October 06, 2006

And the week closes with a whimper

But it least it appears to be closing, thank goodness. The silence here this week is a result of the tremendous time crunch, stress, and pressure I have been under this week. So this post is going to be sort of a recap of the week, a random series of not necessarily related anecdotes and thoughts, as I do from time to time.

Some of you know what Kol Nidre is. For those who do not, it is the beginning of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement. At Kol Nidre, you ask God to forgive you for all the promises you broke to him during the year and to release you from all the bargains you struck with him but did not fulfill. Example, "God, if you let me find my keys, I'll never eat Fritos again, I promise!". Keys found and soon thereafter you have a mouthful of Fritos. You need to be forgiven this one, or so we believe. So, there we are, in synagogue with the Girl Child, the Boy Child and my parents. We are in the middle of the Silent Amidah, the main prayer for forgiveness. It is a solemn moment.

The Boy Child observes the solemnity in his own special way by passing a little gas. We have the following exchange:

Me: [Speaking in Norwegian so no one around us will understand] Did you fart? Please don't fart in here, ok?

BC: [Clearly didn't hear me as I was speaking kind of low, answers loudly in English] Pappa, are you talking about my farts?

Everyone around us broke into laughter.

* * *

This Yom Kippur was the first one spent in a temple other than my grandfather's temple. You may recall, he died in December 2005. It was my first Yom Kippur wearing his yarmulke and his talis. It was hard. It felt like, in many ways, maybe the only reason I am a Jew is because he was a Jew and he believed. With him gone, the experience went from technicolor to flat. It was as if the full range of the color palette had been severely restricted. When he died, he took some of my light out of the room, or maybe it was just that he reflected my light back on me with such love that his absence makes me think everything is a bit darker.

I'm not sure about my relationship to Judaism with him not there anymore. I can tell you that I would like to figure it out. One way is that I am going to try to live the Jewish calendar this year. I am going to try to attend Shabbat services, to celebrate the holidays I never celebrate (that would be most of them so no point in listing them here), and to give it a fair shot. Maybe at the end I will be a Jew for me and not just for him. Either way, I think I'm going to have a lot less free time on the weekends going forward.

* * *

Tuesday was not good. It was a trial day. It was so not good that in the course of that day, according to the scale in my house the next morning, I lost four pounds. And no, it wasn't because I hurled in the courtroom.

The Court found that the chief witness I was putting on, that this witness testified incredibly as a matter of law. In other words, without saying he was a liar, she said he was a liar.

The remainder of my week has been spent dealing with the fall out. I have never seen that happen before. And in case you were wondering, I think that the judge was totally off base.

* * *

Tuesday night was spent at the Girl Child's elementary school open house. The Viking Bride was home with the kinder. I went to school from the train station. It was poorly organized, sometimes downright insipid (the principal greeted the assembled parents with a bad poem of her own creation), and eventually nice. While wandering the schools, I somehow connected with a Norwegian speaking parent and spent much of the time chatting with her in Norwegian. Her son is in another kindergarten section.

The parents of any boy I met in the Girl Child's class all said the same thing: "You're the Girl Child's dad? My son talks about her all the time." Another mother who I knew from pre-school told me, "all the boys love the Girl Child". I inquired, with some concern, why that would be and she told me it was because the Girl Child liked to play and run around with them during recess. I'm glad it was that and not because she was showing the boys her underwear in the corner of the playground, you know what I'm saying?

* * *

Thursday night I was MC at a dinner for the opening of a private showing of an astounding collection of historic American flags. It went very nicely. Did you know that before 1912 when the President entered an Executive Order setting out the required appearance of the Flag, that the arrangement of the stars was entirely up to the creator's imagination? Cool, no?

* * *

So it is Friday. Finally. And considering the week I have had, I want to leave you with a little something on the lighter side, a little helpful advice from the National Health Service (Britain, I think):


Have a nice weekend!

Posted by Random Penseur at October 6, 2006 08:39 AM | TrackBack

LOL At least you ended your post on a high note! Good luck with everything and just keep your head up, ok?

Posted by: Hannah at October 8, 2006 05:54 AM

Amazing post. I love the farts story.

I think it is great that you are exploring Judaism yourself. However, I must say that if your attendance feels like obligation, you might not be setting yourself up for the best experience. So, in addition to keeping an open mind, please keep an open heart and see what happens.

I can relate to parents coming up to you about your daughter. Ari is very popular at his school and has many friends and admireres (odd for an autistic kid, I know). I get a lot of parents and other children from his classes coming up to me and saying, "Your Ari's mom, right?" I fess up to it proudly and usually hear some amusing anecdotes in the process.

"Use rear entrance" Sound family planning advice. :)

Posted by: Linda at October 11, 2006 11:20 PM

I hope/pray you are able to find, rekindle & connect to the beauty & the spirit of your faith that I have read in your posts over the years. Even if it was a faith reflected it seems to have been a good place to be.

Loss always challenges faith. At least it does for me.

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