Forgive the mistakes in grammar, punctuation, spelling, leaving words out,or putting them in twice. Its just me sitting in my chair, with my mother across town sitting in her chair, reading my stuff, but not editing it for me, not that I’ve asked her, I just assumed, she didn’t want me to look like a fool. Gosh, it takes so much energy to write anything, that when I’m finished…I couldn’t care less about mistakes, until a few days later when I reread things. I promise to fix things…soon. But I must warn you, I’m in the habit of leaving chaos behind me. What will be, will be.
My oldest daughter came into being in my first marriage. She was born with 2 to 3 inches of red hair. No one had to tell me where that came from. My twin brother’s red is the same as Hannah’s. She was my first, the baby that you try & do everything right. And doubt every choice. A few weeks after she turned three, her life got turned upside down. She found herself belonging to a single, unemployed mother living in a one bedroom apartment. We shared our room. I think she liked that part. I got a job very quickly & she went to daycare…hours & hours of it. She had been living at home with two parents, I stayed home with her. Her father wanted her from Thurs. to the following Monday morning. I learned over time to suppress that she was NOT with me. I knew she was safe with him, he is a great father. It was that I didn’t know what she was doing. Suppressing her was pushing her out of existence. Monday, I would tear up on the way to daycare & be bawling when I saw her, i’d kiss her a thousand times, making up for all the kisses she missed.
Now, I become so good at suppressing her absences, I have to ask her every friday if she is with us or her father. (I’ve used this technique with math too.)
When she flew to Poland with our Rabbi & the rest of her confirmation class, I thought I can do this. Once I knew she had landed in Paris, I started breathing again. I love Facebook. Parents & kids would post their pictures on it everyday. On the very last day before she was to return, I saw pictures of her at Auschwitz, I saw what looked like her wiping a tear away. I started bawling like a baby. I spoke with my Mom on the phone, “Why are you crying?”
Hannah’s crying & she’s at Auschwitz, I can’t hug her, I can’t make it better, I can’t shield her from such horror, I can’t say it won’t happen again, I can’t promise that everything will be better now, when it is happening now to others. No one could help all those people, they were utterly powerless. I was powerless to hold her, she was on the other side of the earth.
Needless to say, I told Mom I missed Hannah. The suppression shields failed. I felt like she was three & just left me. Pitiful.
Sunday, When she came home, I told her about the picture & my reaction to it. She said, “Oh, Mom I wasn’t crying, I think I would have, if the ground was covered in snow & the sky was grey, I might have”
I think she liked that I missed her. I think she was proud that she traveled half the earth, without her parents. Bought meals on her own, with limited funds. I know she was proud of her pictures. She said, “I tried to take artsy pictures like you, I think I did ok.” I said, “I know you took great photographs & I wasn’t there, YOU did that”.
I love when that embarrassed little grin shows up.
Thank you Rabbi Miller, for making my girl even stronger.