I like the Jewish holidays. I especially like the fall Jewish holidays, because they’re the ones that I can celebrate just as a regular Jewish person. There’s no conflict with Christmas, like there is in December and Hanukkah. There’s no stress over whether or not I can give the kids cereal or pasta, like there is at Passover. Rosh Hashana, Yom Kippur, and Sukkot and Simchat Torah – those are much more accessible for me.
Rosh Hashana is the New Year – and I was good with the New Year celebration. In theory, anyway. I like a new year. The conflict this year was that Sammy didn’t want to go. I mean, Sam doesn’t often want to do much of anything that has to do with the synagogue this year, and family parties are challenging. Not impossible, but hard. But I have three kids, not two – and celebrating the holidays with one third less children was really hard this year. I just missed him. He was home, perfectly content, playing video games and hanging with the dog – and bringing him would have been really hard for him. But I was miserable and sad without him – so the day wasn’t all that much fun for me.
The thing with Yom Kippur – it’s a little more weighted. Yom Kippur is the day when you reflect and pray and the myth is that God seals your name in the Book of Life, decides who will live and who will die. Who will suffer and who will have an easy breezy sort of year. You see my problem? I refuse to believe in that sort of diety – the one who decided on a September day last year to make last year a living hell for my boy. And the thought of apologizing for my sins, the idea of reflecting on what I did and how I could have done better – it just seemed… wrong, on so many levels. In terms of my own mental health – the last thing I want to do is look back and wonder what I could have done better or differently. There’s so much guilt there all the time, just under the surface, and I deal with it. I’m not going to deliberately go down that road. I told Marc that I was unilaterally sorry for anything I had done to hurt him, and that I unilaterally forgave him for anything – but also that we had survived the year. We got thru it, with our marriage, our kids, our finances, our mental health basically intact – and any harm incurred during the process…. well, we did our best. And sometimes, when the chips are down, and you’re in and out of the hospital and your son is wishing he was dead… you do your best, and if you’re still standing on the end, you count it as a win and move on.
It wasn’t a great year for the fall Jewish holidays for me.