July 19, 2024
Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.
July 19, 2024
Search
Close this search box.

Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Celebrating 35 and a New Stage of Parenthood

As the Yom Tov season comes to an end, I’m sure I’m not alone in feeling many mixed emotions. There’s always a moment for me after Yom Kippur when I experience a moment of complete fear of the unknown for what’s ahead this year. The feeling quickly dissipates as the excitement of Sukkot fills the air and we’re all quickly thrown into a Yom Tov prep with figuring out our sukkah decor, another round of menu planning, and filling up our social calendar with meals with friends and Chol Hamoed trips. And while the Yom Tov season always ends with my birthday on Isru Chag, this year my family plans to elongate that Sukkot simcha feeling with the celebration of my daughter’s bat mitzvah just a week after Simchat Torah. Somewhere in between these two celebrations, we will be observing the 15th yahrtzeit of my grandmother, Mimi Jacobs, Miriam Batsheva bat Rachel v’Yehoshua, for whom my daughter is named.

The juxtaposition of all of these events over the course of one week has undoubtedly led to quite the array of mixed emotions. Let’s start with my daughter’s reaching the age of bat mitzvah.This past Tisha b’Av, I had no intentions of my daughter fasting the whole day. Soon after chatzot, when she decided she was ready to break her fast, I had asked her what I could make for her. She responded that she was capable of making something herself and she was sensitive to realize that making lunch on a fast day would probably be difficult for me.

It occurred to me that my kid is really growing up and I’m really entering a new stage in my motherhood. This stage involves a lot more independence for her and even more freedom for me. Am I really ready for this new chapter? Totally not, but it’s not like I have a choice. Trust me, splitting up the grocery list and having a buddy for wandering around the city is awesome, but there are times I miss being needed for the little things like pouring milk into a cereal bowl.

So if my own child is getting older, that inevitably means I’m also getting older. There are creams, lotions and face masks that sit on my nightstand that I have convinced myself are capable of convincing the world that there is no way I could be 35. I mean, now I have to check a different box on those surveys online. But let’s face it: eye cream is eye cream; it’s not a time machine. When I turned 30, I didn’t feel like I wanted to go back to my 20s ever. I had so much life experience before I even turned 25, so by the time I turned 30 it was more a feeling of “finally” than that of “OMG—this can’t be.”

Certain things about life are just harder now. There was a time not so long ago when I could lose 5 pounds in a week if I just stuck with hard-boiled eggs, grapefruits and ice cubes tacked onto three spin classes a week. No such luck any more. Gone are the days when I could manage on no sleep and minimal carb intake. I also thought by the time I hit 35 I would most certainly have an established career, putting me in a different tax bracket. I thought I would have developed a more efficient domestic sense; ideally, a freezer filled with back-up suppers and a fridge without any science experiments. I thought I would be the kind of mother who would wake up early just to exercise and daven instead of the mother who makes lunch no earlier than 15 minutes before we actually have to leave the house for school.

Don’t worry, there are plenty of upsides to being 35. My shoe collection is quite extensive—not complete just yet—and well maintained. I have a chocolate chip cookie recipe and a shnitzel technique to which I have committed, which has received extensive accolades from family and friends. And if I thought I was comfortable in my own skin at 30, that aspect has become better at 35.

I am incredibly blessed to be surrounded by a core group of family and hand-picked friends that have literally raised me up to this stage in life. I used to think at a certain age in life you just won’t need your parents as much. I am lucky enough to realize that the age never has to come. I’ve accumulated my friends from all sorts of places and I can’t imagine life without them. I have been able to surround myself with the best and the brightest so we can solve the world’s problems while standing on line at the grocery store or at yummy Shabbos meals. But I love them even more for the unlimited empathy they give to me, and I hope I can give that back to them in turn as we face our daily challenges, together.

As soon as I found out I was having a baby girl, there was not a doubt that she would be named for my grandmother. At the ripe age of 23, I missed my grandmother terribly and she had a cool name, so I figured it was what I was supposed to do. Each time I hear about who a baby is named for, my current mindset for the baby is not to feel pressured to live up to that person.

While I hope my daughter does not fully comprehend the idea of living up to my grandmother, she has managed to display so many of her natural qualities without even realizing. Savta and my Mimi display a certain level of grace that is rare these days. I see how Mimi is able to engage adults and carry on conversations that is not always the case with other kids her age. I so clearly remember that about Savta and how she truly made everyone and anyone feel so comfortable and accepted. Savta did not have an easy life, and dealt with all sorts of hardships at every stage in her life, yet never seemed to complain and always looked fabulous. And while it is an amazing zechut to name your child for someone you loved and respected, you would really just want to have that person back in your life to share it with. Savta’s neshama should continue to have an aliyah and Mimi and I will continue to emulate her ways as we celebrate our milestone birthdays and open this new chapter in our lives.

By Rachel Zamist

 Rachel Zamist has lived in the Passaic community for the past 32 years and has watched it grow and transition. She is the beaming mother of Mimi, a seventh-grade student at Rachel’s own alma mater, YBH.

 

Leave a Comment

Most Popular Articles