All moments become milestones if we let them
Milestones deserve to be recognized, though how one defines a milestone depends on where one stands on the sundial of life. A birth or birthday, a bar or bas mitzvah, wedding, anniversary, or graduation all come to mind, but why stop there?
I’m always up for a party — so let’s raise a glass in praise of the lesser-known, more private, yet equally important accomplishments that deserve recognition, too. You can rank them in order of importance.
Once the hoopla of the wedding wears off, let’s have a high five for the first time you make a bed and set a table on the same day. Sometimes, as the decades progress and the enthusiasm diminishes, those conquests wane.
Making Shabbos for the first time (for two) is something you never forget. You’ve borrowed dishes and serving pieces, collected recipes from all your acquaintances, and stand on your feet for six solid days and nights in preparation. Washing the dishes after Shabbos together with your new husband is an experience all its own, and if you get him to wash out the cholent pot you deserve a crown. If he continues to do so every week thereafter, you’re in a class all your own — especially if he thinks it’s his idea. The fact that, a few decades later, you can shake a Shabbos (for 22) out of your sleeve in two hours just means you’re practiced enough.
Newly marrieds spend months trying to figure out exactly what the color and theme of their first mishloach manos should be, and then another three weeks in earnest discussion trying to decide exactly who to send them to. A green-iced cupcake and matching saran-wrapped taffies becomes the winner. It then takes two weeks to bake, freeze, and wrap all six. Giggling through the process is part of the joy, and so is wearing matching costumes when you deliver them.
I wanna know when the coronation happens after you put together over one hundred tubes of candy, nuts, and dried fruit, top them with ribbons and bows (along with the individual handwritten notes of appreciation to all the rabbis and teachers in your children’s schools), load them all into the van along with the eight sugar-high, screaming, costume-clad kids, and deliver them alone because your better half is celebrating with his besties. If taking that all in stride is not a moment of triumph, then what is?
If I was old enough to get married, I was old enough to make Pesach (and still do, now for more years than the Jews wandered in the desert). And I did, starting from Year One, and am continuing to do so for more years than the Jews wandered the Desert. How’s that for epic? Did I miss the 76 trombones that sounded somewhere?
Because we have to eat, making a blintz — from scratch — and not burning the bottom is award winning. For some of us, this tops our bucket list, along with creating a butter-soaked cinnamon yeast kuchen that melts in your mouth.
Let’s have a hearty round of applause for all the suppers prepared on a shoestring and a prayer. Every. Single. Night. Double on weekends. I’ve hidden more vegetables in the food than afikomens at the Seder. Houdini comes to mind.
Full disclosure: I know how to cook macaroni, create animal shapes from fish sticks and I consider hot dogs and buns a food group. Breakfast for supper (cereal and milk) is a treat. Who says otherwise?
Celebrating baby’s firsts are major moments. First step, first word, first tooth, and sleeping through the night for the first time since he was born is reason enough to call the neighbors, the siblings, the grandparents, and all the aunts and uncles. Forget that you’ve already posed for his second cake-smash photo op. That euphoria may diminish when baby-turned-tween turns over in the morning without acknowledging that it’s time to rise and shine.
The first day your youngest starts school and you (bravely) don’t cry as you kiss him goodbye and watch him get on the bus deserves a standing ovation. Walking into the house and shouting “Yes!” in jubilation doesn’t make it any less worthy.
Took the time to practice driving with your newly minted 16-year-olds so they could accumulate the required hours needed to obtain their licenses? Take a moment to celebrate and pat yourself on the back… no one else will. Personally, I’d like the White-Knuckle Clutch award. It’s taken me quite a while to lose the cramp in my leg from stomping on the floorboard in anticipation of the Stop sign that kept appearing each time we rounded the corner. Junior got the hang of how to use the gas petal pretty quickly; it was pumping the brake that needed refining.
Backing into the chain fence doesn’t count because no one saw us and the only damage that appeared was on the bumper of our car. You-know-who wisely didn’t comment. Knighthood might be in order.
When that magical license with their name on it finally appears, let your teen think it’s their prize. Here’s yours: You will never have to shop again. The first time they run an errand there should be a brass band waiting in the driveway. They are now always willing to run an errand because once they’ve graduated to four wheels, they never go back to two. The downside is that you are stuck at home, and you now have to ask her permission to drive your car. Make an appointment.
Bottom line is: Moments — all moments — become milestones if we let them, and what better way is there to celebrate than with our loved ones?
If they’re not available, order a double scoop chocolate ice cream latte with matching muffin on me and enjoy!
You deserve it and I’ll never tell….
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 834)
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