The other day my husband and I were out shopping for shoes for him. Now, this is a very rare situation, because 1. he never goes shopping, especially not for himself 2. we never go shopping together! Who has time for that sort of thing other than newlyweds and the elderly?
Last week my family and I were driving from… you guessed it… Monsey, New York, back home to Cleveland. Yes, we do this trip a lot, since many of our relatives live on the east coast and we are big road trippers when it comes to family simchas. My nephew’s bar mitzvah was on Tuesday evening, and then, on Wednesday, we traveled back — with a minor detour, literally ten minutes off the I-80, in a town called Mt. Bethel, Pennsylvania.
Who will be the Zaidys of our children?
There is a visceral correlation between the seasons of the year and the seasons of the Jewish calendar.
Lighting Chanukah candles is in the frost and ice, stamping the snow off your boots as you blow into the warm home of wherever your Chanukah party is. You wipe the fog off your glasses, blow your nose, shrug off your coat and help yourself to the doughnuts and latkes. The small, hot candles burn brightly at the darkest time of year, reminding us to shine our own lights when everything seems black.
I write these words to you from Kalahari where I am spending two days and a night with my daughters. The reason I am here is that one of them is on winter vacation (they don’t get a break in December but rather they do it now instead), and the other one used the opportunity to put herself on vacation. A perk of working for your parents, I suppose.
It’s the end of an era.
Last week I got home from Monsey, NY where I was celebrating the shiva of my dear grandmother, Mrs. Neche Heimowitz, of blessed memory. I say “celebrating” mindfully — it was not a sad shiva but rather an inspirational one, one where we all got to celebrate the woman who was my grandmother, or “Bobby Heimowitz,” as she was lovingly known. (We did used to call her “Bobby Bronx” to distinguish from our other grandmother, “Bobby Queens,” but then the one set of grandparents moved from the Bronx to Monsey and the other one moved from Queens to Brooklyn, so we had to revert to last names which were hopefully less temporary.)
This week I was really struggling with a parenting issue, and I found myself feeling stressed and angry. I was mostly OK with how I had handled the situation, but not completely, and I was feeling all kinds of other things, including but not limited to: fear, fury, worry, shame, regret, blame, frustration, annoyance, and irritation. In case you think that many of these are similar, they are not. Each is at a slightly different point on the anger spectrum and each is very special to me and has its place in the repertoire of my emotional cholent.
Our daughter’s wedding was fast approaching on Tuesday, December 28th, and Omicron was proving to be the black shadow that cast a cloud on the whole thing. One by one, friends and relatives messaged us that they could not come, due to illness or fear of illness. Plus, we had been planning an outdoor chuppah, and the weather forecast was calling for 100% chance of rain, all day. You don’t see a bold prediction like that too often. I completely understood all of it, but was feeling terribly disappointed.