Purim Reflections From A Mother On The Run

I’m searching for peace, but I picked the wrong morning. 

It’s no-man’s land. Between the mundanity of the week and the Holy Holiday, productivity and solitude hanging on the laundry line, waiting in the sun for another day to be used.

A split second after my smallest child’s feet step over the doorway, holding onto Abba’s hand and waving goodbye, “Bye, mama”,  I whirl around, and it’s noon. 

I look at the clock, tights securely fastened, and run to get on my shoes. 

This is my dash, my daily exercise in physical prayer, to see how close I can be to being Not Late. 

Breathing rhythmically, I pass homes every few strides, and  remember how much I love this; controlling my body through space and time, faster than usual.

I wonder where all the other frantic Mom-runners are. I pass at least twenty women between the ages of 20 and 45 pushing strollers, looking up at me with quiet eyes. I heave past men in black suits and past familiar crossing guards- the ones who say hi to me and the one who refuses- and I feel as if I’m marking my place in this neighborhood. Make way, here I come, the Frantic, Running Mama. Each step is a defiant proclamation. 

I arrive at the playgroup door, the last fifteen feet completed in a moderate sprint- c’mon, Rivka, push it– and after the rush of self-congratulations, I pull out my phone to check my timing. I’m only eight minutes late, this month’s record. I congratulate myself on the accomplishment, and when the teacher answers the door, my flushed, red face greets her warmly, I’m so pleased with myself. No apology needed today, I surmise, a mere eight minutes late! Someone, give me a medal.

The descent from the Late-Mom Runner’s High begins the moment my dearest is lured into her stroller by the chips I brought stuffed into my coat pocket. As I push, I struggle between two worlds- the one in which I keep on running, and the one which knows I should be here, moving slowly, making toddler small talk. 

Am I the only one searching for more? How do I find it the balance between giving myself enough time for productivity, solitude, socializing, and holy communion? 

Where do I find Enough? Or  is the problem I am searching too much and need to spend more time surrendering myself to Nothingness and Netflix?

As I push the stroller, slowly home,  I look at the clouds in our horizon and my mind turns to the upcoming holiday. 

“VeNahafoch Hu” -“when the tables were turned, everything is upside down”- turns around in my brain and I hum it as I walk along. When everything is upside down. When I can throw off the desires to conquer the world and thrive in everything and enjoy everyone and just feel that by eating, drinking, and laughing, I am doing exactly as I should.

My home, the one a crazy LateMom- an alter ego of mine- had just dashed from twenty minutes prior, comes into view.

I’m not ready yet to enter, to return to who I was.

I want to stop going in the direction she had been heading and do the exact opposite. Sit. Breathe. Un-do.

I step inside the door. The day will begin again. The world will restart again. Everything will be upside-down, inside out, and perfect. No man’s land, and the perfect oasis, at once.