Feb 28 2014
Dearest Sugar Bee,
It was your birthday yesterday and I fell in love with you again. We were out in the desert with friends and you were your beautiful, lively self, enjoying your family and friends and soaking in the sunshine. We spent a lot of time holding hands and swinging in a hammock and talking about life. I gave you your “7″ charm to wear around your neck this year. It’s the charm that I wore when I was 7 and Grandma wore and Aunt Lenore too. The charm that Grammy brought into our lives. Lucky seven. We are indeed lucky.
Flashback a week and we are fighting about homework. Again. You are giving me that look. Slack jawed, tongue forward, eyes rolled, wobbling your head like a car ornament. And I want to kill you. I feel my chest tighten and I want to shriek that I can’t stand you. That I don’t understand why you treat me the way you do. Why only me? I try to diffuse your frustration and anger which I have gotten pretty good at after this much practice. My encouragement falls on deaf ears. You are too far gone. I excuse myself from homework and give myself a time out in my bedroom and hold my head in my hands until my anger dissipates. When you calm down too you knock on my door and we hug. You give me the picture you drew of us together. I smile and thank you and add it to the pile. We continue to work; you finish your homework and peace is restored to our home. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 5 2013
My son turns 4 on Saturday.
He is suddenly long-legged and lean, leaping into the air. He makes up songs and chats on the phone. He crouches down in the grass and looks for snails with his flashlight.
He is Spiderman.
And suddenly, somehow, in between non-stop nursing and not sleeping, in between crying and cooing, my plucked-chicken newborn baby boy grew eyelashes and eyebrows.
Last night, in the late hours when moonlight fills the room and the jasmine green tea has kicked in, he joined me on the futon while I worked. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 19 2013
Over the past several weeks, my inbox and newsfeed have been filled with various reminders that we are approaching a once-in-70,000-years event: the overlap of Thanksgiving and Hanukkah, endearingly named Thanksgivukkah. While I am very much looking forward to cranberry-sauce-stuffed latkes and turkey menorahs, I am having misgivings about another far less public overlap that will be happening in my home this year; that of Hanukkah and my son’s birthday.
I am excited to celebrate both of these happy occasions, but am a little nervous about what will happen with gift-giving squared. Don’t get me wrong; I relish seeing the happiness in my children’s faces when they rip open wrapping paper to find the items that have been topping their wish-list. Yet, I also find that there is an inverse relationship (and I thought I would never again use high-school math) between the number of gifts they receive and their level of appreciation.
I am sure that I cannot be the only mother (at least I hope I am not the only one) who has had a child open a gift in front of the giver and blurt out a particularly inappropriate remark. Something along the lines of, “Is that all?” or, “That’s not the one I wanted,” or, “But my brother’s present is better,” or a similar comment that makes you want to invent a machine that would filter your children’s thoughts somewhere between their brains and their mouths. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 11 2013
Today is what LinkedIn would call my 10 year “job anniversary”: 10 years ago today, my first son was born. He was an easy baby. Of course, having had no experience whatsoever taking care of children, I thought he was absolutely impossible.
Over the past 10 years, I’ve had five kids and a veritable boatload of that unquantifiable entity we like to call “experience.” These are the 10 lessons I’ve learned over the course of the past 10 years, in no particular order.
1. There Will Be Nakedness.
When I went into the hospital to give birth to my first son, the nurse in the labor and delivery room gave me that not-exactly-couture excuse for a “gown” (otherwise known as “cloth with a few snaps”) and told me to change. I headed for the bathroom. The labor and delivery nurse cracked up laughing. “Honey, is it your first time doing this?” she said in a half-kind, half-condescending way. “Because there’s no such thing as modesty in these parts.”
After pooping on the table–oh, and giving birth–I got it. But I really only just began to get it. Parenting is nakedness, literal and metaphorical. But let’s start with the literal. Over the past 10 years, I have long abandoned the quaint idea of using the bathroom by myself, whether to shower or defecate. I have had my genitalia critiqued by toddlers (“MOMMY! WHERE IS YOUR PENIS???”). I have been watched by beady little eyes while attaching a maxipad to postpartum disposable underwear (“Mommy! I don’t want a bandaid on my jay-jay!”). I have bared my breasts in non-Girls Gone Wild fashion in airports, restaurants, shopping malls, and in front of the elderly and faint of heart. I have showered and bathed with children. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 24 2013
Ah, birthdays. They don’t have to mean anything (you’re as young as you feel! I am 100 years old) but to kids, and to parents, they do. My kids turned 2 last weekend, and I am consequentially forced back into reflection mode. No longer on a therapists’ couch but just as plagued by constant analysis, I wonder: where was I one year ago today, when my girls celebrated their first birthday? How have things changed? Do I have this mothering thing down, now? Am I any “better” at it?
