Will she keep that broken chair?

Please madam, on the next time don’t bring the children, says the dressmaker after her chair was half broken, her sofa tasted jumping feet for the first time and her mirror survived to the worst attack it had ever had in its life. No, I promise, I will not bring them anymore. I say to her while looking for the coat of the little one. ‘Mum, coat, coat’ he tells me. I look at him. He’s wearing his coat since one hour. He never removed it. Maybe he knew already this place wouldn’t be the most children-friendly in the world. It’s not because I don’t like children, madam, she goes on telling me while opening the door as a person who lets out from her house the worst creatures in the world.It’s simply that it is impossible to do something with these…always moving creatures around. One screams, the other yells, the third one jumps everywhere. Yes, you are totally right, I tell her and I give the hand to my three little devils. It is indeed really hard to do something with them around, I go on repeating while giving every child his/her opportunity to call the elevator and catching the little one while trying to go down by the stairs maybe knowing how he will be squeezed inside the elevator with all his brothers and sisters.. You are not offended, aren’t you? she tells me while looking at me with rigid eyes. If they could just sit down and stay calm, she adds, it could have have been much easier…and I know what she means. Beacuse trying to understand if the dress you are sewing fits you or not while three children create energy from nothing in a room that is big as the smallest toilet of your house, is really a challenge. They cannot sit for so long, I tell her while closing the elevator doors. I imagine she is reliefed. Or maybe she is not. Becuase there, in her tiny apartment, she had never had a baby hand spreading chocolate on a white chair. Or baby lips kissing her goodnight after a long day. And now that is is 75, she has all the time in the world to set up the house again. After the storm. Or maybe she will just sit down on the sofa and think where to keep. The broken chair. That will remind until her last day on this earth the big loss that she had. She had a carreer, she was very good in her job. And for the cause of her profession she didn’t want to have children. She is right. And I am so sorry for her. No one is more noisy than children at this age. But this noise, I can see in her eyes, is the leg of the chair she is missing so much. Unfortunately for her, it is too late…

back to the past…

Mum, if you could go back in time, would you get married so young again?
I pour the coffee on my skirt while the bride, after having thrown as a stone in the sea her philosophical question, is sitting in front of me writing on her bbm to a destination that is across the Ocean.
Well…I start thinking. This is a trap. Pay attention, I say to myself. Be calm, don’t answer too quickly. I breath deeply. I relax. And memories come back to me as birds going back to their nests. My first child as a baby, with her giant brown eyes, while pronouncing her first word, learning to read, hugging me on her way back from camp. My second neverstopping hunger, his haircut at the age of three, fighting with the sister. My third child opening her blue eyes for the first time, being defined ‘the sun of the class’ at the age of 5. My fourth child preferred video, his allergy to the detergent. My fifth child ceasarian, his being so small compared to my prevoius babies. My sixth child being the copy of the third one, her way of jumping while singing the Chanuka song about the doughnuts. My seventh child sleepless nights, his unique way of saying ‘amen!’ to every good thing we wish.
The coffee has dried on my skirt. The bride is still writing bbms maybe having forgotten the quetion she made some minutes ago. I wake up from my journey in the past. I take her hand and I tell her: You know what? I would never change one thing of my life. If I had the opportunity to start everything again, I would do all exactly the same. I would get married at 19, have you at the age of 20, go on studying in university, having your brothers and sisters, working, writing, sitting with you here in our kitchen trying to come out from this mad plan of getting married in five weeks…I would never change anything, believe me. Though it was hard, sometimes very tough. Becuase the amount of love I received every day in my life is the most precious thing I will ever own. And I would never give up to it for all the freedom in the world….

No reminders for 25 hours…

G-d, I just wanted to thank You. For giving us the opportunity to detach the wire from our daily runs. For offering us a weekly chance to breath deeply without feeling guilty. For having us cooking for something that goes beyond our hunger. For closing our ears to the daily news for 25 hours. For letting us sleeping during the night without the nightmare of forgetting to set the morning alarm. For giving us time for smiles and laughs with our kids without looking at our dictator-watch. For offering us a weekly fine tuning on the real values of life. For having chance to meet our friends without being called 200 times per hour by our children on the cellphone. For letting us close the file with the guest list of the wedding without feeling the heart rythm increasing dramaticaly. For giving us the opportunity to go around without reminders ringing during the way. For forcing us to switch off our cellphones, our computers, our wifi’s, our ipads, ipods and iphones, fearless to loose the most important phone call of the day, the coolest news of the week, the top song of the month, the most important Facebook history. G-d, I just wanted to thank You. Because when I cannot use anything, when the only creative activity I can do is to sit down and listen to my kids, I realize that it is only thanks to You, that I finally get to dedicate them some calm time after 144 hours of crazy run. And now that it’s over since 5 hours and I had already time to fight with the elecrticity company, update the wedding guest list, choose the right wines for that special night, write 157 new reminders for the next 144 hours of the week, feeling the accelerated heartbeats for the fear of having forgotten an important detail for the wedding night, I am already making the countdown for the hours that separate me from the next shabat….

