The world has become a different place for all of us. Our hearts have been split into so many different pieces, and it is so hard to be fully present for any one thing. Weddings, bat mitzvahs, new babies — these are all wonderful and joyous and our reasons for living, but it takes a different kind of effort to put the good in the forefront.
But we must, because the alternative is a 24/7 nightmare.
I will not be telling another Strudel tale this week, although I have many, because she spent last weekend with me. She was a surprise guest, but the very, very best kind of surprise. Because, as I have said, no one makes me feel as special as she does when she calls me Banji. I melt every single time.
That being said, this week, we will be discussing Son #1, Strudel’s father, or “Tots” as we affectionately call him. For the past few months, Son #1 has been on a mission. A mission to find his laptop. I knew he was looking for something when I noticed some piles of books askew. Drawers in different rooms weren’t fully closed, doors on cabinets were left slightly open — he was an Oreo on a mission. I had unsuccessfully tried to help him in his search. As a mom, it had made me feel a tad inadequate, because when the boys were younger, I was the expert at locating anything from Game Boy game cartridges (small items) to hockey sticks (large items). Not being able to find the computer made me feel like I was losing my maternal touch.
Last week, Son #1 was victorious. He located the laptop in Son #2’s room, somewhere on his nightstand. I am still not 100 percent sure of the location, but that is irrelevant to the story. What is relevant is what else Son #1 discovered in his quest for the computer.
When you have lived in a house for 25 years and, thank God, have had the privilege to raise three boys, you amass a large quantity of stuff. All different kinds of stuff. Dozens of baseballs illegibly autographed by players from teams we saw on our road trips. What seemed to important and excited then is now, well, clutter.
Son #1 came across paperwork for appliances that have long since left this house. Pictures of little boys who have turned into men, into fathers. A box full of wedding gifts from four years ago. “Are these ours?” DIL #1 asks of an unopened box of shot glasses, “Because we need those,” she said to her Husband #1. Does she need those because I am her mother-in-law? No, I didn’t ask.
And then he came across a very important set of papers. Son #3’s fifth grade report card. Ahh, if you sent your kid to Yeshivas Noyam in the same era that I did, you know the joy I got from reading this very precious piece of my Son #3’s childhood.
How Netanel Moshe is a joy to have in class, even though it takes him a few minutes to settle down. How beautifully he interacts with his friends. How respectful he is to his teachers. How much he loves learning. They made him sound like he was going to be the next chief rabbi…hey, he still might be, who knows? Good memories.
The last thing Son #1 discovered, on a shelf in a cabinet that we rarely use, was the first column I had written in 2007. It was all about being a boy mom. Allow me to quote paragraph. I did get permission from the author.
“I never dressed those boys in red or yellow, just blues and browns: didn’t want anyone making fun of them at the playground. I knew that I had a house full of legos and trucks and cars and trains and toilet seats that never came down. I knew that I had learned the art of finding trees that turned into portapotties….. I became fluent in GameBoy and Game Cube, in Mike and the Mad Dog (what is a mad dog?)I knew what television channels got me to ESPN, ESPN 2, ESPN Extra and Sports Center. As for what we listened to in the car, I could get to any sports station within milliseconds of entering the vehicle.”
Television??? My boys watched television?????
At least we can still find things to laugh about.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck no longer dresses her boys in blues and browns.
And that is okay….