Well, maybe not exactly.
It’s not easy living far away from any kind of immediate family. We have extended family in a few cities in Israel, second and third cousins of mine, and over the years, we developed family-like relationships with some other people. But they are in Jerusalem . . . and we don’t live there anymore. Which means that before I had Tova, we had a period of time when we didn’t know who would be able to watch Shlomo while we were in the hospital. If we had still been in Jerusalem, or if I had had a guarantee that I would be in Jerusalem when I went into labor, we wouldn’t have had to think twice – we have people who we can ask. But, from Jerusalem till here is at least two hours. Luckily, some neighbors, whose kid is in gan with Shlomo, offered to watch him – even at 1am. At first I was kind of uncomfortable about disturbing them, but in the end it worked out.
Living so far away also means that when we’re both sick, we have to manage on our own. Usually, Yitzchak and I get sick in turns, one after the other. Maybe we have a day of overlap, when the one who got sick first still feels sick, but feels decent enough to be able to manage. This time, we were both sick the same day.
On Friday night, after the meal, I couldn’t fall asleep. I tossed and turned, I was cold, nauseous and couldn’t get comfortable. And then I jolted upright and asked Yitzchak for a bucket. He brought me a basin from the bathroom and I filled it more than halfway with my supper and drinks. It was more than I ever, ever, remember throwing up at once. Then we went to sleep.
This morning, I woke up achy (as I have been for the past few days), and Yitzchak woke up “feeling queasy.” Over the course of the day, he threw up about six times. I think. Towards afternoon, we both were thinking that it was a shame that we didn’t have family close by, because we would’ve really liked if one of us could have gone over to ask for help.
To be fair, Shlomo was terrific. He played nicely, quietly, by himself, for 80% of the day. 10% was spent playing with Tova (and annoying us a bit, because he was sitting beside one or the other of us, and kept accidentally sticking one of his limbs into a sore spot on one of us), 5% being difficult (he needed attention), and 5% eating or doing other things. He peed a bit in his pants (I think because he forgot to go to the bathroom), changed himself, and then told us that he’d peed. He let us sleep a couple hours in the morning, and then again in the afternoon. And I think if Tova had been more willing to play or sleep, instead of demanding attention, we would’ve gotten even more sleep. As it was, we stayed in bed the entire day. I got up to pee and give Shlomo food. Yitzchak got up to pee and puke. We changed Tova’s diapers on the bed. Every time we smelled her tush and mentioned changing her diaper, Shlomo ran to bring us a new diaper and spread out the changing pad.
The house is a disaster, it’s true. But Shlomo was a big, big, big, boy.
And still . . . it would’ve been nice if there was someone to take care of Shlomo and Tova while we slept. Or to help me with Shlomo, Tova, and the kitchen, after Shabbat, while Yitzchak slept. Or to go buy Tylenol (we only have 1 left and don’t have a car, so it’s a looong trip, and longer when you’re this sick).
Yitzchak said, “If Mom lived around here, I’d crawl over to her house and ask her to come help us.” I said, “I was thinking the same thing, it would be nice to have Mom around. But don’t crawl.”
Yes, well . . . it would have been nice. But we managed anyways, like we always do (thank G-d).