To My Dear Kallas,
A Guten Chodesh!
Whenever I go through something “life-altering”, I find that there are parts I really want to hold on to, (and yes, there are parts that I wish I could hit “delete” on too.)
I know that there are women that this may upset, but Pesach truly is my favorite time of year, and my favorite יום טוב.
Not to say that it doesn’t require superhuman stamina, and not to say that so much of what we do for יום טוב is really unnoticed by others.
(My sisters and I have started this little pre-pesach ritual. We set up a conference call between the 3 of us, and we take turns telling each other how amazing we are. It goes like this “You are really amazing, now it’s your turn to tell me…”)
And every year I realize different aspects that I appreciate, and am truly grateful for.
Some might seem trivial, and some more significant, But I want to hold on to the good and learn from what was difficult, and I do that best when I write. So early on אסרו חג morning, with a heavenly infant grandson sleeping in the stroller, I walked to the park and sat and wrote and wrote.
Some things I am grateful for:
The days that I did not wake up to an alarm clock, but woke up to the sounds of laughing, crying, toys spilling, everything spilling….
I am grateful for the lack of structure. If we started the סעודה at 11:30, or 12, or 12:30, it was all good. None of that “beat the clock” pressure that dictates my usual weekday.
(You know that pressure! At school one morning a delightful 4th grader asked me why I wear lipstick on some days and some days I don’t? An honest question deserved and honest answer. I explained that there is one traffic light between my house and school. If it’s red, I put on lipstick and if it’s green I don’t. How is that for time pressure?)
I am grateful to be the one cooking, serving, cleaning up and doing it all over again and again.
I am grateful for the open windows, the spring breeze through my house, and the cherry tree blossoms in my front yard.
I am grateful for the shiurim I was able to listen to before Pesach that gave me some beautiful insights into this incredible יום טוב.
I am grateful for the beautiful tunes sung year after year that have become the soundtrack of our family.
I am grateful for the incredible people that have become our family over the past 12 years, and their willingness to join מנהגים and be part of סדרים that look different from the homes they were raised in.
I am grateful for the time I got to see and enjoy neighbors that I often have to rush past with a quick “good morning”.
I am grateful for being able to daven slower, and to be able to say Hallel so many times.
I am incredibly grateful that I was able to spend parts of יום טוב with my parents, and our children were able to enjoy them immeasurably. There is NOTHING like the love of a Bubby and Zaidy.
Not everyone enjoys writing, but for me, it allows me to think about the above points and so many more. If you can, take a few minutes and jot down some highlights that you are grateful for.
Not every moment was perfect, or easy, and I am grateful for the opportunity to learn how to handle situations like those better next time. And writing helps me organize those thoughts.
So now, while it’s fresh in your mind, white down and think about what was great, what you want to hold on to, what you appreciate.
Maybe you got to see your in-laws in a new light, maybe you were far more comfortable that you thought you might be, write it down.
Maybe the traveling went really smoothly, write it down. (Maybe it didn’t, and you are so grateful for that feeling of walking back into your own home).
Maybe you and your husband had some unhurried time together, write it down.
Maybe you got together with old friends and that gave you a boost!
Once you get into that mode, and are focusing on all of the good, you will see how easily it can come to you.
Take a few minutes every so often. You will see how gratitude will frame your life.
Wishing you a wonderful month!