The Very Last Time

The Very Last Time

This morning, I took 2-year-old Yonatan for a vaccination at the Tipat Chalav baby clinic. But this wasn’t just any trip to the baby clinic, this was Yonatan’s last vaccination, and therefore my last trip ever to Tipat Chalav.

I’ve never enjoyed going to Tipat Chalav. No matter when the appointment is, it’s always inconvenient. It’s always when I’d rather be taking a nap after gan drop-offs or writing a blog post, or doing just about anything else (this morning’s appointment was smack-dab in the middle of the community center’s fun biweekly get-together for stay-at-home moms which I was so disappointed to miss).

And there’s always the stress of the nurse’s gentle but ever-present interrogations– “the baby’s iron looks low” “he hasn’t gained at all since last month” “he should be saying full sentences already, this might be cause for concern…” Not to mention, the vaccination itself.

But still, like so many things I do as a mom, going to Tipat Chalav has been an integral part of my mothering life for the past 19 years.

And now it’s over.

And I will feel the same way when, over the coming months and years, I will change my last diaper. And make my last pony tail. And give my last bath. And do my last gan pickup.

Which is partly sad. And partly joyful.
Partly yaaahooooo! And partly boohoo…

A friend was recently telling me about the phrase “L’avdo b’levav shalem” –to serve Him with all our heart.

The weird thing about this phrase is that the word for heart is “Lev.” What in the world is a levav? What’s with the 2 vets over there?

And at least one commentator taught that Levav means two hearts– or two feelings in the same heart.

The happy and the sad. All mixed together.

And that’s not something to fix, the commentator explained. That’s the way a human heart, a mother’s heart, was created and is meant to be, forever.


  1. I really appreciate this article. I saw a different article, similar, but the author only focuses on the boo boo part. Since I’m intensely emotional, I felt so down after reading it. This is just what I needed to hear, I can have 2 feelings at the same time. PS, will I miss the days of morning sickness? 😉 I seriously wonder….. . Thank chana jenny, I love your postings! So real, touches home! Have a beautiful day!

    • thank you! and NO, you will never miss the days of morning sickness– though you WILL miss the excitement of first finding out you are pregnant again.

  2. There’s MORE! At the same time you are seeing “last times” for many things . . . there are more “first times” ahead! You will gain, Hashem-willing, new daughters and sons by marriage – grandchildren . . and great grandchildren – all the special stages of life – all the celebrations . . . plenty to keep you looking ahead. We have to let those things go, like taking the baby to the clinic for the last time, so that we can grasp all of the wonderful events that await us just ahead.

  3. Wow
    I am so worried about those “last experiences” for me and my kids iyh as I am super emotional as well.
    But very well put Leisel- there is so much to come! I look forward to being there for my children as they raise their children and to help them out (I hear that being a Safta is super awesom …!;) iyh

  4. And thanks for helping us mothers who are in the middle of it appreciate it more! Waking up at 5:30 for the toddler AND baby!! Yay!

  5. I LOVE that, partly yahooooo and partly boohoooo.
    Even when your kids get married, it’s yahoooo, and also bohooo. They leave the house and go off with someone else…. 🙂

  6. So poignant….. Its been such a struggle but life will be so different with no more little ones…. my youngest and last is 4.5 now…. yahoo and boo hop is sooooo right!!!

  7. When my youngest child finished gan I was really worried about the boo-hoo part, since I loved the gan years. But I reminded myself not to worry or be sad in anticipation, because often the actual experience is mixed with other factors that I couldn’t anticipate. I feel sad that I don’t have more kids. But when I think about gan, or hold someone’s baby, I’m not sad, but nostalgic. Which is nice because I’m grateful for the many happy memories.
    I’ve found that the sadness and longing come when I see something I want but couldn’t have – a bigger family, etc. But when I see something I had and enjoyed, I just enjoy it again vicariously.

  8. Just thinking of the inoculations prompted me to comment. I just finished reading a book about doctors and how the health care system developed during the 1800’s. Until the first part of the 1900’s death from diphtheria and whooping cough were part of the fears every mom lived with. No one likes subjecting a child to a shot but polio, and small pox are all diseases that we no longer have to fear due to our ability to inoculate against them.
    (and unless you are experiencing menopause you don’t know for sure that this is your last child- Hashem has many surprises available. I had three children in my 40’s! and no fear it keeps you young!)

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