Another day, another year, another seizure, another laughPosted: August 30, 2010
We’re coming up fast on the Jewish New Year. Well, one of them. The big one. Have I mentioned that my family is Jewish? We’re Jewish. Anyways, this is the time of year that I get perhaps a little too introspective, what with it being a new year and all. (I don’t typically introspect this way during late December, although I have been known to slink into an existential funk during birthday season. As a lifelong academic, this is also the time when classes start, which is another introspection trigger for me.) I’ve been struggling a bit with work and personal life stuff for a few weeks, and had almost forgotten that I needed to make plans for attending services and preparing seasonal/traditional foods. Frankly, the last few years have almost not existed for me, in terms of a normal experience of the Jewish calendar…because:
– Last year at this time (September 2009), I was about to contract swine flu and be bedridden for two weeks, while struggling to finish my dissertation (which I defended about two months after the swine flu episode). I watched my family eating their holiday dinner via webcam. Lily had a new-ish staffer whom I hadn’t met in person sitting in the seat that is traditionally mine when I’m with my family, helping her to deal with her food.
– Two years ago at this time (September 2008), my sister was about to develop a life-threatening Salmonella infection. We spent the holiday in her ICU room. I’ve been trying to write about this for the blog for awhile, to communicate something of the sibling experience during a medical crisis, but even now, it still stings, and the writing is going slowly.
The last two years, then, haven’t started with the rich collage of fantastic meals, community gatherings, the scents and colors of the changing seasons, and family jokes that Make The New Year Real for me. (The family jokes? Turns out the Hebrew greetings at this season make for good wordplay when it comes to my and Lily’s given names, and you’d better believe the kid loves playing with those words). Hence my feeling that time hasn’t existed.
I always call my family on Friday night, since that’s the start of the Sabbath and that’s always been a family tradition. (Lily not only comes home for dinner, but stays overnight, too.) This past Friday? Well, I only talked with my mom, because Lily was grumpy and on her way to bed in the wake of a seizure, and Dad was taking the opportunity to get some rest. I wouldn’t call myself superstitious, but I certainly feel prone to paranoia about stuff involving family and health, and overinterpret things like there’s no tomorrow. You can imagine how well I took this latest bit of news.
Happily, when I called on Monday to ask some questions about the holiday stuff I’m planning, everyone was awake and alert and in a good mood. With the help of the staffer working at the time, we turned Lily’s normal “what shape?” game into “let’s teach Lily that DNA has the shape of a double helix.” It’s possible that Lily didn’t quite believe us – Mom and I have been known to tease her by giving her words to say that she pronounces in a way that’s not entirely accurate and way too funny – but she did try. (And then used DNA as her segue into firing up her Dr. Crusher impression.) This went a long ways towards reassuring me that maybe this new year would start with everyone being relatively healthy and happy. Only one more week! I think we can make it…