What occurred that precipitated the arrival?
I am so glad you asked.
The weekend before, the family celebrated the Bat Mitzvah of my daughter.
Please, do not panic. I am not Abraham’s wife, Sarah from the Bible.
I am the 87 year old mother of a 57 year old daughter who made a decision to join her husband and three children in her quest for her official place in the Jewish Community. She has studied and worked for the last two years towards this ceremony and the family gathered. The first post-pandemic gathering at an outdoor Synagogue service with Zoom accessibility for friends and family across the time zones of the world.
It was a heart and soul event that was an antidote of good will, good cheer, intellectual and spiritual edification, and a beautiful outpouring of love, displacing, at least for a moment, the Covid/Pandemic scenario. Proving that with vaccinations and careful preparations life as some of us have known it continues.
The weekend brought my family together. My immediate family consists of 3 daughters, Dianne, Lori, Pamela. After the event Dianne and her family, who have been in Barcelona for the past 2 years, drove me back to my home in Great Barrington to visit. From the age of 13 she has always had a keen culinary interest (Lori, as well. Pammy inherited my reticence in the kitchen). One evening gifted me with a great and very complicated dinner. She shopped for all her ingredients. I think she used every pot and utensil my kitchen possessed. There was no room for me in the kitchen. It was overloaded with all the food she bought and the equipment and my daughter. I was excited and I might add, a little curious. Since Humpty Dumpty was nowhere to be found, who was going to put the kitchen back together again? We’ll get to that later. Best not to disturb the creative genius at work.
A triumph. The dinner was brilliant. So delicious. Each dish in itself was tasty and unique. It didn’t matter that all together they didn’t quite go together. She has a very natural culinary talent.
In an instant, my memory was jostled back to a Christmas years ago when she was 13 and her sisters 11 and 9. They had asked what I wanted for Christmas. I asked them if they would each prepare their own dinner for the family. Her sisters prepared age appropriate menus… hot dogs and beans, hamburgers and chips. However, at 13, Dianne decided to challenge Julia Child to a food duel in my kitchen. The same result. Even if nothing went with anything, each dish, in itself was excellent.
Back to the present… As she put the kitchen back in order, I reminded her of that long ago Christmas gift. She remembered. We laughed. She left the next day to travel to visit friends and family and her storage unit in Baltimore. She was in a cleaning out mode before heading back to Barcelona.
A day or so later, she called and said she found the Christmas gift menu of when she was 13. I couldn’t believe it. Serendipity, synchronicity …
Here is her menu.
Like I said. Everything had great taste…then and now.
There are so many questions that have occurred to me from this memory box.
Why did I ask my children to learn to use the kitchen at 13, 11 and 9?
At the time we were living in Washington, D.C. Somewhere deep in my subconscious… I wanted to return to New York City, pound the pavements of Broadway to become a STARRRRR. I had to wait until the children were at an age where they would be able to care for themselves and to understand why I needed to go. To assuage the guilt for even thinking about such a “bad mommy” idea, I thought of it as just a practical application of life… kind of an at-home home economics course . Oh, my dears, I don’t know about you, but my ability to block my subconscious tends toward genius.
The other part of this memory that brings an appropriate question to mind is why is a Jewish family celebrating Christmas. It actually comes from my family tradition. I am one of 7 brothers and sisters. We all went to Sunday School. The 4 boys all had a Bar Mitzvah. The 4 girls Confirmed. We were Reform Jews and back then, girls did not have a Bat Mitzvah (that’s how old I am!). Most importantly we did celebrate all the Jewish Holidays which included Hanukah, but my mother loved Christmas. She loved the spirit of joy and peace. She loved the music. And most of all she loved SHOPPING. Even through the depression, she opened a Christmas Savings Account to put money away every week to buy all of us presents. And my father who had always wanted to be an actor played his starring role of the year, Santa Claus.
I will say that his costume was a bit bizarre. He had a great Santa mask with beard and a gorgeous Mandarin Silk Robe as his suit. Please don’t ask me. I have no idea where this combination came from. It occurs to me that perhaps as a Jew this was his “not going all the way” in the Christian mode. It was, to say the least, memorable. I continued this tradition. Unfortunately, my former husband had no theatrical ambitions so we did it without a Santa. I wonder… was our Christmas celebrations of the past an unlit spark in my daughter who was just Bat Mitzvahed?
So many questions and any answer I might have just brings up another question.
That’s life, right guys?? I don’t know about you, but I, for one, am happy to live with another question.
Right???? Of course, right!!!
P.S. I don’t remember looking this good.