It was late Friday afternoon. As an employee left the store, I caught the door. We all marched inside, me and my four youngest children. All too soon a loud bang was heard. While I was frantically looking around the shop for the most beautiful floral arrangement, my four angels had found a staircase, jumped some steps, and thrown down some vases in the process.
I do not usually go to choose flowers with such young botanical connoisseurs. I actually did not know until a half hour prior that I even needed flowers. Here I was, however, desperate for the loveliest bouquet.
One of the beautiful parts of having a son who is a chasan is having a kallah who calls each Friday of the engagement to wish me, her future mother-in-law, “Gut Shabbos.” The discussions I have with the kallah run from dreamy to practical and everything in between. We talk about family histories, and wedding and sheva brachos plans.
One erev Shabbos, when my oldest son was a chasan, I was sharing a delightful conversation with his kallah. It was actually ”Shabbos Kapalutch,” the last Shabbos he would wear his hat, as the next Shabbos would be the Shabbos of his aufruf, when he would inaugurate his resplendent streimel. Suddenly, the kallah asked to be excused. I heard her speaking to what I assumed was a friend, “You can place it right here. Thank you so much! And yes, I would love to see you Shabbos afternoon.”
Immediately the cogs in my brain started spinning. Shabbos afternoon? Why did her friend bring something? Was the kallah celebrating her Shabbos Kallah this week?
I couldn’t take any chances and decided to be forthright. “Are you having your Shabbos Kallah this week?” I asked.
My kallah, unlike my chasan, was the youngest in her family. “Well,” she began, “my sisters advised me to have two Shabbos Kallahs. One will be this week for my friends, and next week will be for close family only.” I tried to stay calm while we continued to chat, and then we wished each other a beautiful Shabbos.
Now I entered full panic mode. The kallah would be having a Shabbos Kallah and that meant that it was my duty, honor, and of course pleasure to bequeath her with a beautiful flower arrangement. I needed a bouquet of flowers pronto! My husband and the chasan were doing their erev Shabbos thing, which was supposedly reviewing the parsha, Shir HaShirim, or some other good reason not to be home and my big girls were nowhere to be found.
I called out to the four youngest who were home, “Who wants to buy flowers?” They came running. I put the two youngest in the double carriage and the other two held on to the carriage handles. We were off!
That is how we found ourselves in a florist with strewn vases on the floor and four cherubic angels skipping around. A woman suddenly appeared, frightened. “How did you get in? Our store is closed!”
Baruch Hashem all the vases were intact. I quickly told her about my Shabbos Kallah dilemma and begged her to sell me a bouquet. As we lifted the fallen vases, we found the perfect arrangement.
“I’ll wrap it up. Can I ask you to step outside with your family? I’ll bring it to you.”
The wonderful business owner brought it shortly enough with two sheets of blank stationary paper. Oh, right. I needed to write a bracha. I thanked her. Then I thanked HaKadosh Baruch Hu who cares for and watches over fools like me. I added a request, “Hashem, I need to compose a wish for the kallah. I would love to have a desk and a chair and a quiet place to write.”
A few doors away I discovered the perfect writing spot. There was a huge garage. Inside was a desk and a chair with no one around. “Mommy is going to sit at that desk and write,” I announced. It should take only a few minutes.” I glanced at the colors of the arrangement. I would allude to each color in the wish.
Eight-year-old Frady was the oldest of the four. “Mommy, I’m scared. What if the garage gate closes in middle? What will we do?”
What if that does actually happen? It did look like a dangerous electric gate. “Frady, I’ll write quickly and if it closes, we’ll call Totty.” Not that Totty was reachable, but I hoped that line would work.
I wrote up my message. Yes, there were several interruptions. “Mommy, I think the gate is moving!” “Mommy, I hear a noise!” Somehow, we balanced the kids, the precarious flower arrangement, and the mazal tov wish and brought it to the surprised kallah who graciously accepted it from us. My dear mechateniste brought the children pekelech. They were over the moon that they saw the kallah and received treats!
Early into the next week I ordered and arranged delivery for another magnificent set of flowers with a custom poem. The previous Friday was full of adventure, fun, and open miracles, but it’s nice to do quiet and boring Fridays as well.