Masks We Wear All Year
Who says Purim is the only time to dress up? If you look around, you’ll see lots of people walking around in costumes throughout the year. Look carefully though: some of that camouflage blends in so well, you won’t even notice it. Here’s a list of some costumes you’ve come across many times, although you may not have known it.
Put Together Mom
If you’ve ever been to a PTA meeting or event at your child’s school, you have been sure to encounter a number of women of women dressed to the nines, in stain-free clothing and perfect makeup, waiting calmly in line or engaged in conversation without a care in the world. Or, rather, looking as though they have not a care in the world. What you don’t know is that at least five of these women have left behind: a) crying children b) a very messy house c) some other catastrophe you don’t even want to imagine. Behind that serene conversation is possibly a woman who will be relieved to find out that her sheitel is on straight.
I once travelled with a friend who spent the entirety of our flight dealing with a screaming infant and a young son who had two accidents and ended up wearing my daughter’s pink corduroy pants. When we landed, I, whose children had been remarkably quiet and well-behaved, told my mother that the flight had been “long.” When I hung up, I heard my friend on the phone with her mother reporting that the flight had been “amazing” and that her children “slept the whole time.” We all know the type – you know, the one who will visit the Bahamas during a hurricane and come back raving about the gorgeous weather.
This costume is generally pulled out of the box when one is asked for advice. “Just let her cry it out. That’s what I did,” the impostor will say, although her own children shared her bed until the age of five. This costume could be the result of selective memory, or it could be denial. Or maybe it is a form of revisionist history. Who knows? The point is, don’t fall for this one. No parent knows what he or she is doing. We’re all just winging it, no matter how smart we sound.
I used to think adults were mature – until I became one. Now I realize it is all just one big act, played most professionally when the kids are around. This disguise can stay on for remarkable lengths of time while the guilty party is issuing commands such as “Don’t stay up too late” or “Eat your vegetables” – but it will be shed at remarkable speed when the kids are in bed and it is possible to raid the mishloach manos pile without being caught.
Happy to See You
The easiest way to spot this one is if you are pretty sure the person you’ve just bumped into has no reason at all to be happy to see you. If you are a mother in law encountering your daughter in law, for example, the happy greeting may indeed be a façade. The only one who is truly happy to see you in that case may be Elmo, who is always happy to see everyone as I can attest, having watched it too many times when my kids were toddlers. But back to the costume. The only way to respond if you realize you’ve encountered a fraud, is to act even happier to see them.