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Passover, or, Cricket is Happy and Free

 

George and Zoe went home on Tuesday, and they were thrilled to be back in their own apartment, with their Mommy. When Mom and I got back home, and Cricket realized that the other dogs were not with us (especially after the ceremonial refilling of her bowl with kibble), she did a happy dance around the apartment with her Platypus toy in her mouth. She pooped up a storm for the next two days, either because the return to her regular food made a really big difference, or because she was hoarding poop until her adversaries left, and she could finally relax.

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“We’re free, Platypus. We’re free.”

George had become more and more aggressive each day he stayed with us, trying to steal treats from Cricket, searching under her couch, and growling at her when she sat on Grandma’s lap and dared to act like the dog of the house. Even Zoe was starting to bark, though generally not at Cricket, more at the humans who kept forcing her to stick to her diet.

 

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“This Grandma is mine.”

I had mixed feelings about bringing the dogs back to their own home, though, because I’d gotten attached, and because I worried that their Mom might not be up to taking care of them yet. But for Cricket’s sake, they needed to go home.

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George and Zoe doing the doggy Tango.

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George and Zoe in a quiet moment.

Sometimes I feel like I’m drowning in all of my contradictory feelings; they seem to multiply over time, instead of streamlining the way I expect them to. For example, I have mixed feelings about Passover, and Jewish rituals in general. When I think of my Grandfather’s Seders, with the Maxwell House Hagaddah, and me, always the youngest, getting to sing the four questions, I feel like the holiday is warm and meaningful and full of light. But when I think of Passover at my own house growing up, I get tangled up in the family drama, and the weight of so many picayune rules.

The Seder is supposed to be about remembering the exodus from Egypt, and the struggle of going from slavery to freedom, and I think Cricket had her own Passover on Tuesday, when the other dogs left, and she’s still celebrating. But for myself, I think I’m still on the journey to freedom, still grieving Miss Butterfly, still working on graduate school, still not quite sure what the future will hold, or if I will be happy about it.

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My Butterfly

I’m not going to a Seder for Passover this year. I could have asked a family from my synagogue for an invitation, or looked for a big Seder at a Jewish Community Center or another synagogue, but I didn’t do that. It’s all of those mixed feelings making me unsure what I really want to do, and maybe I just wanted to pretend Passover wasn’t going to arrive at all this year.

I wish I could rely on rituals to help me pinpoint the stages of my life, and the next steps I need to take, but for some reason I’m not matching up with the signposts lately, and I feel a bit unmoored and unsecured.

But Cricket is feeling great, and that’s not a small thing.

011

“Ah, sweet relief.”

About rachelmankowitz

I am a fiction writer, a writing coach, and an obsessive chronicler of my dogs' lives.

82 responses »

  1. I hope you a meaningful Passover wherever you choose to observe it.

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  2. Happy Passover, wishing you the truth of joy and happiness 🙂

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  3. So glad she’s feeling better!

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  4. Glad cricket is feeling better. I understand that feeling of not lining things up right now.

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  5. Those untethered times are terrifying…but I think they are when rich things are brewing…

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  6. I am so happy for Cricket–she has her place and her Grandma back. For you, Rachel, I am sending a chocolate bunny. He will help you sort things out.

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  7. Happy Passover days…! 😉

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  8. Max is never himself when there are other dogs here for more than a couple of hours. Cricket will be okay, now her routine is back to normal. And you will too, I have great faith in you – you’re so much stronger than you think.

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  9. I always believe it is OK to feel unmoored when you are on the verge of discovering something new. There is an old saying ‘we cannot discover new oceans until we have the courage to lose sight of the shore.’ So glad to see Cricket feeling better, blissful and relaxed now she is alone again with her favourite pack!☺💖 xxx

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  10. Lovely to see Cricket look so relaxed and happy. I am sure this gives you comfort too. Things will line up when you are ready.

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  11. I can imagine Cricket is so relieved to have got rid of those interlopers.
    I don’t follow any religion personally, but I wish you a happy time, however you decide to spend it.
    Best wishes, Pete.

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  12. Ambivalence is for humans, possibly not for dogs 🙂

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  13. Glad Cricket has got back to her routine, and the poop machine is working to order now!
    Have a happy Easter, however you decide to celebrate. We are simply chilling out over here, the weather has done a turnabout and the heating is back on.

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  14. Always enjoy hearing about sweet Cricket! Funny to know she holds onto the poop 🙂

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  15. Family and ritual drama added to dog drama is a lot to handle! Sometimes it is just better to honor the past and hope for the future on our own. The pieces will come together. Just ask Cricket–she finally let it all go! 😉

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  16. I’m right there with you, Rachel.

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  17. I read a post by another WordPress blogger yesterday – omstreifer.com/2018/03/31/art-and-fear/ – with this quotation in it ‘The only work really worth doing — the only work you can do convincingly — is the work that focuses on the things you care about. To not focus on those issues is to deny the constants in your life …’
    It comes apparently from a book called ‘Art and Fear: Observations on the Perils (and Rewards) of Art making’ which I have to say sounds compelling, given that I’m constantly observing these. (As are you!) Thought you might find it interesting if you hadn’t seen it…. and by the way I understand completely how you feel about being out of step with ritual. Except you express it better than I could!

