A few hours after our bas mitzva was over, I commented to dd16 that it’s nice to have it over and done with. She responded, “Yes, but there’s so much to do that it doesn’t even make a difference (in terms of feeling less busy)!”
This is so true! In addition to my regular schedule this past week, I had three PTA meetings on Monday. Directly from there, I traveled to Haifa to spend the night at the hospital with my mother, who had hip replacement surgery that evening. My mom made aliyah six months ago, and doesn’t yet speak much Hebrew – it’s hard enough having major surgery without the added challenge of not being able to verbally communicate your needs to the staff. It’s well-known that patients with someone to advocate for them get better care, and that’s what I was there for – to make sure she had her needs met. I went back again on Thursday to spend the night, and stayed until early Friday afternoon; I got home about an hour before Shabbos.
This coming week I have appointments scheduled for every day, not including visiting my mother, who is supposed to be transferred to a rehabilitation facility in the next couple of days. I’d love to visit every day – I know how much it means to her for me to be there – but being that the travel time is over two hours in each direction, two or three times a week is really the most I can manage. I stayed overnight because in this way I could be there to help her during the night, and this time of day is the easiest for me since during the kids’ waking hours I’m pretty committed time-wise and this way my absence is the least noticed. A bonus is that by staying overnight, I was able to spend many more hours with her than I could have if my visits were in the daytime, and to be there four days instead of just two.
There’s a Torah obligation to honor one’s parents, and I wish I was a better example of this to my children. I’m fortunate that my mom is appreciative with whatever I can manage, and understands how full my life is, so she doesn’t pressure me in any way – she didn’t even ask me to be with her at the hospital at all because she knows what my life is like. But I’ve sometimes felt badly that the reality of having a large family means that I’m not able to be as available for my mother as I would like.
Being able to be at the hospital with her was in large part thanks to the support of my family, since I missed dinner, bedtime, the early morning getting everyone ready for school, and on Friday, didn’t do anything at all towards Shabbos preparations. So obviously other people had to step up to take care of that. Also, since I’m sleeping sitting upright in a chair for about 4 hours a night when I’m at the hospital, waking up several times during that period, I need to get some additional rest in when I get home and they’ve been understanding about this, too.
This week is a much busier week than last week (last week was a ‘quiet’ week for me, with appointments only two days a week, not including the bas mitzva and three PTA meetings). But I’m still hopeful that I can make it to Haifa to visit my mother on some evenings.