This morning I took care of the baby, washed his bottles and some dishes, straightened up the house, did some (more - and neverending) laundry, briefly considered what food to make and eat today...but I couldn't shake the thought that the Yamim Noraim are right around the corner. Rosh Hashana used to mean apples&honey and round sweet fresh challah - but now I can't enjoy any of that. Yom Kippur has never been overly enjoyable - but I used to be able to fast and daven in shul all day long so at least there was meaning. Nowadays, fasting leaves me sick, weak and shaking (yes, literally) - so much so that even in the 2 years before becoming pregnant I was unable to go to shul or take care of anything (the entirety of the day was spent lying in bed, dizzy as anything, sick to my stomach, trying not to throw-up.) So Y"K doesn't really do ~anything~ for me - especially this year (and the next 12 or so - now that I have a child to care for.)
Which of course brings me to Sukkot and a contemplation of the holidays.
Sure - I've always loved Pesach. All of the preparation culminating in a week of eating matzah (which I love) and sponge-cakes galore. Channuka isn't too bad - I mean, who could say no to presents?! (Even if they did wane from American Girl Dolls down to pajamas and socks and finally dwindled down to nothing much more than the family ~being~ together.) Shavuot - with the blintzes and onion rolls. Purim and the rollicking good times (and not-as-fun drunk times)... Even with the huge selection afforded by the Jewish calendar - Sukkot has been and always will be the 'best' in my mind.
Every year as it approaches I think back and remember it through the years.
I'm not sure if it's the natural scene - crisp, cool air of autumn and ever-shortening days (standing still at my ideal balance of day and night...) It could be the sheer fun of getting to build a tent ~with~ your family live in it for a week - come acorns, rain, bees, stray cats or raccoons! Or maybe it's just the whole ~family~ aspect - I do seem to have an affinity for all things family related. I can't help it. It's genetic.
My earliest memories of the Holiday are from when I was about eight (because they start on Oxford Ct.) Erev-Sukkot would be the usual madness of my Mom cooking, Yo'Abba building (somewhere between 60-80%) of the sukkah (in what was considered 'too late' of a time-frame to my mother) - especially because the Sukkah was in full view (open in fact) towards the kitchen. As the day wore on all of the kids would get antsy to start the decorating - but that never really began in earnest until S&S had arrived. Then the real fun would begin - out would come the BIG box of decorations and the complicated delicate procedure would commence - this chain here, and that sign there! No - switch them all around! Again!!! Eventually the box would be empty, the schach holding up all of its well-placed treasures - and we'd all rush to get dressed for chag. The meals were always delicious - warm and filling in the chilly night air. And of course, after dessert and singing and bencshing - there was a silly question of whether anyone wanted to sleep outside - and the answer was no. Except of course for that 1 year. So many random memories - 'oven-burnt-potatoes' receiving their hard-earned title, confessions of love shouted through bathroom windows, Sukkah-B-Bear visiting (after all, the ushpizin shouldn't be the only guests), acorns and leaves soup...
Yes - I most definitely ~loved~ Sukkot.
Ever since we made Aliya the holiday hasn't been the same. Well - not for me anyway. The first few years I was in school or working and didn't make it Home in time to help assemble the sukkah. After that we had already moved to The-Middle-of-Nowhere and built our own sukka - but it just wasn't the same. Last year I was in the throes of first/second-trimester-misery at Sukkot time and I watched the sukkah be built from my bed in the basement. This year we've got a baby and we're planning to build our sukkah and are hoping to be home for part of the holiday.
I know that nothing can live up to what we see in the mind's eye - but I'm hopeful that this year we can make it even half as exciting and memorable as the golden-memories of my childhood. If not for me, then at least for Buzz. After all - the Wheel turns and now it's his chance to be the kid.