May 6 2013
This post, part of our month-long series about God, is by Pia Kutten, one of the winners of our writing contest.
The divorce proceedings are underway. I have lost my well-paying, highly respectable job. We have handed over our life savings to our lawyers and amassed even more in debt. I have been ignoring a subtle, yet persistent pain in my right side for months. Our baby refuses to sleep through the night. My father is gravely ill. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 16 2013
In honor of Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, we’re sharing this story of how one American mother is raising her kids to be independent in Israel.
Let me tell you something: When you move across the world with a 9-month-old who spends more time with your boobs than your high school boyfriend did back in 10th grade, and a 2 1/2-year-old who has mastered the word NO (in Hebrew and in English), and you have no friends, and you don’t speak the language, and your whole entire family is in another timezone, and your marriage is as flaky as filo crust, it’s a freaking mess.
And during the clusterfuck that was the first year in Israel, when no one was sleeping when they should, and when we were bouncing back and forth between the hospital and Misrad Hapnim (Ministry of the Interior), and when there was no one to talk to about how much it sucked, there was one reason and one reason alone that I didn’t haul ass back to Ben Gurion airport.
It wasn’t because I felt like I was fulfilling my Jewish destiny. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 14 2013
When I was a kid in school, I was really into Valentine’s Day. I’d analyze each valentine my classmates sent me, searching for hidden romantic meaning (“He wrote ‘Love’ instead of ‘From’! HE LIKES ME!”). I’d be eager for Valentine’s Day every year, because this would FINALLY be the opportunity for the imaginary suitor of my dreams to show himself and make some grand gesture with roses, a boom box serenade, poetry or all three.
It never occurred to me that I’d find real love in knowing I’d be spending Valentine’s Day evening in the lobby of a hospital, sitting and waiting for my boys to visit their father, step mom and newly-born little brother. Those are my plans for this evening, and I’m surprised to find that they’re the best plans I’ve ever had. Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 12 2013
Not a fan of empty rooms.
Well, it’s done: the boys are going to Jewish sleepaway camp this summer. It’s a few months away, but already, I’m a little teary. I’m pretty sure I will miss them more than they will miss me.
It’s not because I am unmissable. I mean, look at me: I am a bundle of fun. While I am sure the boys will relish not brushing their hair or teeth for three weeks, perhaps every so often they will think of me fondly in passing. Like when they look down at the crap around their bunk and think, “Boy, look at my crumpled up clothes–no one can fold them like Mom,” or “Wow, Mom would NEVER let us leave the room like this at home.” And they will certainly think of me for at least five seconds when they find the pre-addressed and stamped postcards home at the bottom of their luggage at the end of the summer and say, “Oops.” Read the rest of this entry →
Jan 3 2013
So, I was reading this article in The Huffington Post. It’s by Laura Doyle, and the encouraging, inspiring title is, (can I get a big, Kermit the Frog-type intro as the curtain opens? YAAAAAYYYYY!!!)
Women: Five Reasons Your Divorce Is Your Fault
I know, I know–why did I even read it if I knew I was going to disagree with most of it? Why did I read it if I predicted (correctly) that much of it would nauseate me? Why did I read it if the first two sentences (“I teach intimacy skills, but not to couples and not to men. I only teach them to women because we are the ones who have the power to make our relationships intimate.”) made my uterus want to reach through my belly button to punch this woman in the face? Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 28 2012
Whenever I make a passing reference to having been married prior to my current husband, the reaction is almost always the same. A moment of silence and then, “How long were you married?”
When I answer this question with, “About a year and a half,” the reaction is far different than when I say “We were together about seven years and a year and a half of that we were married.” It’s as if the asker wants to size up how much sympathy they should have for me based on the amount of time we were together. Married only a little over a year? Not that big a deal. But together for such a long time, far more tragic. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 10 2012
My parents separated over 18 years ago and since that time, my younger brother and I have seen three marriages between them and one more divorce. We’ve gotten six step-siblings, lived in seven houses, and many times struggled with finding a place in our parent’s new world.
We were told all the right things, things that you don’t understand at 4 and 9. We never thought it was our fault or that we had caused the marriage to end. We never considered that we were capable of breaking apart our family. We were 9 and 4 and had parents that loved us as much as any parents have ever loved their children. They were parents who would have died for us without blinking, parents who went without to give us things we didn’t need. They were great parents, but they couldn’t figure out how to put aside their anger for one another, their hate, and so even though they would have died to give us life, they never figured out how to live to give us something greater. Read the rest of this entry →
Nov 1 2012
As a parent, I’m fully aware that I have a slew of difficult, but necessary, conversations with my son ahead of me. We’ve already tackled one of the toughest: Where do babies come from? Despite reading a variety of parenting books and blogs, I still wasn’t sure how I would handle it when the time came, but at 3.5, when my son started asking questions, I found it was actually pretty easy. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 5 2012
Sarah's kids hanging out in the neighbor's sukkah.
“Mama, where are we going?” my daughter asks after I pick her up from gan on the kibbutz.
A sudden gust of wind, and her hair dances. “Wind!” my son shrieks from his perch on my shoulders.
It’s cold for October. And it gets dark early now — a few weeks of passive-aggressive autumn and then winter will be riding us hard in full force, slamming my LA ass against the ground in torrents of wind or rain while I look for a cozy room with a radiator. #FirstWorldProblems.
Except, then she asks again:
“Mama, where are we going to sleep tonight?”
This should be the biggest no-brainer question in the whole entire universe. Because let’s be real: there is only one right answer, and I should be able to look into my daughter’s upturned face and say “we’re going home, sweet girl.”
But… It turns out there is something worse than feeling homesick in the Homeland.
Anyone want to wager any guesses?
Try Homeless in the Homeland. And on the nights when I am with my kids, I do not have anywhere to take them. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 30 2012
Suzanne Finnamore is the author of three books: Otherwise Engaged tells the story of a woman planning her wedding. The Zygote Chronicles is about Finnamore’s pregnancy, from conception through the baby naming. And in Split, she writes about her husband leaving her and her toddler son for another woman, who became pregnant before the divorce was final. Her writing is deadpan, witty, and electric, and she isn’t afraid to get extraordinarily personal.
I always give The Zygote Chronicles to my friends when they tell me they’re pregnant. It’s my favorite book about pregnancy. In it you talk a bit about raising a Jewish son. I know that you’ve since split from your ex-husband, who was Jewish. Is Judaism at all still a part of your life?
Thank you, that’s very kind. It is the book that means the most to me, because it is basically a love letter to my son; the book begins when he is conceived and ends with his birth. But the timeline is rather tragic, because before the first draft was done, my husband has already left us. When he left, my son was barely 1 years old. And I was actually in the midst of going through the classes at the Marin County Jewish Community Center, which I loved. I was going to convert because I felt it was something meaningful I could do for my husband, that the three of us would move forward into the future with that as our faith. Read the rest of this entry →