Monday, September 28, 2009

soldiering on

My son, like me, is of a dichotomous mind. In the photo above, he's running to retrieve a discarded grocery bag so we can throw it away. All his idea. In the current moment however, he is downstairs howling because Daddy and Mommy are not capitulating to his begging whining pleadings to help him clean up his room, which consists of picking up tiny trinkets, depositing them in jumbo yogurt containers and shoving the lot in his bottom dresser drawer. We know he is capable of doing this and until he cleans up, no TV.

We went to Valley Forge Saturday. It was a welcome visit after watching John Adams, which I ate up with a wooden spoon. Otherwise, I find little interest in colonial times. Never been a fan of tri-cornered hats. Could that be it?

The little boy in the photo below was supremely pissed off about something that day, which made him look all the cuter in his re-enactment uniform. I couldn't charm the angries out of him and when I asked his name, he grumbled something unintelligible, probably something like, "Fuck off, lady." I admired him for not feeling that he needed to put on a happy face for me or anyone else.

While Hamish spews his fury below me, I made the official announcement that Mommy needs to be alone. Thankfully I have that luxury since Bryan napped while I took the kids to the library. Stella won't have any of it and just said, "Play with me Mommy or I'll smack you." 

I am not fasting today. I am a Hebrew school drop-out. I embrace my Jewish self in some ways, cultural ways mostly. I like kvetching and kvelling and kibbutzing for instance. I went to Jewish sleep-away camp for a gazillion summers growing up, and sang Hebrew songs during weekend services with gusto, like Donny, milk and ginger ale, High, high, pizza pie when I was supposed to be singing David, melech Yisrael, chai chai vekayam which means something Jewishy. What else. I make a mean barbeque brisket, dark chocolate covered matzoh, and I can't get enough chopped liver. But the religious part of my religion never resonated all that deeply with me, the way that Buddhism or Hinduism have, which are religions that attract tons of Jews so I am not alone in this. Maybe it's because my memories of going to temple largely included being hissed at to "sit still and keep your mouth shut!" by my father who took us to gloomy dilapidated synagogues that had the moth-eaten essence of a mean old man who did not care for laughter or children.

I do like the idea of atoning for my sins because it points to mindfulness and humility but seeing as I am conscious of these two attributes every day, I'm not sure why for one thing, we devote one day a year for being self-aware. That just scares me. For another thing, I don't know how fasting will help me be any kinder and lessen the amount of my sins which largely include snapping at people I love. Because when my blood sugar drops, the bitch is in the house. Maybe if I went to synagogue the rabbi would clarify all this for me. 

I will contemplate this more over a nice sandwich. In the meantime, Hamish has finally cleaned up his room, and I continue to work on befriending my inner boy soldier, but it's taking time. I gather that my homespun God will wait. She is patient, and loves laughter and children.


Your Biggest Fan said...

Wow, I love the new steady streams of consciousness. It's a pleasure to check in and see something new! Go baby Go!

How is it that creatures so small can suck the very lives out of big people like us so quickly? Yet, they're so cute and cuddly and when things are going well, it's so immensely satisfying. They are conundrums.

I too atoned today, apologizing silently for all the wrong I've done and all I will do, to my adorable wife and children, subtle or not so. All the quick to anger times, the inconsistent emotional times. We are all deeply flawed, aren't we? If there is a God that made us, we were made flawed, so I can't imagine God judges our wrongs nearly so harshly as we judge our own.

elise said...

Thanks YBF! I am all ferklemt now. sniff. that last paragraph got me. You should definitely comment more. Meanwhile, I did wind up researching Yom Kippur and found this: which says that the book of life closes tonight so it's the last chance to clear our consciouses God throws our sorry asses out on the highway. So getting our names written in the book of life means that we will live to see another year. What's more, and this is the real juicy part, confessing our sins verbally to God is an important part of yom kippur, and baby, who's in the house? er, book. Confession is my middle name. I love feeling validated by a religion I take so little part in. such warmth... shalom dear.

elise said...

PS, we fast to be like the angels in heaven, who don't eat, drink, wash, or wear leather shows apparently.

Amelia Plum said...

The last sentence from your biggest fan is awesome. great post, GREAT picture at the bottom for finishing the post. that little boy having a bad day has a story in him, you just got to mine that treasure. like those other gems you come across in your daily life.

kristi said...

i really appreciate YBF's comment too. and i also think that maybe humans set up these holidays because we are so afraid we are going to forget to do the things we are supposed to do--but i think some people are just wired to meditate on (er, cry out desperately for) grace.

i do think that being a parent definitely ramps up the desperate feelings. and that amped-up need for grace. because parenting is so sacrificial, whether we like it or not. even if we are trying to find our way, be our own people, we still sacrifice so much. and i don't think we can do that very well unless we are confessing, meditating (which i am horrible at), asking for forgiveness.

which means you are doing a great job. we have an angsty baby, too--our 7 yo daughter (oldest) is often very brooding. and i get sassy and offended by it. and i wish i could embrace it more, like it seems like you are doing.

see, i told you. very good mommy.


elise said...

YBF and I thank you kristi and amelia. I like that sacrificial parenting concept. I need to milk that. And I meant SHOES of course, not shows. I hope the angels aren't involved in leather shows. or do I?

Amelia Plum said...

speaking of leather shows... you've got to write about your one night at la nouvelle justine