Today has been a busy day from the minute I woke up!
My mom was scheduled to arrive at 5:30 am today, but we don’t have any way to get to the airport that early. The trains run through the night, but buses don’t, and from our city, we have to take a bus to connect with the train. So dd17 went to Haifa last night, spent the evening with friends, and got up super early to take the train to the airport in Tel Aviv.
My mom arrived at 6 am, and at 7:45, just after ds12 and I were commenting that she and dd17 must already be on the train to come home, I got a call from her – dd didn’t show up. This was a little concerning since dd is super responsible, and I knew she planned to take a train that would get her in by 6 am. This call coincided with the littles needing to leave to school and my husband needing to leave to a job interview, so there was a bit too much going on for a very overtired me (I woke up so tired that I told myself I’d take a nap as soon as the littles went to school – but I didn’t) for me to feel relaxed while I was trying to figure out what to do. After my first frantic thoughts of ‘oh, no’, I suggested to my mom that she wait another 45 minutes and then if dd wasn’t there, I’d come get her (about a three hour trip in each direction).
Fortunately it wasn’t long before we got a call that they met each other in the airport – there was a mix up about where we had said the meeting place would be, and though they were both there for over two hours by that point, dd had been sticking to the agreed on meeting place and my mom was walking around, so they kept missing each other. A little frustrating but the main thing is they found each other!
Back at home, dd15 and I were planning to use the day to do the bulk of the cooking for the bar mitzva this Shabbos. We prepared a number of salads, chicken, and desserts; though there are more things left for tomorrow morning than I had planned (I only wanted to bake challah then), it’s not overwhelming. Dd17 made a few more beautiful layer cakes after I listed what we were baking last week, and dd15 made a couple of large pudding layer cakes for lunch dessert (one strawberry, one lemon).
Ds12 went with dh to get a suit in Haifa last week, and he was so happy with the place he raved about it to his older brother. So they agreed it would be a good place to go for ds18 to freshen up his wardrobe, plus ds18 wanted to buy some things for ds12. Ds18 came directly from Jerusalem to Haifa, and ds13 took the bus there to meet him; they spent the whole day there together.
I went down to the hall we’re renting for the weekend to get the keys and got into a conversation with a man in his eighties who works there. He told me how Orthodox Jewish women are oppressed, and how women are treated better in the secular world – this was spurred by his question about why we were renting the hall, and when I said a bar mitzva, he said to the other person working there, a foreign worker who wasn’t sure a bar mitzva was for a boy or girl,”it’s for a boy’, they don’t care about the girls”.) I don’t mind talks like these, as long as people are reasonable. After about twenty minutes I told him I had to get home before my mom arrived from the airport, and invited him to join us at the bar mitzva reception on Shabbos morning. Very nice man – before I left he told me how unusual it is for someone ‘secular’ like him to be able to openly speak to someone ‘religious’ like me. He’s right, and that’s a shame that we allow ourselves to build walls between ourselves and others who have different lifestyles than us – we’re all just people trying to live life as best as we can.
My mom and dd17 finally got home at noon (we were originally expecting them by 10 am), and of course my mom immediately unpacked all the stuff she had brought for us. She really spent a lot of time looking for things she knew we needed, and I appreciated all of her time and effort. It’s not easy to shop for someone else, particularly for things that involve personal taste. (My mom and I have different styles, as do I and my girls!) She didn’t hit the bullseye entirely but she did really well, and even if she hadn’t, I would still appreciate the enormous amount of time she spent going to different places to get things she thought I would need.
Ds13 came home from his day with ds18 a little before dinner time, and my mom gave him a couple of cards and gifts from friends in the US that they asked her to deliver. He told me it was the best day he could think of and listed all the things that made it so nice! I didn’t tell him that his day was going to be getting even better later that evening, when he got a huge surprise for his bar mitzva. (I’ll post about this in detail when I have time to upload the video of when he saw his surprise.)
This morning, dd15 said that we should have made 2 ‘to do’ lists; one for us, and for to give out jobs to people who keep calling to ask what they can do to help! That’s something I really appreciate about living in Israel – people truly want to help in some way and be involved. In the last couple of days I’ve had a few people ask me what they could cook or bake for me, and today got three more requests to help. These aren’t necessarily all coming from people I know well – I don’t know many people here well – but from people I’ve gotten to know on a casual basis (three of ds4 and ds5’s teachers have all repeatedly offered to help). I had things pretty much organized by this point, though dd15 pointed out that I could have asked them to make dips, since I only have a couple of those so far. And those who asked before I had it all cooked/baked myself are definitely helping out – two of the three kugels we’re serving for the lunch meal are being prepared by other people.
Just three weeks ago, I was feeling so ‘blah’ about this bar mitzva, feeling alone and lonely, and now I’m in such a different headspace. I’m so warmly appreciative about every one of our guests coming from outside of Karmiel to spend Shabbos with us, and look forward to seeing many more people at the reception.
For the meal following the reception, despite out efforts to keep things small, our count has gone from 50 to 70 (this happens very easily since for a Shabbos meal you’re inviting entire families rather than couples – we had to really limit this since it could get huge so quickly) , so dh had to go out today to buy more groceries. It’s still pretty small though, relatively.
Thankfully, our plans seem to be moving along nicely even though I don’t feel like I’m especially busy – I mentally predicted I’d be running at top speed to get everything done in time these last couple of days. I know that tomorrow there will probably be a good number of little details that fall below my radar that may not get done until it’s too late to do anything about them, and I’ve mentally told myself it’s okay. Better to be a pleasant and calm person than to stress about having every single detail exactly as I want, if it looks like those details aren’t happening as I would like. It’s so easy to lose sight of why you’re doing all of this, and get tense and irritable with those you love the most – I don’t want that to be me.