The Nurse at our Appointment

The Nurse at our Appointment

Yesterday afternoon at 4:30 PM I had to take Yoel out to an appointment.

Is there, like, anything sweeter than that? Getting to leave my house full of fighting, demanding, mess-making kids and spend it…anywhere else.

When we arrived at our appointment, the nurse on the other side of the desk was a Charedi woman in her thirties with a black snood and a sweet, down-to-earth smile.

“I am sorry to have kept you waiting…” she said.

“That’s OK. Any excuse to get more of a breather from the house and kids in the afternoon is much appreciated.”

No response. The sweet, down-to-earth smile suddenly shaky, awkward.

And in an instant I understood… What this woman wouldn’t do to, like me, have a house full of fighting, demanding, mess-making and unfathomably beloved children or even child waiting for her back home.

And the sudden sweetness of my life, my family, my home– burst, like a bite of juicy orange, deep in my heart.


  1. A powerful point to remember in those most frustrating, exhausting, (fill in the adjective!) moments with our children! I greatly appreciate that reminder Chana Jenny!

  2. Its true that its hard raising many children, but lacking that blessing brings unbearable pain.

  3. Maybe I missed something but where does it say she doesn’t have kids? Did you previously know her or did you understand it just from her expression? Sorry if I didn’t get it.

    • I didn’t go into all the details, but I had a conversation with the nurse about her life which made me think she doesn’t have children, and afterwards someone who knows her confirmed she doesn’t yet have children

  4. Just from her expression.

  5. Ah ok. I didn’t mean to be snarky it just wasn’t clear to me from the text.

  6. I thought the nurse was sad that she couldn’t stay home with her children, as she had to work! My take.

    • I also thought that might be the case, but my friend knows her, and told me she doesn’t have children

  7. Very sensitive of you and an important lesson – beyond for the purpose of thinking twice about who the recipient is of the comment you might make, it is for us, the fortunate ones, who should try to put our thoughts and perceptions about things like “miserable afternoons after 4pm, etc, into – “challenging, frustrating, but so-blessed” afternoons after 4pm – and the like. Here is what you reminded me about: there is a Rashi I learned in 9th grade – many a moon ago, that touched me even at that age and made an impact that never left me. Where it talks about how desperately Rachel Imeinu wanted children, and Rashi comments, so that she could have someone to blame when an earthenware dish breaks and somebody asks, “Who broke the dish?” Even that was so sweet that she longed for it. Just to be normal. [Don’t ask me to cite the exact Rashi, I would have to go check..and home life is BH keeping me way too busy :)]

    • wow, thank you for sharing that rashi

    • Although I’ve taught that parsha many times, I have never understood this Rashi until now;what a beautiful insight!
      May Hashem Yisborach fulfill this nurse’s prayers and bless her with zera chaya v’kayama.

  8. We have to be so careful about what we say to others. We don’t know the details of everyone’s situation, and even seemingly benign comments can hurt. I jokingly asked someone selling muffins in packages of 11 if her husband gets to taste one from each pan, and she doesn’t have a husband. I felt awful! (By the way, have you ever heard of a muffin pan with 11 spaces?)

    • Maybe she samples one to make sure they are good! Or maybe it is a dietetic pack with 1/12 less calories than regular!!

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