I spent Erev Yom Kippur in tears.
It was just nerves, I think. I always get this way before a fast. There's this anticipation of what it will turn out like, all these questions and worries in my mind. Will I fast okay? Will the kids behave? Will I manage them on my own? Will I get to daven? All that stuff and just general nerves of getting everything right.
This year nothing went right.
The day before was just a disaster, with my son kvetchy and bratty since the wee hours of the morning (he's still getting over a flu he had last week). I had to entertain him, plus do a mountain of laundry, (my daughter has some reflux and she vomits indiscriminately,) plus take care of baths for everyone and the meals and telling all the neighbor girls that no, it was not a good time for them to take a guided tour of my home.
(Why is it that they are all so enamored by our little family? There are a million girls on the block that each have great toy rooms and games and yet they all want to play with JB's trucks?!)
I bentched lecht, put the kids to bed, and exhausted, fell asleep with my machzor in my hands.
Upon waking half an hour later I found I was miserable. It's been years since I've missed a Kol Nidrei in shul. And this year I didn't even want to go.
I sat there in front of my lecht and just cried at how Yom Kippur didn't feel the same to me- I was in my robe, wearing a shmattah velour hoodie on top of it, and not even in a sheitel. The white tichel that I wore with so much pride all the years sat in my drawer all yom tov. I didn't put my sheitel on once today.
I spent the entire day on the floor playing with Tonka trucks. My machzor in one hand as I tried to daven, the mini wheels garbage truck in the other, crashing into JB's emergency vehicle, keeping him quiet.
My kids ate junk today and I didn't care. I forgot to turn off the light in my fridge, so all the nutritional stuff I prepared erev YT just stayed there. JB ate potato chips and sandwiches and lots and lots of Twerps, and HB had a bunch of formula bottles and not an ounce of real food except for the Craisins JB generously fed her while I was in the middle of my Al Chaits.
And when my kids both went down for a nap, I did too. My tehillim this year didn't even make it off the shelf.
It just didn't feel like Yom Kippur to me.
Then my mother popped by on the way back to shul after the break between Shacharis and Mussaf and when she asked how my fast was going and I told her how I felt, she said it was okay.
That I had my years in shul as a teen, and I'll have them again when my kids are teens. But now my place is at home.
She's right, I know. It just took a lot of getting used to. I'm still not sure I'm used to the idea and next year won't be any easier not being in shul for Unesaneh Tokef. But the truth is... well, that's the truth.
For me Yom Kippur is the avodah I do with my children all day. Feeding them, playing with them, singing songs and reading playgroup "shailos" thousands of times makes this day just as holy for me as being in shul makes it for everyone else.
So when my mother left and I took my nap and then woke up and took the kids outside to play, I didn't let myself feel bad. I fasted, I davened, and I made two kids happy today.
Other years I prayed for these two kids, this year they're here with me. What more can I want?
So the holiest day of my year smelled like peanut butter and spit up, instead of leather bindings and old machzor pages.
Guess what. G-d gave me a job. And He made me a mom to two very special and wonderful kids. And that makes me heilig. Even when I spent Yom Kippur playing with trucks.
May we all see the kedusha in everything we do this year.
Have a gut gebentched yahr everyone.
Oh, and two updates.
#1 - HB finally got her place in the nosh cabinet. She's not really a jelly ring like we first thought she might be. She's BUBBLES. (Short for BubbleGum) She answers to it and the neighbors call her that, so it's official. JellyBean's sister is Bubbles.
And #2 - Tzipi's next book is due out Chanukah time. It's titled "Invisible Me" and being published by Targum Press IY"H. I'll keep you posted!