A peaceful Shabbat afternoon, with kids playing happily. All is still and calm.
Chaim Boruch gets up from his chair and comes to join us. He is in a happy, playful mood, and starts to do his usual silly “dance,” entertaining his family, encouraging smiles and laughter from each of us.
His balance is unorganized and unpredictable. I warn him to be careful, to settle down.
My warning is too late. He trips over his own two feet and slams his face into the wall with full force. The next moment, I am kneeling by his side, trying to assess the damage, my heart thumping furiously in my chest.
He is hurt, his ego deflated, like the shriveled pieces of a popped balloon. A bump is swelling over his right eye. His face is pale, and he looks like he is on the verge of passing out.
My nerves are shaken, and I find myself calling out to his siblings to get ice and a wet cloth for his bleeding lip, and to wake up Tatty (Daddy) from his peaceful Shabbat rest. Because I don’t think I can find another ounce of strength to pick up my very heavy and sore boy.
The bruising begins to emerge, and he is now sitting outside, refusing the ice packs, cold cloth, homeopathic remedies. Refusing to allow me to soothe his throbbing little face, despite the pleading in my eyes. His rhythmic whining slowly dies down as he acknowledges his less-than-brilliant idea of showing off his fancy dance steps, which were choreographed without walls or unstable little feet in mind!
I retreat into my room, into my bed, and take a deep breath. I think I need that cold cloth, ice pack and remedy to calm myself down, yet I cannot move. I am bruised.
Wishing I could have caught him in time, saving him from his fall. Wondering if he needs new shoes, or if we should try yet another therapy to help him balance better . . .
Yes. The bruising of a mother’s heart.
I am tired and worn and talk to G‑d. Look, G‑d, look at Your children, all of Your children, young and old, infants, babies and 7-year-olds who stumble and fall. Look at each of us.
We are bruised by the challenges of life, by the bumps in the road, by the tears in our eyes.
Please, G‑d, send us two strong feet to stand on. Send us spiritual “ice packs” to soothe our wounds, remedies to cushion our falls. Send us happy, healthy days. Please, G‑d.
Days with no more bruising.