Thursday, June 24, 2010

Oh Schvitz

Shabbat #22: Shabbat Potluck in the Park

Guests: 50 friends and family

Menu: BBQ Burgers, Chicken and Hebrew Nationals and lots of sides compliments of our friends. Check out the Recipe section for new additions

What I Learned:

If friendship were measured in schvitz I'd be one lucky girl. Friday was hot. Africa hot. Actually, on that particular day it was hotter than Africa. I checked. As I prepped for the party, hair frizzing, sundress sticking, I was convinced that we were about to spend our first Shabbat of 2010 alone.

But you came despite the heat and schvitzed right along with us. For that I thank you from the very bottom of my (de-hydrated) heart.

Friday's Shabbat in the Park was the celebration of the half-way point of our one-year resolution. A six month birthday if you will ... with challah instead of cake. The wine flowed (along with lots of water and Capri Sun). The kids ran circles around the baseball diamond, adorned with glowstick necklaces and bracelets. And we shared the blessing of lots of good food and friends.

But for all of the joy that the night held, it was still bittersweet.

Deer Creek Park, the location of Shabbat in the Park, was also the locale of Steve's campaign picnic in the summer of 2008. This isn't why I chose it. In fact, this is why I almost didn't choose it; eventually deciding that any of the memories in might bring back were far outweighed by the convenient amenities for entertaining kids.

But there were memories.

When it came to politics, one of the things I liked least about the process was the campaign. But one of the things I loved most was the campaign staff. All of the college students whose enthusiasm and energy sometimes made me wonder whether they were clear that Steve was running form state rep and not governor. Or president. I think about how they trudged night after night knocking on doors alongside my sweaty husband. Something I never did. Made endless calls. Stood on street corners waving signs. And celebrated his victory at their favorite watering hole the night of the primary.

And I think about how they treated us - me. With a maturity beyond their years they each recognized the boundaries of our family. Intuitively knowing when I needed distance from the chaos of the campaign in order to keep a solid ground under my family and when I needed support. How they adored Ben, who affectionately referred to them as the "running for office guys" even though half of them were women. And how they tossed baseballs endlessly with him in the backyard and put up with the antics (and meltdowns) of a three-year old -- responsibilities that were certainly not part of the job description.

But most of all I think about what those "running for office guys" meant to Steve, each of whom I am certain he would have done anything for.

Oh what a difference a year (or two) makes.

So Friday was a bit bittersweet. Bitter in its reminder of what could have been.

But sweet in memories of the summer of 2008.

And the summer of 2010.

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