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Simply Special

A Recipe for Life

July 29, 2014 3:10 PM

I was having a tough day. My to-do list was endless.

I surveyed the scene—the 150 boxes lined up on my dining room table that I needed to prepare for the holidays, the chores that needed to be done, the laundry, the dishes . . .

But then there were these little eyes looking at me. Eyes that speak.

It happened to be a rare moment when just Chaim Boruch and I were home alone.

And then I saw it.

The recipe.

I smiled at Chaim Boruch and asked him if he would like to bake cookies with Mommy for Shabbat.

He nodded yes. His nod really speaks volumes. You can see as his eyes shine bright and his smile emerges, that yes . . . indeed . . . this was a good thing to do!

Well. I’m not sure I ever baked cookies the way I did yesterday. There was something different about this recipe, something that I haven’t noticed before.

The flour was “dumped” into the mixer with his little uncoordinated hands, gently braced by mine.

The eggs he was interested in rolling on the countertop were gently steered to safer surfaces, and the teaspoons of vanilla were measured shakily . . . but only after we took time to inhale the calming aroma.

Yes. There was something different about this recipe. A recipe that blocked out its surroundings. A recipe that focused on every ingredient, every spoon, every measuring cup . . . every step. A recipe that included ingredients I had not seen before.

We giggled. We laughed. We had flour on our face. Indeed, a new recipe emerged.

A recipe for love. A recipe for patience. A recipe for determination. A recipe for devotion. A recipe for dedication. A recipe for trust. A recipe for belief.

A secret recipe from the cookbook of life.

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.

Looking Up

July 27, 2014 12:41 AM

Chaim Boruch throws himself back, with feet dangling from the couch pillows and a smile on his face.

I see that this motion is not only a chance for his body to relax and rest, but rather, there is something inside of him that feels good while looking up.

I sit next to him, pondering his thoughts, as I take a moment to digest a lesson in life he just magnified with one of his simple, wonderful moves.

As adults, we tend to get caught up in a fast-paced, forward-moving treadmill. We become so intensely consumed with what lies before us that we forget to look up. How do we stop and connect to the vast heavens above, where we feel the pull of spirituality, connection, strength and the deep wonder of G‑dliness?

With his one quick motion, Chaim Boruch showed me.

He demonstrated how we must throw ourselves back, back into a place of introspection, of simplicity and momentous calm. With a smile, with faith, with a mind and heart facing the heavens.

And this very moment reminds me of a psalm which often guides me throughout the day. It says in Psalm 121: “A song for ascents. I shall raise my eyes to the mountains, from where will my help come?”

And with these words on my lips and with my head tilted back, I look up. I look up to all that surrounds me, that guides me, that keeps me from falling down. And I continue to pray . . .

“My help is from the L‑rd, the Maker of heaven and earth.”

And I continue to throw myself back, back into identifying my past, my roots, my inner drive and vitality, recognizing from where I have come and where I am heading.

Right next to my little boy. Feet still dangling. Smile still glowing.

Still looking up.

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.

A Field Trip Like No Other

July 21, 2014 1:32 PM

I just couldn’t sleep. The day had been long, my eyes were stinging from exhaustion, but sleep would not come. Was I transported back to those childhood days where lovely imaginative thoughts filled my mind? Was I awake with a spirit and energy deep within, pounding excitement in my heart that would keep sleep at bay?

You see, my Chaim Boruch was going on his first field trip ever! He was invited to join the typical second-grade class on their field trip, with his aide, to the California Academy of Sciences in San Francisco.

And while my sweet son slept peacefully, Sleep would not comeI lay in bed, awake, full of excitement for the new day to begin, the new experience to emerge.

For the past two weeks, our entire family had shared our excitement and anticipation with Chaim Boruch. We were rejoicing in this moment of normalcy, a victory of “same” over “different,” a milestone often taken for granted.

It’s obvious that Chaim Boruch felt our excitement, our pride and our love.

Yet it was I who could not sleep. His mother who would lie awake from sheer gratitude.

Sometimes I want “normal” so badly. I want it so badly that it hurts. I desire it so intensely that I can’t sleep. I can only dream.

And while a field trip can be a mere “day in the life” of a child, for me it was much more.

It was a blossoming field in my soul, with tall grass and flowers and the sweet, fresh scent of life, discovery, nature and growth.

It was a trip within my heart, a journey on unsure ground, with lush grass, abundant earth tones and solid footing.

A “field trip” like no other.

A field trip that changed my life. A journey of hope, of dreams coming true, of my special son defining “special” all over again. And again.

And then the sound of the bus’s engine, rumbling around the corner, brought me instantly to the curb to welcome home my special boy.I bombarded him with a myriad of questions

A huge smile. A magnificent grin. Sparkling eyes.

I bombarded him with a myriad of questions about his field trip. Yet I was met with silence. A calm, knowing silence.

We held hands and walked from the curb into our home. Happy and silent.

Thank you, Chaim Boruch, for letting me come along for the ride within your heart.

A “field trip” of the mind, heart and soul. A “field trip” like no other.

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.

Deeply Bruised

July 9, 2014 8:55 PM

A peaceful Shabbat afternoon, with kids playing happily. All is still and calm.

Chaim Boruch gets up from his chair and comes to join us. He is in a happy, playful mood, and starts to do his usual silly “dance,” entertaining his family, encouraging smiles and laughter from each of us.

His balance is unorganized and unpredictable. I warn him to be careful, to settle down.

My I warn him to be careful, to settle downwarning is too late. He trips over his own two feet and slams his face into the wall with full force. The next moment, I am kneeling by his side, trying to assess the damage, my heart thumping furiously in my chest.

He is hurt, his ego deflated, like the shriveled pieces of a popped balloon. A bump is swelling over his right eye. His face is pale, and he looks like he is on the verge of passing out.

My nerves are shaken, and I find myself calling out to his siblings to get ice and a wet cloth for his bleeding lip, and to wake up Tatty (Daddy) from his peaceful Shabbat rest. Because I don’t think I can find another ounce of strength to pick up my very heavy and sore boy.

The bruising begins to emerge, and he is now sitting outside, refusing the ice packs, cold cloth, homeopathic remedies. Refusing to allow me to soothe his throbbing little face, despite the pleading in my eyes. His rhythmic whining slowly dies down as he acknowledges his less-than-brilliant idea of showing off his fancy dance steps, which were choreographed without walls or unstable little feet in mind!

I retreat into my room, into my bed, and take a deep breath. I think I need that cold cloth, ice pack and remedy to calm myself down, yet I cannot move. I am bruised.

Deeply bruised.

Wishing I could have caught him in time, saving him from his fall. Wondering if he needs new shoes, or if we should try yet another therapy to help him balance better . . .

Yes. The bruising of a mother’s heart.

I We are bruised by the challenges of lifeam tired and worn and talk to G‑d. Look, G‑d, look at Your children, all of Your children, young and old, infants, babies and 7-year-olds who stumble and fall. Look at each of us.

We are bruised by the challenges of life, by the bumps in the road, by the tears in our eyes.

Please, G‑d, send us two strong feet to stand on. Send us spiritual “ice packs” to soothe our wounds, remedies to cushion our falls. Send us happy, healthy days. Please, G‑d.

Days with no more bruising.

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.
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