The official kick-off of summer has begun in my house. The Jen Slipakoff way. Which is to spend the first few days of summer vacation doing absolutely nothing. And I do mean nothing. Staying in pajamas all day. Eating breakfast late. Eating lunch late. Improvising on dinner. The last two days have been pretty much just that. A whole lot of nothing. Chore list is growing, laundry pile is expanding, food in fridge is diminishing...and still, we're doing nothing. And it is good.
Friday night, Ethan and I shared a special evening. My neighbor (who happens to be Ethan & Eli's beloved teenage sitter) invited us to her dance recital. I took just Ethan and we had a great night. First, Ethan was beyond excited to see Kimberly. He was just adorable sitting literally on the edge of his sit panning the stage for her. Secondly, the production itself was extraordinarily impressive. The studio is called Praise Him With Dance so naturally there was a religious slant to the production. But it was so amazingly well done...very dramatic, very beautiful, very powerful (and all this coming from a Jew!). And of course, if you follow my blog, you know about my affinity for Christian rock. I've driven past this studio hundreds of times and never realized what a special place it was. At the end of the recital, they showed a photo slide show of photos taken over the years. There were several photos of the dancers, most of them children and teens, in full-costume, back stage before a show, hands joined and heads bowed in prayer. Those photos were beautiful. And spoke such a powerful message. During the recital itself, there were several young women who caught my attention. The looks on their faces as they danced to the music, it was as if they were in worship. And I guess, technically, they were. And their expressions...so content, so joyful..they looked...enraptured. Truly. Even though I don't share their faith, it was moving for me to see.
I never gave much though to the concept of combining an activity you love with your faith, but seeing the recital on Friday was proof positive for me how fulfilling and significant it can be. And I thought about the recital today, as I sat with women from my own faith, from my synagogue, my community, my fellowship. The new officers for our synagogue's sisterhood were installed today, I as one of the co-presidents (along with my dear friend, Johanna, who I have admired greatly for a long while and am thrilled to be working with). I thought about those girls who at a young age seem to already know what it is taking me almost 32 years to learn. And I thought, as were listening to the installation ceremony, that though we may not have spent the morning dancing or in worship, that we were still doing G-d's work, that we were still strengthening our bond with Him. That we were still coming together, as a community, to strengthen our ties to one another, and through this opportunity to strengthen and serve our community and shul, we are serving G-d.
The main difference between this morning's experience and the experience I shared with Ethan on Friday night was that I did not have to worry this morning about Ethan disrupting everyone around him with his poignant commentary. During each break between numbers when the lights went down, the stage went dark and the audience sat in silence, Ethan offered up a comment for all to hear.
Between the first and second number, he proclaimed: "All I can see are exits!!".
During the second and third number he announced: "I'm bored!".
During the third and fourth number he asked if "Miss Kimberly" was ever going to "show up on stage".
And finally, during the fourth and fifth number he shouted, "I AM shushing!!!!".
He did much better after intermission, though after our neighbor gave him a peppermint lifesaver he informed the entire audience that his "cheeks hurt" and he "couldn't keep holding them out during the whole show."
My life is never boring.