How the universe sent me a babysitter - Part II / by Susie Lubell

Havdalah

When I walked in to her little house on the prairie I immediately breathed in the smell of spice tea. It was toasty warm inside, clean but not sterile. Yael had the look of a home schooling, bread baking, granola rolling, all-terrain strolling, pioneer mama. I stayed for about forty minutes and we played with the babies. I nursed my boy. She nursed hers. We talked about how he sleeps, what he eats, how he motors across a carpet on elbows. He stared at everything with his giant eyes. When it was time for me to go he made the boo boo face and started to cry. I said goodbye and left him with Yael. And then I went to get a great big coffee from the cafe across main road. After, I went home and straightened up the house, did some laundry and generally felt happy to be alone. Really alone. Not the kind of alone where you still have a baby strapped on to you. We were separate and it was fine.

I picked him up two hours later. He had cried. But he also slept. I gave him the food I had made. He hadn't taken it from Yael. But she wasn't discouraged and neither was I. We wanted to make it work.

The next day we came straight after dropping off the big kids. He was tired and I didn't stay long so that she could put him to bed. Before I left she changed his diaper and sang his favorite song, Itsy Bitsy Spider, but in Hebrew. He calmed down. He was starting to connect to her. He cried again when I left but she texted soon after that he was asleep.

This time when I got home I got out my paints and a drawing, the third in a series, that I had sketched a while ago but never painted. So I painted it. The series is called Day of Rest. One panel is Sabbath Eve with the two candles, the glass of wine and the challah. The second panel is Sabbath day - a tree of life shading a quiet village. The third one, the one I just painted, is called Havdalah, the separation between the Sabbath and a new week, the symbols of which are the braided candle, the glass of wine and the spice box. It seemed the perfect theme to celebrate my own brief separation.

When I went back to Yael's he was awake and cried when he saw me. I nursed him and we snuggled. He relaxed.  He had slept a lot and eaten both jars of his food but still no bottle. In due time. While I was nursing him Yael asked me if I knew someone named Galit from the moshav. I asked, does she have a seven month old? Yes. A few weeks before I had been in the cafe with my kids and another family was there with some out of towners so they were speaking English. I guess the husband overheard us speaking English too and when we were leaving he asked where we were from. We had a brief conversation about California because someone from his family was living there but I don't remember the details. Nice guy. They live in the moshav across from the cafe. A week later I was at our health clinic with the baby and I ran into the guy's wife with their seven month old. She asked, didn't I see you at the cafe? Yes. I gave her my card and said she should email me if she ever wanted to get together. I told her I work from home but I don't yet have childcare and I'm with the baby a lot. Hoping to find a sitter sometime soon...

That was Galit. Turns out Galit had given that card to Yael a few days later and mentioned she had met an American looking for some part time childcare. At that point in our conversation Yael went over to her jacket pocket and pulled out my card.

The universe is funny that way. Sometimes it expects you to take the last step and close the circle. Which is fine by me since I'm one who thinks we make our own fate. But I learned from a good friend not to  dismiss the powers of attraction and our abilities to draw exactly the right people at the right time into our lives.