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04/26/2020 04:33:58 PM


Elana Torczyner

It's 8:30 a.m. on a Sunday as I sit down to write these thoughts.  

I finally fell asleep last night at 3:00 a.m. and I was up at 6:00 a.m. eager to get to Gourmet Glatt in anticipation of avoiding a crowd. Much to my surprise, I was able to walk right in and there was barely anyone in the store. Unfortunately, there was also barely anything yet stocked on the shelves. As I went through my list and headed to the vegetables section, I saw that what was left of the squash looked like it had survived a nuclear explosion. That's when I finally lost it and found tears coming to my eyes - over squash.

However, if we're being brutally honest, as a lot of the contributions here have been, my tears were not over the squash (although I've never really been a big fan of vegetables.)

For over 7 weeks, I have done everything in my power to keep my home relatively happy and normal under these conditions.

We have no shortage of my kids' favorite foods and snacks. I have purchased every game, book, and arts and crafts, to make them believe everything can still be fun and all is going to be ok.   My husband and I continue to use humor, often dark, to keep us all in a good place… but right now I am not really in a good place and the dam has burst because I couldn't get presentable squash.

Right now, I feel powerless as a mother because there are some things I can't fix.  Sure -- I went to another store and I was able to get the squash there, but I can't tell my son with certainty that his bar mitzvah will go on as he's hoped and dreamed; as have we, since he was born. And as a parent, that is killing me inside.

This child who used to watch ridiculous YouTube videos about pranks and people doing disgusting food challenges, now watches daily briefings from Dr. Anthony Fauci and Gov. Andrew Cuomo, hoping their statements that day will tell him what he so desperately wants to hear. That his dreams for his bar mitzvah will still happen. He clings to every morsel of good news, his shoulders droop with every notice that he still has reason to worry. I had hoped watching the NFL draft would cheer him up but, unfortunately, the New York Jets' picks were yet another source of disappointment for him, a super fan.

Then there are my other two boys.  My middle child, the social butterfly, who spent more time at his friends' houses than he did at our own, is greatly missing those times. He has a birthday coming up on May 12th and is sad he can't share it with his friends in person. In a case of overcompensation, we purchased a keyboard and stand for this boy, who is musically inclined, even though he just got a set of drums for Chanukah. This is the sacrifice you make as a parent – your own sanity, peace and quiet – to make your child smile when they are down.

My youngest seems to be the only one happy about this situation. He's thrilled not to have to go into a school building, to eat snacks continuously throughout the day, and to have both his mommy and daddy home with him all the time. Something he never would have had pre-Corona due to his father's long work hours.  His biggest concerns right now are convincing us to buy him iTunes gift cards to use to play Clash Royale successfully on his iPod and trying to convince my husband to get us a pool. (The kid saw his brother is getting a keyboard, so he's aiming for the fence with his requests.)

As I write all this down, I realize that to some people these are First World problems. There are people out of work struggling to put food on their tables; there are people in the hospital fighting Covid-19, struggling with their breathing and in no way do I mean to diminish the enormity of these real problems with my helplessness over missed parties. However, the missed party is really just a symptom of what I'm really feeling: I can't fix all my children's problems.

While I always inherently knew that my powers were limited and I couldn't control everything for my children, there was always a sense of denial. For the most part, we've been fortunate that when something was amiss with our children, we were able to find a solution to make it better.

However, right now everything is out of our control.  Again, not new, but just more glaringly obvious. So with my husband and children, baruch Hashem, home safe and asleep, standing there in the produce aisle at Gourmet Glatt at 7 a.m. on a Sunday, I let all my feelings of frustration out and the tears began to fall. It was something as simple as wrinkled squash that made me face the hard truth. I always knew there was a reason I hated vegetables.


By: Elana Torczyner

Wed, May 25 2022 24 Iyyar 5782