Archive for September, 2010

High Holidays, Ironic

September 28, 2010

Stop the (Vacation) Madness

Scene:  Supermarket self-checkout, last year, at this time.  I have just made that awkward eye contact with a stranger.  Not just any stranger – someone with whom I share some easily identifiable common bond that would seem to justify some kind of verbal acknowledgment.  In this case, last-minute shopping for a holiday.

Me:  You know, for the life of me, I can’t figure out why they call it MarCheshvan.* I can’t wait till this month is over.

Him:  (completely incredulous) Really?  How can you not like the holidays?

And THAT is when it occurred to me that he’s not the one cooking for three days, and isn’t being driven nutso by the kids who don’t have school.   ‘Cause he certainly seemed sober at the time, so there’s no other logical explanation.

* Rosh HaShannah, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot (11 days total)  all fall in the month of Tishrei.  The next month (Cheshvan) is called ‘bitter’ because it has no festivals.

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Yom Kippur Redux

We did a few things differently this year.  First, we went to a smaller minyan. Without a High Holiday Appeal, or addresses by the various presidents of the various sub-organizations, there were no distractions and the day didn’t drag.  I actually got a chance to pray in a more meaningful way, which is always a plus on what is, after all, the holiest day of the year.

Second, I really tried hard to prep for the fasting part.  This meant eating and drinking the right things the week before.  I also, in a fit of genius, put out a plethora of healthy, non-perishable snacks, paper plates, napkins, and juice boxes on the kitchen table, plus a few spill-proof cups of milk in the fridge.  I imparted a few, simple, guidelines (the snacks had to last the day, so don’t eat it all at once; unless it involved the bathroom or the hospital, neither I nor LM was to be woken) and let them have at it.

I won’t lie, there was a good amount of cleaning up after the fact (to be fair, I probably could have mitigated some of it when I heard one of them mention a food fight, but we’re talking about getting through the day, folks).  But I did get some sleep, and for a change, I wasn’t camped out in the bathroom at hour 23.  (Have I mentioned that I don’t fast well for all that long?).  In fact, I felt so together after feeding the kids dinner that I decided we could go to Nilah (the final service ending Yom Kippur) around the corner (at our regular place).

I didn’t want to push it, though.  I wasn’t planning on taking them out more than an hour before the end of the fast.  I hadn’t eaten, the car was at the other synagogue so I would have to walk them back in the dark, and there’s really a limit to how much toddler/child play I can handle on a Day Without Coffee.  And I was pretty sure that I would have to spend most of that time chasing them down.

So, given that I was not anticipating actually PRAYING on this particular foray, I decided it might be a good idea to say the confessional prayer on my own, at home, right before we left.  The boys were dressed, the girl was decked out in PJs, shoes were located, and all were instructed to wait in the foyer for few minutes while I took a minute.

So there I was, praying, when it happened.  The kids unlocked the front door (illegal activity A) and then started ringing the doorbell (illegal Activity B).  LM was with them, and of course my first thought was of the little one wandering out of house, and did I mention I hadn’t had coffee in a really long while?  And that coffee and sanity are directly correlated in my house?

The irony is not lost on me, people, that I had to interrupt apologizing for the sin I have sinned through harsh speech to yell at my children.

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