There are 8765 hours in a year. In the five years since Risa passed away 43,825 hours have ticked away. Sometimes time just flies by as we go about our lives. Other times, the hours drag as moments play out. In the 8765 hours over this year some milestones have been achieved and moments have been shared.
Maybe the most significant was 13.0 achieving her bat mitzvah. While I don’t think the struggle was any tougher than any family goes through convincing a 12-year-old that studying Torah and practicing prayers and readings is important – this had deeper meaning for us. One of the few promises I made to Risa over the years she battled her brain tumor was that the girls would make it to their bat mitzvah.
Not only did 13.0 perform flawlessly – but she emerged as the young lady she is becoming.
With that goal accomplished this year it’s a chance to look back and reflect – but also to look ahead.
When I have a “look ahead” conversation with friends, somehow they all talk about paying for a wedding – I’m a little more of a realist and thinking about cars and college.
Sometimes as an only parent it’s tough to step back and evaluate how things are going. I can look around and see signs of positive results – good grades in school, the ability for the three of us to communicate with one another, 13.0’s bat mitzvah, 15.5 setting out to become a lifeguard over the summer and accomplishing it and other tangible moments.
But sometimes out of nowhere comes confirmation that I’m sure Risa would be proud of too:
15.5 is in all honors classes and an AP class this year. Her English teacher sent me an email last week about a moment from class that reassure’s me that there is a solid foundation to build on.
It seems the teacher’s mother is going through a health crisis and the teacher has been in and out of school. She ended up canceling a test right before Thanksgiving, and told 15.5’s class it was due to the illness of her mother. According to the teacher, 15.5 stayed after class that day and shared that she knew what it was like to have a sick mother and she would be there to support her teacher if she needed it.
How could a parent not be proud of the young lady they are raising?
One of the lessons I learned in childhood (raised by an only parent) is that there is no instruction manual for life. You look at the moment, try to assess it and handle it as best you can. You won’t always be right but if you decide with caring and compassion you won’t be wrong very often.
More than 350,000 hours have ticked off since my father passed away. I think about him and Risa and wonder if I’m doing OK and what would they think about the way life for the girls and me has turned out. I think it’s OK.
And so we’ll start to tick off another 8765 hours with more milestones to achieve. We’ll build on our success and learn from our mis-steps and be able to look one another in the eye and know what is important and who we can count on – and all in, that’s not so bad.