The things that will never make it in the baby books and other musings from a stay at home mom

Thursday, October 13, 2005

The Yom Kippur question

The Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur is supposed to be a day of repentance. It's a day to ask the big questions. Have I been a good person over the past year? How can I improve in the year to come? Over the past few years, however, only one particular question has plagued me as I've prepared for this, the holiest of holy days:

Are my stockings supposed to be black or nude this year?

It is certainly a burning question, but whether it is a big one depends, I suppose, on your perspective. I only know that I was feeling pretty guilty yesterday as I approached the eve of Yom Kippur with only this single thought in my mind. I knew I was supposed to be taking stock, pondering whether I've really done my very best for myself and my family this year. And instead, I was entirely preoccupied with fashion.

Upon reflection, however, I decided that the question that plagued me might just be the answer to the bigger question after all. I don't know what color stockings all of the "in" people are wearing any more, but now I know that Julia's favorite color is yellow and Evan's is blue and I use those colors to finger paint with them. I don't have a wardrobe full of designer outfits to wear to services any more, but my jeans are well worn from sitting on the floor putting together puzzles with my kids. My connection to my faith is obviously tenuous these days if all I can think about on Yom Kippur is stockings, but I've given my children enough of a foundation in Judaism that they are leading me back to the flock with their requests to go to Tot Shabbat and their reminders to light the candles on Friday nights. Even my vain wardrobe musings aren't the worst thing in the world if I take them as a sign that I'm finally making some sort of attempt to think about myself above and beyond my role as Mommy.

I've got plenty of minor misdeeds to repent for this year and quite a few things I would do well to work on in the coming year. My patience could use some strengthening, my discipline techniques would benefit from some retooling and lord knows I ought to think a little more before I speak. But I'm on the right track toward doing my best for myself and my family. I know that as surely as I don't know what to wear to services. And as I realized this, the answer to my more burning question appeared as well, as if by divine intervention:

Wear pants to temple and bypass the stocking issue entirely.

With this, I finally found peace -- albeit the temporary kind -- with myself, with the path my life is on, and with my annual stocking question. And I knew with utter certainty that God works in ways that are not only mysterious, but at times a little eclectic as well. I think I like his style.


At 3:55 PM, Blogger Kristy said...

One thing I like about you sharing your faith in your blog? Getting the opportunity to learn about another faith's holy days and thinking about what they might mean to me. I certainly don't mean this in a disrespectful or flippant way -- I hope you wouldn't take it that way -- but, I enjoyed asking myself the same questions you seemed to have asked of yourself yesterday. And I'm not talking about stockings.

At 4:23 PM, Blogger Steph said...

Well, I don't know the right answer, but I went with black. Although, I doubt that anyone would have noticed the color of my stockings as I entered the temple with my stroller and preschooler in tow and as my kids proceeded to disrupt at least our section of the sanctuary throughout the entire children's service this afternoon. I was a little embarrassed by their behavior and moreso by my reactions to said behavior of short temper and glaring at them. That right there told me what I need to work on this year.

At 4:25 PM, Anonymous Gretchen C. said...

The longer I live, the more I think that God doesn't care so much if we go to church or shul, just that we find ways to see Him in our lives and weave Him into our kids' lives. Which, as your post shows, you do admirably. You're a great mom and, if I may say so, a good Jew.


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