Saturday night was one of those nights that I’ll look back on, years from now, and get a little weepy because it was just that perfect.

Actually, this whole weekend was kind of perfect.

We’ve always had Shabbat dinners with Lilli and Sarah.  And they’re EVENTS.  I make a big dinner, with chicken and a bunch of sides, and we all sit around the table together.  They’ve become the cornerstone of our week – it’s the one night that Marc is home early enough for dinner, generally the one night that Lill and Sarah are both here.  For the past year, it’s been the one meal that Sam eats with the family.

But this past Friday, the girls weren’t coming.  Lilli had something to do, a weekend thing with USY, and Sarah had competition all weekend.  This doesn’t happen all that often, and usually we compensate for the no girls situation by going out to dinner instead.  In light of the fact that Lilli will be off to college this fall, and Sarah is not as consistent about coming as Lilli is… I wanted to establish Shabbat dinner as special with just us – even if Lilli and Sarah aren’t there.  We want them there, all the time, but I need for it to be okay if they aren’t.

To my surprise… it was.  The table was smaller, but other than that, it felt just like regular Shabbat dinner.  A little quieter, but still lovely.  We had dinner ready on time, everyone sat at the table, and had a really nice dinner.  Then Sam curled up on the couch with the dog, Julie got out her dollhouses and set them up, Marc and Jessie started arguing about the wage gap and paid family leave, and I sat at the end of the table, alternating between talking to the little kids and siding with Marc or Jessie, depending on which one I agreed with at the moment.

Saturday, I went to work, which is not my favorite – because working on Saturday isn’t fun.  But it is a lot better than working during the week, because Jessie stays home with Sam and Julie and Marc go to synagogue, and I got home around 3:00.  I cleaned up the house, we ordered pizza for dinner, and again SAT AROUND THE TABLE AND ATE TOGETHER.   We played this ridiculous board game that only Marc understood, so he played for everyone while we all hung out and laughed together.  It was awesome.  Nobody argued, nobody fought, Sam was actively participating (nobody knew how to play, so his visual issues didn’t factor in at all).


I like my family.

I know that seems obvious – but I love that we can get trapped in the house, no way out, and there’s no place I’d rather be.  There’s two parents here, so if the kids start to get crazy, we can divide and conquer.  The kids are, in and of themselves, old enough to amuse themselves independently so that Marc can chill out and read his economics articles, I can read a novel or two, I made a huge chicken soup that Marc and Jessie both loved.

I don’t take this for granted – the idea that the five of us are a family.  We missed having Lilli and Sarah here, and it would have been just as good, but different if they were here.  But the five of us click together, in a way that I’ve never really experienced before and I love it.  It’s just peaceful and relaxed and lovely.



Why don’t they get along?

I don’t remember fighting with my sister.  I just don’t.  What I do distinctly remember is my mother saying that she never fought with her siblings the way that my siblings and I fought – and hating it.  So I won’t say that to my girls.

But I will admit that the constant and unending sibling rivalry between these two girls – who are basically mirror images of each other – physically, emotionally and spiritually, separated by seven years – is exhausting.  They both feel like they are the victim, that I favor the other one, that they are completely innocent and the other one is totally wrong, all the live long day.

And then it’ll flip, and they’ll remember that they like each other, and Jessie will do something so sweet for Julie, or Julie will do something adorable for Jessie – and it’ll be blissful.  For five minutes.

Sam stays mostly out of the loop.  In part because he spends a lot of time in his bedroom, and in part because he doesn’t really compete with them.  He’s the boy – he’s grubby and usually in his underwear, he doesn’t share toys or watch the same shows, or like the same things..  He doesn’t always get along with them, but mostly he just ignores them.  Or they ignore him.  He’s close with both of them, in some ways.  Jessie tends to go in and hang out on his bed, while he’s at his desk, and Julie still idolizes him… but there’s more of a distance there now.