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Simply Special

My dearest Chaim Boruch.

I am very sorry.

I really am.

More than you’ll ever understand.

And more than you’ll ever know.

I didn’t fit the puzzle pieces together.

Yet I’m sure you had each one fitting perfectly in yourYou came home with scratches on your ear beautiful pure mind.

You came home with scratches on your ear, open wounds of some sort.

I wondered if you had pulled on your ear while sitting on your bus ride home.

I pondered and concluded that your scrapes were just part of a busy day of playing hard.

The following day, however, I grew somewhat anxious as the scratches formed, were new and fresh and did not tell the signs of time and healing.

I glanced at Tatty, and we shared a look of worry and concern.

Could someone be hurting you on the school bus?

You were put on your bus that next afternoon, and your teacher saw a young child reach out for your ears as you took your seat in the adjacent row.

The puzzle pieces became clear, and adjustments were made right then and there.

And with a new understanding, I retraced my steps in my head.

I recalled that for two nights you signed “no” with a nod of your head, while signing “bus” with your hand.

I thought you were asking me if there was possibly no school the next day, as you often did in anticipation of the arrival of Shabbat, and so I answered you, that indeed there was school, and how much fun you will have.

I did not understand your signs.

I did not realize you were telling me that you didn't want to go on your little yellow school bus.

I did not gather your hurt feelings, your apprehension, your anxiety.

That night I lay in bed and saw the dark sky and stars out my window.

And my heart lay deep inside me, broken into pieces.

My tears were salty and warm.

I let you down.

What more could a mother thrive on than knowing their child’s dreams, goals, fears and worries?

How did I not hear your unspoken words? How did I fail in picking up your puzzle pieces?

How can I be your best mother if I miss the signs?

How can I fall asleep with an ache that pummels through my entire being?

Good night, my precious one.

May your dreams be sweet and full of light, and may you neverHow can I be your mother if I miss the signs? feel scared or worried without having the gift to share those feelings with me.

The gift of showing me the signs.

And the gift of understanding them.

And then I turned to G‑d, my Father in Heaven

with the very same salty tears shed by the heartache of a mother,

I instantly became the child, and I begged Him to grant me the gift of clarity and vision.

So I, too, may see His infinite signs, HIs direction, His winks from above.

And with a prayer on my lips, wet by the tears of the depth of my soul.

I say good night to G‑d, who neither sleeps nor slumbers,

Who is forever understanding of unspoken words and the puzzle pieces of our lives.

Chana is a proud wife and mother living in Mill Valley, California. She is inspired by the colors and textures of everyday life, and loves sharing her creative ideas with her community. Chana writes DIY projects, crafts and recipes celebrating her Jewish life and shlichus on her blog Chana’s Art Room, and is the co-director of Chabad of Mill Valley with her husband, Rabbi Hillel Scop. To read more about Chaim Boruch, and Chana’s journey, take a look at her personal special-needs blog, Life of Blessing.

It all began when I received an email from Chaim Boruch’s new teacher.

I was in midst of hectic dinner preparations while bracing myself for hurricane homework.

I glanced at the email asking me if my husband and I would like to come to Chaim Boruch’s class to talk about being Jewish.

At first glance, all I saw was a task I wasn’t sure I even knew how to approach.

This may sound strange, but as much as I know how to interactI asked him if he would like to make a challah-baking workshop for his friends with Chaim Boruch, figuring out how to speak to an entire class of non-verbal special-needs children found me feeling quite intimidated and underqualified for the task.

I continued chopping my salad and practicing my math skills (not an award-winning moment) and found myself relieved to get distracted.

An hour later, experiencing the calm after the storm, I sat next to Chaim Boruch on the couch.

All of a sudden, as if hit by a bolt of incredible clarity, I sat up facing Chaim Boruch and asked him if he would like to make a challah-baking workshop for his friends at school.

His little face brightened with that exquisite smile as he flashed those soft loving eyes at me.

I continued talking to him excitedly as I rambled on about all the special things he could do . . . give out parchment paper, challah dough, sprinkles, chocolate chips and demonstrate how to squish, squeeze and roll the challah dough!

We made a list together, and by the time we both went to sleep, we knew that a most special challah experience was about to be born.

And so it was.

This morning we arrived at Chaim Boruch’s school.

Toaster oven, challah dough, toppings, egg wash, baster, parchment paper and paper bags.

We entered this very special classroom full of some very special children and staff.

Chaim Boruch got up from his seat and began to pack away his iPad and schoolwork. It’s a typical response for our son, who gets very thrown off by seeing people out of context.

In other words, if you are here, then we need to go home now.

Well. Not so fast, as I gently maneuvered to his seat.

I put my arm around his shoulders and whispered in his ear that since he is in charge of running the challah-baking workshop, we could not yet leave.

He paused for a moment and tested out his stubborn gene while everything I had indeed worried about seemed to unfold before my eyes.

So I excitedly grabbed his hand and walked over to the overflowing bowl of challah dough.

And then his eyes lit up.

I could see him recall all the things we spoke about for the past three weeks and now was his moment to shine.

And there before me, my special-needs son who was told he wouldEverything I had worried about seemed to unfold before my eyes never walk, never hold up his head, never communicate, ran the most incredible challah-baking workshop I have ever experienced.

Parchment paper was given out with a smile, mounds of squishy challah dough were tested by our in-house challah workshop coordinator and given with exuberance to each friend, aid and teacher.

Chaim Boruch stood tall with pride. He stood strong like a shliach.

And he brought a piece of Jewish life to the world around him.

My eyes filled with tears of gratitude, appreciation and love.

How incredible life is, living side by side with my precious Chaim Boruch.

An incredible soul who ran the most special challah-baking workshop that ever existed.

Chana is a proud wife and mother living in Mill Valley, California. She is inspired by the colors and textures of everyday life, and loves sharing her creative ideas with her community. Chana writes DIY projects, crafts and recipes celebrating her Jewish life and shlichus on her blog Chana’s Art Room, and is the co-director of Chabad of Mill Valley with her husband, Rabbi Hillel Scop. To read more about Chaim Boruch, and Chana’s journey, take a look at her personal special-needs blog, Life of Blessing.
Chana Scop shares her experiences parenting a child with special needs.
Chana ScopChana is a proud wife and mother living in Mill Valley, California. She is inspired by the colors and textures of everyday life, and loves sharing her creative ideas with her community. Chana writes DIY projects, crafts and recipes celebrating her Jewish life and shlichus on her blog Chana’s Art Room, and is the co-director of Chabad of Mill Valley with her husband, Rabbi Hillel Scop. She also writes about a mother’s journey of raising a special-needs son on her other blog, Life of Blessing. She welcomes you to be a part of her creative and touching journey.