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Grace

The twins are getting their B’nai Mitzvah date soon.  They’ll have their Bar Mitzvah and Bat Mitzvah together, which is pluralized to B’nai Mitzvah.  Our shul allows the parents to have some input on the date as long as it falls within some guidelines, so we picked a bunch of days that had emotional significance.  Or really, not the date itself but more the section of the Torah that will be read on that date.  We chose moments from the Torah that we thought tied in to who they are and avoided any mention of the matriarch’s wonky uteruses.

There are two ways to look at this.  One is with mind-blowing but ultimately ecstatic wonder: “How could it be that we finally reached this point!  What a wonderful thing to now have B’nai Mitzvah-aged kids!”  The other is with mind-blowing but ultimately morbid wonder: “How could it be that we’re this old?  That they’re this old?  Time is rushing by too quickly, and there is no way to slow it down.”  It’s probably not a surprise that I fit more in the latter category, though I’m busying myself so it appears more like the former one.  I’ll be the one helping them learn their Torah portion and the requisite prayers, partly for their sake and partly to keep myself focused vs. wallowing in that morbidness.

*******

I think the same thing every Thanksgiving.  Really, every holiday, but I’m listing Thanksgiving because today is Thanksgiving.  I’ll think to myself, “well, Mel, you probably only have 40 more Thanksgivings.  That’s if you’re lucky and live that long.  Maybe you only have 20 left.  Or 10.  Or… gulp… 1.”  Even 40 itself doesn’t sound like a big number.  Maybe I’m just greedy, but 40 M&Ms?  That’s not a lot of M&Ms.  40 pennies?  What can you buy with that?  I know how fast a year goes.  40 doesn’t sound like a lot.

I go through stages where I am aging gracefully and realistically.  But right now I’m in that valley between those stages where I devolve into anxiety about growing old.  About everyone I love growing old, too.

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It’s terrible to put so much pressure on this one day.  I remember the first Thanksgiving we had with the twins.  They were only 4 months old.  Still on heart monitors, howling their way through the meal.  We finally gave up and took them home early, and I sat in our kitchen and cried because it was 365 more days until the next Thanksgiving, and we had just wasted one.

There was another way to look at it.  I could have shrugged and said, “well luckily we get to try that again in 365 days, and I’m sure it will go better.”  But I didn’t.  I just cried about it.

I guess I’m trying to be more like that person who recognizes that Thanksgiving rolls around every year, so if we don’t get it right one year, we get another shot 365 days later.  I’m not denying who I am; I think I have this trait as part of my personality.  It’s just usually swallowed by the much louder, pushier, siren-like side of my personality that is always thinking: danger danger danger.

So I’m pushing some food into that side of myself and gently saying, “Be quiet for once.”  Just for once.  Not forever.  I just don’t want the whole day to get away from me, coloured by worry.  No gloominess for 24 hours.  At least.

*******

If you’re celebrating Thanksgiving today, I hope that the day matches the image inside your heart.  I hope that even if it isn’t perfect that it comes close to what you want it to be.  And barring that, I wish you the perfect cup of tea to get through the day.  I would have wished you alcohol, but somehow this day feels more like it needs the comfort of tea.

 

11 comments

1 a { 11.27.14 at 9:11 am }

I thought that the Bar or Bat Mitzvah didn’t happen until you were 13 or so. Tell me more…

We are not religious, but I feel sort of guilty for skipping out on ourfamilies’ traditional Catholic religious rites of passage.

Happy Thanksgiving! With advances in technology, it’s possible you could have 80 more. But just enjoy the moments of this one because it’s the only one you get today.

2 earthandink { 11.27.14 at 9:48 am }

Congratulations! That’s a big deal and having two at once, whew. I’m sure the twins are excited.

I think we Americans put pressure on everything and we have to find a way to slow that and ourselves down. I’m working out ways to do that. It’s a goal for myself. Less pressure, more peace.

And I love the idea of a glass of tea. I have sparkling pomegranate juice in the fridge and I think I’ll alternate between the two today. Thank you!

