I used to think ice-skating competitions were the scariest thing in the world. My legs would quiver while I waited for my name to be called.
As I stepped on the ice my heart beat beyond fast. It made its way up my throat, leaving that horrible feeling where you struggle to swallow and it feels as if there’s no oxygen around. I still get that feeling every time I watch a tournament.
But neither that, nor anything else, compared to the fear I felt last week.
My baby underwent surgery. This involved general anesthesia and a large incision close to her brow. Thank G-d, everything went smoothly and she was back to herself in no time. But what preceded it was sheer agony.
The drive to the hospital consisted of every day chit chat along the lines of:
“Why is your car so dirty?”
“Because I’m with the kids all day.”
“But they go to school.”
But my husband and I clearly had only one thing on our minds.
We arrived and made our way to the admissions clerk. I tried to return her smile. But my face probably read more along the lines of “screw you.” After all, my baby had not eaten since midnight and it was all THEIR fault.
I’m pretty dramatic in general. However, when it comes to the important things in life, I usually manage to keep it together. Buying a house, getting married, even having a baby. Through it all, I kept my cool. But Not Today.
The doctors seemed a little taken aback when I abruptly stopped the process of them wheeling her in and pleaded, “Is this REALLY necessary?” Perhaps some parents mask their hysteria better than others.
To add more madness my husband and I had a snappy exchange in Hebrew. He was trying to assure me were doing the right thing, but words such as “crazy” and “nuts” kept interrupting. Reluctantly I moved out of the way and allowed fate to take its course.
A mother seeing her child struggle is horrible. Especially when the child has no idea why today is not just any regular day filled with throwing cheerios on the floor and unrolling the paper towels.
While parents can fathom the rationale behind it all, their bodies might not follow suit. At least that’s what happened to me.
Waterworks aside, every inch of my body ached as I sat slumped in the waiting room chair. Time moved slower than usual. Suddenly the clicks an article got mattered less, and the sanctity of life so much more.
We had two options: Sit in the waiting room and watch The Price is Right, or sit in the waiting and pray. Although watching contestants blindly spend money that isn’t theirs can be quite distracting, I’m glad we chose the latter.
We also tried to take on new good deeds. Had G-d approached me and requested I never listen to another Chainsmokers song again, I would have gladly obliged.
The procedure went smoothly and within hours my daughter was running around the house, while everyone ran circles around her. I, on the other hand had to lie down.
Other parents at the hospital seemed like they attended regularly. Does it get easier with time? Do the emotions become numb? I doubt it.
Is this how G-d feels when he puts us through hardship?
Does he do it unwillingly, with his eyes half closed, knowing it’s for the best, but still struggling to watch us actually go through it?
Is it as painful for him as it is for us?
Does he really think it through?
The greater question might be why little kids need to face hardship in the first place.
But that’s already way out of my pay grade.
Besides this is not an article about fear
It’s an article about love.
And how that love can burn so strong it sometimes pushes us to act out of fear.
To doubt the medical advice given by professionals in a single moment of folly.
To lose patience when teaching our kids to read because we’re scared they won’t get it.
To shout when they near the hot water or play by the top of the stairs.
To yearn to keep them home until they’re twenty-five.
At some point, though, after the parenting books have been read, the phone put down and the Google tabs closed, comes the humbling feeling that you’ve done all you can. Now it's up to the one above.