I did it! It’s over, and I feel pretty wrung out. I was hired to cater a party for thirty people by a close friend from Israel, and thankfully everything is finished! The party was tonight at 5pm and Mo and I left just as guests were arriving. I think everything came out fine, it looked nice and I hope everyone enjoyed the food.
The party was a ninetieth birthday celebration for our friend Judy’s mother, who lives in Miami Beach. We know Judy and her husband Reb Sholom from the neighborhood where Mo and I lived in Israel. They are like family to Mo and I, filling in as parents when ours were thousands of miles away. I worked as an office assistant for R.Sholom and edited countless pages of his writing in the hope of eventually creating a book. Judy helped me prepare for my wedding and Ben’s birth, and was my coach throughout a twenty-one hour difficult labor. I have always felt like I couldn’t have done it without her, at least not in the drug free way I wanted to. When the nurses wanted to give me pitocin and an epidural because things weren’t progressing “fast enough,” she took me in the bathroom, locked the door and held a shower of hot water on my lower back for an hour and half. By the time we came out I had progressed “enough” that they let me continue to labor. When I was so exhausted I was falling asleep in the two minutes between contractions and I said, “I can’t do it!” Judy said, “You ARE doing it!” Where there is Judy’s will, there is a way, and that is why when she asked me to cater her mother’s ninetieth birthday party I couldn’t say no. I couldn’t and I didn’t want to. Judy and R.Sholom open their home to the entire neighborhood, hosting classes and Shabbat meals in their living/dining area. In her office upstairs Judy counsels women on marriage and birth, as well as doing massage therapy and amazing interior design jobs. Not only that, she is a labor coach for almost every woman in the neighborhood, sometimes spending days at a mother’s side. She is one of the tiniest, strongest women I have ever met. I have always been amazed at all that she does and I want to help whenever she asks. Did I mention that Judy is an amazing cook? I was honestly flattered that she asked me to make the food for her mother’s party. She is also a very discerning customer. I have heard her stand her ground with Israeli builders insisting that she did not give them the wrong specifications on a bathroom installation. She got them to destroy and rebuild the entire bathroom for no extra cost because they had made a mistake in the layout. This is no small feat! Aside from knowing that Judy knows what she wants, I also love and admire her, and I know how much she loves and admires her mother. Therefore I had created a perfect storm of pressure for myself to get everything just right. Add to the equation being home full time with a baby who is a total homebody, and not having a car, and I had actually signed on for something that was nearly impossible.
To make things even more exciting, I am in the midst of working through a lifetime of perfectionism, so all my “stuff” is up. I have spent the entire past week on a roller coaster of emotions, and physical side effects from those emotions. I am going to spend this coming week writing out and working through what happened and what I’m getting out of it. I’ll even include some recipes along the way! I hope you’ll come along as I share some of my struggles with perfection and vulnerability (did I mention I’m reading Daring Greatly?).
For now, here are a few quick photos. More to come as the week goes on.