I know it will happen within the next month or so.

He’s fiercely pushing that pusher, legs ponderously lurching forward boom boom boom, and cruising around the coffee table in smoother and smoother circles. He has discovered the wine bottles, placed without much thought in a low wine holder back when he could only roll from his stomach onto his back. He pounds up the stairs like it’s nobody’s business, pausing only to investigate the contents of the dog bowl, then back to his mission of reaching the top step and turning back to catch my eye (but he’s a timid one — won’t even try to slide back step by step).

I know it’s coming in a way I didn’t mark with his brothers and sisters.


With some of them, it was a “hurry up and get there” anxiety. With others, I didn’t even notice, busy either chasing a runner around the park or lost in the countless what’s-for-dinner mind wanderings. Someone else had the sentimentality to mark it — one was even caught on camera.

Chachi, Aug 2014

But in this liminal year, the year of transition, our last year in Maale Adumim, as I turned closets over to summer clothes on the one day that spring strutted its stuff before meekly yielding to imperious summer and — just like that! — the countdown to our August move became very real, where the pre-Pesach purge puts things in categories (what do we throw out give away sell put in storage hold tight care about leave behind) — I catch the passing of things:

Our last Sukkah party in the sukkah that Ira so lovingly built and tended these last twelve years and is now someone else’s along with this house, the dear, beautiful and joyous sukkah festooned with huge bunches of dates from the newly-shorn palms of the city, where we sang deep into the night with the sweet chords of Hillel’s guitar, where eternal moments were created every year with wonderful friends.

Our final Purim crawling the few familiar streets of our neighborhood in our converted “simcha mobile,” windows down and music blaring with colored socks on the downturned windshield wipers, swinging round and round the roundabouts with half the kids cheering and the others slinking down low in their seats.

The last few smachot, looking around at the familiar faces that I’m so used to seeing in shul, makolet, park, each one a dear soul, and knowing that I won’t be at their kiddushes and parties and shabbat tables in the years to come.

This week before Pesach where the boxes come out and nostalgia for things which have passed (Remember this gold cutlery set received as a wedding gift where the “gold” flaked off as soon as we toiveled it just three months after the wedding — it was our first Pesach set! — and laughed when we saw the back of the box with the $19.99 sticker still attached? Remember this afikoman bag — Ruvi made it when he was three. Remember this Pesach cookbook from the Shearith Israel Ladies Auxiliary 1977 that I stole from my mother’s collection with all of the recipes with German names like kartufel mit fleish and leb kuchen, back when we could eat all versions of gebrochts with abandon?)

Pesach, 2003
Pesach, 2007
Pesach, 2014

I’m not nostalgic, I don’t usually take pictures, I rarely keep things, but I’m glad I kept that afikoman bag as I glance over at the 6-ft almost-man who is doing a gibbush (try-out) next week for an elite army unit. Maybe it’s that I’m getting older, maybe it’s that we’re fast approaching a massive change with many unknowns, but I’m holding on to these moments as I let go of most of our things.


Back to my little man. This is it, and I know it: the final moments before full-out toddlerhood. The last few weeks of crawling and scootching around, of real-deal babyness, not the fake kind where I still call his siblings “my babies.” I can already see the dimples in his fat fingers morphing into knuckles, the sweet curls dusting the back of his neck just about long enough for a ponytail.


It might be today, or tomorrow, or next week, but I’m holding on to these last few hours of the shake-shake that a tushie does in a crawl before giving way to the lunge-PLOP of the first few independent steps. The blessing of this year in transition is to savor the full joy of this moment, right now, knowing it can never be again.

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