Thursday, February 28, 2013


Last week, I was discouraged. As a result of all the introspecting the personal development class has called for, I have identified those long latent passions of mine and begun the process of carving out space in my life to devote to them, particularly for writing. Last week, I got up at around six and wrote in blissful silence until the kids woke up. But this routine quickly proved distressing. "Mommy, I'm awake!" now signals that my most purposeful time of the day is officially over. Time that I spend with my children means time NOT writing (and conversely, the time I just spent writing meant time I was not spending with my kids - guilty gulp!). If I could somehow make it all happen simultaneously, I'd be happy. If it was just me and Green and Orange, I can easily picture sitting on the couch while they play quietly in the other room. But... 

Baby. Baby. Baby. I should come up with another name for him since he's officially reached the 2.5 year mark. But somehow, it still sticks. Although, he actually requires more attention from me now than when he was an infant.

My parents were here over the weekend and brought with them a video that they have been enjoying: Dani Johnson's "Gems" seminar. It's a repackaged personality seminar with the four different personality types labeled as different gems rather than the more traditional choleric, phlegmatic, melancholy, etc. We sat down to watch the video and got through one of the personalities - Sapphire. She described it like this: 

A Sapphire sees things in black and white... fun or not fun. They love socializing, they’re the life of the party, and they are motivated by fun. They like to be around a lot of people. They love variety and interacting with others.  They love recognition. In fact, they will work harder for recognition than they ever will for money.  They are very spontaneous and tend to make impulsive decisions without thinking.

I was immediately able to identify one of my children as having several classic traits of this personality.


He's the one that does everything he can to get my attention, no matter what route he must take to get it. If I've heard "Mommy! Watch!" once this morning, I've heard it a dozen times. Watch how silly I can chew my food. Watch me push this car across the floor. Watch me try to climb up on your bike. Watch me try to upstage my brothers every time you turn your attention to them instead.

He's relational, he doesn't like to be left alone. He's noisy and mischievous. And I spend a lot of time telling him to quiet down and hold still.

On Monday, we were having a difficult morning. I had been up most of the night with Orange as he battled a bad bronchitis spell. As a result, I hadn't been able to wake up early to put in my several hours of writing. Orange was feeling better and playing well with Green, but Baby was incessantly pushing himself into the center of my view. We had been through several tantrums, with a few low-grade meltdowns in between, and as we stood head to head over a pile of blocks that he refused to help me pick up, I suddenly felt worn out. All my typical strategies were coming up fruitless. I didn't want to be here fighting with a two-year-old over blocks. I wanted to be doing something meaningful. That frightful thought loomed in my mind again and I uncomfortably shoved it aside. This is a waste of my time. This child is in the way of all the other things I should be doing with myself right now. I waged the inner battle. 

These moments are so important. Your chance to train him to relate properly in life. 

But why are my days being filled with these moments? This is such a distraction from what I really want to be doing. Do I really have to pick one or the other? Either be here watching his never-ending antics, or leave him with a nanny all day so that I can spend my time writing?

It's because of them that you even have anything to say. 

But I have no time to say it when Baby...

...No. Baby may be the one to give you the greatest wisdom of all.

In this week's parasha, G-d tells Moshe:

Carve for yourself two stone tablets 
like the first ones, 
and I will write upon the tablets 
the words that were on the first tablets...

Did you ever picture how Moshe went about carving these two tablets? Did he do it on his way up the mountain? Did someone bring him a hunk of stone and he set to work in the camp with a mallet and chisel? The midrash brings several opinions, but one jumped out at me. 

R' Yochanan said: He carved them in his tent, 
as G-d created a mine for him and he made the tablets there.
 The leftover chips he kept for himself 
and from there he became wealthy, 
since they were sapphire.

The Lubavitcher Rebbe brings out that Rashi was bothered by the unexpected word used for "carve". In Hebrew, it's a word that is related to the word for wastage. So Rashi concluded that in addition to meaning carve, it was also alluding to some sort of wastage happening simultaneously to the carving, and so he wrote, 

G-d showed Moshe a sapphire mine 
within his tent and said to him, 
"The leftover chips will be yours."

Why, exactly, the midrash chooses to settle on sapphire for the stone of choice for the tablets, I don't know. But for me was like shining a light over this single verse and saying, "Right here. Here's the secret to making it all fit together the way it should for you."

Who would've known, when they lifted the flap on Moshe's tent that it was holding an unimaginable treasure? And that all those tiny pieces that seemed like a waste - flying off, disconnected from that so-holy pair of tablets - were actually Moshe's chief asset?

Sometimes it is through those very things that seem so trivial, so much apart from our quest for actualization, that we find the source of our greatest wealth. Instead of disregarding the "mess" that came along with carving his divinely-mandated masterpiece, Moshe gathered up all those shards and kept them - as treasures.

Baby has so much to teach me and I have so much to teach him. And as I asked G-d to show me how to get through to him in a way that keeps all the strengths of his personality intact, I saw Orange (who had been sitting quietly playing with cars in the corner) lean down with his face to the carpet. 

"Mommy, look." He dug his fingers into the carpet fibers and pulled out something tiny. My jaw dropped as he handed it to me: A blue gem.

1 comment:

  1. your are a spectacular woman and mothering should never be easy, it should always require a piece of your soul. at least that is what i think. Loving you from Arkansas