I hope you all had a good and meaningful fast. BH, here it was much less eventful than last Tisha B’Av, which was unfortunately too easy to feel the spirit of the day. At that time, my friend’s 16 year old son died from injuries in a car accident and I went with my oldest two kids to his funeral (also attended by a huge number of people in the community), and then afterwards to pay a shiva visit to her. It’s hard to believe it’s been an entire year – I can still remember everything from the moment I heard about the accident all the way through the funeral as if it happened yesterday. I called her yesterday a few hours before the fast to check in and see how she was doing with all of the emotion this time of year must be bringing up. It’s very hard.
It’s a funny thing about Tisha B’Av. It’s supposed to be such a sad day, but what I find the hardest is it’s usually a more pleasant and relaxed day due specifically to all the things you can’t do. Does that sound strange? I find this challenging every year. I sit on the floor, and my little kids get all excited climbing all over me. I don’t chat on the phone, go online, read my typical reading material, eat meals, clean my house – so I have all this nice relaxed time to just be physically and emotionally present. There are no other things competing for my attention, and I can really be there for my family in a way that is hard to do most days of the year.
Physically the fast was a good one, and I’m SO grateful that our weather today was much less humid than yesterday. I was dreading the fast with hot and muggy weather. I can handle the heat, but I tend to feel almost claustrophobic from the muggy air weighing down on me and I’m less receptive to my small children being very close to me at that time.
Towards the end of the fast, dd12 (she’ll be 13 in the coming week) was bored so she started cooking for Shabbos. Very constructive use of her boredom, isn’t it? Since we’re going out for Shabbos lunch, our dinner preparations are in large part now complete, which is good since we want to work on the patio after chatzos. I don’t think we’ll finish the details of it, since bricks at the end of each row will need cutting, and I think we’re going to come up short a couple of rows of bricks. If that’s the case, I initially told the kids we’d make the patio a little smaller. But after digging up the area and framing it to the size they want it to be, they didn’t go for that idea, so now I’m planning to go to Home Depot to see if I can find some complementary contrasting pavers, since there’s no way I’ll be able to match up what we have. Then we’ll have to pull up a couple of the first rows on one side, so we can edge both sides of the patio with the new pavers. But we’ll see how it actually works out tomorrow after we get all the bricks we have left put in. I’ll keep you posted.
At the end of the fast, the middles (ds10, dd8, ds7) starting taking the meal ‘orders’ from those fasting. Ds10 came over to me with a pen and paper to write down exactly what I wanted, the specific foods as well as the amounts – they wanted to prepare individual plates of food for each of us for when the fast was over. Isn’t that sweet of them? I don’t know what made them think of doing this, but they did this for the first time this past Yom Kippur, and their initiative was definitely well received!
But after ds10 took my order, then ds7 asked me if he could prepare my meal, so I agreed since ds10 was also preparing a meal for someone else and I saw how much ds7 wanted to also be involved. The only problem was ds7 was so tired by the time the fast was over that he really didn’t have much energy to do much of anything! After he brought me a big cup of warm water – because he couldn’t reach the faucet for the cold water – I saw how he was dragging and suggested that he sit down and rest. His heart was very much in the right place, though. It’s the thought that counts!
To break the fast, we had the watermelon that I bought to eat before the fast (but hadn’t had enough time then so had fresh pineapple instead) as well as fresh salad, potatoes, and eggs. Dh put all the whitefish salad I was planning to serve in the freezer, but we’re all very flexible about food so it wasn’t a big deal. We stick with our usual manner of eating both before and after a fast – though before a fast I tend to go heavier on more nutrient dense foods (like putting avocado in my salad), and after a fast I have something lighter. (I also have an extra meal the day going into the fast.) But I keep the proportions of protein, carbs, veg, and fat the same. It works well for me – I don’t go into the fast feeling too stuffed to move, and I don’t go to sleep after the fast feeling sick from overeating.
I can’t believe how fast the summer is flying by – before you know it, Elul will be here and soon after that the official beginning of the new school year. I’m really loving our relaxed summer schedule, so I have to make the most of it while it lasts!