Super Bowl Nachas
Sometimes Ashkenazi women marry Sephardi men, and become Sephardi by marriage.
Sometimes Litvish women marry Chassidish men, and become Chassidish by marriage.
And me? I am a woman who was completely apathetic about sports who became a Patriots fan by marriage.
Last night, my husband stayed up all night watching the Super Bowl along with his brother and father (who was raised in Massachusetts) and around 100 million other people. A few hours after the game, Josh ran into our equally bleary-eyed football-fan neighbor, David, on the street. And this is the story David told him…
Super Bowl night, David came across a candy stand with a large screen TV outside featuring the Super Bowl. David, who isn’t observant, was a bit taken aback when he realized that he was the only person in the whole crowd who was not wearing a kippah. And as he watched the game, he picked up from snippets of conversation that the sea of 18-year-olds engulfing him was made up of American yeshiva students here for a year or two to learn.
“There was one thing about these guys that really surprised me,” David told Josh this morning. “During the commercials, when the guys saw things were turning slinky, without saying anything, they turned off the TV for a minute or two until the game was back on.”
“I was an 18-year-old guy once, many moons ago. I remember what that’s like,” David concluded. “How do you raise kids like that, nowadays? That’s what I’d like to know.”
And when I heard this story, I thought of the mothers who raised those boys. How proud they would have been to see them…
To see their transition from obedient boys educated under their mothers’ watchful eyes to grown men of conscience and integrity, even when Eema is 6000 miles away.
I have a to-do list. I also have a 6 week old baby. And the latter means that the former remains frustratingly long from week to week.
Last night, my husband came home after a full day of work. Like him, my day had also been non-stop, and my head was spinning with exhaustion. But unlike him, I felt like I had spent most of the day spinning my wheels.
My kitchen floor was still grey and sticky.
My mountain of laundry was still up to my waist.
My inbox was still full of last week’s unanswered Emails.
”I feel like I am not getting anything done nowadays!” I cried to my husband.
His response: “Well, Jenny, you’ve got a lot going on.”
It’s true. I have a bunch of children, including a baby. I have a husband. I have a home. I have a self. And I have to take care of all of us!
And I was reminded of a conversation my husband and I had this past Shabbat with an old acquaintance who, we discovered, now lives with his wife and 6 children in the small, remote desert community where we spent Shabbat with my husband’s students.
“How is the quality of life here, for a family?” I asked him.
“I don’t know how you measure quality of life for a family.” he responded. “A family is not something you can measure. It’s beyond measuring, above measuring.”
But sometimes, on rare occasions, we mothers do receive a gift.
Rare opportunities to measure the great distances our decades of wheel spinning have taken us and our families.
Like the mothers of those boys turned men who did what they did on Super Bowl night not because Eema told them to, but because on their own, they knew the difference between right and wrong.
And they chose right.
Super Bowl nachas, b”H:)