Wednesday, 30 January 2013


A mother's words 
Maybe this has to do with the fact that I'm not exactly an angel myself

We'll begin by saying that I'm the mother of a daughter who has special needs. Despite that, or perhaps because of it, I want my truth in bare feet: 
– No, I haven't been graced with special 'angel-like' traits, although that is what people have been telling me. 
–  Her name is Shahaf [Seagull]; she cannot fly, or walk either. 
– When I look at her I see an unsolved maze, with challenging entrances and countless warning signals 
– When I feed her or dress her, I still imagine that she is an infant. When I pick her up out of her wheelchair, her weight reminds me how old she really is. 
– When she types vigorously on the computer keyboard, I imagine that really soon she will be a circuit engineer. And then I remind myself that she simply enjoys the sound. 
– When she is moving or repeating sounds, I still don't know if it does her good or not. The very lack of knowledge makes me think.
– When she hugs her little sister tightly, I feel like sending her into time-out in her room the same as her siblings. But I swallow my anger, take pity on her – and try not to pity myself. 
– When I raise my voice to her, I know it's not healthy. As for the neighbors: I'm not sure that this will make them think the better of me.
 For the past twelve years, I have learned not to give a damn AT ALL!
– When she was away from home during the period of the surgery, I couldn't imagine my life without her; although… several hours later… my powers of imagination returned. 
– On ordinary days I don't take my eyes off her... Although... the idea of making her disappear for a few moments from my line of vision and range of hearing doesn't feel like such a failing. 
– I am raising her with love, not because 'I'm impressed with how large the challenge is', but because 'She is what came out of my belly'. 
– She won't marry… not the end of the world, considering the outrageous prices of dresses these days. 
– If anyone should dare to harm her, he'd better take his last breath.
 If I'd have had the chance, I could have chosen my own challenges myself. 
– What I have written is correct only for me and my thoughts.
– I'm sure that the other parents are absolute angels.
Written by Ifat Ohad 
Translated into English by Dova Aroety
Ifat published these words in Hebrew on her blog, on 1 December last, and it has also appeared in this form on Tsad Kadima's parents' blog.

When I first read Dova's English translation as published here I could not help but wonder whether the Hebrew original had been written as a poem.

I asked; it was not. I can, however, easily imagine its passing as poetry if read aloud at a poetry club in England.


My thanks to Rony Schenker for putting me in touch.

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Blogger roniya said...


Sunday, 3 February 2013 at 07:07:00 GMT  

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