It is not the three days of yomtov that hassle me, but rather the days preceding them. Trying to cook while yelling at children is hard work, and not enough awards are given out to people who do it as efficiently and effectively as I do. (I have trademarked my best move – the one handed pulling something out of the oven while holding the baby and creatively devising threats as to what will happen to the next paper airplane that flies through my kitchen. It is a thing of beauty.)
The hours before sundown left me wanting pretty paper goods that would alleviate some of the dish washing (shove it, environmentalists). So I dashed myself to the pretty paper goods store where I was saddened to see that every woman and her mother had had the exact same thought (really, I saw their mothers!). The line was much longer than my patience, so I headed to a nearby pharmacy where I stocked up on beer for my brother who was joining us for the holiday.
Much to my dismay, I was not carded for buying alcohol. I have been carded when I was obviously pregnant (at which point I was buying alcohol for other people, FYI). I have been carded with multiple children sitting in the shopping cart. I just look that youthful and innocent. Getting carded in your 20’s makes you roll your eyes, but in your 30’s it is a priceless gift. It is that moment of humanity when the cashier looks at you with a glance that says ‘Lady, you are humming the theme song to Punky Brewster, and the bags under your eyes are wearing leg warmers. We know you witnessed the 80’s, but I will pretend to think you are under 21 and in return you are going to compliment my neck tattoo’. But alas, there was no humoring me today.
To lighten my mood I entertained the thought of taking my beer back to the paper goods store and passing it out to the women in line. I am sure that they too had spent the morning defending their kitchens against paper airplanes and I think an impromptu drinking party would have been well received. But there were vegetables to peel and fighter jets to disarm…
Back at home I allowed myself a quick Facebook break. Turns out that while I was struggling to keep my sanity with 6 bare-bones yomtov meals, my over–achieving friends were posting pictures of the educational crafts they had made with their children. ‘Look at these fondue Torahs I made with my infant – they’re organic!’ And ‘my quintuplets and I used quinoa to make a miniature 3D motorized rabbi dancing in a halachically kosher sukkah!’ (I am NOT referring to the crafts posted on challahcrumbs.com. You guys are awesome, keep up the great work!)
Why? Why must my crafty friends flaunt their superiority? I live in a world with Martha Stewart and moms who signs to their children in Mandarin. Trust that I am aware of my shortcomings. I wistfully imagine what it must have been like in the Old Country where women were too busy working the farm and fighting the Cossacks to publically one up me. No wonder they call it the good old days.
But then I remember that those were also the days before electric ovens and birth control. And I picture myself defending the hearth and butter churner from a fleet of paper airplanes coming from 46 children. And then I vow never to go to the Old Country.
The postscript is that although erev yomtov was a bit rough, the holiday itself was a rousing success. I know this because by the time it ended I still loved my children, I did not hate my company, and I had even begun forgiving ye of the fondue Torahs.
Drink with me, fellow makers of yomtov, for we have triumphed, and there are still a few beers leftover.