Tuesday, 31 January 2017

I'M NO ANGEL (repeat)

A mother's words

Well worth a further airing

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, in December 2012, 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.

This was first published in this English translation in Conductive World, four years ago:

I still find that I hear it as poetry.



My thanks again to Rony Schenker for putting me in touch.


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