| Musings |

Hot Diggity Dog

The torrent of tears raged on. They’d held a party without me?

When I was a kid, everyone in my house retired at ten p.m. My father had to get up early in the morning for daf yomi, so ten o’clock was bedtime for all. The lights were dimmed, voices were hushed, and quiet settled over our Brooklyn home. We could stay up in bed reading or playing, but there were no friends stopping by or urgent late-night calls with dire messages that couldn’t possibly wait till morning.

Nowadays, my home isn’t like that. At all. I hear puttering in the kitchen at one a.m., the phone frequently rings late at night, and I hear words spoken in the whispered shrieks only a teen can master, things like, “My mom finally said I could cut my uniform shirt and just have the collar to go under my sweater,” and the response: “OMG, you’ll finally feel like a normal freshie!”

Growing up, we certainly didn’t chop up our $35 uniform shirts so that we could just wear the collar under our uniform sweaters. We had way more respect for our expensively stiff and dowdy uniforms to do that. There was zero night activity in my household. That was just the way it was, which made it all the more shocking when one morning my older sister casually remarked that the night before, while I was fast asleep, the family had a spontaneous hot dog party at 11 p.m.

Say what?

A party at 11? Us?

“Why,” I sputtered, “eleven is after ten, and we never do anything exciting after ten!”

I burst into tears and ran to my mother for an explanation. She told me that since my two sisters and my parents (basically everyone but me) had suffered from insomnia the night before, they had an impromptu joint snack.

The torrent of tears raged on. They’d held a party without me? They’d had fun without their precious middle daughter? Why hadn’t they woken me up?

My mother was calm and composed. “But, Peshie, dear, you don’t eat even hot dogs.”

True. I hated hot dogs. I hadn’t eaten a hot dog since I was a toddler, but that was beside the point. Wasn’t it? I’d missed out on some evening fun. The one time we had a family night activity, and I’d spent it asleep, blissfully unaware.

Within a few days, my major upset turned into minor annoyance. But for many years that minor annoyance niggled at me when I thought of the incident.

Then one day, when I was in my early 30s, memories of the incident crossed my mind. Hmm, I reflected, if this happened tonight and all my children were awake but one, yup, I’d do the same as my mom did and let that one sleeping child sleep.

Sleep is important. More important than some lame hot dog party. That’s obvious.

And that’s when it hit me.

Somehow, somewhere, I’d become an adult.


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 842)

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