Susan's Blog

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Mah Nish Ta Na?

Passover is just about a month away, and it is during the Passover seder that we ask, Why is this night different from all other nights? (In Hebrew: Mah Nish Ta Nah Ha Lilah Hazeh Mi Call Ha Laylot?) Then you talk about all the different things you do on Passover, like sit comfortably (as if you never do the rest of the year), eat matzah (as if I ever would), dip matzah in horseradish (don’t ask), and other strange and wondrous things. Most of the answers relate to the fact that, way back when, in the days of Yore — as in “Yo’re Jewish? Yo’re a slave to the Egyptians, Dude!” — life sucked as a slave, building the pyramids and all, so we should remember this and be grateful it doesn’t suck as much now.

I would say that compared to being enslaved, my life is pretty good. But weekends are often rough for me, because of the lack of structure combined with the infusion of expectations. Everyone’s home; we’ve got nothing to do. So why aren’t I happier on weekends?

But today has been a solidly good day. My question is, Why is this day different from all other days? Why did today feel so good, with so many of the same things happening that happen every Saturday?

Was it that today my focus was at just the right intensity, so that I could see everything that happens to me with just the right perspective? Today, my focus was almost entirely on my boys, and to be honest, I dreaded today because I knew that there was very little scheduled for just me. All I did this morning was go sweatshirt shopping with Little B. But I rarely have a task like that which is just about him, and it was incredibly sweet driving to the mall and seeing his little face in the rearview mirror every so often. And he was thrilled with the gray Gap sweatshirt we found for him, way too big on him (just like Max wears them) and as boring as you can get in terms of clothes, but, hey, that’s what makes the world go ’round, right?

After the sweatshirt, it was onto Lego play and then some cartoons.

Or was it a good day because I had a nice little plan for Nat? I had arranged a “facilitated playdate,” something I have never done but has been on my list for years (this is that list most mothers carry around in their heads, of things they know they should be doing for their children, but have not yet managed to, and they use this handy list to kick themselves every now and then when they need to feel bad). Today I made the facilitated playdate happen, with Nat’s friend Rossi. Maureen, who used to be Nat’s and Rossi’s teacher, came over, with the purpose of taking them both and getting a snack and doing something special (zoo, or bowling). When Maureen walked in the door, Rossi burst out laughing. Rossi is a huge eighteen year old kid with autism, with a very big, contagious laugh. Nat looked happy, too, pacing a bit and eagerly grabbing his coat. Rossi and Nat both had money in their pockets, and Rossi’s mom made sure he knew where his money was, and so did I with Nat, and Maureen kept saying, “Don’t worry, I have been out with these guys a lot!” She was as happy as they were.

Three hours later, they are still out! Not a peep from my phone.

Or was it that Max was so happy today? His friend Yaz came over, with the plan to drop Mentos in Coke and measure the explosions. A true experiment, they were also going to use seltzer and Sprite. The playroom is full of Beevis and Butthead-like laughter, that low-pitched staccato goofy stuff only teenage boys are capable of.

I got to take a nap, so deep and sweet that when I woke up I panicked. Where was I? What day was it? Where were my boys? But Max reassured me that everything was fine. Ned was at the pool.

I fixed myself some Peet’s decaf, and to myself a chocolately peanut butter Atkins bar and settled into my warm windowseat with Precious and decided to figure out exactly why today was different from all other days.

Maybe, as Quai-Gon Ginn said in Star Wars Episode 1 (not the first Star Wars we all saw as kids but the one they are saying is the first one now), “Your focus determines your reality.”

I think I’ll try mentioning that at the seder next month.

1 comment

Hmm, can’t concentrate on finish reading your post, as it reminded me that I’ll probably be missing seder this year.

elmindreda, now with tears

— added by elmindreda on Saturday, March 18, 2006 at 3:31 pm