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Mar 07


Shabbat isn’t always the easiest of days for me.  By the time Friday comes, I’m usually pretty worn out.  Marc gets up at five most mornings, and I’m up along with him.  The week is busy and chaotic – fun and filled with activities, but also messy and stressful and exhausting at times.  Some Fridays, I’m on the ball, so to speak, and manage to get challah made, chicken breaded and baked, and a lovely table set.  Some Fridays, I stagger to the finish line, and dinner is a haphazard mess.

Last night was one of those nights.  It had been a crazy kind of week.  I was babysitting a little guy all week long, he’s eighteen months old, and not at all enchanted with the idea of hanging with me instead of his parents or grandparents.  In fact, the only thing worse than being with me was being without me – he cried whenever I went more than two or three feet away from him.  He does love being in the car, which works well for me, because there are a couple of afternoons when I get in the car at two and don’t get home until five thirty or six. 

Once a month, my synagogue does a family service at five thirty on Fridays.  On those Fridays, I never manage to pull off Shabbat dinner.  Marc goes to the gym three days a week, and goes early on Friday so that he’s home for Shabbat dinner.  We normally get Lilli and Sarah for the night, sometimes the in-laws come over.  Last night, we had Lilli here and our friend Mike – and dinner was… okay.  But the night itself was kind of lovely.  Sammy was in his room, wrapped up in minecraft videos and dismantling his furniture (he likes to take the mattress off the boxspring, and then set up a little bed under the mattress).  Which is odd, but keeps him happy.  The girls and I were in the living room.  All curled up, draped over the couches and snuggled up under blankets.  Julie was bouncing on Lilli, Lilli was relating this long involved movie plotline to me, Jessie was snuggled up next to me reading.  Marc and Mike were in the kitchen, deep frying French fries and making chicken and veggies. 

This morning, Sammy was up at five.  He tried to be quiet, but I heard him getting breakfast.  So I got up after him, did a load of dishes, tossed in some laundry.  Made the coffee, kissed the boy and did some work on an article I’m trying to write about why my kids don’t go to religious school.  Then it occured to me that it was barely seven o’clock, and why not go out for breakfast with the Boy?  Of course, in the process of getting ready and whispering to Marc that we were going out, I woke up Julie and had to bring her along.   We brought back breakfast for Jessie and spent the morning all cuddled up in the living room, talking and reading and debating.  We’re going to go to services this morning, but neither kid wanted to go to religious school..  Again.  And it’s Shabbat.  So I’m not going to fight them on it, we’re going to go to the synagogue together, and spend the rest of the afternoon together, and then we’ll hit the Purim party tonight. 

Because Shabbat might not always look the way it’s “supposed to,” but the spirit of it is one that I try to accomplish.  We might not always get the table set, with candles burning and covered challah, but we do get family together and connect.  We might not get to religious school, but we talk about God and we spend time with our religious community.  And there may be a whole lot of squabbling and bickering, but there’s some honest to goodness fun and love and family connection there too – and that’s really what I’m going for anyway.

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