A weekend with all of my kids is a rare and wonderful thing.
Ariella and Eitan are half-time with their father. When they are not with him, they are often with friends. Rachel insists that that be kept to a minimum, however. Saarya is at a sleep-away school that has him coming home two out of every three weekends. Unfortunately, one of those two is to his mother, and one is to me. So that's one out of every three weekends. Tal is with me one out of three weekends.
Of course, all of the above have numerous exceptions: the party, the bat-mitzvah, the visiting relative, and so on. Which means we are lucky to have them all together one out of every six weeks.
A little truism for you: if you are still married to your children's other parent, you dream about getting away from your children. If not, you dream about having your children more often.
No matter how you slice it, after a divorce, your kids have gone from fourteen parental units of attention each week to only seven. Step-parents can be good models and influence and make a huge difference in their children's lives, but it is rarely the same.
So anyway, this weekend of Hanukkah was one of those syzygies.
Tal specifically likes to play games with me. Usually Saarya does, too, but he spent his time reading. So I played with Tal:
Spit (Speed): Tal beat me for the very first time. We were playing with plastic cards (not plastic coated). They were hard to grasp.
Settlers of Catan: Tal won again. I used to find this game slightly boring two player, but now I find it more than slightly boring. Tal took longest road early enough, but never solidified it enough. I was all set to sweep in for a victory by stealing it, but she won before I could do it.
Yinsh: Tal surprised me by winning this one, too. I think I underestimated her. This game is harder for me than Dvonn. I'm still playing with the failing tactics of getting four in a row whenever possible, even though this is pointless when she can just break the line apart again. In the process, I missed Tal's winning lines.
This is a known psychological problem that people have in games: hoping that reality won't disturb your wish that a play will work, when there is no hope that it can. What is really going on is that you are too lazy to actually work at finding a winning strategy. This happens to many people at the end of Puerto Rico games ("if I craft, will you ship?").
Cribbage: I taught this to Tal. I almost lost this one, too. It came down to the wire, and she only lost by two points.
Chess: I won this one, but only through mutual takebacks. Chess is hard for me. However, Tal is only beginning to explore how the pieces interact.
Late at night, after I had gone to bed, I understand that Tal and Eitan played some games of spit and chess, or something like that.
Sat night our new shul put on a benefit concert to raise money. It was very good. The musicians were world class, and the program was very unusual, a wierd mix of different styles of music from different millenia.
One of the singers was my friend Rachel Jaskow, of the renowned blog Elms in the Yard. Nice to see/hear her again.
I snapped some pictures which are on the shul site's navbar (Lhadlik1-3).
Update: Added link to Haaretz article for concert.
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