I wish you and yours a lovely Thanksgiving. Discovering you and your blog is one of the things I’m grateful for this year.

3 Lori Lavender Luz { 11.27.14 at 12:39 pm }

I can hardly believe the twins are preparing for such a momentous occasion already. How did that happen? Maybe the journey just keeps getting sweeter and sweeter. You lose and also you gain.

You are one of the blessings I’ll be recognizing today. Thank you for being my friend, and for all the other blessings you’ve brought to me through this community.

4 Battynurse { 11.27.14 at 2:22 pm }

Happy Thanksgiving.

5 Middle Girl { 11.27.14 at 5:49 pm }

My /our observances and celebrations have morphed greatly over the years. I am thankful to be on the least stressful track these days.

Milestones and celebrations of same are so exciting.

I wish for you and your family, near and far, the happiest of days.

6 SuzannaCatherine { 11.27.14 at 11:23 pm }

Thanksgiving has always been a favorite holiday and a Big Deal in our family. This year we volunteered at our church to help with a community Thanksgiving dinner. It was great fun and there was good food and lots of friends, old and new. All in all a peaceful day.

This year I am thankful for many things, but my greatest “thankful” is my continuing good response to my dialysis treatments. I am blessed to have a team of doctors and other medical professionals who work to keep me on track.

I’m also thankful for having you in my virtual life. Over the years I have followed your blog I have learned so much. You’ve shared your parenting style, family traditions, etc., and I’ve often wished I’d known some of these things when my sons were young toddlers/preschoolers. I sometimes compare my grandson’s level of accomplishment to that of the twins. In my mind they are already academic and social role models for children of the same age.

My grandson is close in age to your twins. (born in the spring of 2005) I can certainly identify with your feelings of not wanting them to
grow up so fast. It must be hard to be excited/happy for them when in your heart you want to stop time and savor their childhood just a little longer. I have those same feelings.

I hope your Thanksgiving was everything you hoped it would be.

7 Jamie { 11.27.14 at 11:52 pm }

I’ve been thinking a lot about time passing quickly and how everyone is getting older, especially my parents. It can make it difficult to be in the moment.

The day went too fast, but I am grateful for it. My fiance joined me with my family for dinner for the first time. And my brother surprised everyone by catching a ride home to join us, as well. It was fun and I am just now realizing that it will end soon as we leave tomorrow. It has been wonderful, but I am looking forward to spending time with my fiance’s family, as well.

Hope your Thanksgiving was special!

8 Tiara { 11.28.14 at 8:11 am }

I was wondering the same at a. above, I know the twins aren’t 13. Is it just the planning that starts now?

Happy Thanksgiving!

9 Justine { 11.29.14 at 9:42 pm }

I absolutely get this: “I sat in our kitchen and cried because it was 365 more days until the next Thanksgiving, and we had just wasted one.”

Every time I think I’ve screwed it up (and there are many, many times like that), I think, “why couldn’t I be a better parent? a better spouse? what if this is my only chance, and I’ve wasted it?”

And it’s true: we never know what’s around the corner (here we are contemplating morbidity again). But: we are also human beings, and we do the best we can with the moments we have, and sometimes we suck at it. And I’d like to believe that whether or not we get any better at it, there is still grace in the attempt, no matter how many more chances we have left.

*I*, for one, was grateful not to put so much pressure on that one day this year, though there were moments I found myself semi-yelling at my kids on vacation, thinking “oh, geez, what if they remember this as the worst Thanksgiving ever?” 😛

10 jodi { 12.01.14 at 8:20 pm }

We just had my nephew’s Bar Mitzvah (I think you are at the same synagogue) and it was amazing, a truly fantastic event but all throughout the weekend everyone kept saying to me…are you ready to plan Michael’s soon….Michael is next! And I was like…stop it! He is 9! (I can’t even….) It was like being at a wedding and everyone asking you when you are getting married.

11 Amber { 12.07.14 at 12:20 am }

I never realized how quickly time speeds up once you have kids. We are getting ready to celebrate my twins first birthday. I’ll probably blink and they’ll be turning 16 instead! Have fun planning the B’nai Mitzvah!

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