The 40 Year Old Bat Mitzvah

It’s Our Monday

Posted in Uncategorized by Juliet on April 20, 2012

When you have kids in your temple’s religious school, Sunday is the real Monday.

By the time the minivan sputters back to Temecula on Tuesday night, I am flattened.  By Wednesday, I’m ready for happy hour.

We are all just too damn busy.  Last week the parents of the kindergarten and first grade students were invited to a special program.  We did side-by-side projects with our children.  Then it was song time.  After songs, the kids had a lesson with their own teachers while we had a parents-only lesson with the cantor.  Finally, we re-joined our kids in the sanctuary for the service.

I kept trying to find a few minutes to slip away to just sit doing nothing, talking to nobody, and being responsible to no one, but the time just would not come.  I pick our carpool kids up most weeks at 8:30 a.m. (ish) and most Sundays we are not back home until close to 2:00 p.m.  That is a chunk of time otherwise known as “all day.”  Or “all the usable or best parts of a perfectly good weekend day.”

Add to this the fact that while Eva sincerely enjoys it, has made some nice friends and likes singing in the choir, Jane really doesn’t like Sunday school.  Any novelty or charm wore off sometime between the High Holidays and Chanukah.  And even with liking religious school in principle, I still have an uphill battle with Eva regarding doing her required Hebrew reading (just 60 minutes per week, but she tends to procrastinate and her teacher actually rolls over undone minutes from week to week so a not-diligent-enough student could find herself facing 87 minutes or 212 minutes or whatever, to theoretically be done in a single week.

I am not alone.  A little over a year ago, I made a concerted effort to unplug us from over-scheduling.  Even so, we have an activity for one kid or the other on most days.  It’s rare to have a weekend that isn’t booked from end to end with activities.  And we’re all tired.  Just so very tired.

The cantor’s lesson was about shabbat.  At one point, she talked about being too scheduled, and how we, as parents, need and deserve time too.  We were sitting with our chairs arranged in circles “encounter group” style.  Suddenly a woman across from me started sobbing.  These were loud, heaving sobs.  It was really wrenching.  The women to both sides of her helped to comfort her. The cantor said in her wonderful, matter-of-fact way, “She needs a hug,” then moved on.

I have no idea why she was crying, but I imagine it had to do with being too busy, and too tired, and feeling an incredible outpouring of emotion at being told, “You are allowed to want and need to take TIME for yourself.”

Which is an incredibly ironic lesson for a Sunday, which after all is our Monday.

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