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Simply Special

Falling Off My Merry-Go-Round

July 26, 2016 4:06 PM

I really didn’t mean to.

I had the best intentions.

I really did.

I mean, after all, I’m human.

Or maybe I’m not . . .

Maybe I’m simply a bundle of emotions and crushed energy, spinning in circles on my very own merry-go-roundAfter all, I’m human that isn’t so merry at times.

I usually look up.

I rarely look down.

Unless, of course, I’ve spun right off my merry-go-round, and I taste the dust from the earth

on which I fall with a thud.

It was only a new pizza dough recipe I was trying to make.

Was I being too dreamy, too unrealistic, to think I could get lost in the creativity of my cozy kitchen?

It’s the place where the flavors of my heart come to life.

The center of wholesome nourishment and love, where meaningful conversations and licks of delectable batters and doughs take place.

You were pulling on me with full strength, that of an almost 10-year-old, making your tugs too strong to ignore.

I reminded you to be wary of my healing broken ankle.

I don’t think you know what “wary” means.

You pulled open the drawer packed with measuring utensils.

I said I only needed the three-quarter cup.

But somehow, you translated that into “unpack the drawer, piling everything onto the counter, right into Mommy’s space.”

Space.

Not sure what that really means.

I think it’s somewhere close to the moon and stars, because I don’t think it exists in my merry-go-round of life.

And neither did “space” find its way onto my counter, now splattered with flour and specks of yeast camouflaged into the marbled granite.

I had tried to include you.

I really did.

Because that’s what moms do.

You were bored. No school. Just endless “carefree” summer days.

Just you and me and a bunch of little siblings with sticky hands and chubby faces.

I took a deep breath.

But I don’t think you noticed.

I was holding it all together, my feelings, that is.

Or so I thought.

I looked down at the mound of pizza dough . . .

No.

The dough was way better at being heldI just couldn’t hold it together together than my nerves at the moment.

It had just been a hard couple of days.

You were frustrated and have no words.

And I have words and much frustration.

Not a great combination.

You kept pulling on my arm as I tried to mix and knead the dough.

I asked you to please step back a bit so I could finish making supper.

I even gave you a piece of dough to keep your hands busy.

But to no avail.

You pulled on me while you whined and screeched your loudest.

And I just couldn’t anymore,

I couldn’t hold it together.

I was tired. Deeply tired.

It’s been rough.

And while you’re getting older.

It’s getting harder.

That much, we both know.

And so I fell off my merry-go-round.

Right in the middle of my kitchen.

Choked with tears, I turned around.

To hide from your sweet face.

To keep the sobs away from the purest of all souls.

But you followed me anyway.

Because you’re just like that.

Kind and sensitive.

And you looked at me with your head tilted to the side.

Sizing up the moment.

With love.

Always with love.

You put your arms around my neck.

For a long soothing embrace.

And it felt so good.

To cry.

To love.

And to be loved.

And while tomorrow may resemble today,

We’ll get back on our merry-go-round.It’s getting harder. That much, we both know

Because that’s what we do.

We dust ourselves off.

We leave the dirt on the ground.

We wipe away the tears and bandage our bruises.

Because after all, there’s so much to be grateful for.

On our merry-go-round.

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.

Kool to Be Kind

July 20, 2016 11:30 PM

It wasn’t just an ordinary day. In fact, the day turned out to be extraordinary.

The sun was shining, and Chaim Boruch was“You got mail!” sitting at the table playing his favorite game on his iPad. The sound of the mailbox opened and closed, and the thud of a box landing on the doorstep brought kids with curious faces to the door.

Chaim Boruch’s 7-year-old younger brother eagerly looked to see who the package was addressed to, and saw the words: “Chaim Boruch Scop.”

“You’ve got mail!” shouted Sruly with excitement and delight.

The kids scrambled to the couch on the heels of Chaim Boruch, who was awkwardly balancing the large box with his weak arms—almost landing both the box and himself on the floor.

Chaim Boruch is part of a pilot program called “Kool to Be Kind,” where Chabad-run Gan Israel camps around the world partner with children with disabilities so that these kids can become “virtual” campers. It’s an incredible opportunity to include children with disabilities who wouldn’t necessarily be able to participate in a typical camp experience. At the same time, the program encourages children in camp to be sensitive and thoughtful towards others.

I’m not sure who was more excited about the mail arriving—Chaim Boruch or his siblings. (Or maybe it was me.)


I looked at the scene, and within seconds I appreciated this team of happy commotion and love. Younger siblings helped Chaim Boruch open his gift from his “bunk” mates, all while Chaim Boruch experienced a moment that was simply all about him.

And not just all about him, but all about his essence. His pure, simple essence.

Chaim Boruch couldn’t unpack the box fast enough, and as we all shared our excitement with him, I couldn’t help notice the genuine happiness from the younger children. We sat together and read each card from the campers, looking at the photos of each new friend. Then he placed their gift to him—a brand-new battery-operated school bus—on the floor, watching it ride, beep and flash its lights.

I thought the scene couldn’t get any better. But it did.

At the bottom of the box lay a neatly folded camp T-shirt with the Camp Gan Israel logo on it, along with a matching baseball cap.


I’m not sure why these simple itemsI thought the scene couldn’t get any better. But it did. brought tears to my eyes. Was it my own memories of being a camper in Gan Israel as I started becoming more observant? Was it the nostalgia of singing and laughing, bonfires, overnights and challah-baking? Or was it the friendships made in camp that warmed my heart and that have stayed with me to this very day?

I swallowed hard and pushed aside the never-ending thoughts about his future and his friends . . . and simply soaked up the kindness.

And, in truth, just think about it.

One bunk in Ann Arbor, Michigan. One kid in Mill Valley, California. One dream come true. And one very KOOL opportunity to be KIND!


Thank you, Leah Cohen and Goldie Avtzon, who initiated the K2BK: “Kool to Be Kind” program. And thank you, Shternie Zwiebel, director of Camp Gan Israel Ann Arbor.

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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