Hashem has many malochim roaming this planet and one
or two of them just might be your neighbors.
Let's get to the real story. Morning routines in my house are
probably not much different than any large family. There are
kids to wake. Sandwiches to spread, little ones to dress,
diapers to change, orders to give out (Brush Your Teeth! Make
Your Bed! Clean Up That Mess! Eat Your Breakfast! You're
Late! Have a nice day!). Sometimes I'm fortunate to have a
few minutes of help from my husband but often he's flying out
of the house on to his day's activities. In between helping
the kids, I try to get in a load of laundry, wipe down the
bathrooms and maybe even make my own bed. The pace can be
manic but we mostly muddle through and the bulk of the kids
are out on time with breakfast eaten, teeth brushed,
sandwiches in place, beds almost made and rooms somewhat
Then we come to Miri... A delicous four-year-old who: is the
first to learn the new gan song, has a great
repertoire of made up stories, and the absolutely largest
cheeks you ever saw. (I have the pictures to prove it). In
other words, the epitome of cuteness, however...she moves
sooo slowly. Think molasses.
Miri is a lady of leisure, a princess; she revels in late
night heady tete-a-tetes with her vast collection of
dollies, an extra drink here or there, reviewing and
reviewing her picture books onto all hours; well, you get the
idea. Late nights follow through with late mornings to catch
up on her beauty sleep, of course. There is only one thing
that clashes with this preferred lifestyle and that is me,
her impossible mother who insists on Early to Bed and Early
By the time all the kids are on their way, I'm ready to
tackle Miri. "Miri, time to get up. Let's say Modeh
Ani," I start off gently. In a good case, no response
will be forthcoming at all. Often it can be a less pleasant
affair with kicking and screaming. I continue to conjole her
through her morning routine.
"Let's get dressed, Miri. No, I'm afraid I'll need that foot
now in order to put on the sock. Yes, you can stay under the
blanket. Now we'll do your hair. Yes, I really do have to
check your hair. You don't want buggies do you?" So, it goes,
the shoes, some breakfast, jacket and backpack. Finally,
finally Miri and I've made it to the elevator along with her
little brother aged two-and-a-half and baby sister aged six
Now the fun really starts. The walk to gan is honestly
a bit long for an average four-year-old. It would take most
adults about six minutes at a normal speed. The two-and-a-
half year-old loves it. He gets to look at the birdies, the
cars, trucks and buses — the wonder of it all. Oh to be
two years old! But Miri's beyond all that.
She's been there, seen that already. She is clearly not
impresssed and so getting her moving and keeping her moving
in her tired state can be quite challenging. "Let's keep
walking. Don't sit on the sidewalk. It's time to get to
gan," I'll repeat ad nauseum. Even when we finally get
to the gan, Miri can sit down right in front and
refuse to go in until I physically bring her in.
Unfortunately, I have to admit that I'm not always so calm
and can even become far more harsh than I would want.
One day, I took a hard look at the situation. True, at times
I wonder if my blood pressure at the end of all of this
hasn't reached something like 190 over 100. It can't be so
pleasant for Miri, either. As I alluded, Miri is somewhere at
the bottom middle of a rather large family. If I have this
opportunity to spend some time with her every morning,
shouldn't I try to utilize it ? I should make an effort to
talk to her about the things that interest her, give her that
TLC she probably needs. Don't we all? So my mind was set.
I would force myself to remain calm and pleasant and make the
most of our time together..
The test was on. To spice things up, it was less than two
weeks to Pesach, when my time was even more pressured. Miri
was being true to herself, overtired and not overanxious to
get to gan. I was beginning to panic and then I
remembered my resolution.
I picked her off the sidewalk and held her hand tightly,
somewhat dragging her along, and started to ask her what she
knew about the seder: "Kadesh, Urchatz..." I
began to chant. Miri was clearly not cooperating, but
then my malochim came — in the guise of my two
neighbors, Mrs. Gold and Mrs. Sand, one who lived to the
right of my building and one who lived to the left. They were
coming back from their early morning chesed of
crossing the neighborhood kids at the busy intersection.
In her quick assessment of the situation, Mrs. Sand offered
to help me get the kids to gan. I told her it's too
much of a shlep and not to bother. Suddenly, Mrs Gold piped
up. Mrs. Gold, aside from almost being old enough to be my
mother, is a very proper Brittish matron with protocol and
"Miri", she said sweetly to my daughter, "how about if you go
to my house and clean for Pesach and I'll go off to your
gan? I would just love to play in gan today."
Surprising myself, without missing a beat, I took Mrs. Gold's
hand and said "Come Mrs. Gold, let's go off to gan."
Not knowing what to make of this, Miri got off the sidewalk
and took my hand. Some few minutes later after digesting it
all, Miri commented,"Mrs. Gold can't go to gan. She
doesn't know Hebrew."
I didn't bother to argue the point. I was too busy being
grateful that two malochim came and saved the day.