I just had to write about this little tale. It is emblematic of one of the themes of this blog - finding humor in tragedy. Perhaps, that is how I should tag the posts that are now categorized as "therapy".
Tragedy is a strong word, sometimes sadness or melancholy will do, but in this case I think it's appropriate. You see, there has been another unexpected death. Our friend, Andy has lost his dad, Paul. And so, the community has gotten together to mourn. That's when people either deal with their own grief and sadness or help friends and family to do so. When you're Jewish, this process is called shiva. If someone in your family died, you are "sitting shiva" and when you are helping someone mourn you "pay a shiva call".
So when Andy's dad died, we were paying a shiva call. I'll get into the rituals in a bit, but to begin with I just want to describe the wild scene at Katie and Andy's house. It was one giant playdate of kids and parents and families and there must have been at least a hundred people in the home. There was definitely a mood of life and energy with all the kids running around and acting as kids do. It was most definitely not somber in that home. So much so that when you emerged from the throng of kids and found me for a moment, you said to me, "Mommy, this is such a GREAT party. We should have a party like this for Grandpa Lou!" Grandpa Lou is my grandfather and Alex is named after him and I believe that this might be the only other person you know that is not alive. So it would make sense to you that if you wanted to have such a great party, you would need someone dead to celebrate too. Simple, right?
One of the shiva rituals is to have the rabbi come to your home every evening when there is a minyan (ten or more Jewish adults present) so that the grieving family can say a prayer called Kaddish which is a prayer to honor and remember the dead. This is not to be confused with Kiddush which is the prayer we say before we drink wine or grape juice. So anyway, at the "GREAT party for Bernie's Grandpa", the rabbi came and there was a bit more order for a few moments anyway as the adults quieted down and faced East and read from prayer books. During this ritual moment of silence, I felt a tap on my shoulder and was directed to look toward the bathroom off of the Wedeens' kitchen.
There you were sitting on the toilet, grunting, pooping with the door wide open, during an extremely serious and sad moment. I made my way over to shut the door and you exclaimed loudly, "Mom! A little privacy, please!" The adult giggled and I tried to be serious. About 30 seconds later came the call that all mommies of young children are used to hearing, but not normally during a quiet prayer service, "Mom! Will you wipe me!" A few more giggles erupted as I made my way back to the bathroom.
It is interesting how this mundane (and slightly gross) moment could add levity to an otherwise very serious and very sad moment. At a deeper level, I am reminded of the continuity of life. Even in death, the next generation must choose to live and thrive.
Okay. That's enough waxing philosophical for now.
Thank you for adding exuberance to this life.