On Friday night, our family huddled together in the sukkah for the first time. We hovered over the table because the furniture was too soaked to sit on. The fabric walls were threatening to blow off in the wind. The rain dripped freely on our heads through the way-too-sparse schach. Which we could barely see, because I had forgotten to hang the strings of blue
Christmas Sukkot lights. We made a quick kiddush and motzi and dashed back inside.
“There’s a lesson here,” I said to my family. “Better a lame sukkah than no sukkah at all.” I only kind of meant it.
The sukkah had started off with the best of intentions and plans. When our beloved dog passed away a few days before our scheduled assembly day, I offered my husband a bye this year. But friends graciously offered to help, and showed up the Sunday before the holiday to pitch in. The dads started building the frame while the moms and the kids painted the walls.
And then my husband got stung by a bee and had a completely unexpected and unprecedented systemic reaction. He had to be taken to the emergency room, and while he is, thank God, fine, both dads left the scene for the next several hours, returning after dark. We moms whisked the kids off for pizza, and the sukkah never quite got finished that day.
So, before the chag, I scrambled to get walls and a bit of a roof on, or nearly on, the sukkah. And I sort of did. And it’s sort of fine, but just barely. And that was before it poured for three days straight.
I was feeling really bad about our sukkah situation. I felt like a bad mother, a lousy Jew, and a really lame Jewish parenting blogger.
And then. We were invited to a sukkah party where we roasted marshmallows. And another sukkah party where the kids played while the adults sang Beatles songs for hours. And then, I snuck off to another sukkah cocktail party after putting my kids to bed Saturday night.
and really? I realized, our sukkah might suck, but our Sukkot has been totally awesome.
What I said to the girls Friday night was true – it is better to have a lame sukkah than no sukkah. Because getting a sukkah up is just what we do. And as likely as not, next year, we’ll be the ones having the sukkah part, and someone else will be the one whose dog died and husband ended up in the hospital the week before Sukkot. And that’s how it works. Some years you suck, and some years you are awesome. You will find this quote in Ecclesiastes, I believe.
Here’s hoping the rest of your Sukkot is as awesome as ours. But that your sukkah is much, much better.