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As I mentioned on Twitter, the other night I had a strange dream in which I was having quadruplets.

(No, I am not pregnant.)

In the dream, my biggest (actually, my only) concern was that I did not think I could fit four babies into a single sling/wrap/other baby-wearing apparatus. The dream consisted of my search for the perfect solution for transporting four tiny babies. Everyone had an opinion and was trying to be very helpful. One person suggested I try a sling which looked a little like a bandolier, but with babies instead of bullets. Someone else assured me that four would easily fit in an extra large sling, I would just have to make sure they didn’t smother each other. Yet another informed me I simply needed to accept that I would have to haul all four of them in individual carriers. I asked this person how I was supposed to carry four carriers with two hands and was impatiently informed that was really my problem and why was I being so difficult?

I was thinking that maybe there was a deeper meaning to all of this. Maybe my subconscious was processing this feeling I have that there is a way to do everything I want and need to do in a way that I feel comfortable, and while the myriad of options presented by well-intentioned advisers are all both very plausible and quite possible, none of them are fitting quite right. Maybe I am overwhelmed with juggling so many balls. Maybe the uncertainty of the next 10 months is playing out in my dreams.

Or maybe I have just been reading on multiple gestations and doing ultrasounds on twins and triplets all month.

Could go either way. Crazy dream, in any case.

Oh, and as a side note? Four babies, two hands — really now, how do they do it?

Last night, while working on my Shabbat post, I found Susan Katz Miller’s blog, On Being Both.  I was excited when I read the subtitle, “Interfaith Parent, Interfaith Child: Notes from a Hybrid Universe”.  As I read on, I realized that this wasn’t someone speaking hypothetically, or one of the “interfaith” blogs where “interfaith” is really code for “convincing the non-Jew it is best to convert, for the children”.  This blog is written by a woman who is doing what BWB and I have decided to do, and more than that, she isn’t alone. I followed first one link, and then another, and found myself reading about all kinds of communities for parents choosing to raise children in two (or more) faiths — and succeeding.  All of the things we’ve been warned are not possible, are being done.

I nearly cried.

There isn’t any such community in New Orleans (at least that I’ve been able to find) (yet), but just knowing that they exist somewhere, that someone is writing a blog about families like mine, that there are interfaith children who are not lost, confused, or God-free — just knowing these things makes it easier to believe that we are not crazy.

I’ve been devouring the archives of the blog, tucking it all away deep in my soul like fuel, or maybe armor.  There are many posts I want to share, but for right now I’ll just start with one.  The poem in this post by peace activist Christover Mattias is beautiful, and I hope anyone reading this heads over there to drink it in.

Maybe next time we are visiting family, we’ll check out one of those interfaith groups, just to see what it’s like not to have to explain, or justify.  Hope is so precious, and yet it arrives in the strangest packages, at the strangest times. I’m so grateful this little slice came into my life right now.

It is no secret that I love tradition and ritual.  They aren’t just about doing things the way they’ve always been done, though; to me, traditions and rituals create a safe space, a feeling of belonging.  Anything is fair game — if we’ve done it twice, it must be a tradition — but it is the traditions of my family and my faith which I hold closest to my heart.  As BWB and I build our life together as a married couple, we are establishing our own traditions, some of which are treasured childhood rituals and some of which are new to both of us.

One of the new to both of us traditions is Shabbat dinner.  While my family obviously never observed Shabbat, we did sit down to dinner together more nights than not.  Looking back, those nightly conversations were hugely important to my development as a person as well as my relationship with my family.  I am determined to give my someday-children the same thing.  Combining ritual, tradition, discussion, and food — it should really come as no surprise that I love the idea of celebrating Friday night Shabbat dinner in our home.

To that end, a few weeks ago I ordered The Modern Jewish Mom’s Guide to Shabbat. A couple of the reviewers on Amazon had said it was helpful for non-Jewish mothers, and I have to agree.  While it didn’t answer all of my questions, it did answer most of them, and offered information I didn’t even know to ask about.  I’ve read it a couple times through, and I’m sure I’ll go back a few more times before I’m done.  I would definitely recommend it for anyone, mom or not.

Friday afternoon I called BWB to ask if he wanted to go to temple or not.  He said no, he was just too busy, and I could tell from his voice that he was super stressed.  I was exhausted myself, so I said I’d pick up some food on the way home and we could just stay in.

When I got home, he was upstairs studying.  I got out the kiddush cup and two little candles from our wedding.  The only white tablecloth we have has embroidered menorah and dreidels on it, but I put it on the table anyway.  The food was nothing special (a rotisserie chicken, red pepper strips and frozen corn for him and peas for me), but I put it on the plates and made it look pretty anyway.  A few weeks ago I made four small loaves of challah and froze them, so when this week’s loaf came out of the oven, I called him down for dinner.

“Oh, you can start without me.”

“Um.  No, really can’t.”

“…fine.  It’ll be about ten minutes.”

About ten minutes later a stressed out and distracted BWB came down the stairs, but as soon as he saw the table, his tense expression eased and his face lit up.  “What do we do now?”  I pulled out the book, and opened to the part explaining the prayers.

I covered my head with the wedding shawl one of my bridesmaids made for me, and somewhat sheepishly lit the candles. After waving my hands over the flames the way I’ve seen my Orthodox friend do, I said the prayer (almost from memory, even!).  He said kiddush over the cup, and then we followed the steps through the rest of the book, giggling a little from time to time.  Dinner was not excessively long, our conversation wasn’t particularly enlightened, and the soundtrack was the TV coming in from the other room where our housemate was watching something.  Despite all of that, I could see BWB re-centering.  At some point, he thanked me for setting it up.

“You needed Shabbat.” I said.

“Yeah, I did.  Shabbat Shalom, honey.”

I love tradition and ritual because of the shared sacred space they have the ability to create, any time, anywhere.  Last night, our imperfect prayers created a holy place in our house.  Amazing.  A slightly belated Shabbat Shalom, yall, and God be with you tonight and every night.

“Oh my gawd, I need chocolate so badly I can’t even stand it.”

I said this out of nowhere, and my husband looked confused.  I elaborated, “Seriously.  It’s so bad, I’m thinking about making brownies.”

“So… why don’t we go get some?”

“…we can do that?”

“Why not?”

“Because it’s 9:30, and it’s, like, almost bedtime… and… really?  We can do that?”

“We’re grownups.  We can totally do that.  Get your shoes.”

And so we did.  Have I mentioned lately how much I love my husband?

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