Minnesota Mamaleh: Eight Going on Nine

Seven circles under the chuppah

Seven is a magical number. No, not as a “seven year itch.” And not even as “lucky number seven.” It shows up in a truly awe-inspiring amount of places within our traditions, stories, beliefs. Seven days in a week, seven tefillin wraps around the arm, seven days of sitting shiva and the list goes on. And on.
The sevens on my mind? They’re sappy and sweet. Fuzzy and warm. Lovely and authentic. Jason’s and my anniversary was last week, so they’re oh-so-very wedding-ish.
My absolute favorite seven is the Seven Circles. During our wedding ceremony, Jason and I circled each other seven times under the chuppah winding a seemingly protective wall around our new family. Our completely fab rabbi literally said, “no giggling” when we talked about “The Circles.” And rest assured, there weren’t any. Our eyes, however, were locked. Out of love, definitely. But also to keep track of the circles. You know, to ensure that we didn’t miss any. Or get dizzy. Or trip. Because none of those moves would have done anything to up the mysticism value. Nope not a one.
The other seven that comes to mind is The Seven Blessings. Seven loved ones stepped under the chuppah with us. Each speaking beautiful words and thoughts. Surrounding us with the support, friendship, loyalty and heart that we didn’t even realize we’d need as we jumped headfirst, somewhat blindly, into the first seven years of our life together. The building years per se.
Kabbalah teaches that seven represents wholeness and completion. And as we rounded seven years together last year, we indeed found much closure. Sometimes sad, sometimes joyful, always emotional, closure. We’ve had transitions, changes and something-news up the wazoo. Three kids, two homes, more moves, two career changes, two new schools and the ending of one “era” (well, five-ish years, but you get the gist) and the beginning of another. So we’re leaving magic and entering…the unknown, I guess.
Kayli starts first grade in the Fall. And while I know that she isn’t exactly leaving home, this is a huge change for us, for me. We’re completing the slow livin’-kids at home-diapers and sleep are our biggest worries-phase. I can’t even begin to fathom, imagine, wrap my brain (much less my heart) around how much our life’s pace is going to change as our anniversary numbers grow, our kids do as well, our calendar gets messier and our influences become more plentiful.
While I truly, completely, willingly know that we’re done having children, it tugs at my heartstrings just a teeny-tiny bit to know that the littlest hands that hold mine are only going to get bigger. The littlest voices, louder. And the littlest needs, bigger. I know that our family is complete sans the dog that my kids really, really think that we need. His name is Louie and they all call him “our future dog.” Lord help me.
So as Jason and I enter our eighth-going-on-ninth year, I’m ready to celebrate. We’re “whole” and “complete” after all. But at the very same time, I’m more than just a tad nervous (is terrified too strong of a word?) about the whole new set of worries that I’m buying. Academics, friendships, self esteem, pressures, teachers, relationships.
Luckily for us, Jason doesn’t buy worries like I do. So this last weekend we focused on celebrating. A family date followed by a just-us date.

We started off with a round of mini-golf. Brody helped. At every hole.

Clearly, we were all extremely focused on the game.

We had ice cream for dinner. Don't judge. It's not flattering.

And we topped it all off with a performance by the girls. Singing! Dancing! Hiding! Oh my!

After the kids were blessedly, quietly, peacefully asleep (at least in theory), we had a just-the-two-of-us date. It wasn’t a get dressed up-put on some make up-and fancy shmancy it up-kind of date. Although I do love those. It was a stay at home in our pajamas-drink a glass (or two) of wine-and talk well into the night-kind of date. And I love those, too. A good old Minnesota storm raged outside and woke the kids up intermittently. It was so-very…us.

Berry picking in the backyard. What's *not* to hold onto?!

Relaxing? Rejuvenating? Not so much, actually. But oh-so-very-worth it. And fun. And it had a bring-us-closer quality that can only come from jammys. And wine. Clink!
Now I’m not going to lie to you here. My approach to change is similar to say, my children. Heels dug into the ground, deep. Fists clenched, eyes closed. You know, just a like a kid at a play date when it’s time to go home. Or at the park. Or even better, at a play date at the park. Just like that.
Admittedly, I’m holding on tight to those first seven years. But in my heart-of-hearts, even I know that change is hard but good. Bitter but sweet. Tricky but important. So I’m treading oh-so-very lightly into this unchartered territory. Of school-age kids. And if my sweeties keep stubbornly insisting on growing, changing, maturing. I guess that I can, too. Happy eight going on nine, babe. Clink to us. Clink to our kids. And sigh…Grudgingly. Oh-so-very-grudgingly. Clink to change.