Before I was a mommy, I was an auntie. I first met my husband’s niece E. when she was 2, and I instantly fell in love. And watching how my husband (boyfriend at the time) interacted with her, I was even more sure that we were meant for each other.
One of my favorite memories of that first trip was watching my future in-laws put E. to sleep. She had her bath, brushed her teeth, combed her hair, got her pajamas on, and climbed into bed with her books, milk, and stuffed animals. After reading a few books, they asked E. what her favorite moment of the day was. Everyone in the room shared—even me. (Mine was probably something incredibly corny at the time: “meeting all of you,” designed to please the niece and impress the future in-laws.)
When I asked my husband about it, he said that they’d done something similar growing up. For them, it was part of their Shabbat. Every Friday night the whole family had dinner together (even when the boys were in high school, they had to have dinner together as a family before going out), and after they’d said the Shabbat blessings, as they started to eat, they went around the table and each person shared the highlight of their week.
I love this idea. I’ve incorporated it into our lives. Though our toddler doesn’t have enough words yet to articulate the highlight of her week, my husband and I share ours with her as we eat some challah on Friday nights. I never knew my mother-in-law. She passed away before my husband and I really fell in love. I wish she was around now. I’d love to ask her about this Shabbat tradition, and I wish she could hear her granddaughter’s highlights, even if they’re only a few words: “noo-noo” (noodles), “elmo,” and “ing” (swing).
What a great week.