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A Molehill Out of a Mountain

A Molehill Out of a Mountain

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“Good morning, Mommy. Let’s play!” If she could talk, these would have been the words of my smiling 16-month-old at 5 a.m. one Tuesday morning. “I’m ready for my whole-grain oatmeal with chia seeds and a cup of water. And please sit at my side and watch how nicely I put the spoon in my mouth.”

I scooped her from the crib and plopped her in her highShe fell into a sitting position chair, warmed up the cereal, filled up her cup and attached the crusty bib around her neck. All this with just one eye open. The left eye remained stubbornly closed, unwilling to wake up and join baby Henny for breakfast—an assertive eye that stood its ground. The other eye was frantically looking around, its eyeball flitting to and fro in a desperate quest for the can of Nescafe.

But before I could pour the boiling water into my mug, the oatmeal bowl had been overturned, the water became a slippery puddle on the floor and baby Henny was reaching to come out of the high chair.

I sighed.

“There you go,” I said placing her two feet on the floor. “Have fun.” I gave her a pat. “Go ahead. Play. Move, Henny. Go play.”

But she didn’t move. She looked at her feet. She looked at me. Then she fell into a sitting position.

“OK. Crawl if you want to.”

But still, she didn’t move.

So I stood her up. Come on, walk!

“But I can’t!” Her eyes seemed to say.

My left eye now popped open. “What do you mean you can’t! Walk! Just walk. You’ve been walking for three months already!”

But Henny didn’t move. She could only mumble, “Eh,” and point towards the stereo, signaling me to turn on some Uncle Moishy.

“When you walk to the stereo, I will turn it on,” I instructed her firmly. I crossed my arms. “Come on. Move it.”

But Henny did not move.

Soon, my other children awoke. “What’s wrong with Henny? Is she crippled?!” My son opened the front door, expecting Henny as usual to run out, waving good-bye politely as if to say, “Thanks for everything! Have a nice day!”

Henny looked at the door and waved good-bye. But she did not venture out.

I moved her legs and bent her knees searching for a“My child is not walking,” I informed the doctor reaction. There were none. No crying, no kvetching, nothing, except maybe one “eh.”

“My child is not walking,” I later informed the doctor, my eyeballs almost popping out of my head.

Will this be the next blip in the narrative of my life, I thought, as the doctor noted the bug bite on Henny’s right foot? Will my story suddenly turn into one of drama and survival? Can I handle this test? A great wave of fear enveloped me as I replied to the latter question with a big “NO,” burying my head in my hands.

No, I can’t do this.

It was the same, “No, I can’t do this,” that my 5-year-old repeated over and over again when he refused to clean up the blocks scattered all over the house. “Of course, you can!” I told him. “You can do it. And this is not a choice.”

I think I can, I think I can, I think I can . . . The words from my favorite childhood book, The Little Engine That Could, rang in my ears.

Ibuprofen, a blood test and an X-ray were all administered. By the end of the day, there were still no answers—and no walking. I wondered, in a haze of confusion, where all this was headed.

But then, on Thursday afternoon at exactly 3:10 p.m., Henny started to crawl.

And when my early riser greeted me on Friday morning, she was standing in her crib. When I placed her two feet on the floor, she started to walk.

“Henny’s walking! Come look! She’s walking.” We turned up the Uncle Moishy, and started dancing and laughing.

“It’s a virus connected to the cold she had last week that settled in her hip joints,” the doctor diagnosed.

“Huh?” That was about all I could muster. After all the I can’s and I cannot’s, the mystery was solved, the drama gone. And, thank G‑d, baby Henny was soon back to her usual tricks.

The mountain was just a molehill. I was left simply to ponder what could have been and to be grateful for the mountain that had disappeared from my life as fast as it had entered.

I couldn’t help thinking about this short saga a few daysI can pull myself out of this situation later when I got lost in Jerusalem for four hours without a GPS, trying to get to a museum with my kids. With my gas light blinking furiously, my car threatening to abandon us on the outskirts of Jerusalem, I thought: “I can do this. I can pull myself out of this situation.”

One hour later, after six U-turns and countless requests for directions, I found a gas station, then Route 1, and finally, the road to home.

Never had I been so comforted by my boring old apartment, the normalcy of daily life and the status quo. That is . . . until the next narrative blip comes along to challenge my comfort zone, pushing me to appreciate life on a new level.

Perhaps this is what it means to have emunah (faith).

To simply make a molehill out of a mountain.

Sefira Ross is a freelance designer and illustrator whose original creations grace many Chabad.org pages. Residing in Seattle, Washington, her days are spent between multitasking illustrations and being a mom.
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Anonymous Akron, Ohio February 3, 2017

Swooping for something better I was at work and a couple of staff were talking and one was telling a story about a vacation trip.
The one telling the story said she packed her iron but when she seen the hotel iron and noticed it had a longer cord. Now she felt that if she left her iron and took the one from the hotel that it was an even trade. Staff listening to the story felt that it was ok It was an even trade. Well I thought differently and I said it was stealing. That set everything in a whole new conversation in a down spinal.
I tried to state my point but no agreed but things changed when I said how about giving it to charity everyone changed the subject. It was her iron now that's it!
By this time they were mad at me and we all found other things to do.
Now days people just don't see the morality in what they think,say or do. Reply

Anonymous Blackpool February 2, 2017

Faith Love and Ignorance To me what it really showed was how much love you had for the baby, and that as great parents you did not take a chance, you had faith in the doctors abilities and the love to act on it. A bit more knowledge would have helped and you would not have had the inspiration to write this article Reply

Susan Levitsky January 31, 2017

One was a mountain There is a big difference between the fear that your child is not walking after being able to do so and getting lost. Thankfully your child's condition resolved in a few days. I don't see how it is possible to get lost for four hours in Jerusalem, where there are people around who can help you, Evidently, you either asked the.wrong people or didn't ask enough. The simple rule here is to never leave home without your smartphone. Reply

Beryl Tritel January 6, 2017

Well Written I love the way the author is able to see the lesson in the everyday. Reply

M. Diane Flushing, NY December 15, 2016

Yikes! You scared me! As I read the beginning of your article I thought you were probably still so asleep that you did not realize your sweet baby was saying (in her way) that she was lugging around a nice little, um...let's say, "gift" for mommy, making walking, (and especially dancing), uncomfortable and icky!Thank G-d it all worked out! Reply