"I'mtaking my kids,” I told my sister-in-law Mindy over the phone. 

“Me too,” she confirmed. “We’re close enough that we can bring kids, right? I mean the kids know her.” 


The vort was called for three o’clock. It was a Sunday, everyone was off, so why not have a vort in the afternoon and let everyone have a good night sleep? But not everyone is off. My husband, for example, needs to be at work. 

After a 45-minute drive with two rambunctious boys and a kvetchy baby, I pull into a spot. I think it’s a spot, it had better be a spot, because we need to get out of the car. My boys rush to the minivan door, pressing the automatic door-opener button multiple times so the door slides open and then reverses course again and again. I bite my lip and breathe deeply. 

It was an ill-coordinated dance getting the boys to the sidewalk, staying on the sidewalk while I opened the trunk, getting out the Snap-N-Go, and putting the baby in. I met Mindy as I approached the house. She’s more good-natured than I, she still had perk and smiles, but I could see the hungry look in her kids that I recognized in my own. 

“Good thing it’s in their house, and they have a well-stocked basement,” I said by way of greeting. She laughed. 

Quickly the kids found their calling in the basement — we were not the only ones with the bright idea of bringing our children. It was nice to find ourselves, sans kids, with the prospect of some conversation that wouldn’t be composed of incessant “But whys?” 

After wishing mazel tov to my aunt and cousin, air-kissing my other aunts, really hugging my mother, and doling out other pleasantries, my sister-in-law found the fruit, and I found the Siegelman’s cake. 

It was fun to catch up with all my cousins. Every so often, their husbands would pop their heads in to check in, pick up some goodies, and sometimes take a kid back with them. Mindy and I were the only ones without husbands. 

“Where are your husbands?” second-cousin Shuli asked. 

“Seder,” Mindy answered. 

“Work,” I said. I received a nod of understanding. Mindy, a flicker of disdain.