My daughter just started Jewish day school, fulfilling a lifelong wish of mine. In the past couple of months, my daughter has gained a second family in the form of 5-year-olds, 6-year-olds, and even 13-year-olds. The older kids take care of the younger ones, which is a blessing and gift for my only child. Her 7th grade bus buddy is her hero and in her mind, her best friend.
The community that my family has joined by way of this school is amazing, and my husband and I are just as lucky as our daughter to be a part of it. Especially now, when I need it the most.
I am fighting my way through another bout of severe depression. I was doing well for several months, but as the weather got warmer this past spring, little things started to flare up. I noticed them but thought it had more to do with the first anniversary of my summer from hell than anything else (the summer that included two hospitalizations and the start of ECT). My therapist thought so, too.
So, we decided to let the time pass, and with the fall came hope of less irritability, a decrease in self-punishing thoughts, and more calm. Unfortunately, that is not what happened, and things progressively became worse. I was back to feeling like the worst mother in the world and felt disconnected from my daughter even when she was sitting in my lap while I read to her.
But still, amidst all of these struggles, I am calmed by what I witness each and every day. I always knew I would send my child to Jewish day school, whether it would be through the aid of welfare or lottery winnings. It was that important to me. My daughter has taken on the challenge of kindergarten with gusto and with pride, and I am kvelling. I couldn’t be more proud of her. She has adjusted to a new school with new people with such ease and curiosity. And this second family not only educates her daily, but loves her and provides a safe haven for her that I could have only dreamed of.
When she was having an off day a couple of weeks ago, I received a call from her teacher who had my daughter with her. She told me she just needed a quick check-in with Mommy. I provided some words of love and support, and when I hung up the phone, while the worry lingered, I was able to trust her teacher and all of the staff who are looking out for my child every single day.
I want to pinch myself on a daily basis, as I cannot believe this is my daughter’s life. She rides the school bus every day and sits with the big kids in the back of the bus. She comes home singing Hebrew songs and writing the Hebrew letter she learned that day. She may not realize how lucky she is, but I do.
I am thankful for my community and the Jewish day school that fosters her growth, educationally and emotionally, especially on the days when I am struggling the most. How lucky can you get?