Each year as Purim crawls up the calendar, I get an ache in the pit of my stomach – my personal warning signal of tension.
Do I enjoy Purim? NO! It is a day for the children not for mothers. We mothers are left with a lot of filth in our usually immaculate homes, cranky children and enough candies and junk food to give a good living to dentists for the entire year.
This year, I decided, Purim will be different. Covid-19 has been a wonderful opportunity to make changes in my life and my attitude to celebrating Purim will be one of them. Instead of dreading the day, I want to enjoy it. Instead of being irritated by my kid’s Purim behavior, I will accept it and eventually enjoy it too. I decided to enjoy what there is to enjoy and put what I don’t enjoy in my mental “irrelevant” box.
I began with the project of Purim costumes. In the past, when one of my children asked, “Imma, what will be my costume this year?” I would feel desperate. I have nil imagination and the kids seem to have an overflow ot it. Their exuberance shatters my self-esteem.
This year, in keeping with my new-found resolution, I responded head-on. We embarked on a family discussion. Everyone contributed their suggestions and together we weighted up the pros and cons. I flowed along with the kids instead of criticizing or giving better idea. Suddenly, I saw how maturely they handled the decision-making process. They really have a good sense of judgment I realized.
By the way, a major change in my life was the decision that my smartphone is not a participant in children’s time. I locked it in my bedroom and showed the kids that I was 100% with them. Instead of the past response, “Just one minute – this is an important call!” or “Sorry, I’m busy now – later”, I was with them.
Make no mistake. The kids felt the difference and all our Purim preparations took on a new approach. I was beginning to enjoy. Instead of ordering costumes online and taking the risk that they may arrive after Purim, we made a shopping expedition and spent time together in the store deciding on the merits and de-merits of each costume. Pizza and ice cream afterwards were the perfect end to a wonderful day.
With online distractions out of the way, I entered into the spirit of Purim with my children. We bought a few groggers and experimented with them in the evening. The louder the better. We baked hamantaschen together and when my five-year old “baby” decided to sprinkle poppy seeds all over the table, we put our fingers in and made a pretty design.
( By the way, if you are looking for a nice and intresting addition to your Mishloach Manot, this wine bottle holder will add a WOW to it 🙂 )
I will not bore you with the details of my Purim preparations. I just want to share with you my secret. I realized that whether or not I enjoy Purim depends on me – not on the kids, not my guests, not even the menu. It is my attitude that counts and this is what the kids will carry with them as they grow and move on in life.
I know that Purim will be a difficult day. It is not easy to see the house turned upside down and children running wild without any limits. I am preparing myself mentally in advance. My technique is to tell myself that I am a spectator. All that is happening has nothing to do with me. I am viewing the Purim celebration as a guest from outer space. Maybe, I will share my observations with readers.
So, I wish you all Simchat Purim. In these fearful days of war and destruction, when so many Jews are suffering and fleeing for their lives, let us hold on to this day of joy and thank G-d that we can enjoy it with our family and dear ones.