Happy New Year!

The apple and honey one, not the champagne one. The “why is there a day off school already when we just started” one. The summer just ended and we have to make holiday meals and plans while unpacking from vacation one.

That aside, I always feel that Rosh Hashanah comes at the right time—the start of school, the start of the Jewish year. Even during the very long limbo after I was a student and before I had kids in school, I loved the new school supplies and feel of fall. Maybe because I am more comfortable in clogs, sweaters and scarves than bathing suits, etc., or maybe because I love buying notepads and pens.

I read somewhere that fall is nature’s way of saying that letting go can be beautiful, which seemed kind of dumb and kind of smart. Did I mention that my oldest is starting high school and my youngest is starting middle school this year?

When that new high-schooler was 2 years old and was the cutest preschooler ever, he came home with an assignment about our family traditions. I turned to the mom next to me in pick-up line and said, “Shit, we don’t have one, do you?” We decided to go apple picking together, which seemed like the perfect tradition—outdoorsy, healthy, child-friendly and easy.

Granted, most of the draw every year was the tractor rides and the cider donuts, but we did actually pick apples and take photos of our family together in nature. And we had something to fill in and claim as a family tradition. And we kept it up for over a decade.

I have this funny image in my head of those tractor rides—they are itchy and bumpy, but for some reason a lot of fun. Like all the literal and figurative bumps along the way, for the kids, for the parents, I truly try to enjoy the “ride” these days.

Lately, I have been trying to cut down on added sugar, which is most definitely my drug of choice. The crazy thing is that if you stop eating sweets, fruit tastes so sweet that you can’t believe it. There must be a lesson in there somewhere. Dipping the apple into the sweet honey is delicious, but maybe the apple can be sweet enough alone sometimes? Or the ride can be bumpy and still good? Or I should write fortune cookies?

All I know is that going apple picking, having Rosh Hashanah meals with family and dipping apples in honey all make me realize how lucky we are to be together. That, and cider donuts are delicious.

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