Apr 3 2014
The other day the guy next to me threw his computer bag on the table and quickly exited Starbucks. Without a second thought, I followed him out, but I stopped abruptly when I spotted him, cell phone in hand, making a call. Realizing he had no intention of blowing up the store, I took a deep breath, relaxed my shoulders and returned inside to try to enjoy my drink. When he eventually returned to his table, it took all the restraint I could muster to keep silent about the anxiety unleashed within me as a result of his clueless actions.
It has been almost a decade and a half since I left Israel, yet I have not shed all of my old habits and fears I acquired while living abroad. In Israel, when an individual leaves a bag behind and flees, we are told to report it and evacuate. I learned to call home after each terrorist attack. Then I would reach out to local friends and roommates to ensure everyone I knew was accounted for and safe. After a few days of avoiding public places, I would reluctantly make my way back onto the bus again, often the same bus route that was targeted; after all, life must continue. I told myself confidently that I still had much more business left to complete on this planet and I needed to give thanks for each day going forward.
I reflect often about my younger years while I sit in Starbucks, which has become my habit, my retreat and my sacred space on the long nights and weekends when the children are away at their father’s. Before my divorce, before my world turned into chaos, I had a very different outlook on my life. I followed the rules. I studied, I worked hard, I earned degrees and built a career and a family. Yes, I sinned–worse than some people, but certainly not as badly as others. Still, I have come to recognize that there is no logical explanation as to why good things happen to bad people and tragedies befall the rule-followers. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 3 2014
The twin tote bags are massive. My daughters could fit together inside one of them, and we’d still have room to spare. Yet my husband and I fill them each morning with all the necessities for daycare: sheets, blankets, bibs, extra clothes, sippy cups of water and milk. Each girl has a bag for her lunch. I try to send them with home-cooked meals and fresh fruit, but there are days where I cannot scrape together enough energy to slice their grapes into 16ths. Sometimes they make do with pre-packaged.
My 3-year-old invariably throws a tantrum. (Reason why my child is crying: I wouldn’t allow her to wear a Tinkerbell nightgown to school in eight degree weather). We calm her. The baby is sleeping and we have to wake her. I nurse her, change her, and dress her in record time. Her perfect, tiny nose needs a kiss. Coats, hats, gloves, and boots go on. My husband hauls the bags, and we shepherd the girls out the door and into car seats. I drive them to daycare, escort them into their respective classrooms, where their ever-cheerful teachers are waiting. I dole out breakfasts, hugs, kisses, and promises of fun with their friends. I tell them that I’ll be home soon.
Back into my car, I check the time. I have one spare minute before I absolutely have to get moving again. I exhale with relief, and enjoy my 60 free seconds. My loyal green travel mug has been patiently waiting for me all this time. I flip the lid and sip. Coffee. Read the rest of this entry →
Sep 4 2012
I remember back when I was in graduate school, over 10 years ago. Late one afternoon, when we were both stifling yawns, my supervisor confessed to me that she kept a coffee maker on her bedside table, and literally wouldn’t get out of bed in the morning until she had had her first cup of coffee. I thought she was crazy, an addict.
Now I think she was brilliant.
It wasn’t always this way, though. I made it through my undergraduate years, four years of long nights up studying and talking and dreaming about all the ways we were going to change the world and grey Vermont mornings when the air was so cold my wet hair would freeze on the way to class. I made it through my master’s degree when I was working almost full time on a psychiatric unit, writing a thesis, and planning a wedding. And I made it through the busy years of my early career, when I was working at my job and on my doctorate, at the same time. Read the rest of this entry →