Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I still have yet to teach Ethan to tie his shoes (remember this debacle?).  This is mortifying.  So, in effort to teach him this important, yet elusive, skill, I bought him a book that shows the step by step instructions on tying shoes and includes red and blue laces which, theoretically at least, should make the tying easier.

I left the book on the table and Ethan picked it up and began reading.  I could hear his sweet, little voice reading the words as he turned each page. Then I heard his voice take an irritated tone as he proclaimed, "Jesus, shoes are always untied!!!".

I was horrified.

I ran over to Ethan and demanded to know why he would think it was okay to say that.

He looked at me steadily and said, "I said that because that's what the book said," and proceeded to point to the sentence he'd just read.

I peered down at the page he was holding open for me and read "Jesse's shoes are always untied."

I haven't stopped laughing.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Sunday mornings aren't exactly for relaxing in our household.  By 8 a.m., Ethan and I are typically already up, dressed and on the road, to drive across town so he can attend his weekly religious school class at our synagogue.  The first two years of this have run relatively smoothly, with Ethan obediently and without complaint, hopping into the car, satisfied with attending his three hour class and with the 45 minute drive there and back.

This year has been a different story.  Each Sunday morning is greeted with groans, complaints and questions about the necessity of these classes.  But this has all been manageable and fairly easily diffused with the purchase of chocolate milk and donuts to enjoy during the car ride.  Until this morning.  Until Ethan told me that not only did he not feel Jewish, but that he did not want to be Jewish and that he did not see anything about him that was Jewish.  Ouch.  Seriously, ouch.

I was, quite literally, speechless.  Mostly because all of what he said was completely true.  And all my (and Adam's) fault.  It has been obvious to me over the past year or so, that our Jewish practice has taken a backseat to the rest of our life, and I, knowingly, brushed the fact that it bothered me aside.  We used to enjoy Shabbat dinners (admittedly, only semi regularly) as a family, but more often than not, we attended Shul most Saturdays.  But that stopped and somehow, I let the rest of our life get in the way.  Between Cub Scouts, soccer practice, soccer games and ironically, religious school, time seemed to become such a precious commodity that I allowed all the places where I wanted to fit things in to become full with other things.

Some of those things I can control, and to be fair to myself, some I just can't.  And sometimes, I just have to prioritize to the best of my ability.  Ethan's soccer team had games on Saturday mornings, during services.  Ethan loves soccer, his coach and his team and it wasn't something I was prepared to ask him to give up.  But Friday nights are usually free and I suppose we could've been lighting the Shabbat candles and sharing challah together.  While I spend countless hours volunteering my time by serving my synagogue (and find it very rewarding), I see that it's not touching the rest of my family the way it's touching me.

Adam and I have had many conversations where we have agreed to refocus ourselves on living Jewishly.  And we have seriously fallen short.  And it never seemed to have a negative effect on our life.  Until today.  By Ethan saying that he didn't feel Jewish and didn't want to be Jewish, he unknowingly laid down the gauntlet.  This is something I must try to change.  It's not enough to learn about being Jewish, we have to live it.  And regrettably, we haven't been.

I also understand that as a seven-year-old, Ethan isn't able to grasp the importance of what he's learning in his classes right now.  But I also understand I can't ask him to try his best if Adam and I aren't trying our best.  I can't ask him to be happy about giving up his Sunday mornings to participate in Jewish life if Adam and I aren't fully participating in Jewish life.  (There seems to be nothing more shameful - and nothing that results in faster action - than having your child point out your flaws...and being spot on.)

A Jewish friend of mine once said that there is nothing convenient about being Jewish.  And she's right.  There isn't.  But my hope is that one day, Ethan won't see being Jewish as an inconvenience, but rather as something that brings him peace and happiness.  But it starts at home.  And it starts today.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I've fallen and I can't get up.
Actually, I can now, thanks to my beloved chiropractor.

I fell down the stairs last week.
I wasn't even walking down them,
but rather, standing on them.
I was standing on one of the steps toward the bottom
and I went from standing on the step
to finding myself on my bum on the floor.

Initially, my back and neck hurt a little.
And now my back hurts more than a little.
More than a lot, actually.

I don't like to complain about health stuff,
but this kind of pain should only occur
if you get a sweet, tiny baby at the end of it.
Instead, I have this G-d awful medicine
that takes the pain away but makes my stomach wonky.
And get this...it makes me really, super itchy and it makes my eyes feel all burny.
(I believe "burny" is the official medical term for it.)

But, thanks to my magical chiropractor, I can lay off the meds tonight
and perhaps even get away with going to bed with just a few Motrin.

In the meantime, I have doctor's orders to avoid 
any and all vacuuming, sweeping and laundry basket carrying.
I might have to fall down the stairs more often.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Our summer adventure has come and gone
and our "fall" schedule is in full swing.
(Not sure I will ever get used to our "fall"
starting in August
down here in the South.)

Ethan started at a new school this year
and it's a bit of a drive for us
(his old school was less than a mile from our house)
so we leave pretty early in the morning.
After leaving the house before 7 a.m. 
every day for the past two weeks,
I have made a startling discovery.
I like mornings.
I repeat: I like mornings.
Coming from me, this is practically earth shattering news.
Historically, I have been a night owl
but there is something about the morning that I am growing to love...
The dew, the cool, foggy air, the pre-stirring quiet...
Being out and about before everyone else
makes me feel like I have a sweet little secret.

As much as my mind loves mornings now,
my body hasn't quite caught up
so there's still a bit of a mad rush to get out of the house on time
since I hit the snooze button four times.

To stave off craziness in the pre-dawn hours,
I prepare as much as possible the night before.
I pack the boys lunches/snacks, 
I put their bags on their hooks by the door,
I pack up breakfast so they can eat it 
during the 20 minute car ride.
I even put two teaspoons of sugar in my travel coffee mug
and put it under my coffeemaker.

I have to admit, gathering up the boys' things
to prepare them for their day is one of my favorite parts
of being a mom.
I love making sure they have what they need,
love seeing their treats packed neatly in their lunch boxes,
thinking of them thinking of me at snack time
while they munch on their animal crackers.

It kind of makes me wish I had a lunchbox of my own!