When I was young, I wanted to be married by the year 2000. I knew that I was going to be 30, and I thought it would be really cool to have “00” in the abbreviated date. I also thought I was going to marry Rick Springfield, so there you go with things based on reality.
But still, the thought of the year 2000 was pretty far out there. Turns out, real life had other plans. At some point, in everyone’s life, don’t you wonder what you would do if you knew how things turned out? You wouldn’t have worried so much, or worried more. You would have been more patient or not…. Well, we don’t get that option, and according to my very right sons, not to be confused with “right” translated as “correct,” it is all God’s plan. And we just go with it and do the best we can.
In any event, after having gotten married to husband #1 for the first time, in 1995 — the second time I married him was a year ago, and if you don’t know what I am talking about, I can send you the vimeo — the year 2000 was the year that son #3 joined the family. Since I always thought I would have four boys, when he joined the ranks it was business as usual. A shalom zachor that I missed, but baked for many weeks in advance (I think that is called “nesting”), and after my water broke in the local pizza place, I rushed home and set the tables, knowing, even then, that husband #1 would be unable to handle all of the responsibility. In a good way, of course.
And since I had already deposited my two little angels — son #1 and son #2 — at my parents’ house, I figured that all the free time I had was going to come in handy in setting up the house for the shalom zachor. Truth is, my doctor had told me that I needed to get to the hospital as soon as my water broke because of some kind of something that I had tested positive for.
Eventually I got there, and eventually son #3 joined the Jewish people.
I turn around, and son #3 has just turned 19 years old. And graduated high school. And is leaving me to start his year in Israel. It is no longer the year 2000. I have, somehow, gotten this little monkey through elementary school, camp, and high school. I have watched this little person learn how to ride a bike and drive a car. How to put on tefillin and how to lead the shul in davening. The year 2000 seems like a zillion years ago, but also feels like yesterday. Just like most of my life. Wasn’t it just yesterday that I graduated high school? Wasn’t it just yesterday that I was telling my mom about the boy who I have known since eighth grade who asked me out? Wasn’t it just yesterday when husband #1 and I moved into our home with two little boys and we wondered what the next 20 years would be like? And now those 20 years are over and we are starting the next 20?
Remember when folks thought the world might end in the year 2000? The computers would all stop working? Something about Y2K? And we made it through. We raised three monkeys and now the third one is following the other two for his “gap year,” which, unfortunately, is not a year when he works at the Gap. The year 2000 also was the last year of the world as we knew it, because a year and a few days after son #3 was born, the world because a different place. I was so grateful to have a baby to comfort me, though he didn’t know it at the time, because a baby is a symbol of hope, a symbol of the future, and, for me, I really needed that to get through that horrible time in our history.
And now, he is starting his own history. His own story. One that is not going to have anything to do with me.
And I guess that is what is supposed to happen. I am going to miss him like crazy, because as the youngest, he has spent the most time with his crazy mother and I am a better person because of it. I wish all of you a kid like son #3. Kind and compassionate. Funny and caring. Smart and intuitive.
And I wish him the best year ever. The best life ever. And I will always be your home.
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck is going to be roaming the streets crying. Please be kind and offer her some tissues, and perhaps some milk chocolate.