Dear Daylight Savings Time (DST),
I understand that you are just a social construct on the time-space continuum, so I don’t expect an actual reply to this letter. However, I need to vent to someone, because you are really being quite disruptive to my life. Specifically, you are disruptive to my Jewish life with my child.
It all started innocuously, 2 weeks before Purim. Should we take our 1 year old to megillah reading in the evening? Well why not? She loves going to services and as a bonus, no one will expect her to sit quietly through this one. But oh dear. We’re “springing ahead”. So not only will we all “lose” (or at least temporarily displace) an hour of the greatest luxury in a house with a toddler, aka sleep, but megillah reading starts after bedtime. So the real question became, should we take our 1 year old to an overstimulating event with lots of noise and people that won’t start until 30 minutes after she would ordinarily be in bed and then try to get her to go to sleep 2 hours later? The obvious answer was “no thank you, but it’s very kind of you to offer”.
And so our daughter missed the evening megillah reading. No big deal, right? After all, she did get to go in the morning. And we even had a babysitter for a Saturday night! We could have had a date night too!
My issue, dear DST, is that it’s not just megillah reading. Shabbat now starts and ends after bedtime. Since we’re not willing to give up on kiddush, challah, and the family Shabbat dance while the little one is awake for half of the year, all these activities now have to be done in broad daylight. Candle lighting and havdallah are just not the same when you don’t spend the whole time trying to keep your toddler from dive bombing into the flames.
But even Shabbat isn’t the biggest sacrifice. With Passover quickly approaching, our most significant question isn’t “Ma Nishtana”, but “how are we going to manage the seder and bedtime”? Thanks to you, DST, we can’t start our seders until after the little one is supposed to be well on her way to dream land. But missing a seder isn’t the same as missing a week of Shabbat festivities. If we’re going to cut off her challah and cheerios supply for 8 days, the least we could do is include her in the celebration!
Our options are not fantastic. We could start the seder early, making sure that we don’t have any matzah until the appropriate time has arrived. This will work for the 1st night when we’re home, and our guarantee of no early matzah will be the forced intermission for bath time. And whether or not the child who does not like to miss a good party will be willing to go to bed if she realizes that there are still several hours to go before we get to Chad Gadya is a more significant problem than who’s going to find the Afikoman. The 2nd night, we’re going out to the community seder, which is a professional obligation that my husband can’t miss. And so we’re left with the less appealing options of a) trying to get a little person to sleep at the synagogue without her usual routine and then transferred home and still asleep without becoming a cranky mess, or b) splitting up the family and maintaining the bedtime routine.
Passover is a holiday that celebrates the freedom of the Israelites from Egyptian slavery one of the most important moments in the creation of the Jewish people as a nation. But because of you DST, our family is going to have a hard time being able to mark our peoplehood together.
We look to Judaism to enhance our life as a family. We want it to add holiness, meaning, and connection in our daily activities, and all the more so, to our holy days. We never said that it always had to be convenient. But DST, this one is personal.
At Least I Found Frog Pajamas.