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  18. Wishing you a Happy Passover! “The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord,
    And He delights in his way. Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down; For the Lord upholds him with His hand” (Ps. 37: 23-24). I am sure you will find your way. ❤

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  19. Rachel you brought back a memory. In high school my friend Miriam invited me to her family’s Passover seder. I had a really nice time and met all the relatives and it seemed very low key compared to some famly gatherings I’d attended. The food was great, too and her father let Miriam pour the wine so we got full glasses not those little sips! I knew it was a big deal to be asked to the family seder, but it was only a couple months later Miriam’s dad admitted to me that when she asked if I could come, it was because she thought there would be less of the usual family tension, that they would behave better in front of a non-Jewish stranger, even if only a high school kid, He said when he thought about it he figured it was worth a try and thanked me for proving him right. It seems like family holidays are always a mix, regardles of religion or culture but I consider myself fortunate to have experienced that Passover seder.

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    • I think a lot of families bring in guests for the exact same reason your friend did. The Seder can be a wonderful experience, but it can also bring up all of the unspoken crap the family tried to ignore the whole previous year. Oy.

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  20. I often find a walk by the ocean, with the smell and the sound of the waves, centers me. I understand that feeling of being betwixt and between. I am sorry, Butterfly was very grounding. Hold your mother close.

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  21. Happy Passover to Cricket and her family!

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  22. Your wonderful world is a fairytale…..
    Thank you as always…..

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  23. It took me many years to establish my own holiday traditions. I can empathize with your conflicting feelings. Happy Passover from the 29% of me that is Eastern European Jewish.😍

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  24. I sympathize with feeling unmoored. We are better for having anchors in family traditions, remembering legacies. Hope you can find a way.

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  25. Ah yes, Dear Cricket, we know how you feel. Benji sort of loved the WaWa but he was so very glad when she went back home and he had his house all to himself again. Rachel remember “no star is ever lost we once have seen. We always can be what we might have been” I know you will find your way.

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  26. Oh Rachel, I’ve just dropped in on your blog after ages away, and I am so utterly sorry to hear about your loss. My heart goes out to you and Cricket and your Mom. We lost Tillie in August last year and I still feel her (very large) presence every day and miss her so much. But I’m also relieved we were able to give her a good last four years of her life, as you did for Butterfly. xo Carolyn

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  27. Happy Passover, and happy spring in general! I kinda feel the same way Cricket does after visitors leave! Though maybe not so much with the poop 💩 hoarding. That is definitely a dog thing.

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  28. I think it is nice to follow God’s commands simply. I ate unleavened bread and gave thanks in my own way. Non of this Easter paganism for me. I shall be glad when it is all over. Even churches give out eggs. Errr… nothing to do with Christ. Sigh… x

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  29. madaboutgreys

    Happy Passover, however you choose to celebrate.

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  30. The caption of your last photo is so apt – Cricket really does look relieved and so blissed out.

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  31. You should delight in Cricket’s joy. We miss Butterfly also.

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  32. Good for Cricket to have tolerated the interlopers and now celebrates her freedom!
    Life will come to you…change will come to you…you have a good heart and a great mind, a winning combination for everyone in your home.
    Celebrate the woman you are today.

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  33. Good to hear that Cricket is finally the “only dog” again. Perhaps Cricket will have a doggie hotel on speed dial to refer them. As for Passover, your upbringing like mine sounds like a little family dysfunction, a little tradition, but little underlying spiritual depth. That’s the part that we, Jew or Christian, should be drawn toward for comfort -spiritual – as everything else is human-made.

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  34. Glad that Cricket it contented again 🙂

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  35. The uncertainty is part of the adventure. I hope you will be able to take comfort in knowing that others go through the same doubts and that eventually your patience will discover a path or two to guide your feet. Happy Passover.

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  36. Sometimes the only way to make sense is to step aside from the ‘routine’ celebrations. It can feel lonely, but it can also feel right. Pip and the boys

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  37. I am a Catholic who loves Holy Week and all its rituals. But this year, I had an un-holy Holy Week, meaning I did not attend any of the services. I just could not bring myself to go, and I am not sure why, but I have been trying to respect that this is where I am this year. Next year, who knows? I have been learning from my dog to be more okay with what is and where I am–she is true to who she is all the time, and I admire that.

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  38. No matter how much you love them, it’s always a relief when house guests go home.

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  39. It’s such a joy to see your babies in my wordpress feed. So glad Cricket is back to her routine, that’s important!! And I’m late: but Happy Passover

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  40. Passover is the hardest time of the year. Besides changing all the dishes and cleaning the house, you have to buy new food that is twice the price than the rest of the year. The seders can be enjoyable if you invite only the people you enjoy. If you’re ever on Long Island during Passover, you’re invited to my seder. We keep it simple.

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  41. Happy dog, happy house!

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