Thin Ice

The body of water near my temporary home froze over this weekend. It crosses States, Provinces and countries as it winds its way towards the ocean. 

The ice is thin, but it’s so formidable already. Cracks where boats have tried to push through slowly repair, making a veined stitching along the frozen water which shines brightly on a frigidly cold morning. 

What a beautiful metaphor for resignation in the face of inevitability. No matter how hard I try to forge through the thin ice that is the velt and the barriers to be a parent to my children, the cracks repair. Like the boats on the water, I have no more options to push through. I have to, at some point, accept that the ice thickens and becomes impossible to make it through.

To put it another way: אין עוד תפילה בשפתי

I asked my good friend, my go-to source for all things halacha and Hebrew, if what I was saying makes sense. Words have the power to change perspectives or make attempts to heal wounds we might have deep in our souls.

My friend suggested there were interpretations that were less desperate and more meaningful than I was allowing. אין עוד means there is no more. To put it in my friend’s words, it means that there once was – there’s potential it can be attained again. בשפתי could mean that there are no prayers left that are able to come from my lips, but there might be some lurking in the shadows of my heart and in my head.

It’s a warming sentiment, but one I’d rather take literally than the more hopeful metaphor of my friend’s beautiful interpretation. There is no more. No more well of sadness, no more hope that I will ever be their mother again. 

As I come to terms with the knowledge that my journey of mothering my two boys is all but over, I find it almost unnaturally easier putting one foot in front of the other. I think it’s because for four years I’ve held out hope that I could be their mother again, and now I know in my heart of hearts that it is not something I will get to do. It’s not a happy realization, but it’s allowing me to parent my daughter in a way that I can compartmentalize the pain that will never, ever leave me.

I come from a cold place. It’s not a metaphor for my parents or the community I grew up in, but geographically a place where winters are bitterly cold. Growing up, you know how matter how cold it gets you should never walk on the ice. At some point, it will be too thin and you will break through. At some point, my mothering will break. I will reach a conclusion. My boys will no longer have me or their sister in their lives.

אין עוד תפילה בשפתי

So now, how do I move forward?

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