Someone told me that one time years ago, and I think about it a lot. And I try to do it. Slap on a smile when I don’t feel like it. Answer the typical, “Hey, how are you?” with “Great!” whether or not I am great. And try my best not to let the kids know if I’m sad.
Last week was Rosh Hashanah. Tonight starts Yom Kippur. Then there is Sukkot and Simchas Torah. A whole month of Jewish holidays- Happy Days (except Yom Kippur...that’s not supposed to be happy, just “meaningful” "atonement-ful" and hungry (don't tell G-d, but I really hate this day)). Since we have no family here though, we are alone for a lot of holidays. And the truth is, it’s sad to spend the holidays alone. There is no other way to say it. I’m a single mother with three children and we are alone. The thing is, I don’t want the kids to feel lonely or to feel that something is wrong with us because we are not with anyone for the holidays. I want them to be happy. I want them to love the holidays, not dread them like I do. So I smile for them and I tell them how much fun we are going to have. And for the people who ask me, “So what are you doing tonight for dinner?” or "Who are you going to be with for the holidays?" when we have no plans, “It’s just us!” I say, or I just say what synagogue we are going to. That is usually followed by an awkward, “Oh...you should come to us...” Um...yeah. Because being an “afterthought” is so cool. No, thank you. And I don’t begrudge anyone for it. It's just embarrassing. For everyone. But I get it. People have their own problems, their own lives and their own families! Who wants to invite an extra FOUR people over! Vegetarians, none the less. It's not like you just throw another pieces of chicken in the oven. We are not simple guests. And I’d love to have people over to my house, but it’s weird. I don’t have a dining room table and my kitchen table is small. It’s hard for me to have guests. On top of that, if I invite a family, it’s weird for the MAN. He has no one MANLY to talk to. What if he feels the need to beat his chest or something, who is he gonna do it with? Men do that, right? I mean, I’ve done it- no, I haven't beaten my chest, that would look silly (and hurt), I've had people over. It’s just that it’s not my favorite thing to do- given my situation, not because I don’t like to have guests over b/c BS (before single), every holiday our house was packed. I used to love cooking and entertaining. But the asshole would not let me have the dining room table (he claimed he needed it for poker games) and I don’t have enough money to get anything I like. Boo hoo.
So, for my children, this holiday season, I am in official, Fake It Til You Make It mode. I want it to be fun for them, and I want their lives to feel full. Even if sometimes mine feels a little empty.
Before Rosh Hashana, I took the kids Apple Picking. It was our THIRD annual pre-Rosh Hashanah trip to pick apples. They love it, and it's really fun. Or as much fun as supervising three children on a trip to an Apple Orchard can be. But the trip means a lot to them and I don't ever want them to have to fake anything!
Here are some pictures from that day.
And by the way, we returned from our trip with about 70 apples, and guess what three children have since decided that they don't like apples?
Anyway...I gotta go. But if it applies to you, have an Easy Fast and May You Be Sealed for a Good Year (in the Book of Life). And let's hope next year is about a gazillion times better than this one was...for EVERYONE!!