Sunday, November 05, 2006

Day 5: Shabbat Shalom

We spent Friday night at my dad's house enjoying Shabbat dinner. Shabbat dinner is a celebration marking the beginning of the Sabbath, starting Friday at sundown (Sabbath for Jews is Saturday). It is an evening of relaxation, great food, a little ceremony and prayer, some wine and time with family. We had a great time.

The boys were "good," meaning from some people's standards, they probably looked more like wild animals, but they displayed relative restraint, periodic listening and most importantly, a real enthusiasm for just being there. My dad and his wife relocated to Indianapolis in May from Miami. When I think back to just a year ago, I never imagined I would be huddled up in my dad's house on a crisp Friday night sharing food and drink by the light of a fire. The boys were supposed to spend the night, but had changed their minds by evenings end. In time, I am sure they will be ready and more than willing.

I am so happy to have my dad here with me again. Most importantly, this further expands my children's network of unique adults who care for and love them deeply. Differences are important to me, so I am pleased that the experience for them of my dad's house is so greatly different than the experience at my mother-in-law's house or even my mom's house. Each member of their circle offers amazing and unique gifts to share with them, important lessons to teach them, and admirable qualities to instill in them.

They need to have many examples to choose from when deciding what kind of person they want to be. What I must do is provide the best examples I can, and for me...that is our family.

Jeff's mom brings to the table a traditional sense of family life, a real "Granny," a view of all things old-fashioned and lots of junk food. I am not sure "no" is in her vocabulary and she lets them stay up past 10PM! when they spend the night (they are almost always in bed by 8AM at home). Those are important things to experience.

My mom offers a lifestyle much different than ours. An apartment downtown, lots of pretty things to look at, an interest in building their individual personality and nurturing the distinct spirits in each. They walk, play in the park, play on the computer and actually try new foods (healthy foods). She brings a sense of relaxation, a total absence of urgency (unlike me who is always rushing from one thing to the next), and a spirit of curiosity.

My dad and his wife bring a worldly view of culture, religion, creativity and exploration. They teach the boys to look, notice and think. Ineke lets the boys try things above and beyond their limits, even if it means failure just so they can try and experience. They encourage creativity and my dad plays along with their silly games and endless potty humor.

Just the inner-most core of our large family circle, each of these individuals has qualities that I admire and that are critical to making my children into whole people, who will go on to do great things.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree with you that it is good for kids to spend time with different people and in different places than they experience just with their parents. There are several children I know who don't get out to "see the world" much and I feel sorry for them and what they are missing. We are also lucky to have family and friends who enjoy spending time with Taryn. It is difficult sometimes to restrain myself from telling them too much about our schedule and how we do things, so they can provide her with a new perspective!