I don't know if I can write this post the way it should be written, if I can paint a picture with words as I so clearly see it in my head. I'm going to try, but I apologize from the outset if I don't succeed. But first, the background of the story and why I post it now.
Chaim called me on Thursday. When I see his number, I always caution myself. I want him to come to our home freely and without pressure. I want to be here if he needs us without putting emotional or physical demands. He has many friends - he's incredibly well liked and very popular. He has relatives here - he has limited time out of the army and he has to spread himself around.
He explained that he needed to get a fax; I gave him our fax number. If something comes in, I can scan it and email it to him, fax it, whatever. I asked where he would be for Shabbat - so much for my trying to go easy on the poor guy. He explained that he might be with friends; if not, maybe he would try to come to us.
He called Friday morning and explained he was coming back by bus from Netanya and wasn't sure he'd make it back to Jerusalem before the last bus here. "We'll pick you up if you want," I offered. Sheesh, I thought to myself, lighten up!
"I wasn't going to ask," Chaim said with a laugh. We agreed that he would call Elie an hour before he was ready to be picked up; Elie would leave and meet him at his apartment, giving him time to throw a bag together. I asked Chaim to call a young woman that we "adopted" for a short time. I'm good friends with her parents, who lived in the States, and she was here alone. I told her from the start, she would be mine too, that I'd be her Israeli "mother." She's met Chaim and as they are all around the same age, she blends in well with the others.
Her parents moved to Israel last summer and I had to officially "un-adopt" her but she remains in my heart and has a special place in our home. Chaim agreed to call her and encourage her to come for dinner - my table was filling up! Time to add another leaf!
I took stock. It was going to be a quiet, small Shabbat - no guests, nothing fancy. I had soup made, baked potatoes and sweet potatoes. Rice. Chicken.
"Do we have any meat in the freezer?" I asked Shmulik and Elie - they went searching. Not a bone to be had.
"I can go buy something," Shmulik offered.
"Go," I told him.
By the time Chaim arrived, there was steak! I made my special sauce, dumped in onions, let it sit for 30 minutes - not enough, but no time, and into the oven it went! And it came out good! I just realized - I didn't even taste it!
Well, it's Saturday night; Shmulik has just driven Chaim to the front of the city to catch a bus back to his apartment. I made blueberry cake that Chaim loved, so I sent him back with half of what was left. And the story will be part II of the "A Cow" post.
For this one, I'll end with the simplest of points - we had an amazing weekend with Chaim, Shmulik, Elie, Davidi, our youngest daughter and our formerly adopted daughter. We ate out on the balcony Friday night. We live in a religious neighborhood so Friday nights are very quiet here - no cars, just voices of people talking, walking and singing. Our neighbors must have had something special because they had many girls over and there was much singing drifting our way.
Chaim has a great voice and loves to sing. At one point, he joined in their song - only louder, and we all laughed. It was a weekend of laughter, blessed, peaceful, quiet. His mother trained him so well - he arrived with beautiful flowers that graced our Shabbat table, a beautiful voice - another gift from his parents, I guess, and the ability to make each of us smile and laugh.
I hope his parents won't mind...but another confession. On Friday nights, my husband blesses each of our children, each in the order in which they were born. My oldest daughter wasn't here this weekend; but Elie stepped up to receive his blessing, then Chaim, Shmulik, Davidi, and little Aliza.
It was a most amazing weekend. Stay tuned for the cow....