I recently asked a friend how he defined his life in the context of a constant stream of security or change. He had to reflect for a few minutes before answering, “I had never thought in those terms.”
After discussing why I think in those terms, I told him every time I had settled into security, CHANGE hit me in the face and I had to reconcile with G-d why so many bad things happen to one good family. Oy vey!
When I realized it had nothing to do with bad things/good things but more about, make plans and G-d laughs, I knew that, for me, I always had to have Plan B! So while starting out with good plans/intentions/visions, in back of my mind I tried to keep one step ahead of G-d while wondering if I was the object of his joke for the day! Ok, I’m not so self-centered to think G-d was looking/listening to me but ever since my parents died in a car accident, my husband committed suicide, I raised three kids alone and then lost my home to foreclosure (over a 40 year time span) I couldn’t get through these events without some source of comfort within my relationship with G-d, because after the losses in my life, G-d became my best care-taker. (PS: I never blamed G-d for any of my misfortunes, it was just “life” happening.)
At some point the light bulb went on I and knew that my karma was The Only Thing Constant in Life is Change. What that really means to me is the plan that G-d has for me is the continuing testing of how I am going to deal with his plans. Without knowing that was what He wanted from me, I may have gone nuts asking why?why?why? to all the bad things that happened but I gave up that question after my parents died! When I reconciled that all things happen for a reason, I was forced to look forward to see what He wanted me to see. It hasn’t always been the same rainbow at the end of the tunnel but I learned that my spiritual parent was guiding me to see the new positive adventures that I could handle and if I could turn lemons into lemonade! (PS: I never came up with the answer as to why a drunk driver hit our car and my 38 year old parents died and I lived.)
The closest people in my life have told me I make pretty pink lemonade out of my experiences so I prod on with G-d leading me into the next journey.
But this time he has taken me into a very dark hole, and at 66 years old, I had no Plan B!
For the past four plus years, my oldest daughter, her husband and two children, now 12 and eight, and I have been living together. After losing my job to company downsizing, I was convinced by my 3 kids that my place at this stage of my life was to take care of the children while my daughter and son-in-law worked. I rented out my house and that brought me some nice income and we forged two households with lots of tupper ware, pots and pans and TVs. Our routine settled into my being nanny, house cleaner, shopper, cook, schlepper, making of appointments and any other little tidbits that needed handling. Mom and dad enjoyed ending their day to the aroma of a home cooked meal, very clean house and washed and dried clothes. The first time my grandson saw a lamb chop he exclaimed, “WHAT is that?” That foreign object was not something frozen and coated from the freezer. More than two nights in a row without mac-n-cheese or hotdogs felt like eight days of Passover to the kids! Oy vey!
I just did what I thought a Baby Boomer Bubbe should do—take care of her family the way her Bubbe taught her to do! (After my parents died, my Russian-born Bubbe moved in our house and spent the rest of her life taking care of me and my two younger brothers.)
The past four years have been good, I am a natural homemaker/care taker. Now, that’s not to say that my daughter’s lack of domestic abilities and disinterest in cooking and cleaning didn’t annoy me and that my son-in-law’s constant time playing computer was anything less than really annoying! I love the time with the kids, picking them from school and hearing all about their lives, doing homework that I haven’t done in 50 years, except I’m done after second grade math, and seeing how they grow each day and embrace the world before them. Life was good.
Here’s where G-d laughed at me. Out of nowhere a few weeks ago, my daughter told me “In order for me to be a better mother and wife, you need to move out!” Talk about no warning, I felt blindsided and bulldozed! I am proud that my daughter has had this realization that my helping her has hindered her, something I knew, but she is the prominent bread winner in the house and I wanted to make her career easier by not having her worry if we needed a bottle of milk.
So here I am at my age, after losing my house to foreclosure (my renters, a nice Jewish family from Brazil, left in the dead of night before the lease was up just as the housing market tanked) having to find a place to live after giving up the majority of my belongings. I never thought I’d have to start looking for another job but here I am out in the job market world! Anyone need a nanny?
Oy vey! What’s a Baby Boomer Bubbe to do?
(PS: A cliché to live by—CHANGE IS DEBILITATING WHEN DONE TO US AND EXHILERATING WHEN WE DO IT! I will take these sour lemons, turn them into pink lemonade and love every minute of the new adventure and maybe G-d will teach me new math in the process!)
As a Baby Boomer Bubbe who still feels 18 but has four grand kids to prove this is the 21 Century, Sandra writes to leave a legacy for the next generations. Her belief that these precious kids need to know their cultural and family’s past in order for them to live their future is all the muse she needs!
She has a Master’s Degree in Psychology and Cross Cultural studies, has written a family history, personal memoir and is completing her first novel.
Her grandmother’s journey to America and life is her source for her deep belief and love for Judaism.