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Trade Secrets

Rachel Stein

“When I’m a mother,” she muttered, “I’ll make sure that meals are ready when my kids come home. It’s just a matter of organization”

Thursday, March 09, 2017

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VENAHAFOCH HU Whirling around, Mommy met Estie’s gaze head-on. “Estie, you are a master organizer. Hashem gave you a talent and you use it — that’s wonderful! So I just had a brainstorm. Since you seem to think our home would run smoother with just a tad more planning, I have a proposition. In the spirit of venahafoch hu, how about if we switch roles on Purim?”

Aflash of blue caught Estie’s eye, and she watched a bluebird land on a blossoming branch. Admiring the fuchsia blossoms, it seemed as if the whole world was exploding in song to celebrate Adar and the upcoming arrival of Purim. Oh, and speaking of song, that reminded her — a whole list of jobs awaited her attention. There was so much to do to prepare for the Purim Chagigah!

As G.O. president, it was Estie’s responsibility to make sure every detail of the Chagigah would proceed smoothly. Each class would perform, and it was up to her to oversee the plans and give the green light. Then there were the myriad details of food, music, set up, and clean up — enough to make an ordinary person’s head spin. But with her leadership qualities, lively personality, and a penchant for organization, Estie felt confident she could get the job done. Quickening her pace, she rushed home, wanting to get her homework out of the way so she could put in some hours for the Chagigah.

I hope Mommy has a good supper waiting, Estie thought, pushing open the front door. I need some fuel to get me through this busy night.

“Hi, Ma,” Estie called, wandering into the kitchen. “What’s for supper?”

“Oh, hi, Estie.” Mommy smiled in greeting, carrying Hindy in her arms. “It’s not ready yet. I’ve been a little busy.”

“But, Ma!” Estie protested. “It’s five fifteen, and I was planning to eat now. I have a massive list of things to do tonight, and I was counting on a good supper, like your famous spaghetti and meatballs, and mushroom-barley soup.”

Mommy’s smile faded, and she shifted Hindy to her other hip.

“You can have a snack meanwhile,” Mommy said tersely, heading to the kitchen. “But my plan was to make chicken stir-fry, it’s less time consuming.

Casting a glance at the clock, Estie started; how had it become four o’clock? The meatballs! The soup, dessert… Why, it would take a miracle to get everything done in time!

If you want supper to be served sooner, setting the table and making a salad would be helpful.”

Estie let out a theatrical sigh and grumbled as she began setting the table. More sighs followed as she chopped salad vegetables.

“When I’m a mother,” she muttered, “I’ll make sure that meals are ready when my kids come home. It’s just a matter of organization.”

Mommy shot Estie a pointed look before turning her attention to the stir-fry. Estie looked away and began jotting down ideas to make this year’s Chagigah the best ever.

After supper, Estie headed to her room to tackle her homework. Two hours and several assignments later, she gave a mighty stretch and marched downstairs.

“Chagigah meeting at eight tonight,” she announced, finding her mother on the couch reading the twins a bedtime story. “Can you take me, please?”

“It should be fine,” Mommy agreed, glancing at the time. It was seven thirty.

But then Dovid suddenly remembered he hadn’t finished his math homework, and Shiffy wanted just one more story — “pleeeaaase?” — a neighbor came to the door to borrow eggs, and suddenly the clock read seven fifty-five.

“Okay.” Estie breezed into the living room, pulling her jacket on and heading for the door. “Can we go?”

“Almost, I just need a few minutes,” Ma explained, rushing off to diaper Hindy.

“But I told you I have to be there by eight!” Estie yelped. “How will it look for the G.O. president to be late?” (excerpted)

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