December 12 17

This story is not about Shabbat and how much I love Shabbat. (Oh I love it so)
This story is about Sunday.

The problem is, I can’t really tell one without the other. Because when you keep Shabbat, Sundays are SUNDAYS. On Friday evening (more like afternoon in the winter because according to my Shabbat Times app, this coming week candle lighting is at 4:23pm and that is basically the middle of the day) everything halts and we spend 25 hours unplugged, in synagogue, and spending some much-needed catch-up time with friends, and eating too many Richmond Bakery cinnamon buns. It’s the best.

And then comes Sunday — when we need to fit two days of weekend into only one day. When you keep Shabbat, Sundays are Sundays and Saturday. Grocery shopping, finding winter boots, driving Emily to her swimming instructor job, driving Isabella to dance, picking up Isabella from dance, picking up Emily from her swimming instructor job. Family shoots, newborn shoots, Bar and/or Bat Mitzvah shoots. Homework and studying (for the kids) and editing (for me). Changing all the lightbulbs. Meetings. More meetings. So much laundry.

And we even try to fit in a little fun.

Once upon a time when my kids were wee we used to be able to do something as a family on Sunday. We’d go to the Science Centre or the zoo or to the ROM or even just to the park. We’d take the kids to see a movie on rainy Sundays or mini golfing on hot Sundays.

Now my kids are all taller than I am and I’m lucky if I see them for more than just a car ride.
It makes me sad, actually, how we are all just so busy right now. I wish we could spend an afternoon at the Science Centre.

Which is why when I was invited to join my brother, my husband, my daughter, and my son at a Green Bay Packers game in Cleveland this Sunday, I simply said yes.

This is so incredibly unlike me — to not worry about work, to not worry about extracurricular schedules, to not worry about all the things I needed to be doing instead of this particular thing.

I didn’t work on a Sunday for the first time in over a year.

On Saturday night, at roughly exactly when Shabbat was over, we piled into the car in our pajamas, bringing only what we’d need to keep warm at the Browns stadium — which, for me, included a tank top, a t-shirts, a second t-shirt, a third t-shirt, a turtleneck, a giant triple XL sweatshirt, a pair of leggings, three pairs of socks, boots, mittens, scarf, hat, coat. {Even with the lovely extra stop at Target to buy three blankets, it wasn’t enough}


Note to self: Next time — multiple hand and foot warmers. Better gloves. Better boots.

By four minutes into the first quarter I had lost complete feeling in my extremities. By halftime I had lost the entire lower half of my person.

You guys, the beer froze.

I mean, it was entirely worth it, of course. Clear eyes, cold noses, can’t lose?

The entire game was crazypants and as we neared the end of the third quarter I started to think that maybe we weren’t going to win and I was going to have to drive all the way home to Toronto (through a Buffalo Blizzard no less) with a very unhappy car full of Packers fans after handing Cleveland their first win all season. But ever the optimist [I am not ever the optimist.] I prayed for a rally; and convinced myself and everyone else that we were going to pull a fourth quarter miracle.

I actually — for a split second — felt badly for all of the Browns fans in our section who walked away thiclose to being 1-12 but alas, their streak in here to stay. I felt bad, but then I saw my son’s face. I probably have never seen him this happy.


Our frozen bodies and hoarse voices piled back into the car, turned around, turned the tushie warmers on and the heat up to full blast and drove home (through that Buffalo Blizzard) to get home so everyone could start their weeks — school for the two in the back, work for the two in the front. It was so, so cold (I’m still not warm yet), it was many, many hours in the car (where I have to wear Sea-Bands because carsickness yaaaay) in a very short amount of time.

And I didn’t work. Or run errands. Or change the lightbulbs. Or do the laundry.
And no one has winter boots yet.

It was so worth it.
Because I actually got to spend a Sunday with 2/3 of my kids.
(Isabella happily opted out: She doesn’t do long car rides unless she’s forced, and she doesn’t do football unless she’s forced, and she doesn’t do sitting in the cold for many hours unless she’s forced. It was probably the best decision for us all.)

Maybe one day I’ll get 3/3.

  1. I went to a Packers game at Lambeau Field number of years ago with my husband and two sons on December 23rd. It was -4 degrees, and yes, the beer did freeze, but I stayed toasty warm. I took a sleeping bag and put myself in it, boots and all, and sat in it in my assigned seat. It worked like a charm and I highly recommend it! I offered to bring three more for the men, but they laughed at me. I think they got cold, but they would never admit it, die-hard Packers fans that they are. A woman nearby asked me if it worked and I loudly proclaimed the effectiveness of it! Next time, take a sleeping bag for yourself and you won’t regret it. Your toes will thank you!

    Comment by Marci Strutt on December 17, 2017

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