Friday January 11, 2013
Today’s blog prompt isn’t a topic I can write on. Not because I’m too emotional. Not because it’s controversial. But because I can’t. The topic is, “This year’s family vacation…”. I have no family, and, well while I hope to get away this year, there’s nothing planned and with my job it’s hard to think about being gone too long. So, instead of writing about that, which clearly I cannot, I’m going to go in a different direction tonight.
I want to share an adorable story that happened tonight during bathtime and warmed my heart and showed me the comprehension that a child under 3 could have. We underestimate these little people ALL too much. They think about things, they process them and they interpret them. Which sometimes is a negative of course, but in this instance it was the sweetest thing EVER!
So I was giving the kids a bath, and Calen was talking about Christmas, not really sure how it came up or why he wanted to discuss it TONIGHT since I was back at work over a week ago and he’s been with me every day, but he asked if he could tell me about Christmas and somewhere in the story I shared with him that his mommy had sent me the picture of his and his sister’s faces when they first came out Christmas morning and saw what Santa had left!!
Then the questions started. And while questions from a 51/2-year-old can be irritating and constant, these were the kinds of questions where you want to answer and want to help him comprehend the overall concept.
He knows that I celebrate Hanukkah. We celebrate it together and adorably enough, Calen at 51/2 years old could tell you the basic story of Hanukkah, it’s very impressive. And this year he wanted to start learning the letters on the dreidel. I in NO WAY am trying to convert them, they asked me to share with the kids my traditions so they’d at least be educated about Judaism since they are being raised in a highly Jewish area.
We discussed how some families are like mine that only celebrate Hanukkah because they are Jewish, both the mommy and the daddy are Jewish. That some families celebrate both Hanukkah and Christmas because they have a mommy who’s Jewish and a daddy who’s not. And then there were families like his that only celebrate Christmas.
He thought about it for a minute, and said “but we celebrate Hanukkah too”. And I said yes you do, but with me because I am Jewish, not your mommy or your daddy. And he said he knew that.
Then we went back to talking about the picture of them Christmas morning and he asked me where in my house my tree was, and I reminded him I don’t get a tree because at my house I only celebrate Hanukkah. And I think I said that I’ve never had a tree in my house my whole life and that’s why I enjoy theirs so much. So then THE QUESTION came.
“Well, if you don’t have a tree, and you don’t celebrate Christmas, then Santa didn’t come to your house?!!? EVER?”.
Thank goodness for all those years of teaching Hebrew school I had a decent answer that I quickly applied to this situation!
“Well, I don’t know if you’ve ever noticed but on the front door jamb area to my apartment I have this pretty thing hung up that’s called a Mezzuzah, all Jewish people do.” I explained what a Mezzuzah was, that it was a sign of being Jewish and that there was a tiny blessing inside that Jewish people put on their doors (to keep us safe and protected). And that I guess all my life Santa had seen the Mezzuzah on the front door of whatever home I lived in and knew not to come. I told him I was okay with it, but that I always kinda wish he’d surprise me one year. To which he didn’t really respond but he thought about extensively. I could see the wheels turning.
Hilariously enough as I’m writing this, I can’t help but think now he is gonna grow up thinking that’s the sole purpose of a Mezzuzah, to let Santa and the Easter bunny know where not to stop!!!
All of a sudden, Leah, who was also in the tub, and had been listening somewhat passively but also was playing around with the toys and singing while in her own little 21/2-year-old world, stops, looks at me and says………”I take my piggy bank and buy you a Christmas tree Traci, I so sorry.” and she made this face like she pitied poor me that I’ve never gotten to wake up and see the presents under the tree. She will be 3 in March, so okay, fine, almost 3. But can you imagine that just passively listening to my extensive conversation with Calen, she understood enough and processed it enough and felt sad and badly enough that she wanted to fix it and make it better???
It sure made me think twice about what I say in front of her, because CLEARLY she “gets” a lot more than I would ever have imagined and well, if you have little ears in your house, don’t ever under-estimate what they’re hearing and comprehending!!
Boy do I love that kid! She’s something else, with the biggest heart and is the most compassionate toddler I’ve ever met, but boy, she sure keeps me on my toes! ~traci xoxo