I Love You, Goodbye
I feel guilty when it’s time to leave my mom. She is effusive in her kisses and hugs. “It’s wonderful to spend time with you. When will I see you again?” she asks.
Today I hurried out the door, stingy with my goodbyes and frazzled that I was late to catch the bus for home. As I rushed towards the bus stop, I kept telling myself I should have spent a little more time with my parents, said a more leisurely goodbye, given a few extra kisses. I was afraid I’d end up missing the bus and then I’d have to spend an hour waiting for the next one.
How many goodbyes do I have left? How many chances to say I love you?
I don’t believe “love means never having to say you’re sorry.” I think we have to always remember to apologize to our loving family, especially when we take them for granted. Maybe we are handed a secret number when we’re born, and once we’ve used up all the “goodbyes” and “I love you’s,” that’s it, there are no more. Or, as we’re leaving the womb, not only do we forget all of our Torah but also our ability to whole-heartedly interact and we must spend our days remembering. Perhaps we must create opportunities ourselves so that there are infinite possibilities to say, “I love you. Goodbye.”
This is my teshuva, my repentance for the New Year.
Here’s one of Mom’s favorite recipes that is a perfect sweet dish for Rosh Hashana.
Mom gave me this recipe many years ago written out in her own hand. I keep it in the middle of another cookbook so I know where to find it, though the paper is stained and torn. When I take out the recipe, it reminds me of her fragility.
2 chickens cut into 8 pieces
1½ tsp curry powder
1½ tsp granulated garlic or 2 cloves fresh
½ cup date honey (can use other sweeteners)
1 8-oz. can crushed pineapples with juice
Flour for dredging
Coat each chicken piece in a thin layer of flour by dragging it in a small bowl of flour. Place in baking pan. In separate bowl, mix ingredients, including juice of the pineapple. Pour over chicken and bake covered at 350° for 1 hour. Uncover and bake another 15 minutes until browned.
p.s. I had a lovely visit today with my aunt (my dad’s sister) and uncle who are visiting from London. When we told Mom we were meeting Barbara and Allen for lunch, she couldn’t remember who they were. When she finally saw them, she seemed to remember. I didn’t get a chance to ask if they saw changes in her since they saw her last, but I imagine they do. Mom is more unsure of herself, more forgetful, more likely to lose the thread of conversation, more easily frustrated by her lack of understanding. And yet, she retains that essential, bubbly, loving aspect of herself that makes her who she is. We love her for it.