I finally made it to my clinic’s annual Christmas party. I’ve missed it all the years I’ve worked there, and I always get grief from my patients who come see me shortly after the New Year for not being there. But, I’d been thinking about how to fit my attendance at this party into my schedule for the past week, and even started making promises to the patients that I saw in the past week, that I would be there.
The idea started with my promise to J to bring him to my work. And, I figured that it would be a nice opportunity to bring him in on the day of the party, and show him off to people who met him when he was newly a part of our family.
And, as I was thinking about how the day might work out, I thought, “Hey, things are getting very quiet around work, with so many people away. Why not spend the morning at J’s school, and then take him in to Baltimore for the afternoon, and we can attend the party?”
So, I mentioned this to his teacher on Thursday evening, when I picked him up, and she mentioned that she was making challah on Friday morning, and was a little anxious, as she’d never done it before. Since I make challah regularly, I offered to help her out, and it all seemed completely serendipitous! I also wanted to sit in on their weekly Shabbat song time, a school wide activity every Friday morning before their morning snack, as I wanted to get the melodies that they use for the Shabbat songs they do with the kids, so I can integrate more of the tunes they know into the monthly Tot Shabbat that I am now leading.
In the morning, J and I stopped at the store to pick up the eggs, sugar and flour, that they needed for the challah project. I arrived exactly at 9am, and after a short circle time, we got started. The kids got into the measuring, and smelling the gas released by the awakening yeast, and the mixing. It was a lot of fun. J was extra-clingy, and, despite having made challah with me loads of times, he couldn’t focus with his mom in the room. He also clung to me during Shabbat sing, which made it a challenge for me to concentrate on the melodies I was trying to learn. And, I was sorry that he wouldn’t engage in singing, which I know he loves.
We got the kids outside for a bit, while the dough finished its first rise, and then headed back in to roll out our snakes and braid them. We got the three snakes made, and one precocious little girl whose name happened to start with the letter A formed her three strands into an A, which I thought was delightful! (I hope her parents were happy with the A-shaped challah she brought home last night!). We got most of the kids to form a braid of some sort or another (one ended up very long, like a pretzel!).
The kids played a little more during the second rise, and we baked the little loaves in the synagogues convection oven, which had them done in about 12 minutes! I wish I could show you a picture! They were lovely golden-brown coming out.
Then we packed up J’s loaf, and headed up to Baltimore. Not long into our drive, J observed that my work “is very far away”, and “Abba’s work is closer”.
“Why can’t you work somewhere that’s close to our house?”, he asked me, and I thought to myself “Yes, why can’t I work closer to home?”
We got there, and joined the party after Santa had already “left” (ie, the staff member eased as Santa got too hot!). I was OK with that timing, as I didn’t really need J getting confused about what Santa might actually deliver on any requests that J might have made. I saw several of my patients, we got a little food, and J got a gift bag packed with healthy treats like a new toothbrush, a hat, gloves, a scarf, and a packet of peanuts and a candy cane (he ate the last two in my office, while I got a little work done).
Oh, and a red Santa hat with a white furry brim and a furry ball on the end that he delighted in wearing to synagogue this morning!! Thankfully, no one seemed to mind! I think it’s the sparkly things all over it that strike his fancy.