Gmar Chatimah Tovah

Warning – I am just a gentile who enjoys reading wikipedia, so if I misstate something, send your angry letters to wikipedia, please!

So here goes….I have always had a lot of respect for the deep sense of tradition inherent in Judaism, but I never once thought, hey, they do things better than us, Catholics.  I mean – Christmas vs. Chanukah?  No contest.  Easter vs. Passover?  Easter has chocolate and fuzzy bunnies.  Passover seems like a lot of work and I like bread, although chopped liver on matzohs is pretty good!  Again, easy decision.

But yesterday, I was trying to get my fall Jewish holidays straight and I naively said to my boss, “Wednesday is the sad holiday, right?”  I mean Day of Atonement just sounds sad and I knew there was some fasting involved.  Big bummer, right?

But she said that was a limited view and didn’t take into account the time leading up to Yom Kippur.  Then she said something that wowed me.  I am paraphrasing here, but wikipedia backs me up.  She said that God cannot forgive you for sins you have committed against other people.

Wow!  Think about that.  I know that a lot of religions talk about the importance of forgiveness, but my experience with forgiveness in Catholicism (all 21 years of Catholic schooling) has always focused on confessing my sins to some priest and asking God for forgiveness.

I think in like 2nd grade they start shuttling us into church to tell a priest about everything we did wrong and to ask for forgiveness. I never really understood this.  If I had really done something I felt bad about, what good was telling this guy?  Why couldn’t I talk to God directly?  How was praying meant to relieve my guilt?  And let’s face it, when I was 7, I had nothing to feel guilty about.  I trotted in each time with the same tired list of “sins” (I talked back, I was mean, etc.) – just enough sins to sound real, but not enough to make me sound too bad.  Even Last Rites makes it seem like you can be a dick your whole life, end up on your death bed and go “oh shit, now I am really sorry” and be okay in the end.

It makes so much more sense to focus on the people you wronged.  To sincerely go to them and try to make things right – three times, no less!  A paltry mumbled sorry or talking to some priest is not going to cut it.  And if you kill someone, you can never be forgiven, because they are no longer alive to forgive you.

I can’t help but wonder if more religions held this belief, would the world be different?  Would there be less religious terrorism?  Religious wars?  In this sense, Judaism definitely got it right!

The struggles of adulthood….

I think I am a teenager stuck in a mommy’s body.

You know how teenagers are supposed to have messy rooms with mold growing on a stack of dirty dishes in their bedroom?  They are supposed to have wrinkled clothes and an overflowing laundry basket.

Mommies are not supposed to be that way (unless the motherhood and teenage years overlap I guess!).  But here I am, a mother in her mid-thirties, and I struggle to not act like a teenager.

I wait until my desk is literally a pile of who knows what to clean it.  For weeks, months even, I grit my teeth and push aside piles of crap so I can open my printer drawer just enough to jam some paper in.  I think how annoying all the mess is, but do I clean it?  Nope.  I just get my shit printed, push the garbage back so it doesn’t topple over and add to the floor mess and go about my day.

I just cleaned my desk.  It is empty of crap, I have a decorative vase, and some coasters sitting happily upon it because while I don’t like the mess, the clean open space makes me uncomfortable.

Want to take bets on how long it will take me to return to the pile of crap stage?  I say it will return to its natural state by October 31st.  I can only keep up the appearances of adulthood for so long before the sullen teenager returns.

When is this magical mother halo going to kick in?  Maybe when I am in my 40s…or maybe I am cursed (or blessed) with forever being an inner teenager.

A study in opposites

Both of my kids have now survived their first day of school and it clearly emphasized how different my son and daughter are.

For weeks beforehand:

HE cried about his impending kindergarten career, saying he was not ready and he wasn’t going to go!

SHE eagerly anticipated the start of the school year, talking about all the friends she would play with.

On the first day of school:

HE threw a giant shit fit starting in the car on the way to school that got worse and worse as my husband dragged him to the door and threw him in.  (Luckily, each day the drop-off has gotten less and less painful.  Perhaps, tomorrow he will even go inside willingly!)

SHE chose an outfit and accessories, woke up early and made me leave the house 20 minutes early because she was so excited.

When the first day was over:

HE came out smiling but denied that he had a good day.  He didn’t do anything, learn anything or play with anything.  He hated kindergarten!  (But he had no actual complaints, so I called it a good first day.)

SHE came out smiling and laughing and didn’t want to leave.  She said she spent her one hour of school “making art”.  And for important clarification purposes, you cannot refer to her art as a drawing.  IT IS ART!

Movie, muffin meal and mayhem!

This morning I started to think about dinner.  I had ground sirloin and a broken promise being pointed out to me.  My son reminded me that I had promised to make banana muffins for breakfast.  Since I slept until 10am (after a late night at the US Open) and the kids had already eaten, the breakfast ship had sailed.

So I decided dinner would be made in muffin tins!  I thought it was a strange idea, but as I googled for recipes, I learned that Muffin Tin Mondays was something of a blogging phenomenon.  Since my idea was no longer original, I thought I would beat it with alliteration (you know how I feel about alliteration).  I spent literally minutes wracking my brain for M words that I could use to write this entire blog post.  I was going to consult a thesaurus.  Then I thought, “meh!”  The title was enough.  So my laziness has saved you from reading an entire blog post composed of M words.

At any rate, I thought I would use the M theme to help Danny learn more about his letters in preparation for kindergarten in a day and a half!  As I talked to him about what we would do tonight – eat meatloaf, mac and cheese and muffins, drink milk and watch a movie, Matilda – I asked him what letter all these things started with.  He proceeded to name every letter in the alphabet (other than M of course) and some words, e.g., they all start with Samantha!

When I told him to be serious, because people were watching, for God’s sake, he came out with this gem – I am not a player!  I’m a laugher and joker.  I decided to leave well enough alone and not ask for clarification.

Our muffin meal consisted of meatloaf, mini mac and cheese pies and munchies (which were carrots in a muffin tin).  I know, that’s kinda cheating, but I couldn’t think of a veggie or fruit that both started with an M and was something the kids would consider edible.  And then we made the promised banana muffins.

The kids pitched and got their hands dirty and the kitchen too, which pleased the dog, because she took it upon herself to make sure the floor was clean.

When I tried to take this picture, I had to fight the kids, because they kept sneaking in and stealing carrots. 

I said “Can’t you wait?” and Danny said “yeah, we like carrots so much, we can’t wait for dessert!”  Again, I ask, “Carrots?  Dessert?  Whose kids are these and what planet are they from?” but I digress or meander (there’s an M word for you!)

Then we sat down to watch Matilda, and I soon realized that their mother is a moron.  Matilda might possibly be the worst movie you could show a kid who is terrified of his first day of school.  (Maybe Toy Soldiers would have been worse.  No one got shot in the chest in this one, but still).  So we quickly changed the movie before any of the children ended up in the “chokey” and went through a series of seemingly child-friendly netflix offerings before settling on a Turtle’s Tale, which did not start with an M but did use alliteration so I shall call it a win.  And after our initial failings, I referenced commonsensemedia.org to ensure that there was nothing remotely offensive in this movie, other than Kathy Griffin’s voice, of course.

As an alliterative aside, earlier today Danny said he and Samantha were pretending to punch each other’s penises.  I was so proud of his alliteration that I didn’t bother telling him (again) that Samantha was sans penis.

I vaguely remember this blog post was meant to have a point that I somehow lost, but oh well, that ship has also sailed.  So in summary, we loved our muffin meal and I love alliteration!  Now I just need to decide if I am gong to finish off mostly M night with a milkshake, a malbec or a margarita minus the mix.