Yesterday I pulled MG out of school so we could go to Rosh Hashanah services at the Groovy New Shul. Since I hadn't signed up for childcare far enough ahead of time, I wasn't allowed to leave her alone, so I ended up doing what I spent so much time doing at the old synagogue: watching my kid play and ignore me in the childcare room while toddlers and preschoolers fell over each other and cried.
On the way home, I suggested we have our own taschlich by the water (this synagogue is right near the beach). I'd brought some old challah for the purpose. She got it right away, as soon as I tossed a piece of challah into Puget Sound and called, "I'm throwing away the sin of being impatient!"
"Me too!" said MG, tossing her own piece of challah, which was quickly snapped up by a seagull. All its friends and relations came over to see what was up.
"I'm throwing away the sin of saying mean things!" I said, throwing some more bread in. The seagulls moved in closer.
"I'm throwing away the sin of hurting people's feelings!" MG said, hurling a crumb-sized piece of bread onto the wet sand. Now the seagulls were nearly upon us. We could feel their hot hungry seagull breath on our sandy feet.
We took a break to run back and forth on the beach and shoo the seagulls away. Then we threw away the sins of stalling and procrastinating, not doing chores, wasting time, not enjoying every moment, not feeding Shy Kitty his wet food, staying up too late, not listening to our bodies, and hurting our friends. (She mentioned that one a few times. Hmm.)
There were more, too. I wish I could remember them all. MG came up with some good ones. Most of our sins went right into the seagulls' beaks (does that make them scapegulls?), but a few made it out onto the waves.
On the way home, I thought of another one: being scared to do things. So I took invisible bread and threw it out the window in the direction of the water. When we were almost home, MG wanted to throw out the sin of "not singing and clapping when everyone else is." She tossed hers out the window, too.
I haven't done tashlich very many times in my life, but now I want to do it every year. With a five-year-old, if possible. She really got it. It was inspirational.
My New-Years' resolve was only slightly dampened by the evening's events. I was harrying MG to get her pajamas on, stop playing when she was supposed to be getting ready for bed, bla de bla bla. "Remember, you threw away being impatient with me," she huffed.
"Well, you threw away stalling and not going to bed on time, remember?" She looked busted. I gave a little lecture on how it's hard to change, for grownups too, and if it was as easy as just throwing bread in the water we wouldn't have to do it every year.
Then, when she was finally all ready for bed and I was about to turn the lights out, she suddenly had to go to the bathroom. She was in there for a loooooong time, and finally I knocked on the door. "MG, aren't you done yet?"
She was sitting on the toilet, looking at a magazine. "I needed help! I was waiting for you!" she whined accusingly.
"First of all, you didn't tell me you needed help, so how was I supposed to know? Second of all, even if you need some help wiping, there's nothing to stop you from getting up from the toilet by yourself and getting started. You can't just sit on the toilet and wait for me and not wipe yourself and not even say anything!"
"Well," she countered, "I didn't throw that sin away!"
It's true: she did not specifically throw away the sin of sitting on the toilet with a magazine and expecting me to psychically know she was done and needed help wiping her butt.
I can see that our tashlich was not all-inclusive. Maybe I should've brought more bread.