I Have Good News and Bad News…
I have some good news, JewishMOM, and I have some bad news.
I’ll start with the bad news: I’m being audited by the IRS.
The good news: it’s not a full audit. The IRS just wants me to provide documentation regarding a few items on my tax return, including the fact that I am the mother of seven children.
I imagine my life must sound pretty fantastical to my IRS auditor sitting in her office in sunny 2.23-kids California. She must wonder who is this nutty Septomom living in distant war-torn Jerusalem with a child for every day of the week. Monday Hadas, Tuesday Hallel, Wednesday Maayan…And she must wonder if I truly deserve my generous annual Child Tax Credit.
So right now, I’m trying to prove that I actually am the mother of 7 kids (or Jew-lets, as my brother-in-law calls them) and I’ve gotten off to a promising start, I hope… I’ve got 7 birth certificates. And 7 social security cards (actually I HAD 7, I’m still looking for Moriah’s).
But proving that I gave birth to them, apparently, is not sufficient for the IRS. I also need to prove that I financially support my own children and that they actually live with me for at least six months a year.
And you wouldn’t think that would be so difficult to do. But it is.
It looks like I’m going to be spending a healthy chunk of the next few weeks tracking down long-lost school and medical and financial records in order to prove that I am, indeed, a mother who takes care of her own 7 children.
As you know, dear JewishMOM.com reader, my days and years and life revolve around my children. How surreal, how disorienting, therefore, to discover how tough it is to provide physical evidence for my 15 years of motherhood.
Which reminds me…
Over a decade ago I met a mother who would not let her husband change their baby’s diapers… because she LOVED changing diapers. She told me, “I love changing my daughter’s diaper because it gives me a sense of accomplishment. I fed her and I nourished her and here’s proof!”
It sounded strange at the time, but now I think I get it. Those diapers provided something that I now realize is nearly non-existent: physical evidence of motherhood.
But so much of what I have done over the past 15 years has left zero physical evidence. The morning wave and “I love you” goodbye, the afternoon heart-to-hearts about school and the neighborhood latest, the bedtime story followed by Shema Yisrael and a kiss on the forehead. Not to mention the meals served and the floors swept and the Mt. Kilimanjaros of laundry sorted and put away.
15 years that have evaporated. Where have they gone?
After Shabbat every week we sit around as a family and play songs. Hadas on guitar, Hallel on flute, and whoever isn’t putting kids to bed or being put to bed sings along. This past Saturday night I sat watching my two big girls playing together. Worst enemies and best friends, depending on the hour of the day. I watched how each girl would smile sheepishly at the other when she messed up. My beautiful sabras. My babies grown up into young women, almost.
Physical evidence of 15 years of motherhood.
But how do I capture THAT in a box and send it off to where it needs to go?