It felt like a very long Tishrei. Everything was long: synagogue services, the kids’ vacation from school, periods of floundering while thinking about how much work/chores/tasks I had to do and how little time I actually had to complete them.
But I got through it.
This was the first time in about a gazillion years that I spent big blocks of time in synagogue. The kids can be trusted to play in a nearby park; they stopped in, hot and sweaty, for snacks and drinks and maybe 5 minutes of looking in a prayerbook (we take what we can get). Although I still–18 years in!–feel really unfamiliar with the “high holiday” liturgy, the baalei tefilah (what’s a good translation of this? prayer leaders?) at our shul are quite good. There is a lot of singing, people are generally relaxed. So while it was serious, it wasn’t stern. If that makes sense.
I fasted well on Yom Kippur, which made up for last year’s 18 hour migraine from hell. Amazing how that one little factor can improve your whole…outlook.
From there, it was kind of sloggy. A ton of errands and things to do for Sukkot, sleepover company (which was nice, just requires a lot of planning), and children who sometimes get along and sometimes don’t. I came down with a cold–not a terrible one that required oodles of Kleenex, just one that sat in my throat, sinuses, and chest for a while and made me feel like crap when I attempted to exert myself. So no big trips for us, just a lot of going to the pool.
Luckily, the hot weather justified the many trips to the pool.
(I am ready for winter! Any time now!)
I continued with my tradition of using Isru Chag (the day after Pesach, Shavuot, and Sukkot) as a super-fun, out of the house day with the kids. Most people are back to work, leaving attractions that are packed during the holidays nearly empty. Yay for WAH-freelancing!
We joined forces with the big kids from Aliyah by Accident and went to the Clore Garden of Science (part of the Weizmann Institute). Lots of experiential things for the kids to touch and watch and play with.
Not sure how much they got in terms of the science, since nobody actually wanted to read or listen to the explanations, but it felt like we were contributing to their education. Good mothering, right there! Awesome!
Part two of the Day of Fun was the Palmachim Beach. I had been promising the beach for weeks, but it got subsumed by all the pre-chag/mid-chag tasks. Even our annual “Tashlich at the Beach” was reduced to, I kid you not, standing on the median across from the Tel Aviv boardwalk on Hoshana Rabba.
Once we finally got changed and down to the water (lunch first…I mean, priorities!), I felt like an idiot. I love the beach. The sound of the waves. The feel of the sand. Water temps were perfect; all that summer sun stored up!
Watching the kids be so happy by moving heaps of sand from one place to another place. Why hadn’t we come weeks before?
But I let it go. Bygones.
Live in the present. Sit in the sun. Make a castle. (Admittedly, I had forgotten a book. Also sand toys. Somehow this only bothered my kids for three seconds.)
(What I made. Actually, what I made was simpler; AM decided to, um, edit my work.)
I worried that a day in the sun and salt air wouldn’t have the same effect on my kids that it used to. They’re bigger now, so perhaps they wouldn’t collapse in a heap at the end of the day. (Which is partially the purpose of the Isru Chag Day of Fun–to correct the sleeping schedules back to school-appropriate ones.)
I shouldn’t have been concerned.
And now we’re back to regular life. I just really should go to the beach more often. It’s a tiny patch of paradise.