Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

6 Nisan 5759 - March 24, 1999 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly

















Home and Family
I Pretend
By Rifca Goldberg

Pretending, imagining or projecting oneself, is a very Jewish attribute which should be cultivated. "A person is required to `see himself' as going out of Egypt. A person should not judge others until he can project himself in their place, and so on...

You fell and got a bruise, my sweet little three-year-old. And I hold you and rock you, as you cry. Your little blue polka dot dress got ripped. You point to the rip and cover your face. I encircle you with my arms and soothe you, telling you I'll fix your dress while Hashem mends your bruise. You bury your face in my shoulder and we rock. Back and forth.

I close my eyes and I pretend. I pretend that you're my only child. That it's only you and me in this entire universe - right now. The noise of the other children playing in the living room fade away and your sweet little arms wrapped around my neck is all that exists. Your body gets heavier. Your eyes slowly close as your arms drop to your side. Soon you're fast asleep and we rock. Finally I put you in your bed and carefully change you into your pajamas without waking you.

Then I turn my attention to you, my four-year-old little boy. You jump into my arms buoyantly. Your big gray eyes laugh into mine as you giggle your response to the day, and we rock. You wrap your warm arms around my neck and I feel your little body melting into me. Your eyes close and I close my eyes as well, and I pretend.

I pretend that you didn't break the window today, that you didn't step on the baby's leg, that you didn't kick me when you wanted another candy. I pretend that you're sixteen years old and going to yeshiva. That you're striving for all that vast potential that you have, and that you're succeeding. I put your now-sleeping body into your bed.

And I look at you, my six-year-old young man. You grin and slide under the couch with only your blue pajama sleeve peeking out. "Come." I coo. You reach out your hand and I catch you and pull you close to me. I kiss you and hug you softly. I tell you a Midrash I read. You bubble a smile at me while I tuck you in. We say Shema together and with my hand still over my eyes I pretend.

I pretend that you didn't have the chicken pox and German measles within two weeks of each other. And now with piles of schoolwork for `us' to catch up on, I try to only think of your shiny freckled cheeks and your toothless grin. After saying goodnight three times and only asking for water twice, you roll onto your side and soon are breathing rhythmically.

You look up from your book, my beautiful eight-year-old daughter. Like the moon reflects the sun, so, too, do your eyes reflect pure love. "Come, my sweet child." I say, "Come, and we'll pretend..."


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