I didn't get what you would call a formal Jewish education. In fact very little beyond screw the antisemites before I got to the US, and only elective stuff since then. Frankly, it shows. I filled in many holes, but many remain. Customs, for example, or some synagogue practices. One other glaring one is the calendar. I just never cared too much for it. I alway just checked online for when the holidays fall, and moved on.
I left the synagogue a little before the end of Purim reading to make sure that the chicken noodle soup was warm by the time JD and one overtired Monkey made it home. A magnificent full moon hung in the sky. Bright, shining. I was surprised but glad to see it. If you, unlike me, have half a clue about the Jewish calendar, you must be slapping your knee right about now. A full moon on Purim, imagine that!
I pondered the moon as I drove. I was wondering whether I would get a chance to sneak outside to try to get a few shots of it. That is when it occurred to me that I had recently gone outside trying to take a picture of a full moon. On A's yahrtzeit. The wheels, they started turning. His yahrtzeit, I remembered, falls on the 13th day of a month the name of which I would recognize but can't replicate (see-- I could've used some education). Purim, as we were just reminded
After I got home and started up heating the soup, I googled the Jewish calendar thing, and found this helpful page. Yes-- full moon in the middle of the lunar month. Who would've think it?
How is it possible, though, that I never noticed the full moon on Purim before? And why don't I remember it from that drive I took to the hospital, the day A died? Last year I was not in the mood for Purim. Monkey, though, lives for Purim. When she can wear her Queen Esther costume. My sister took her last year, while I stayed cooped up in the house. But all the years before-- how is it possible that I paid no attention to the
When Monkey was turning three, she invited her playground posse to her birthday. One little boy showed up with a gift of a biggish plastic box with a dressup ansamble for an unspecified princess, in unspecified princess pink with a few nice purple accents. The kid's mom must've wanted a girl very much is all I could figure about that gift. I was, to put it mildly, displeased. Pink? Princess pink for my daughter? For a kid who already has a grandmother who, shall we say, overemphasizes the fake sugary aspects of princess life? Yeah. And that is to say nothing of the horrid plastic shoes that came in the box, the ones that are plain dangerous on the stairs or any uncarpeted surface. My friend Sam fixed the situation somewhat by telling Monkey that it was in fact Queen Esther costume that she would be able to wear to the synagogue for Purim, only weeks away. And this is how the love affair with Purim was born.
Of course Monkey also wears it at home to play dress up, but since it's a designated Purim costume, not as much as I'd feared. And since it was recast as a costume of a strong female character, I am cool with it anyway. She has worn that costume to four Purims. She has had this thing for half of her life. Three years ago, I had to take the skirt in severely. A little less two years ago, and only a bit last year. But this year she is tall, and the top of the costume is still the same exact length. Oh, and the skirt was ripped in the back, near the seam. I fixed that. I also sewed her pink turtleneck to the skirt to ensure structural integrity and full coverage. The top went on over the turtleneck. She looked very cute. Very. It is, though, self-evident that next year we shall need a new costume. I am cool with that.
What I want to know, still, is how is it possible that over all these years that I have taken Monkey in her repurposed Esther costume to celebrate Purim, or the many years before, how is it possible that I never made that moon connection before? I must've seen it, just not paid attention. Maybe I even smiled at it, year after year-- I do love a good full moon. It is possible that my brain needed a second data point, something to make the click sound. The strangest role for A's yahrtzeit I believe I have ever contemplated, that.
It's a weird feeling-- I feel like I have discovered something profound. I know, though, that I simply noticed something that I should've known all along.
P.S. The pictures were taken with our new Nikon D40 with a long-distance lens and vibration reduction. How did we ever live without this thing?