The closing scene to (5)777 definitely hit the jackpot. The bells, the clinging of the coins — into someone else’s pockets, the lights, the din, the rush of getting to a specific location just in time. Each child is of an eligible age for a chug, an after-school activity. Even their parents, we, have signed up for phys. ed. once a week, Krav Maga and Judo respectively. Each day is an adventure and of course a gamble. Schedules are mostly set but one therapeutic karate chug has not yet started. Sitters are settling in, but the balance of availability, cost, and traffic prove to be challenges. Routine is yearned for, yet unattainable for at least another few weeks. And an occasional fever-accompanied cough means all bets are off.
The timing of these afternoon courses in gymnastics and martial arts is key because the schools seem to think that classwork can be brought home.
Homework. Two four-letter words blended into an eight-letter utterance of profanity like no other. I resolve to assist my child with his heavier-than-allowed-on-most-airlines-as-a-carry-on backpack containing ONE book with an actual assignment. I resolve to sit for two-minute increments and mutter “Just finish this one math problem,” until 20 minutes have accrued. That’s what the occupational therapists recommend. Do not exceed the 20 minutes.
The muttering is hereditary.
The final homework assignment before the three-day holiday break was shrouded in the arrival of a late-night email Choose-your-own-adventure style. Sent, received and read when the second-grader was already sound asleep, but a whole day in advance, so hurray for that. I opened the attachment which further directed me to the student’s daily planner, rarely discoverable in his B.O.U.S. (think The Princess Bride), where B is for book-bag. It was no exception. No daily planner.
Luckily for me, I could resort to Vitamin P (proteksia) and I texted a teacher friend for some inside information. The daily planner found (!), but unfruitful. My concern was dredged in the dread of going back to the supermarket to fight over the reddest pomegranate — a thought as unappealing as the green bananas and never-ripe avocados, not the idea that I, heaven forbid, couldn’t assist him with some last minute creative idea.
“Prepare to present to the class, a few sentences on a siman, symbol, from your family Rosh Hashanah table.” I only learned about the symbolic rituals and mantras, above and beyond apples and honey of course, circa 10 years ago at someone else’s table. You’d think I’d have embraced the wordplay. In fact, it is shocking, even to me, that I did not. Even with the food elements of incorporating our wishes, desires, hopes and dreams into yet another structured meal of our People. I couldn’t do it. The preparation whelms me. The Hebrew is too advanced. The defeat of enemies*, albeit via beets and leeks, contradicts my sugarplum fantasy of peace and harmony. So now I had to make something up.
Like Harold and his Purple Crayon, I came up thinking fast, and channeled Mom’s creative brilliance.
I offered the firstborn a new idea, an alternate perspective on an allegory about an apple tree wanting to be full of stars.
Spoiler alert: In short, the stars are found inside the apples.
By extension, I’ve added an insight where we each have the star potential inside ourselves, to be better, to be great, and most importantly to simply be. Traditions have to start somewhere so this one that I shared at our family meal on the first night of Rosh Hashanah will grow with us, as the star grows within.
*The theory that the enemy is a reflection of self makes more sense for me and is one I am willing to adopt.