Saturday, May 7, 2016

The Oys of Motherhood

Exactly when did the SJG become a Jewish Mother?  It happened long before I gave birth.  It happened at birth.  My birth.  From the moment I popped out, I wanted to know if everyone was okay, if anyone needed anything, if I could do something to help.  My first complete sentence: "What's wrong?" The Caretaker Curse grabbed me, genetically, right out the gate.  When someone got hurt on the playground, I was the one hovering over the wounded and bleeding, asking the important questions.  "Would it have killed you to wear a helmet and some knee pads? To walk, instead of run for once in your life?" At home, I was always in the kitchen, making tiny treats in the Easy Bake Oven, trying to spread a little joy and fatten up the family.  I was the one waiting up for the parents to come home, and later, when they started driving, the brothers.  I was the designated worrier.  What I'm saying is this:  You don't just become a Jewish Mother.  All the signs are there from the start.  And then, the contractions kick in and the skills you've acquired all come together in a giant ball of angst.  They hand you the baby and say, "Good luck with this."

Off you go on a wild adventure, no travel brochure to guide you, no special shots to protect you from all those cute germs coming your way the instant the little people hit pre-school. Certain things, they neglect to tell you in Lamaze. "Oh, didn't we mention?  You'll never know another moment of peace." Motherhood.  It's non-denominational, the underpaid, under-appreciated, much-ridiculed role of a lifetime.  You study and rehearse, you audition, you get the call. "Mazel tov, you got the part, see you on the set." Lights, camera, action. All you can do is pray you get your lines right some of the time. Hope for decent reviews. Say kina hora, poo poo poo ad nauseum. And trust that the scars  (there will be scars) won't be too permanent.  Oh, and one other thing. Overfeed daily.  Give extra helpings of love, the more unconditional, the better, but please, you're not a miracle worker. You're a mother.  Let's face it, you're going to have bad days, bad years. God willing, they won't replace you with some other actress who looks better in an apron.

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