I finally got
invited to one of the seventh grader boy-girl parties, but my dad said we were celebrating Purim at his sister's house that night, and everyone in the family was going, and there would be other boy-girl parties. He told me when I grew up, I'd realize that in the long run, family holidays are more important than going out with friends, and for right now it was his job to make sure I prioritized correctly.


I RSVP'd that I would be going to the party. I spent a lot of time that week buttering up my father. On Tuesday, I baked hammentaschen cookies to surprise him, and at dinner I explained to Marc that we eat three-sided cookies because Hamen, the bad guy of Purim, wore a three sided hat. On Thursday, I went to synagogue with my father to celebrate Purim. Usually, Dad went alone because the rest of us think the Purim scene is humiliating. Everyone danced around the Torah, and I did that, too, to show my Dad that I was dedicated to the celebration of Purim, just not that Friday night.

Friday, at school, I told everyone that I was going to the party, even though I hadn't really gotten permission--which made me nervous all day because so many kids were talking about the party that I knew I would be a total outcast if I didn't go; I'd miss everything. People might even kiss there, and I wouldn't know until Monday.

After school on Friday, I dawdled home, hoping that God would cancel Purim or at least burn down my Aunt's house. When I got home, both parents were back from work early. They never came home early, and the only explanation seemed to be that they wanted to fight before we went to my Aunt's house, because they were both screaming.

I sat on the front steps and listened, hoping for some juicy information that I could use to get myself to the party. Mom was yelling about how holidays with my Dad's family are absurd because my Dad's family hates my Mom. My Dad was trying to convince her that this didn't matter. My Dad said, "We're all Jewish, we can all celebrate together." My Mom said she'd rather celebrate Purim with the PLO. They argued more, and finally, Mom said she wasn't going, and Dad stormed off.

This was my cue. I went inside, and asked my Mom if she'd drive me to the party that night. She looked down and she looked angry. "Mom," I said, as lovingly as possible, "It's a boy-girl party, and it's really important to me." Finally, my Mom said Yes.

And it was the best Purim I ever had, because I was one of the people who kissed.

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