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Isn't it pretty?

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

Graduation Post-Hoc - Shabbos

This past weekend's Shabbos with my parents in town turned out really nice - even better than I could have hoped for. Friday night, I cooked the meal. Because I had the graduation ceremony on Friday, I spent the first part of the week in preparation - Monday was challah, Tuesday was dessert, Wednesday was fish, Thursday was main course and Friday morning was finishing up. My mother is allergic to my cat, so a friend of mine offered her apartment for the setting for Friday night. It was my parents, my cousins who live in Baltimore, my friend, myself and an additional guest. My father has never joined me for a Shabbos meal, I am not sure he had ever attended a traditional Shabbos meal in his life, so I was happy that I would have the opportunity to show him what it was like, though I was nervous that he wouldn't like it. The evening went off beautifully. Everyone was impressed by my cooking, especially my father who hadn't been the recipient of my culinary talents in a long time. The company was great, and we ended up talking until 11:30 and we were all about to drop from exhaustion. Shabbos day my dad opted out, so my mom and I went to a friend's house for lunch, and we were joined by my roommate. My mom had stayed at this friend's house when she visited in the past, though there was now a new addition to the family that my mom was delighted to meet. My friends surprised me with a beautiful bunch of roses, a couple balloons and graduation-themed plates to celebrate my accomplishment. We had a really enjoyable afternoon of eating and shmoozing and catching up. For shalosh seudah (the "third meal" on Shabbos), neighbors of mine hosted both my parents, a couple of my friends and some of the other families that I am friendly with. They put out a beautiful table and everyone enjoyed themselves very much. My father struck up conversation with my neighbor about working in the Jewish communal services field. What was so striking about the whole Shabbos, for myself and my parents, was that my parents (especially my dad who hadn't been to visit me before) finally got to see me in my element. They got to see me interacting with my friends on a mature, adult level. They saw me arranging and organizing a meal, playing (kind of) hostess. And the friends that my parents met made a point of taking the time out to tell my parents what my friendship meant to them, which moved both me and my parents. It is so easy for parents to see their children always as children. It was one of the first times my parents had seen me grown up, with adult friends who think highly of me. It was the first time they had seen how well-regarded I am by my peers, and how much those people I have made part of my life care about me, and I them. I think it truly was the first time my father saw me as a responsible, mature adult. It was a very important Shabbos, one that I think has laid the groundwork towards improving the quality of my relationship with my parents. One more part of the weekend to come - stay tuned!

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