It was, as anticipated, a quiet Shabbat and yet it was wonderful. If all my Shabbatot (Sabbaths) would be like this for the rest of my life, I’d be so blessed. Davidi came home Friday morning – I didn’t know he would be coming by – mostly to get clothes, but it was nice to see him. I got a hug out of him – barely, but I got one – and a peck of a kiss too! He got a bottle of soda, a huge bag of popcorn and two small bags of chips, so he was fairly compensated and helped lug two bags of garbage on his way back to school for the weekend.
It was a relatively easy Friday and then in the afternoon, Lauren and Elie came over – they have a small apartment nearby and need to economize space. As they are building their first home, what can’t fit in is being stored in our house. Two trips worth of gifts, trunks, suitcases and chairs went into our attic for a time in their future when they’ll have a bigger kitchen and more room.
They left with some soup, some fish, and some challahs – and I got a few hugs there too! Friday night we ate at my daughter’s house, enjoying wonderful food, company, and a baby too sweet for words. Aliza made a beautifully woven challah with 8 strands that we took over to her older sister’s house, along with another of the salmon loaves I had made for Elie and Lauren and for our own home. After dinner, we came home with some cake, some homemade matzo balls for the soup, and homemade couscous (I didn’t know there was such a thing as homemade couscous for years, but that’s another story).
Shabbat morning, I slept late. It was heaven. I woke when Elie and Lauren came by. They were raiding our refrigerator for things we’d been keeping for them from their trip abroad – and took a bit more along the way. A little potato kugel – the end piece that Elie claims is his – went into an aluminum pan. They told me about the sauce they made for the fish – I have to try that. I love hearing about how they experiment and cook together.
A while later, Shmulik came upstairs for some chumous and I sent him down to his apartment with more fish and sauce. We had a quiet lunch together – the three of us. This is how it will be for many more weeks at a time – though most of the time, Davidi will be home as well, so we’ll be four.
My husband and I started as a family of two…and grew to three and four, five and six, and finally seven. We became 8 for a week or so when Amira got married and brought her husband home, then seven when Elie went to the army and really five when the newly married couple wasn’t with us. Then Shmulik went to the army, but Elie came back, so we were still five. Then Shmulik came out of the army and got married, so we were sometimes four, mostly five, sometimes seven, and even nine.
Then the baby – and then Elie got married and now we are sometimes three, often four, or six, or eight, or eleven – or seven, or nine. In short – I anticipate my table being opened and closed a lot in the coming years. But what delighted me about this week was that even though we were three, both Elie and Shmulik came over for a few minutes. It’s still their home, you see – and that reality warms my heart.
They’ve gone on to build their own homes – they’re both still working on what those homes will be, of what is already, but those moments of stopping by settled me just a little. People talk of an empty nest and yet, I get the feeling that the definition of empty isn’t nearly what I thought it was.
I’ve often heard the word empty being used with barren or desolate. No, I think the term empty nest is wrong, at least, I hope it is. I don’t know what the right term is yet – this is as much a work in progress for me as it is for them. This letting them have their lives, their homes, their time is coming quite naturally to me. I won’t infringe on their space – while making it clear that they can “come home” and should never feel they are infringing.
So – it was three this weekend – and two more and two more and three more – in doses enough to feel them close. Last night, Elie called to ask if I could pick him up from work at closing. His leg was hurting him. I drove over – and as I dropped him off, at least twice, he thanked me. Shmulik came up to get some chumous and sat a few minutes and played with the dog, the bird. He talked to us about this and that, thanked us and went to his wife.
I’m sliding into this new reality of having three married children and overall, I think I like it…