The last few weeks have been very busy here at Chez Zimmer. We were in the crush of the High Holy Days and with all the repenting and atoning, one has litle time for blogging.
Honestly, though, I have tried very hard to take the themes of Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur seriously. I am a believer that we should try every day to be a better person that we were yesterday. But these two days, and the 10 days in between, really crystallize that feeling for me. My heart aches with the wrong I have done and the potential I have not fulfilled. I want so much to be what God expects of me, but fall prey all too often to my human faults - anger and bitterness the quickest to come. So I find it hard to sit through a service during this time of year without shedding tears - if not all out sobbing.
Which makes that fact that I was asked to sit on the bima (altar, for all you goyem out there) all that more challenging. My Sisterhood co-president, Mel, and I - along with the Brotherhood president, were all guests on the bima for the services beginning Rosh Hashanah (think of it at the Jewish New year's Eve). My focus, for most of the evening, was keeping my knees closed, adjusting my dress so my gut didn't look larger than it was, and being mildly amused at Artie Isaac knocking the rock of Lary Pliskin as he came off the bima from closing the ark. All of these led me to to reflect on Reform Judaism.
Some things you won't see at an Orthodox temple:
a) a woman on the bima.
b) a woman in a dress short enough where she is worried enough to have to keep her knees together
c) Artie Isaac knocking the rock of Larry Pliskin
At least 2 out of 3 of these things make me very proud to be a Reform Jew. You can decide which 2.
The last two weeks also also afforded me another opportunity to try a children's service with Jack. Once again, several of his JCC classmates were thee, sitting quietly. Once again, Jack had the attention span of someone half his age and we had to leave the service because he was disruptive. It is very difficult to watch. To have your kid not physically be able to act his age and not be able to explain to other parents that he is not a bad kid and you are not a bad parent. I want to get a little "We're On the Spectrum" yarmulke for him. While Jack is, what the doc called "high functioning" it is unmistakable that he is NOT like other kids his age when you see him in a room with them. It is then that this knowledge smacked me in the face; at 9:45 on the morning of Yom Kippur, throwing me into full emotional meltdown in the staff bathroom. Thank God I have connections or I would have been sobbing on the floor of one of the 20 stalls of the public restroom.
It has been a hard two weeks, but not without its triumphs.
Today was Jack's fourth birthday. We had a small party with just family and four of Jack's buddies at the JCC playground. We played pin the tail on the donkey, ate cake and climbed/jumped/slid until our hearts were content. We are thankful for every day with Jack - even the ones filled with challenges. But more often than not, they are filled with cuddles and laughs.
For instance, when trying to decide, in the 11th hour, what kind of cake to make for his birthday, here is the discussion my son and I had last night:
Me: What kind of cake do you want for your birthday?
Jack: Chocolate. With chocolate icing!
Me. Right. But what do you want it to LOOK like?
Jack: A CAKE, Mommy.
Because, yeah, I'm the idiot.
I am still learning.