When an address smells of love….

I have a file from the last event I organized. There, some scattered, you can find all the names of those invited five years ago to our party. Name, address, confirmation. There are some people whom are not living in Milan anymore, becuase of their job or their studies. There are some people who moved. And their address is not the same anymore. I was reading the list hoping to find as much useful information as I could. And then suddenly, her name was there. So bright, so sweet, so full of taste of home. So smiling, so embracing, so smelling of tagliatelle with ragù and italian style artichoques. So linked to a past I’ve loved with all my heart. To those rainy milanese Sundays in which we were all forced to go there. Despite your friends, homework, studies and fun. To those difficult days in which the temperature outside was speaking of snow and I used to put all my little children, included the new baby of that period, in my car. Her name is flashing now on my screen. Reminding me that when we have the opportunity to give somebody our love, we don’t have to miss that chance. Nonna Alba, my grandmother is still with us, thanks to G-d. She is living in Israel now and I feel a hole in my heart when I pass in front of her house, here in Milan. Or when I bake the chocolate cake filling the air with the same smell she used to communicate us her love. I don’t need to send her any invitation. Becuase she is on a chair, waiting only for someone to come and kiss her when you happen beside her. I miss her so much. I think I will write her name on an envelope anyway. Just to feel her close to me now, in this precious time, during which I am living one of the most amazing adventures of my life. And just to remember, in any case, how it is important to learn and apreciate every single little detail, as an address written on an invitation envelope, containing the name of those whom you really love.

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Mummy, hold strong…

‘Mummyyyyyy’, she started shouting in the middle of the night.
‘No, I don’t want this’ she went on after a few months.
‘Mummy, now we are fine. The baby is in the stroller, I hold on the right side, my brother holds on the left. There is no room for other kids’ she added on a cloudy day.
‘Mummy, can you put us the Rebbe’ s video becuase he is our soul?’ she asked when no other videos were offered home.
‘Mummy, can I go to sleep over by a friend?’ and there started her freedom declaration.
‘Mummy, it was really fun to be there overnight’ she threw there with her jacket coming back home. And since then nothing was the same.
‘Bye mum, See you in 4 months with G-d’s help’ Her ticket was in her bag, the passport in her hand and a part of my heart was in her suitcase. She was just 14 and her flight for Israel was waiting for her.
‘Mummy, I want to come homeeeeeeee!!!!! I don’t like anything here, nor friends nor the school. Why can’t I come back?’ becuase my baby lady, this is for your. For your future, for your growing and becoming a good person. And I really meant it. But I was suffering more than her.
‘Mummy, thank you for sending me here. You cannot imagine how I am happy, how I love being here’ and I was happy too, but I knew that that moment was the beginning of the end. Of years in which she needed so much, in which she just wanted to be embraced.
‘Mummy, hold strong. I have amazing news for you. I am….’

Just one moment. You are learning to say mum, you are empowering through the first denials, you don’t want any new brothers, you would like to see a video of the Rebbe, you learnt the fun of sleeping over by a friend, you are missing home, you are enjoying your stay away from home or…

No, don’t tell me. Did these 19 years pass already so fast?
Yes, mum. They are. And For me too. And now it’s time for me to let you know these wonderful news. I want to get married very very soon…

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Please G-d…

Please G-d, give me the energy to smile to her mess.
To laugh when she scatters.
To pretend it’s a joke.
Please G-d, give me the strenght to be positive to her problems.
To think good when it’s dark,
To find out the right side in a wrong event.
Please G-d, make me a mother worthy of this name.
Worthy of waking her up in the morning letting the sun in the room.
Worthy of calling her name as the sweetest thing in the world.
Please G-d avoid listening to me when I am angry at her.
When I raise my voice trying to make her listen to my words.
When I loose my self control trying to get back the phone.
Please G-d, I know that I ask you for so many things.
For health, for healing from illnesses, for 120 years of good life.
For supporting us in an honorable way, letting us the opportunity to help others too.
For gratification from my children, whom I want to be the most righteus persons.
But I know that You are infinite and there is nothing beyond You.
And so I have a last request, that comes directly from my heart.
Make me enjoy this mad period as the best in the world.
Because I know for sure that in the precise second she will leave my home, I will understand how beautiful every detail, even the most insignificant, was.
Please G-d.
And thank you too.

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Do not open that box! Risk of panic!

There are some times in which you are just afraid to reveal reality. The thing is there but you cannot handle it. And you leave it there for days, weeks, months. Like a ticket you think you shouldn’t pay. Like a telephone bill for the only month in which you swear you did not speak with anybody. So that box is there. Closed. I don’t dare opening it. Because reality would fly around my room. Filling my brain and the air I breath. Truth would hit me as sun during midday. And I would really become a mother of a bride. And a mother in law. Now it is written there, black on white. Ink on real paper. Tangible proof of an event is really happening. Evidence of a future day. Now it is lying there. Closed. The box with the invitations for the wedding. The ink is resting, maybe still digesting the news. No one can blame me. Because no one knows my secret. Except for you, of course…

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