Let’s see. For one thing, one year ago today I wasn’t acutely aware of how fast it all goes. Sure, I heard older, wiser people tell me to enjoy every minute and I grumbled because that was (and still is and always will be) impossible. But I hadn’t yet experienced the wistful feelings. I hadn’t yet gazed at their round bellies, acutely aware of how they’re flattening out, how they are less soft and more arms and legs and elbows and less willing to let me cradle them and then fidgety when I manage to. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 17 2013
So, this is 40.
This morning, I woke up too early, in a dark and peaceful house. Once the haze of sleep began to lift, it dawned on me: Today is my 40th birthday.
More precisely, it’s my Hebrew birthday. My secular birthday doesn’t come until a week into May, and in our house, our kids like to celebrate both. Since this year my Hebrew birthday falls a few weeks before my secular one, I realize it’s like I have a birthday “zone,” an especially welcome transition period for easing into this new decade, one that seems to strike terror in on-the-cusp-of-middle-aged hearts around the world. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 20 2012
Today, I turn 35 years old. To some of you, this will seem unimaginably old. To some, it will seem preciously young. And some of you are perhaps just where I am, halfway to 70 and feeling reflective.
On that note, here are 35 short musings on what I know, now that I’m halfway to five years past collecting social security. If you’ve got some to add, I’d love to hear them.
1) I might be halfway to 70, but I kind of like looking at my age this way. It makes me feel like there is a lot of time left to get stuff done. Like figure out who I am, where I’m going, what I want to be when I grow up. Or, when I’m 70. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 26 2012
My baby is 2 years old today.
Yet I have been a parent of two for almost three years. From the moment we transferred that second embryo into my artificially-enhanced womb, I become a mother of two, constantly concerned with the health and safety of both of my daughters. My experience of parenting went from the relatively simple (but rarely easy) focus on one tiny little being to an unpredictable reality of constantly shifting attention, competing demands, difficult choices, and unmet needs (often my own). It went from mostly manageable to complete mayhem. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 24 2012
Two years ago today, I became a mother. I could get all mushy and nostalgic about how my baby is no longer a baby, how time flies, and that I should have treasured the moments more–and perhaps all of those things are true. Except I did treasure them. I absolutely savored each moment and I wallowed in the gore and glory of new motherhood. I wrote, cried, celebrated, and talked about being a mother to anyone willing to listen. I love being a mother, I relish in being a full-time stay at home Mama and you can go ahead and slap me for being one of “those people”; I have my complaints but the rewards are far greater. Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 11 2012
Whenever I hear that Rihanna song that starts, “We found love in a hopeless place,” I think of JDate. When I was filling out my JDate profile after my divorce, I knew exactly what I wanted in a new relationship: a guy my age who had never been married before. I wanted to start fresh. Never mind that I had two kids from my previous marriage. At 34, surely I was young enough that that wouldn’t matter. I wanted someone who lived in New York, the city I loved. And all of that was why I decided to lie.
It was only a little lie, I told myself, as I typed into my profile that I lived in New York. In fact, I lived in New Jersey, where I spent most of my time either working or chauffeuring incontinent people in car seats to nursery school. New York had a bigger pool of the kind of people I wanted to meet, I thought – people who wouldn’t give me a second glance if they knew I lived in the Sopranos’ state.
I dated rampantly, for lack of a better word. I was an equal opportunity dater, and dated everyone from Orthodox guys well versed in esoterica of Jewish law (I liked the kohen who told me that while he couldn’t marry a divorcee, there was hope for me yet. Since I was only separated, maybe my ex would drop dead, thus rendering me a marriage-eligible widow instead) to atheists who were, in fact, married (not separated. Married. Truly). I knew I’d gotten it wrong the first time, and there was some small part of me that knew that I didn’t know what I wanted. Something in me told me: if it’s not a good date, it’ll at least be a good story.
Fast forward two years. I see a guy online who looks somewhat normal. Contrary to one of my cardinal rules (‘Always let the guy email you first’), I email him. He responds. We talk on the phone. He confesses that he had lied about his age on line to cast a wider net. I tell him I lied about my state of residence. He asks me if I would be willing to have more children. I decide he’s a weirdo and tell him, “Let’s meet for dinner first and see how it goes.” Hell, what’s one more date with one more weirdo? The guy then proceeded to show up for our date twenty minutes late. Nice. Read the rest of this entry →