As I was getting ready for woke this morning, my son, now 10, came to me and was upset about not wanting to go to school. Normally, Lucas loves school so it caught me off guard a bit.
“Why don’t you want to go to school?” I asked him.
“I don’t know,” was his reply.
“Is it your teacher?”
“Are kids at school giving you a hard time?” Always my biggest fear when it comes to why he wouldn’t want to go to school.
“Is it the Jewish Exponent?” I got a little smile from that one. He is starting to learn exponents in Math and I keep thinking about the Jewish Exponent, which was a weekly Jewish newspaper we received when I was a kid.
Maybe it doesn’t have anything to do with school?
“I just want to stay home with you guys.”
And that’s when it hit me.
It’s not that he doesn’t want to go to school; it’s that he doesn’t want our special weekends to end.
I know exactly how he feels.
This past Friday we had an absolutely lovely Shabbat dinner at our Rabbi’s house. On Saturday we had a nice day and we went out to dinner at California Pizza Kitchen and then had fun shopping at Five Below (which is not, contrary to what I had always thought, a cold weather clothing store, but actually a store where everything costs five dollars or less). On Sunday we delivered water and cleaning supplies to homes and families most affected by Hurricane Sandy on Long Island.
I explained to Lucas that when I was a little younger, before we had kids, I knew it was important for our family to spend time together, but I didn’t understand how wonderful it would feel, being surrounded by love, being with the people I most want to be with. There is no one else I’d rather be with than my wife, Lucas and his twin sister, Dorit.
Growing up, it was not like this in my family. I never particularly felt they liked me all that much and I certainly wouldn’t choose to spend time with them.
But our family feels so different.
“I think you still really like school, Lucas. I think what we need to do is have crappier weekends and that will make it easier to go back to school or work on Monday. And it starts with no Thanksgiving for you!” And we both laughed.
“But seriously, maybe what we need to do is figure out how to carry the joy of our weekends with us through the rest of the week.”
We talked a little bit more and he seemed to feel better.
As I sit here and write this, I think back to myself as a little boy, more miserable than words can accurately depict. It is not possible to imagine a “problem” like this, where my life with my family is so amazing, so fulfilling, so infusing with love and good energy that everything else would pale in comparison.
How lucky are we?