“Ima, I want kaftorim surgery,” I hear Sebastian calling out in a drone from the kitchen. Kaftorim is the Hebrew medical name given to middle ear surgery designed to treat excess ear fluids.
Earaches are commonplace for Sebastian, misken (poor soul), and visits to Dr. Rosenzweig, Ear Nose and Throat specialist, are routine. On our walk back home after our last follow-up visit with Rosenzweig, my dear child turned to me and pronounced offhandedly: “Ima this whole business with the ears is really quite annoying.” I had to agree. And to add that we’re addressing it and that we’ll take care of the situation and resolve it. I was surreptitiously thrilled when the doctor, after numerous months of visits and follow-ups, resorted to suggesting surgery. I swiftly added to my sweet and fragile gibor (brave hero), that a special fruit shake and a sweet treat were his for the choosing.
“You’ll have the surgery,” I assure him keenly, as the seams in my heart splinter. The sight of this child, face thrust forward, hands pressed against his small and inquiring ears is heartrending. “Wednesday!” I pronounce in a cheerful tone, and the faint smile that forms on his face creases my heart. This kaftorim surgery is looking to be the highlight of our week. I myself have been stealthily envisioning our post-surgery chocolate pizza at the Max Brenner Chocolate Café that is tactically situated directly across Assuta hospital in the Ramat Hachayal district of Tel Aviv. And I have to own up to the enchanting visions of helium balloons and candy and ice cream and flowers that have been permeating my dreams.
Besides kaftorim ear surgery, there are additional proceedings that our four year old is looking forward to with great anticipation.
Dying on a sunny morning, for example. At the age of 100 mind you, but still, the foresight is scrupulous and the expectancy is hearty.
Why in the morning? “Because I need to be wearing pants with pockets so that I have enough room to hold all the things that I want to die with.”
But the time of day is only a single thread in the bound web of deliberation that this child has woven: “I want it to be a sunny day when I die. Sunny days are the only truly perfect days for dying. Because I don’t want my drawing to blow away in the wind, or to get wet in the rain. I really hope it’s sunny when I die.”
He has even picked out the shirt he wants to die in: RED with monkey musicians!
He is attentive to detail, meticulous, and thorough in his planning.
I watch Sebastian’s thought processes in motion and think: I wish I could plan my life as methodically as this child plans his death.
It’s true. I really can learn from him. About the importance of making lists, of writing things down, of taking multiple factors into consideration, of prudence and of prescience.
All valuable stuff in this trying to figure out what to do with my life phase.
“At peepee shel chatul” – “you are cat peepee” – I hear a laughing voice gurgle and break my meditative state. I respond to it and am instantly drawn into the currently popular diversion of back-and-forth directed nonsensical dialogue with a disarming two year old – “at (you are) mooki”; “at pooki”; “at keeka”; “at koola” – allowing the sparkling laughter that accompanies each and every utterance to soften my chest and slide down into my gut before rising and surging into the atmosphere.
The other child is sensory, intuitive, and rolls from the gut. This is a child who knocks back her antibiotics as she flips headfirst from table to couch.
I meditate on the importance of both dynamics – the reflective and the intuitive – and on the desire to tread the fine bar between the two. Surely this is an evolving and ongoing process. Like parenting.
Parenting comes with a steep learning curve. I’m thankful for my two little mentors. They make life sunny.