It is a good thing I brought my computer to the doctor’s office. It gives me some time to finally update the blog, but more importantly, it distracts me while my son is having a procedure done on his toe. When the doctor started explaining to my son that he will get two shots to numb his toe, I just thought I would pass out. It’s fascinating to me that after 13 months of hospital visits, doctor’s, surgeries etc. with Benny, I still can’t stomach the sight or even talk about shots. (B”H the visit was short, my son was really brave and the doctor finished before I could write more).
Rewind, one week ago:
Last Tuesday, Benny, his Daddy and I, flew to NY to share in two Simchos (weddings). We did this without almost anyone knowing so that we could surprise Ari’s Mom (sorry!) and the rest of his family. I have to say the surprise was worth it (once again, sorry Mom – and you see, your heart is stronger than you think!).
This was the first trip in a year that we actually went for pleasure, unrelated to any medical procedures B”H. From the moment we landed until 60 hours later, I felt like a kid in a candy store.
It’s difficult to describe the Simcha I felt, going back “home” to our former neighborhood where we stayed for two short days. The joy began when we pulled up, down the block from our home and saw a close family friend outside. Their reaction, all caught on video was priceless. I promised I wouldn’t post it (especially because we made a deal that the husband would finish a home project that he promised for his wife, or else I post the video J). Anyways, after the loud cheers and dancing we made our way to our destination around 10:00 pm. We made arrangements to stay with Rafael Yoel Ozer and his family so that the two boys can reunite once again under happy circumstances.
Once we unpacked our bags, we headed across the street for midnight dinner in which another close friend whipped up a gourmet dinner in a moments notice. A number of friends pulled themselves out of bed to greet us as well. About an hour into dinner, the first friend I saw, showed up with fresh hot biscotti right out of the oven. She knew it was my favorite and decided to bake it within minutes after I saw her. I couldn’t believe it, but felt so happy and excited at the same time.
We finally settled in for the night around 1:30 am.
The next day, running on adrenaline, I lined up the morning meeting with friends beginning at 9 am. It felt like “old times.” Thank you Elisheva (for delicious dinner two nights in a row at 12) , Gitty (biscotti and toys) , Shalva( fresh Challah) , Rachel, Poey, Penina, Esther, Heidi, Marla, Shoshana, Aviva, Adina (vanilla ice cream with peanut butter), Ruchie, Millie, Caroline ( who bought a tie for Benny which he wore to the wedding), Leah, Carmit, and Savti, Julie, Shaul and Binyomin Chaim, and Tammy and Chava Leah for making yourself available and making the effort to come and visit.
Around 1pm we took the boys, Benny and Yoel out for pizza and then to a wonderful children’s museum where the boys really enjoyed spending time together. They played like they have been friends forever (which they have, but they haven’t seen each other in about 15 months).
That evening, Ari and I had a friend’s wedding to go to without Benny. We left him in the very capable hands of Chani, who did a fabulous job of entertaining him and distracting him as he asked for his Mommy every few minutes. That may explain why we ended up leaving the wedding early. You have to factor in an hour of travel time there and back at best too!
Thursday morning, I was again privileged to visit with friends. Around noontime, I had made arrangements with the local Yeshiva (day school) to bring Benny and Rafael Yoel Ozer over to meet the beautiful children in school and thank them for Davening (praying) and doing Mitzvos as a Zechus (merit) for our boys.
Michelle began her speech by saying, “four months ago, the doctor’s were not sure if Yoel would even make it, then they said, perhaps if he does, it could take 3-4 years before he could walk or talk. Today girls, it is four months later. Take a look at Yoel, he is walking B”H, he is talking B”H, all thanks to you. You spoke, and Hashem (G-D) listened. We are standing here today, to give you testament that Tefillos (prayers) work. “
Next was my turn. I thanked everyone for all their Tefillos and good deeds in the Zechus (merit) of Benny and Yoel complete Refuah Shlema. I related some of the miracles we were zoche (worthy) of experiencing as a result of their Tefillos. I wanted to let them know that the fruits of their labor were standing before them today, playing with each other. I told them how this experience has united Klal Yisroel, in many countries and many sects of our own as well. Our goal was to give Hakaros HaTov (deep level of appreciation) to each and every student, young and younger.
After we finished speaking we were approached by many amazing individuals who told me how inspired they are. I am afraid they have it wrong, it is us who are inspired by all of you. We are inspired by your compassion, your desire, your positive energy to do more, your love and your support, your excitement at times and your heartfelt tears at others.
I know there are many who read this blog whom we may not have had the privilege of meeting yet, (IY”H one day soon), just know as strange as it may be, we feel your connection. I can’t explain how, but we know that you are in this journey with us every step of the way and that connection will carry us through to the end IY”H with a clean bill of health very soon.
Thursday evening was our nephew’s wedding. Mazal Tov Sholom and Ahuva. Traveling to the wedding from NJ to NY took almost as long as Los Angeles to NJ. Benny really didn’t like the traffic either. That is one thing we sure don’t miss since we moved.
We arrived just after the B’dekin, but enough time to surprise everyone.I too was surprised when I met a first cousin, Sruli who drove in with his wife from Baltimore just to meet Benny because he heard a “rumor” that Benny may be at the wedding. He greeted us with such joy and happiness, almost as happy as the Chosen (groom) when he saw his Kallah (bride). He handed me a handful of index cards with personal notes from each one of his Talmidim (students) who wrote notes to Benny. He also related that his students wanted to charter a bus to come to NY to meet Benny too. Just hearing that made the trip worth it. IY”H our dream is to travel and meet all of you who have signed on as Team Benny players.
Benny did enjoy meeting the family, dancing with the Kallah (bride) and dancing on his Daddy’s shoulders too. He did try and win over his older cousin’s heart, but was not very successful.
A few close friends and family members (the other side) drove to the wedding hall just to see us and give us a hug before turning around to go home.
We had an early flight to catch Friday morning back home. It wasn’t early enough for Shalva who baked challah that morning so my family could enjoy it for Shabbos, nor early enough for Elisheva to pick up some food for our trip home. Benny was fantastic on the plane ride home. The pilot gave him a tour of the cockpit when he first boarded the plane. He slept for a couple hours, earned his wings (placed them on his kipa), ate complimentary Pringles and sipped soda.
Those two days in NJ/NY will be embedded in my heart for a lifetime. Seeing the two boys together go about their day playing and sometimes fighting over the same toy, with such Simchas Ha Chaim (happy heart) was indescribable, and yet so valuable.
I will cherish each smile and every embrace we received. We hope to return IY”H only for Simchos (happy occasions) very soon.
B”H we had a chance to catch up on rest over Shabbos, thanks to Uncle Benjy and Aunt Sheila who kept the children entertained. We all enjoy your visit so much. Thank you Aunt Sheila who gave a beautiful Shiur in our home Shabbos afternoon. It was an honor to have you and we all look forward to the next time, hopefully soon.