My younger daughter has been trying to be exactly like my older daughter for about as long as she’s been trying to be. Which, by the way, is a precursor to complete and utter awesomeness (and incidentally what I did as a kid with my older sister). This monkey-see-monkey-do business produces children that are either twice as nice or double trouble – depending on how my older daughter is behaving – but sometimes it goes too far.
Like when my younger daughter used to ask for things the way her big sister liked them instead of the way she liked them. See, my older daughter has a thing about water. It has to be really, really cold or else she won’t drink it. Which meant that up until about a year ago, whenever she would order water from Chez Mommy and Daddy, she would never just say, “Can I please have water?” It was always “Can I please have cold water?”
The thing is, her copycat sister doesn’t like cold water. She likes room temperature water. Nonetheless, in her undying effort to be like big sis, my younger daughter would also only ask for cold water, but it went more like: “I want culd waddah pleeez.” My husband and I quickly learned that “cold water” actually meant “not cold water,” though baby sitters, grandparents, and the like were almost always thrown off.
But ever since we bought our wonderful, beautiful, magnificent water cooler, I rarely get either of my girls water. It was some time around my third postpartum week with baby number three, as I was trying to nurse a very hungry little boy while simultaneously dealing with two thirsty big sisters, that I realized there had to be another way.
And there was. After a quick trip to our local Home Depot to buy this (plus some minor assembly) we were set. Our cooler even came with a cold water valve for big sis and a room temperature valve for little sis. As for the water on top, instead of ordering bottles from a service, I suggested to my husband that we get the filter as seen above, which is filled with water from the tap.
My husband agreed, but wasn’t so convinced at first. He complained that we were always running out of water and that he was always stuck filling it up. But the thing is, the filter has a three gallon capacity, so I couldn’t understand why we were always running out. And then my husband explained – he never bothered filling it all the way up. It took too long. Instead he was constantly adding to it little by little, but never creating a reserve.
And that’s when it occurred to me that this filter – besides saving us money on bottled water – also contained an invaluable lesson about Shabbos. We live in such a fast-paced, non-stop world, many of us couldn’t imagine taking a twenty-five hour break from it. But people do need breaks, opportunties to relax, refresh, recharge. So there are two ways to take them – in longer, calculated, rhythmic ways (Work, work, work, work, work, work, break. Work, work, work, work, work, work, break.) Or in unplanned, sporadic, take one when you absolutely can’t take it anymore ways – which like the filter – leaves many people constantly running on empty.
So now that we have begun filling our filter up the Shabbos way the water is lasting longer, and my husband is quite pleased. That pleases my older daughter, which of course pleases my younger daughter.