I’m sitting across from a yummy brown-skinned boy in clean dinosaur pjs playing a video game on my phone (so I can type this passionate raging article I’m about to type). He’s playing and I hear shooting sounds and he says in his sing-song voice, “I’m fighting bad guys, I’m fighting bad guys.”
He’s what this is all about. All my pains collided this morning, and this little boy (and my 2 others) are all that matter in the beginning, middle, and end.
There’s a Shabbos lunch tomorrow at shul about “Jews of Color.” I see this as a beautiful, cutting-edge, necessary, hopeful event. I have been looking forward to it for weeks. I applaud the shul for hosting it. I want to hear what the gorgeous black Jewish female speaker has to say. I want to hear what my white rabbi has to say. I want to unite with people who care about this topic, because my biracial kids are Jews of Color and I don’t want them to ever get their heart hurt by ignorance or hatred in our community. Ever ever. Education is so so important.
Then I get a call this morning from the rabbi that The Abuser is going to be there. My heart rips out my chest. All my pains begin to collide, as I cry on the phone to the rabbi. The charges against The Abuser were dropped a few weeks ago; because the doctor can’t narrow a time frame to make it clean enough for the lawyers. So The Abuser is free to be and free to go to shul and free to go to the Jews of Color lunch even though his kids aren’t Jews of Color and this can’t possibly matter to him even a fraction of how much it matters to me.
I rage to the rabbi. I weep to the rabbi. His hands are tied. Then I get off the phone and hyperventilate cry like I have only done one other time in my whole life. Why isn’t anyone doing anything about this?! My son bled from his stomach for a week! Why can’t anyone do anything about this?! I don’t want to be in a room with that man! But. I don’t want him to have the power to take away something so important to me.
Then, layer five shows up, and I wish my big strong brown ex would be there with me to stand with me and slaughter the bad guy who hurt our son, slaughter him with his bare hands while I watch. That would be an interesting way for the Jews of Color lunch to go down. I think it was a healthy fantasy. But another of my pains collide. Why in my moment of great pain do I need my ex? Will I ever stop needing him? He doesn’t need me anymore that’s for sure and has moved on, and every other day of the year that is a GREAT thing that I am so thankful for. However, on this one day, when I need someone strong to beat the bad guy, I think of him, the only other one who hurts for our son like I do.
Instead of my ex, I reach out to a strong mama friend, then my own mama, then the advocates at CHANA. I get support. I don’t know should I go tomorrow. I decide I will go. I will not let The Abuser take anything else away from me. Tomorrow, I will go and I will not make it about this. When someone comments “Oh, he’s here,” I’ll have my pat answer ready. “Today’s not about that. Today’s about the abuse and healing of the black Jew and the brown and yellow and any other color Jew.” Actually, I’ll probably just say, “Yep.”
But today’s today, and I need to rage a tiny bit more. The lawyers cannot do anything. The rabbis cannot do anything. My big strong ex cannot do anything. About my son’s abuse. About racism. But I can do something. I can go in there with my head held high. I can use my voice. YOU can do something. Each individual, as many have, and many will keep doing, can do something. Do something as simple as sitting somewhere else. Do something as simple as saying one or two or a thousand words. (I thought about wearing one of my flashy friend Susan’s headbands and wondered if she had one that said “F- You.”)
Abuse in our community is real. Racism in our community is real. The solutions are complicated.
I dried my eyes after the call and picked up carpool and got my kids a donut and myself some vodka for shabbos (ha!) and walked into our house holding hands with the littlest one, the one this is all about. He looked at the cloudy, gloomy sky, and said, “Mommy, people said after the rain is a rainbow.”
Yes! I hear his sing-song words as prophecy, a reminder from Hashem that He’s still here.
“You’re my rainbow, baby.”