Minnesota Mamaleh: Candy Coated Moments

Pizza party in the sukkah complete with shirley temples. Candy-coated, indeed.

One of our dearest friends calls Kayli “candy coated.” And I so get why. She’s the gentlest of souls, as sweet as can be. Just this morning she tumbled into our bedroom way too early. With her jammys on and her hair going every which way, she was quite the sight. But her eyes were sparkling and her mouth was smiling, as she announced, “Happy Fall 1st!” Love her.
I knew exactly what she meant and so did the rest of our family. The apples, the pumpkins, the cider, the honey sticks. Fall is just so…cozy. Lovely. Warm. Cinnamon-y. The beautiful colors and the bounty of leaves truly set the scene for some of the year’s sweetest (candy-coated!) moments.
My parents and I moved around a lot. So we were constantly finding new people and places to fill our memory tank full of just such times. I often wish that I could put all of those memories, places and people right into my pocket and take them with me wherever I go. Because some candy-coated moments in time are even sweeter when shared with friends.
The high holidays, a time of repentance, have ended and now it’s Sukkot, “The Time of Our Happiness.” After our ancestors left Egypt, they wandered the desert for forty years on their way to Israel. Along the way they constructed temporary homes out of dry palms and branches. So on Sukkot we welcome and celebrate the change of the season and its fall harvest as well as pay homage to our ancestors by ‘dwelling’ in a temporary hut known as a sukkah.
In other words, we make forts. I’m not sure if it gets much more candy-coated than that! We eat and play in our sukkot. And if our parents are really, really cool, we sleep in them, too. For the record, we are not really, really cool.
But on “Fall 1st” our kids did, indeed, make a sukkah. It’s not fancy or shmancy and let’s just be honest here, some of you wouldn’t even consider it legit. But the kids made it themselves. And they love it. And are so very proud of it. And I am so very proud of them for it.

Engineer Ari and the Sukkah Express by Deborah Bodin Cohen

We have already dwelled well in our sukkah. We’ve eaten, rested, snacked and read books. One of those books was Engineer Ari and the Sukkah Express by Deborah Bodin Cohen.
This sweet story exemplifies the joy and the fun of a sukkah. That part’s a given. Remember? It’s basically a fort. But the book also focuses on the joy and the fun of making and sharing the sukkah with friends.
Engineer Ari does indeed enjoy building and decorating a sukkah with the help of his friends. But finds true joy when a creative way is found to share the sukkah with all of his friends, near and far. He manages to fill up his pocket, so to speak. And I so love that.

As we closed this lovely book I could literally see my girls’ wheels turning. They wanted to share their sukkah with friends, but weren’t quite sure who would be appropriate to invite. While they’re hyper-aware of who celebrates what they celebrate (and who doesn’t), they’re not quite sure how to do the mixing and meshing and learning that comes from wonderful, beautiful, make-the-world-a-better-place differences. Yet.
So we probed and prodded them by flipping the situation around. Would they care about their friends’ traditions? Christmas trees or Easter eggs or what have you?

Friends in the sukkah

We talked about the fun and the learning and the sharing and the good. And they got it, and got it quickly. Their faces and hearts visibly relieved, they gathered up their closest favorite friends and they all snuggled down in the sukkah. They read books and had popcorn. Brody’s buddy brought his nuky and favorite lovey. And it was the stuff that dreams are made of.
My girlfriend and I casually and naturally talked about our kids growing up thinking that everyone has popcorn in sukkahs at one house and later in the year goes on Easter egg hunts at the house next door. And really, I can’t think of anything more heartwarming or rich or beautiful or respectful or dreamy. For all of us.
If I could, I’d gather all of you up into our sukkah. It would be complete with nukys and loveys for the under-two set. And perhaps cider warmed whichever way you prefer for the rest of us. Our Oma would make the best Chex mix. Ever. And we’d all make memories together. The kind that I can carry around in my pocket. And you can carry around in yours. And it would be sigh-worthy and dreamily candy-coated, indeed.

Thank you to Kar-Ben Publishing for making my

children’s book collection as candy-coated as can be!