I guess you can say it kind of felt like Halloween around here.
But, it wasn’t.
It was the Jewish holiday of Purim.
During which there’s a mitzvah (commandment of a good deed) to send gifts of food to at least one friend.
In our modern life, these gifts typically contain all kinds of pastries, including hamantaschen, traditional three-cornered Purim cookies.
My family, just like many families in my community, gives and receives many food packages during Purim.
Additionally, my kids participate in a food package swap with their classmates.
I can’t stand the amount of sugar that suddenly appears in our house every year around this time.
I detest having all that junk in my house!
Sugar is poison!
I need to get that stuff out of my house as soon as it comes in!
Why do all holidays need to be centered around junk food?
When my kids received their food baskets, I told them everything that was on my mind. And then, “Into the trash the junk goes!” I said.
“Or give it away to your friends.”
“But, certainly do not keep it in this house!” I insisted.
“But they are our gift baskets!”
“We’re allowed to keep what we received!”
“You’re not being fair!”
I was centered enough to realize in the moment the kids had a point, but I still could not let down my guard enough to acquiesce completely to their demands. I went over to the kitchen table and stared at all the gift baskets we received. I breathed in as I observed what sat in front of me. I tried to pinpoint the emotion I was feeling and where it was coming from. I was clearly averse about the packages, but why, really?
The packages were beautiful.
I realized the deeper emotion I was feeling was powerlessness.
I uncovered my beliefs about having no control over what and how much my children consume during this holiday.
But thinking about that, I realized those beliefs weren’t absolutely true.
It dawned on me, too, that I could use this as an opportunity to consider teaching my kids about the concept of moderation.
And even start brainstorming ideas for unique healthy gift baskets for next year:
- Triangular-shaped mini-pizzas, instead of triangular-shaped cookies
- Vegetable sticks, instead of lollipops
- Cheese and olives, instead of hard candies and gummy worms
Maybe others would even catch on to this initiative!
But, I chose not to get stuck on that expectation.
Instead I became overcome with gratitude for this holiday that is based on both giving and receiving.
For all the gift baskets we received and for the people in our community who have become like family to us in the short amount of time we’ve lived here.
And that the sugar in our house is temporary.
It won’t last.
I got stuck on powerlessness, but it was brief, and I’m O.K.
Next year, I will display my love and friendship to those in our community in innovative and healthful ways.
Because no one can overload on that.