Melissa Henriquez is red-headed Jew from Jersey who married a wonderful dark-haired Catholic guy from El Salvador. They met in college, endured several years of long-distance love, married in 2006 and now live in Michigan with their two wonderful children: Maya (6) and Ben (3). By day, she is a marketing manager at a global marketing agency and by night she blogs at Let There Be Light (est. 2008). Melissa's writing has been featured on Babble.com and The Huffington Post.
Despite what the ridiculously warm forecast says here in Michigan, we’re closing in on my all-time favorite season: autumn. I try to contain my excitement until at least mid-September--and then I…let my freak flag fly. After the kids go back to school, the fall decorations are dragged from the closet, the apple orchard and cider mill are paid a visit (or two), the scarves, boots and puffy vests come out of hiding, and the pumpkin spice lattes replace the iced coffees. Move over summer, my season… >> Read More
I’ve been loving seeing so many fellow Jews coming out of the woodwork in the wake of Charlottesville--Pink, Billy Joel, Jack Antonoff--to name a few, either openly discussing their Jewish identity…or wearing it on their (literal) chests. Instead of shying away from the bigotry and anti-Semitism out there, they are owning their truths and shouting it from the rooftops: “I’m proud to be a Jew! Hate won’t win!” Yet in spite of my own Jewish pride, I was still a nervous wreck on a recent… >> Read More
“Mommy, can I ask you a question?” my 6-year-old daughter, Maya, pipes up from the back seat after a delightfully long silence on the way back from a recent camping trip.
I check to make sure…her 3-year-old brother is still napping (he is) and watch through the rearview mirror as my daughter marks her place in the book she was reading, the latest in the Junie B Jones series. I sense a Big Question is on the way. That line from Ed Sheeran’s song, “Castle on the Hill” suddenly feels… >> Read More
Full disclosure: I only watched the MTV Video Music Awards (VMAs) last night to see P!nk’s performance and Video Vanguard acceptance speech. And while the rest of the show was pretty tepid and made…me feel old and salty as I questioned who presenter after presenter was, I am so freakin’ glad I stuck it out—because she was everything. I’ve sung P!nk’s praises here at Kveller before, notably for her bold response to anti-Semitism in the wake of Charlottesville. But what I saw last night blew me away nonetheless.… >> Read More
In all honesty, I never planned on doing any prenatal testing. At 30, I was not of "advanced maternal age," had no pre-existing conditions, and I’d already done the blood work that ruled out being…a Tay-Sachs carrier. Still, my husband and I listened as my OB explained what was out there at our first prenatal appointment and stuffed the pamphlets in my purse, thinking this was something “other” people do. After we talked, he went about the exam and then at the end came the part I’d been waiting… >> Read More
I must be meshugenah: I’ve never run more than five miles at once, but I just signed myself up for the a nine-plus mile race, Columbus Hot Chocolate 15K this November.
It gets crazier: Though…I’ve dabbled in running since high school, I’ve never really loved it. In fact, of all the workouts I’ve committed to in my lifetime, running was always my least favorite. Unlike the group fitness classes I loved (Zumba anyone?), running had just been something I did for exercise on my own—not something I could ever… >> Read More
Like anyone with a heart, a mind, and a soul, I’m still reeling from the disgusting display of hate that took over the streets of Charlottesville, Va., this weekend which caused one young woman…protesting, as well as two state troopers, to lose their lives. I still can’t wrap my head around the heinous racist chants groups shouted during their “Unite the Right” march. I struggle to comprehend how anyone can feel as they do, let alone be so open with their blatant bigotry. And I can’t unsee the… >> Read More
This past weekend, I was hanging out with one of my dear friends–a working mom with two kids who is completing an advanced degree at a school an hour away. I could just tell was in desperate need…of some solo time. Her husband was out of town with one kiddo, and she had a huge work project due Monday. I told her to send her daughter down the street to our house the next morning for a couple hours so she could work or recharge with some “me” time. “Are you sure?!… >> Read More
When other women share their birth stories, I can’t relate. My water never broke, I never had a non-Braxton-Hicks contraction, I never had my membranes stripped, I wasn’t induced and I never…labored–in a birthing tub or otherwise. You see, I knew from about 34 weeks that I was most likely going to have a scheduled C-section due to various medical complications throughout my first pregnancy. The final straw was the fact that the umbilical cord was wrapped around my daughter’s neck, and she was measuring on… >> Read More
As a writer who “came out” via blog in 2008 about my very personal disordered eating history, I have never shied away from telling the ugly, messy truths about my recovery–the setbacks, the…triumphs. It was all laid bare on my blog, a daily journal into the life of someone in the throes of disordered eating recovery. My readers–those either personally struggling with similar issues or who had loved one who was, or simply my own concerned family and friends--came to my blog to see if I was… >> Read More
For so many women who hope to experience a vaginal birth, the prospect of a cesarean–especially unplanned--is the akin to a birth plan "kiss of death."
