Last week one of my friends posted on Facebook that she was often reminded of how different her holiday preparations were from her grandmothers. I think of this more often when making latkes with my food processor, but it’s a good point. Our grandmothers did not for the most part crashing through their work days six hours before a holiday dinner. But they also didn’t have food processors, microwaves, and husbands who do some of the labor and in some cases all. The new year fell inconveniently on a weds this year meaning that Manuel had a meeting until 4:30 and I had various things to do during day which kept me out of the house until I picked up Eli at 3:15 leaving about two hours to get everything ready. The big kids were at play date and Eli and I set about to make a holiday meal which involved for starters him cutting his toy apple over and over again and pretending to be a shofar—a truly grating sound. (I promptly started blasting Velvet Underground to encourage another kind of expression) I turned into some combo of mad chef and hyperactive 7 year old and was running around the house trying to make kooogle, honey cake and other things in record time. The consequence of rushing and tired eyes from an eye doctor appointment was four cuts on my hands and burns in various places and lots of completely inappropriate cursing. At a low point Eli stirred the koogle all by himself and then put a batch to bake in his toy oven, dripping a delightful mix of eggs, sugar and butter all over the floor. Every third word was completely inappropriate for a preschooler and had a jump back from the toy oven move. While I cleaned up that mess he tried to tune the piano--this meant standing on the piano keyboard which he accomplished with a series of stepstool and banging on it with a "fork" and hammer. He heard the tuner explain to Rebecca about pitchforks and the hammers inside. I think he got the words but missed the content. Remarkably we pulled it off and Rebecca got home she set about a project of new placemats for the holiday—gorgeous hot pink felt with more glitter than I knew we had in the house. We tried out annual ritual of getting the kids to think about what they might do better next year. Apparently none need any improvement though they all had big advice for each other—missed the boat….. We did however have an interesting theological discussion which requires dialogue to translate the full effect.
Jonathan: Ok I have something to tell you that I’ve never told you.
Me Ok what
J (With gusto and speed) I don’t believe in God.
Me Ok why
J Because of evolution. God didn’t make the world evolution did. Got that man. (the last statement made while looking at the sky.
Rebecca Well Jonathan I understand what you’re saying but I think something differet. (she must have learned this in school her response to disagreement is usually less articulate)
Manuel Silent and trying not to choke on food from laughing at seriousness of the kids. And at Eli’s ability to just keep singing at the top of his lungs no matter what is going on.
R I believe in G0d
Me hmmm why
R Because of the stories. You know the burning bush how would it have caught on fire and not burned up.
J Can I have more milk?
And that was that. We can’t figure out why Jonathan thought this was some sort of secret or why a surprise. It turns out he’s been discussin his atheisms quite vehemently at Sunday School for quite a while and we were the last to know. Eli meanwhile repeated the conversation on the long van ride from New Jersey. I would have missed it had my mom not said “honey your kid is saying something to you.” I was deeply engaged in reading an Eloisa James Romance on my kindle and purposefully ignoring all of my kids and my parents. Eli’s version was shorter. “I don’t twust God cause of the evolutionary war.”
The kids hated the koogle and the honey cake causing me to wonder why I ever cook anything. Maybe they are old enough to fast this year.