We had to shift things around a little this year. With both Lilli and Sarah off at college, suddenly our Shabbats seemed empty. Marc’s job seemed to go later and later, and it seemed like a lot of work and not very much fun at all. Jessie’s got misophonia, so sitting around the table listening to everyone eat makes her crazy, and Sam’s prone to hanging with us for a half hour or so, eating bread and then beating a quick retreat to his bedroom. Which leaves Marc, Julie and I staring at each other, and then a giant pile of dishes for me to do on Saturday.
We started a new tradition a few months ago – I call it “take out Shabbat.” It’s probably a wash, cost wise, but saves me a ton of time. I let the kids order from wherever, and then swoop through Worcester, picking it all up. Then we hang out in the living room, I read, the girls watch movies and Sam usually plays on his iPad. Marc hangs out in the dining room, alternately listening to music or catching up on work. It’s still family time, it’s still special… it’s just different. I’m sure it’ll change again in a few years when Jessie goes off to college. And it’ll change again if anyone moves back home after college, or shift into something else.
But there are a few times a year, during the school year, when the girls come home, and we’re able to have the kind of Shabbat dinner we’ve had for years. And it just occurred to me that I have NO idea where the candleholders are.
I don’t actually have any angst. Yet. I’ve mostly decided to avoid any of the December Dilemma crap that abounds this time of year – and it’s not easy. I don’t like most of my community in December, as far as I can tell, I’m the only person who enthusiastically celebrates Christmas as a Jewish woman – and I’m simultaneously angering the Jews and the Christians. I’m either doing it too much, or not doing it enough or doing it for the wrong reasons. And the reality is that I’m chugging along, without enough money or time or enthusiasm, and mostly just hanging in, waiting for spring.
What I do have is a lot of general irritation. Pretty much everyone is at the end of their ropes, emotionally. Sam has taken to gleefully counting down the days to Christmas, which I’m trying hard to not take as a personal attack because I haven’t started shopping yet. Jessie applied to a five week fellowship in Israel for the summer, and in the back of my mind, I’m already missing her. Julie announced that she might be interested in going to Camp Ramah this summer, which makes me both delighted and horrified. The idea of shipping my by then 17 year old off for most of the summer is rough enough, the thought of not having my baby around all summer is an anathema for me.
Plus, there’s all this snow. Everything is wet and cold, and I miss being barefoot.
This will be the one known as the holiday where everyone drank too much.
I don’t drink, as a rule. In part because I really don’t like the taste of alcohol, in part because I think I owe my kids a functional parent at all times, and in part because I’ve got a family history of alcoholism, I just don’t really ever drink. But the holiday was so stress-filled and emotionally laden, it was a nice coping mechanism. Not one I plan on utilizing more than once a year, but upon reaching the point where I was going to get super irritable and fight with someone, I chose to down a mimosa like it was medicine and giggle my way thru the tail end of Thanksgiving prep.
Marc also chose this holiday to drink liberally. He also doesn’t drink as a rule, due mainly to the fact that I really, really hate it when he drinks at home. So I can’t remember the last time I saw him actually intoxicated – but he took the mantra of “lubricate the cook” very seriously this year. But still managed to pull off an incredibly well cooked dinner, the turkey was amazing, everything was wonderfully cooked, and well… at least it makes for a good story. Eventually. I hope.
This also marks our last Thanksgiving with Glennys while she’s in high school. She’s been coming down every year since she moved up to North Conway, and I’m already missing her. Julie got her new glasses – and she looks so adorable all the time I can’t stop complimenting her. Jessie’s been sick with a migraine, and Sam’s been throwing up off and on since Thursday morning. Oh – and we wrapped up the weekend with the first official snowstorm of the season – a foot of snow is expected, and the girls already have tomorrow cancelled. Honestly, with a foot of snow, sleet and icy rain, followed by more snow Monday night, I’m assuming that Tuesday is a no-go as well.