But even when things don’t go as…planned, a C-section doesn't have to be a terrible thing. With a little preparation, even an unplanned C-section can be a beautiful method of childbirth. But it really helps to know what to expect. Having had two scheduled C-sections (the first a result of prenatal complications with the baby and the second a repeat C-section),… >> Read More
Just because this administration won’t show its love for the LGBTQ community during Pride Month by acknowledging the month exists or celebrating the second anniversary of the Supreme Court’s…decision to legalize gay marriage doesn’t mean the American public won’t. Parades, flags, signs, baked goods, beverages … you name it, #Pride is everywhere you look. In Chicago for business, I went for an early-morning run this morning down Michigan Avenue to Oak Street Beach, and couldn’t help but notice Pride is on full display… >> Read More
My daughter Maya just wrapped up kindergarten and began summer camp at her old daycare. She was overjoyed to be reunited with the friends she’s had since she was three months old, and couldn’t…wait for upcoming field trips with the other “school-agers.” On the first day of camp, she was pumped and ready to go. I went in her room to wake her up and was surprised to find she was already dressed, had brushed her teeth, and was even wearing socks and sneakers. Who is this kid?!… >> Read More
Potty-training ranks up there as one of every toddler parent’s biggest hurdles. Just visit any parenting website or meet up with a group of mom friends and you’ll hear about drama that is…potty-training: the pleading and the rewarding and the inevitable accident clean-ups. The begging and the constant nagging to get your wee one into the bathroom (what feels like) 500 times a day, not to mention the multiple outfit changes you’ll go through as your kiddo learns to use the potty. Lysol wipes, plastic bags, and… >> Read More
Every Sunday morning as I practically drag my 6-year old out of bed to go to Hebrew School, I’m reminded of the final scene in "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" when Toula’s own daughter has turned six…and is begrudgingly headed off to … where else?! Greek school. Like Toula’s daughter and Toula before her, and Toula’s mother before her (and so on and so forth) my daughter knows she must to go to her own version of Greek School -- she just doesn’t “want” to. Personally, I began Hebrew School in… >> Read More
Much has been written about how the 2016 election cycle and subsequent ascendency of Donald Trump has further splintered an already divided public. It’s only getting worse, as evidenced by the…comments sections on pretty much every news site or blogging platform out there—including, occasionally, our own Jewish parenting community. After a mass shooting in Virginia last week--which The Washington Post reported was 154th mass shooting to date in 2017--the accusations have been flying back and forth, each side claiming its the other that's been turning up the rhetorical… >> Read More
When I was a kid growing up in northern New Jersey in the '80s, family photos were taken at Sears, maybe once every year or every other year—and my parents were never, ever in them.
We’ve come…a long way since those days. Today, lifestyle photography sessions are increasing in popularity, and America’s photo shoot game has been upped enormously thanks to the advent of Instagram and Pinterest—fulfilling all our creative, photographic fantasies. Modern “shoots: (engagement, maternity, seniors, family, etc.) often involve multiple outfit changes, props, and sometimes even include several locations.… >> Read More
I’d never heard of a febrile seizure until my daughter experienced one when she was ten months old. It was, without a doubt, the scariest two minutes of my life: her tiny body convulsing, her eyes…rolling in the back of her head, clear fluid flowing out of her mouth, and her head limp like a rag doll though her body was shaking violently. For a moment there—and I shudder to even type this—if felt like I was floating above myself, watching my baby’s life end. It was so frightening that… >> Read More
Few things this POTUS has done in his first four months of office have shocked me. Every day, a barrage of new headlines hit and, like many Americans who don’t support him or his rhetoric and…policies, I often feel paralyzed by the speed at which it’s all coming. It’s hard to look away as this administration seems to be self-imploding by the minute. But in many ways, we knew what we were getting into. President Trump is the epitome of “WYSIWYG” (what you see is what you get). He’s leading… >> Read More
Standing on line at Ulta during my lunch break, I noticed a very pregnant mom with three young kids in front of me. Her sons–appearing to be 3 and 4- were quietly playing with a toy they had…brought from home and her daughter, maybe 1, was strapped into a stroller. The line was pretty long for a random Monday and I was growing impatient between needing to get back to the office for a meeting and a growling stomach. When the next cashier opened up, the mom turned to the kids, “It’s… >> Read More
When I heard that President Trump would be giving the keynote this Tuesday at the Holocaust Memorial Museum’s National Day of Remembrance, I was both sickened and angered: sickened that he is…speaking, and angry that he was asked to do so. While every president since 1993 has delivered the National Day of Remembrance keynote, the idea of Donald Trump standing up there feels so disingenuous, it makes my stomach turn: as a Jewish woman—and as a mother of young kids growing up in this very divided… >> Read More
I’m at the library with my kids on a recent rainy Sunday, and like every time I’m in a library or book store, I’m completely overwhelmed–and thrilled–by the sea of books in front of me.…Strolling the aisles, I see books I’ve read, books I want to read, books I pick up and put down for later, books I want my kids to read, books I think my mom would love, and so on. Though I know it’d be impossible to read them all in a lifetime, I still have… >> Read More
I’ve been obsessed with "This Is Us" from the season premiere last fall, watching religiously every Tuesday with a box of Kleenex close at hand. A pleasant deviation from politics, "This is Us" has…become my favorite show. The characters are complex yet approachable. The storylines are always intriguing as they jump between past and present tenses, and the themes–marriage, love, loss, adoption, interracial families, weight and body image issues, fear of failure, fear of success are relatable themes. I was on a plane during the season finale, but… >> Read More
I used to live by the old adage “everything happens for a reason.” I felt that if I didn’t get the grade I expected or the job I wanted, it wasn’t meant to be. Likewise, if I ran into someone…I had been hoping to see unexpectedly at the grocery store, I believed it was fate. In my younger years, I found comfort clinging to the idea that there was a higher, divine purpose to our lives. But then my best male friend from college, Jason, died of brain cancer in 2006 at age 27,… >> Read More
I love pop singer Pink for a million and one reasons. In addition to being an amazing vocalist, songwriter and performer, I love how she keeps both marriage and motherhood real–the good, the bad,…and, yes, even the ugly. Of course, I don’t know her personally, but she’s one of those celebrities who genuinely lets her fans into her world. With respect to parenting, she doesn’t shy away from the tough parts, and she draws attention to the things she is passionate about: breastfeeding, teaching tolerance, having a healthy… >> Read More