“Ma, I was thinking,” Shifra leaned against the counter where her mother was chopping vegetables. “Why do only the adults have to benefit from your and Ta’s program? The kids just miss out!”
Ma blinked in surprise and glanced briefly at Shifra. “You’re right,” she said slowly, “I agree. So what are you planning to do about that?”
“Well,” Shifra began, and then proceeded to lay out her plan down to the tiniest detail. Shifra and her mother discussed a Pesach scavenger hunt, a cheesecake-a-thon for Shavuos, and more.
If Ma was surprised with Shifra’s sudden unexpected enthusiasm for her and her husband’s programs, she decided not to mention it.
“Ma this is fun!” Shifra exclaimed when they were smack in the thick of the laying out process. She realized that this was the most fulfilled she had felt since they had moved here. It felt good to finally be a part of things.
“What an excellent idea to include the younger kids.” Ma wiped her hands on a checked cloth. “We should have thought of this a long time ago.” Ma looked at Shifra with pride in her eyes.
Shifra felt good but then realized something. “It wasn’t me,” she admitted, “it was Miriam and Devorah,” she said before escaping the kitchen. She didn’t notice Ma staring at her retreating back, looking very perplexed.
Janet was there the next Shabbos as well.
The day time meal was nearly over and Shifra was feeling happy, satisfied ad very full. Oh, and the tiniest bit nervous as well.
“When are we leaving?” Meir asked, bouncing in his seat.
“Where to?” Janet asked curiously.
“Oh, Shifra is going to run a kids Shabbos program,” Ma filled Janet in. “This is going to be their first time. Meir is really excited,” she added, as if Janet didn’t already notice that in the first place. Janet looked thoughtful, a slow smile spreading over her face. The rest of the family just thought that she was happy for Shifra and Meir, but Shifra knew that there was more to it. Janet knew.
After Shabbos, before Janet left, Shifra sidles up to her. “Janet… I’ll give that box back to you now. I think it helped me.”
“Janet, how did it work? I don’t get it! Was it even real? Did other people use it before me? Did you use it? How did it even work?” Shifra was babbling incoherently, but she had to know.
But Janet just looked at Shifra and smiled mysteriously. “I’m glad it helped,” was all she said, and turned to go, throwing a wink over her shoulder to Shifra.