I was like an angel yesterday.
Because I knew something about the future that others (like my daughter) didn’t.
And, I was able to cautiously guide her peacefully through something which could otherwise have led to an emotional eruption.
She arrived home from school and sat down at the bar in the kitchen.
“Do you remember the theme of the speech I gave the Friday night of your Bat Mitzvah?” I asked.
“Yes,” she replied. “The importance of a pause.”
“Right,” I continued. “So, I’m going to tell you something, but I want you to keep the pause in mind when I tell it to you, ok? Remember, just pause and take a breath.”
She said, “Ok, now you’re making me nervous. But, go on.”
I read her the email I received from Leket (Israel’s National Food Bank that she and her classmates were going to volunteer for this coming Sunday in honor of her Bat Mitzvah.)
“Due to the unusual weather that we experienced this winter and the hot temperatures of this season, most of the plants that we planned to pick in April and May ripened earlier than planned and therefore, our picking season ended earlier then expected. We unfortunately need to cancel the picking activity that we scheduled for you. The next harvest won’t be ready to be picked until the end of June.”
And, to top it off, the principal of her school (who – because of the educational nature of the program – was generous to allow Ayalah to celebrate her Bat Mitzvah on a school day), said to me that there would be no other days for the rest of the school year in which we could do this activity.
My daughter’s jaw dropped.
Tears started to swell up in her eyes.
And, as I watched her, I could feel that she felt defeated.
After all this planning, finding a date with Leket that was also appropriate with the school’s calendar, creating and sending out an invitation, sending out and receiving permission slips, ordering a bus, reserving a room for the party to follow, planning the party, and more.
She closed her eyes.
She took a breath.
And said without an ounce of pessimism, “Ok, so now what?”
As if those words were just coming out of the mouth of the most enlightened person I knew.
I fumbled for a moment.
And then brainstormed quicker than ever…
Maybe we could do this party on the day after the last day of school?
Or, push it off until September?
Or, cancel this idea and just invite a small group of your friends to do something else entirely?
Or, save the money we were planning to spend on this party and go to Eilat and swim with the dolphins (which she’s been speaking about for nearly two years).
Or, do the “party” part without the “Leket” part.
Or, consider that maybe the Bat Mitzvah service and community kiddush that we already had can be considered enough. (I told her that most likely this is how I would plan the other siblings Bar Mitzvah celebrations anyway).
And, within a few moments, she maturely responded, “Ok, let’s just do the party part. And, let’s do it on an evening, rather than a morning. Actually, maybe it will be even more fun this way anyway. Plus, we can all get dressed up, which we couldn’t do if we were going to go pick vegetables in a field first.”
Just like that.
She didn’t get stuck in disappointment.
She seamlessly went from a place of potential disappointment to a place of contentment and sincere happiness.
The possible emotional eruption never even occurred.
It must be nice to have an angel on your shoulder once in a while.
Even more so, an angel who knows how to caution you before you get stuck.
On some days, I wish I had such a personal angel.
On other days, I wonder if I do have such a personal angel.
And, I simply need to wake up to its presence.