Koreen Sopher
Koreen Sopher Thursday 13.8.15 No comments 2165 views

Living Inside

MORE WATER!!! No reply. Maybe if I keep really quiet, this mantra will wear itself out. WATERRRRRR!!!!! Where is my invisibility cloak? The three year old runs out of the bedroom, crashing into the six year old’s carefully constructed creation, and World War III ensues. The previously asleep one and a half year old, conveniently enough barricaded in her bed, cradles her puppy and enjoys the show. Meanwhile, a heavily pregnant and tired Mommy is trying very hard to transport herself to another planet. Doesn’t work this time. She turns to the comfort of her cell phone and a square of leftover cake, and melts into the couch.

Three hours later. One baby asleep in a sea of stuffed animals, while the two other hooligans are passed out in a tent in the living room.

Oh, those summer nights.

It’s been exactly one week since my belated entrance into the extra high dosage of quality time known as summer vacation. The days pass in a bipolar nature, from fleeting feelings of elation when an activity finally makes everyone happy, to the ever familiar hysterics that pre-empt the imminent catastrophe. As I’m on vacation from being a psychologist, I can conveniently traumatize my children and send them into regression every time they injure one another or smear the contents of their dinner all over their arms.

The summer has always been a trying time for us as a family. My husband, an air conditioning technician, works days and nights over the summer. That leaves me, living in the middle of nowhere, with no car or available summer camps, the lone entertainer of three kids. These circumstances, in addition to insanity, have brought out my previously unknown creativity. This year, I thought the time was ripe for papier-mâché. I diligently collected bags of shredded paper from work, and even thought of creations that corresponded to the weekly Torah portion. A fool-proof plan. What could possibly go wrong? Ha-ha. Well, my carefully planned activity lasted exactly two minutes before they discovered that it can snow in the middle of July. My living room became a blizzard of shredded paper, while the kids constructed boats to row through the enchanted white kingdom they had created.

Sitting in the raging snowstorm, I couldn’t help but be in awe of the occasion. Whose mother actually allows an activity like this? This is so cool! And then the panic set in. Yes, I'm actually nuts. I let the storm wear itself out, hoping at least it would have positive, long-lasting effects on their appreciation for their awe-inspiring mother. A month later, the activity has definitely left an impression. The kids still recall the activity with fondness, while I fondly pick out yet another stray piece of shredded paper from inside the kitchen cabinet.

A mother of ten once told me that she only started to really enjoy motherhood after she had six kids – when she came to terms with the fact that she had completely lost control of the house. If loss of control is the necessary component for healthy motherhood, I think I’m almost there.

And then there’s the world that continues to ravage in full force outside our front door.

Despite the natural beauty and tranquility that surrounds our home in Adei Ad – olive groves, vineyards, wild deer, green hills set with the backdrop of the golden Jordan Valley – we also live on the front line of the Arab-Israeli conflict. We feel the full force of the friction it has created within Israeli society. I don’t think I need to remind anyone of the horrific events of the past few weeks in Israel, some of which have gained worldwide sympathy, while others less so. In Adei Ad, we are immediately affected on two levels – confronted with the ugly face of Islamic terrorism on a daily level, while simultaneously blamed as the initiators of the conflict.

With all this chaos going on around us, nothing is more soothing than closing the door and embracing the chaos within my home.

One of these evenings, I came across a song called “Within our Home,” by Israeli singer Udi Davidi, from the community of Maon (who also happened to sing at our wedding). The song struck the note I was feeling. The Hebrew words are stirring, but here is the chorus loosely translated into English:

 

“I open the door.

There’s a war outside; inside a familiar peacefulness.

I look into your eyes that ask what will be.

There is nothing outside, I whisper.

Everything is here,

Within our home.”

 

Although my home may externally be far from peaceful, after a deep breath and a nice nap I am willing to acknowledge that in addition to the chaos, deep inside, I feel tranquility. With everything going on outside of our doorstep, these should be my struggles. Yes, embrace the spaghetti stain on my wall, the daily search for the missing shoe, and the battles over the dollhouse.  In between these daily struggles exists love and a family bond that form the pillars of our identity, which give us the strength to withstand the broader challenges outside. Happy summer vacation to all.

Maybe tomorrow I’ll try laughing. 

 

 

 

 

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