Thursday, January 8, 2009

"FUN" Facts About Orah

Even though, out of my past 7 posts, only one received comments, I have decided not to focus on the comment factor, because posting has become "documentation" for myself. However, yesterday, when I asked if anyone had any book references - that was not a rhetorical question. So I will only assume, that not one of the people who read my post, has any book advice to give. And I will continue to search for an age appropriate book myself...

I will let you know how that turns out.

I thought today (and maybe every so often) I would share "fun facts about Orah" so you can get to know me better. So here is today's fun fact about Orah.

(Disclaimer: Not every fact about Orah will actually be "Fun".)


Actually, it is not so much the finger, as it is the finger nail. It is my left hand, index finger. I will not post a picture, but I can only attempt to describe it. The nail grows to only a certain point, never making it to over the top of my fingertip. Then it cracks, really low down and breaks off , making it seem as if there is hardly a finger nail at all, until it grows back and repeats this process all over again. It is also overlapped on the left side by some extra skin.

I have never been to a manicurist who did not comment on this one finger - it is THAT noticeable. Anyone else who notices the awkward looking finger nail and is bold enough to ask, becomes privy to a story that explains the origin of this alien looking finger nail.

Yes, there is a story. And this story does not include a bout with fungus or any accident inducing injury to the nail in my lifetime.

When I was young, I never noticed the difference between this one finger nail and all the rest. The difference was always there, I just never paid attention. There was also something else that involved a custom my mother keeps, that I never noticed or paid attention to, until one weekend when I was nine.

Every Friday night, to bring in the Sabbath, a married woman lights candles. Every woman starts off lighting at least two candles, but many women have the custom to add a candle for each child who comes into the family. My mother follows this custom.

By the time I was nine, our family was complete with my younger brother who is four years younger than me, as well as the five siblings who are older than me. This makes a family of seven. If you do your math correctly, two candles to start + seven more candles = nine candles that should be lit every Friday night.

But this one Friday night, out of the blue, I looked over, and it finally hit me - my Mom lights TEN candles. She has always been lighting ten candles.

So I asked, "Mom, why do you light ten candles, if you have seven kids"?

And as if she was prepared for this day, and this question to come, she filled me in on some pertinent information that thus far, I had no clue about.


Yes, my Mother had an eighth child, and it so happened, this child came into this world, just two years before me. And sadly, she exited this world, only two years after I was born.

She was born in 1973, and it was clear, she was not a healthy child. She was born with Down Syndrome, and my parents named her Ruchama (loosely translated - means "mercy").

Like many Down Syndrome children, she also came into this world with heart defects and corresponding health issues. In 1973, it was not customary to perform cardiac surgery on a child with Down Syndrome. You just let it all "be".

My parents made the extremely difficult decision, to have their baby live with a special woman who took sick children into her home and cared for them (very well) until their expected demise.

I am sure this was a heart breaking decision for my parents, and although I am not sure I could make the same decision (today everything is different) I can not judge them. They were obviously thinking of the other five children they had, and how this might affect the family, etc...

My mother has since spoken about this woman many times, praising her for how much she loved the children as if they were her own and how well she cared for them. My parents did visit their Ruchama from time to time, to hold her and cuddle her and physically love her. But when they were away from her, they continued to love her.

So what does all this have to do with my deformed finger nail?

My Mother went on to tell me, that Friday night, that after Ruchama was born "I needed to know I could still have a healthy child". (These were her EXACT words - not mine.) "So, when I realized I was pregnant, I bartered with G-d. I asked from G-d, if anything should go wrong with this baby, let it be nothing more than a finger nail..."

My Mom continued, "when you were born, I looked you over from head to toe in earnest, and I saw it right away - your nail on your left index finger was covered by extra skin. It looked so tiny, but you were completely healthy."

And furthermore, I suppose to lighten the mood at this point my Mom said, "and while looking at your finger nail, I thought, dummy - why didn't I say toe nail..."

We continued some conversation over this topic, and I realized something bizarre. You know those stories about either twins separated from birth or a child who had a twin lost in utero and they grow up always feeling like something is missing... like there has been a hole they can not explain all their life.
That is how I had been feeling up until this moment... and so many unanswered questions were answered for me. (But I will save this for another post.)

One more thing:

I was just shy of two years old when my Mother received the bitter call from Ruchama's care taker, that she had passed at the age of four.

My sister, ten years older than me, so she was 12 at the time, tells me - she distinctly remembers that my mother hung up the phone and just at that moment I was playing on the floor in front of her. She had tears in her eyes and the first thing she did was scoop me up, and hug me so close, and did not let me go for some time. To her, I was her miracle baby.

So, if you ever meet me, and you want to see a sign that just may represent my very existence, ask to see my most precious finger nail - and I will know EXACTLY which one you are referring to.

9 have shown Orah a little love:

yitz98 said...

This made me cry.

yitz98 said...

that was me, Yaffa, apparently signed into Yitzy's acct. and fyi, my word verification is flabi!

Candice said...

Awesome post!!!

Orah said...

Yitz, I mean Yaffa - I am sorry you were moved to tears... Don't take the word verification personally.

Candice, I am not sorry you were moved to "awesome"

Thank you both for taking time to comment.

Brie said...

Orah, some of your blog entries could be full length books or feature films. this one had it all, mystery, intrigue, love, death, a possible freaky miracle.. incredible. sorry that i don't always comment- blame my daughter's sloppy latch

Orah said...

Brie. thanks for your comment, it made me laugh and I am sorry that your baby girl's latch does not allow you to be hands free. Girls are sooooooo demanding!!!

Donna said...

I love your blog sorry I don't comment when I read it and I have no excuse other than I read a ton of blogs and just never comment...LOL Sorry

Orah said...

Donna? Do I know you IRL? Welcome to my blog and I really appreciate that you took the time to comment.

Anonymous said...

well I just asked for a flaw, Orah and I got one really touching story...amazing!!