Gayle Shimoff
Teacher, Educator, Savta and Blogger

The blessing of a grandchild during these dark times

Iranian missiles – our Saturday night entertainment

I didn’t sleep much Saturday night. I’m guessing you didn’t either. 

I was awake most of the night from the sound and light show outside my bedroom window, (courtesy of Iran and The IDF), my husband’s news updates and my increasingly rapid heartbeats. Lying in bed, tired but anxious, I knew I wouldn’t be able to sleep in on Sunday morning, since I had been commandeered to take care of my granddaughter Roni (again thanks to Iran). 

Sunday was a great day! It was great because The IDF foiled Iran. It was also great because The State of Israel saw it could rely on its allies during our time of need. It was especially great because (again thanks to Iran), I spent an entire day with Roni, my 2 year, 3 month old granddaughter. 

Bragging rights?

My own grandmother, Leah Lesser a’h, from the Lower East Side, loved meeting her friends whenever she was out and about on Grand Street. She was careful however not to talk about her grandchildren and great grandchildren. She knew not all her friends were as fortunate, and she didn’t want to cause them to feel bad by her bragging.  

I am not so much bragging as I am expressing gratitude to G-d for bringing this lovely little creature into my life.

Experiencing the world through a toddler

I am grateful that I live close by and can watch her as she discovers the world, in awe of leaves on the ground and birds in the sky.  She finds wonder in the moon hanging low over the trees and the dogs running through the park.  Her eyes are wide and her laughter loud as she sores through the air when I push her on the swing. 

Nothing can compare with experiencing the world through the innocence and joy of a toddler.  Her innocence is rejuvenating and very precious during these dark times.

I become sad and angry when I think about the monsters of October 7th, who were once two years old and evolved into horrible human beings.  I am angry for what they became. I am sad that the human psyche has the capacity to become so evil.

While most children do not turn into monsters, most adults do become jaded by their life experiences.  I pray that life will be good to her. 

Roni’s joy with the world is infectious, lightens my mood and lessens my chronic pain*.  Together we laugh and cuddle, sing and dance, hug and kiss, play and skip.  I am allowed to be a child again.  I forget about the world when I am with her, not listening to the news, not checking my phone, not thinking about my “to do” list.  The rest of the world fades into the background.  I allow myself to be entirely focused and devoted to being with her.  It is a gift for me.  

“Kaytanat Savta”

Not all grandparents are able to offer “kaytanat savta” to their grown children as an alternative to daycare when the educational system is closed down, (once again, thanks to Iran).  Many young grandparents work full time, have multiple grandchildren and are the “sandwich generation”, with elderly parents to care for. They do not have the luxury of time.

I recognize and appreciate how fortunate I am to have the time, opportunity  and ability to be with Roni on a regular basis.  I AM thankful.

May Hashem grant us peace and redemption this Pesach.  May He heal our wounded, bring home our hostages and end this war.  May the grandparents throughout our country be able to enjoy the blessings of ALL their grandchildren this holiday. 

Chag Sameach!

About the Author
Gayle is a specialist in the fields of dyslexia, reading development & learning disabilities, having worked with hundreds of students during the span of her 35 year career. She also initiated a community project which established a home for lone soldiers in Beit Shemesh and was operational for 7 years; taking care of scores of English speaking young men during their service in the IDF. Gayle Shimoff grew up in New York and moved to Israel with her family in 1994. She lives in Beit Shemesh with her husband Danny and their dog Krembo and loves being a savta! ​
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