at home anymore. The longing to see, touch and do for them has grown tremendously. Usually when something we had is gone or missing, we tend to enlarge the feeling surrounding that particular lack and we find ourselves aching more than ever.

I’m a doer-mom. There isn’t any job or task that is too large for me. The greater the better. I set out to accomplish almost any request that was set forth to me by one of my children/grandchildren. Finding the best way to get it done and in the shortest amount of time. The responses are usually great and the satisfaction of making them happy is the greatest reward one can ask for. And now I find myself with my hands tied behind my back. Can’t see or visit the children, get them things or watch over anyone. I feel useless, and helpless. Most of all I know how much my children, especially my special needs child who lives in a home, needs me. Currently I can’t even enter the place to care for him as I did twice a day till this terrible virus came about. And now I can only support them with a phone call or a virtual hug from far.

One of my greatest frustrations and pain revolve around the birth of my new grandson who lives in New York. I live in Israel and currently flying back to be with my son and his family isn’t a possibility, considering what’s going on with this crazy virus that has struck the world. I wanted so badly to come for the birth, to be there for my son, to help out with the preparations for the bris, to help care for the newborn baby boy, which can be different than the care for a girl. The thoughts of having a boy and a first bris for my son, and not only not being there for him, but to know that during this time, other than the mother, father and the Mohel, there very well might not be anyone else around during these “Covid 19” days.

All these thoughts and more are forcing me to concentrate and to think what it is that Hashem wants from me. Not to do? Not to help? I feel so unnecessary. So sad. So far away. However I’m trying to internalize that it is G-d who is running the world and not me. And for doers like myself this is a hard point to surrender to. Me, not to do? Me, not to be in charge? Me, not to be on some mission saving one of my children? Well I guess not. I guess this is a time that I must surrender my strong will to do and to help, over to Hashem, and see what other jobs He has in mind for me. After all we are not in this world alone and if G-d throws us off the path we have set for ourselves, it’s a time to look around and see what we generally are missing since we are so busy doing.

I miss my children and grandchildren greatly. I miss doing things for them and I’m especially sad to have to miss my son’s baby boy’s bris. However I lift my eyes up to the heavens and ask the Almighty to please guide me in the way that he sees fit. Perhaps this is a time to also feel the pain of those who don’t have children to run after and care for all year long. Or to feel the longing of those mothers who are far from their children all the time. May we be sensitive and caring, and may we hear and feel what we might miss on a regular basis because we are too busy to see.

Thank you Hashem for recalculating my path from the start.

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Michal can be reached at michal@jewishpress.com