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My Jewish husband is hungry and cranky. Very cranky. As a gentile, it’s hard to rally behind this holiday. Yom Kippur is not a fun, happy celebration like Passover or Hanukkah. It’s a day of atonement. Note to my fellow shiksas: avoid chirping, “Happy Yom Kippur” to hungry Jewish friends.

My husband insists there is a purpose behind the fasting. Suffering (even just a little bit) opens your eyes. It allows you to take a step back, examine yourself and reset your goals. You ask for forgiveness for mistakes and resolve to be a better mother, sister, daughter and person in the new year.

I like that. All of us could use a little forgiveness. To my husband, forgive me for not letting go sometimes and letting you parent in your own way. Also, forgive me for being such a neat freak that I remake the bed after you’ve already made it. To my daughters, forgive me for rushing around sometimes like a crazed mama. To my mother, forgive me for everything I said to you from ages 13 to 19. I’m sure my own daughters will seek retribution.

In this new Jewish year, I promise to always kiss my husband goodbye, even if he is in the shower and the girls and I are late for preschool. I promise to never again drink a large cafe mocha and a bottle of water at the beginning of a road trip and then 20 minutes later complain that I have to pee (just as the kids have fallen asleep in the backseat). To my children, I promise to pack your favorite snacks, never lie to you and always be the person who will listen to you and take care of you (whether you are 3 or 33 or 103 – although I might not be around when you are 103).

To myself, I promise to follow my creative ambitions, do things that bring me joy, take care of my family, love and laugh with my husband, connect with my friends (my real friends, not the ones on the “The Hills”), be kind to others and be good to this earth.

So maybe Yom Kippur is not my ideal way to spend a day (especially as someone who isn’t Jewish) because hungry people can be very cranky. Although I admit, the smoked fish platters at sundown are quite yummy. Even without fasting, the Jewish holiday made me stop, reflect and think about the person I want to be. So for that, I am grateful.

6 Responses to a shiksa atones

  • Margo says:

    Just read the NYT's Week in Review section and apparently Mitt Romney sent out a press release earlier in the week wishing "The Jewish people" a hearty "L'Shanah Tovah" for the New Year. Now in all my years, I"ve never had someone wish me a "hearty" holiday. Interesting choice of words. Perhaps he could have saved himself if he had just read the mamabirddiaries.

  • Jordana Bales says:

    Best thing about being a nursing/pregnat mama – no fasting!! I haven't fasted since 2004 and I think I may just keep nursing and/or having kids to avoid it. Okay, maybe not the best idea…

  • Kelcey says:

    I love having kids because we go to the 45 minute children's service instead of the 2 hour regular service. Now that's worth having children for!

  • francine Kasen says:

    All you wonderful YOUNG mamas out there, As I have said before, I've already raised my kids, and have learned a lesson worth passing on. The best thing you can do to learn from day to day how to parent (verb) is to seek the advise of those you admire. And that means other parents, professionals, and even strangers with well behaved kids. IN THAT VEIN, tomorrow, sept 26th, Dr. Phil is having a show about common parenting mistakes!!! I'll watch it to try to discern how my 25 year old still gets me to make him pancakes for breakfast!!!

  • Emily says:

    I just started reading your blog and I am hooked. I have been “back reading” the old posts. This is absolutley one of my favorites! You are inspiring. I love the part about wanting to always kiss your husband goodbye. I think we forget simple things like this on a day to day basis. But they are so important!

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kelcey kintner