I learned this past week that “Mommy Brain” is a real thing. Basically it means that pregnant women, in addition to being clumsy, awkward, and having to pee all the time, are also more forgetful than their former, non-pregnant selves. I made a number of slip-ups over the last several days, but at no time was this condition more obvious than when I was standing in front of an apartment I used to live in feeling like I’d never seen the place before in my life. Ok, maybe it’s a more generalized condition called “It’s been almost 5 years since I left Boston,” but either way, this Shabbat (and the whole weekend) was an experience in memory adjustment.
I wish I were getting paid to say this, but Amtrak is just the best way to travel. It felt like Shabbat as soon as we got on the train on Friday. Not in the “no electricity or travel outside your vicinity” way, but since that’s not always my thing anyway, the sense of relaxation, unencumbered-ness, and free time hit me (and obviously Marc too!) instantly.
When we actually arrived in Boston, it was like being an amnesia patient told that I should remember all these parts of my life that really just weren’t familiar at all. But we plugged along, read maps, and made it to our hotel just in time to get a whole bunch of awesome take-out to eat in our room for dinner. Again, not so traditional perhaps, but if one should choose to emphasize the rest and relaxation part of Shabbat over the ritual once in a while, this was a spectacular way to go.
Saturday morning, we took a nice long walk over the Mass Ave Bridge to go to Minyan Tehillah for services. I was marginally part of this community when I lived in Cambridge, and I actually recognized the room where they meet, which was a relief, but for the most part, I felt like a stranger looking in on someone else’s community. It was a nice community, and I was glad to be there, but it wasn’t “my community” in any substantial way. What “involved in the Jewish community” means in my life now is so radically different from what it meant then, and that was especially poignant in that we were at Tehillah at the same time that Tikvah was meeting back in Philly. It’s the first Tikvah meeting that I have ever missed, and I really missed it.
We went from services to Adrien’s for lunch. We haven’t seen each other since Marc and I got married, but the conversation picked up as if it had only been a few weeks instead of a few years. That really is an amazing thing about friendship, and one that I was grateful for several times this weekend. Bagels and spreads are always a welcome Shabbat lunch, and that, plus the copious quantity of berries that I probably ate half of myself, perfectly complemented the unbelievable springtime temperatures outside.
I also learned that “Mommy Brain” apparently does not extend to food. On Sunday, we went to Veggie Planet, the best most amazing vegetarian pizza place in the whole world, which happens to be in Cambridge. We got off the bus in Harvard Square, and my homing instincts took us straight there, arriving 5 minutes before they actually opened for brunch. Though this isn’t about Shabbat, I have included several recipes in this blog from “Entertaining for a Veggie Planet,” so I feel totally justified in going back to the source, or something like that.
This is the perfect plate of food: a personal-sized pizza divided in half with a Caesar salad chock full of broccoli, olives, and tofu croutons on one half, and black bean puree, cheddar cheese, and homemade salsa on the other. I pretended to look at the menu for old time’s sake, but I knew I was going to order this since the day we got Stacie’s wedding invitation. Marc got the tofu scramble with butternut squash, and I managed to help out with his plate quite a bit as well. The food. Is just. So good.
And now, though I’ve veered far and wide from Shabbat meals in particular, I might as well go a little further in order to say what an incredibly lovely wedding this was. (And Mommy Brain part 3: I forgot to give Stacie her card and forgot to take the favors with us.) The genuine love of everyone involved in the celebration was palpable, and it really is a gift to see a friend so happy. As the sun is setting on Monday evening, and I’m back on the train again, it still kind of feels like Shabbat. What a great weekend. Let’s just hope I remember it tomorrow.