For the past three years, on Leil Yom Ha’Atzma’ut (Independence Eve), we went straight from davening (praying) to our neighborhood's celebrations. Everyone is OK with this, for about an hour... then all the kids starts clamoring for food and jackets (which I invariably forget to bring). But then we don't want to leave, because we don't want to miss the fireworks.
Last year, I noticed that some people went home after davening. They ate dinner, then came back for fireworks. They missed the inevitable balagan (chaos) at the beginning of the celebrations, and also some of the cute performances by our local kids. In short, they did not miss much.
This year, I determined, we would do it “right.” We would also go home for dinner. Then, with full tummies and a warm coat, we would go back out for the fireworks. I made a delicious soup in my slow-cooker, and I stuck a lasagna (it was really a pan of ziti, but we call all baked pasta dishes lasagna) in the oven.
I called some friends from the neighborhood and invited them to join us for our seudah (festive meal).
At some point in the late afternoon, Y announced that she had plans for the evening with girls from her youth group. As an afterthought, she asked if we had “family plans.” Since our guests don’t have any girls her age, I knew she would have more fun with her friends. With a bit of nostalgia, I recognized that she is the beginning to make her own plans, without us. (Wait! I'm not ready yet!)
I missed Y at shul (synagogue), but it was nice to sit next to A and give her my complete attention. Davening was nice; it was particularly special to daven with A, who chose to share my siddur (prayer book) rather than use her own. There was a lot of singing, especially at the end. I wanted to dance, but A was a little embarrassed. So we just swung our arms and did “k’ilu” (as if…). A thinks I am a little goofy. (she’s right, of course – but I do have more fun that way!)
At home, we set our table for the holiday. I am so glad we invited friends. Since we were having company, we all did a little bit more towards creating a festive atmosphere.
Dinner was so great, that by the time 10:30 rolled around, none of us felt like going out into the cold to watch the fireworks. Lucky for us, our windows overlook Gilo and we got to watch Gilo’s fireworks from our dining room. We got to have our cake and eat it too! (so to speak)
Please daven (or send happy, healing thoughts) for RivkA bat Teirtzel.
With love and optimism,