Fellow moms (and yes, I am addressing this post to the moms, because this is my blog and I'll stereotype if I want to), next Shabbat is one of Those weeks. You know the ones I'm talking about. It's one of the Get Your Kids to Shul on Time Definitely Not Too Late But Also Not Too Early for [a Thing.]
There are generally 4 categories of "a Thing":
1. Shofar blowing on Rosh Hashana
2. Listening to Parshat Zachor
3. Kol Hanearim. While you've got wiggle room if you want to make it for hakafot (there are seven of the dang things, after all), you've got to time your shul-going just right to make it for all-the-kids-under-the-tallit-sniff-sniff kol hanearim. Which is after ... hakafah #7? (Why do I never remember?????) And woe unto you if you get to shul and hear, "Ad kan hakafah gimmel! Gimmel!" You've got a long way to go, baby. (And Daddy's shoulders can only handle about half a hakafah these days.)
3. Miscellaneous - including but not limited to: Hearing your son do A'anim Zemirot, (especially when the shul does it in the middle of davening and not at the end, very tricky) and candy throwing for bar mitzvah/Shabbat Chatan (especially when you are the ones BRINGING the candy and you start walking down the train tracks on Emek Refaim to get to Uncle Jonathan's shul and you realize 10 minutes in that you are walking the WRONG WAY down the tracks, and when you announce that fact in a shrieky sort of way, your daughter says, mildly, "Yeah, I thought we were, but I figured you knew what you were doing." I mean, sheesh, after 10.5 years of parenting, shouldn't she know by now that Mommy never knows what she's doing? Especially if it involves hairdos, conjugating numbers and directions?)
Anyway, the point is, you have to get to shul, and you certainly don't want to miss the Thing, but if you get there too early, you run the risk of blowing through all of your candy/toy cars/crackers/arm muscles during the Boring Pre-Thing Things (aka "prayer") and then during the actual Thing you have a kvetchy, bored, suddenly very LOUD child on your hands. And you wonder, once again, why no one has invented Shabbat-friendly Mind-Texting so your husband can alert you from shul. (You've got Mind Mail! "Almost at end of layning. Come now.") Or maybe a shul crier. (No, not my 3 year old). You know, someone who stands on the rooftop announcing loudly what they're up to inside.
Just this past week, Nadav and I tried to go to shul for his favorite part: the end. My heart sank as I walked in and through the looking glass saw everyone inside seated. Because you know what seated means. Seated means speech, which means it is a good - I mean bad - chunk of time before shul is over.
Anyway. So as for me, well, I'm just gearing up for this week's Thing. My bags are packed, my arms are ripped. Wish me luck and the magic of perfect timing. And if you are working on Mind Mail - hurry the heck up!!!