Oct 16 2013
Our twin boys recently started wearing their first pair of lace-up sneakers. Unfortunately, I have yet to find time to teach them to tie the shoes. As a result, one son came home from daycare with six knots in his right shoe. I know this because it took a painfully long time, with my stubby fingernails, to undo each knot. When I asked him what happened he replied, “Jenny is the only friend in class who knows how to tie shoes. She was trying to help me.”
Our son reminds me almost daily that he is going to marry Jenny. I can clearly visualize the two children seated side by side on the floor with Jenny happily showing our son how to “tie” his shoes. With that image in mind, I began to consider how many people I have interacted with recently, since I made my divorce public (Facebook public, that is), who also wanted to help, but inadvertently pulled a Jenny and put knots in my laces. Read the rest of this entry →
Oct 14 2013
For all y’all out there who think divorce is like the worst thing in the world for the kids, let me tell you something: it doesn’t have to be.
My son and daughter are best friends and allies. Born a year and a half apart, they tandem nursed (think National Geographic Magazine, and you get the idea), go halfsies on the last slice of mushroom pizza, and fall asleep holding hands in a queen-sized bed in our one-room apartment.
They’re closer than any other sibling pair I’ve seen their age. Just last week, my daughter chased down two boys from her class who were teasing her brother:
“You will NOT talk to him like that. He is my brother, and he is awesome.”
And a few days after that, when his sister slipped and fell, my son ran over to help lift her off the dirty ground before I could even say, “Sweet Girl, are you OK?” Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 3 2013
Every Monday and Tuesday at exactly 2:14 pm, my phone beeps to life with the chorus of Destiny’s Child Independent Woman.
All the women who are independent
Throw your hands up at me
I shut the alarm off, scroll through my contacts and text one of three people:
“Any chance we can get a ride home with you today?”
I hold my breath. I cringe involuntarily. My stomach tightens while I wait for a “SURE” or a “no problem” or an “absolutely” to untie the knot.
Yes, while I am doing my best to rock it solo since my ex and I split almost two years ago, living half the week with my kids in a tiny house next to rolling fields and a ginormous sky, where I negotiate paying rent and utilities with a landlord who doesn’t speak English, where I can pay my internet bill and make money transfers over the phone, where I have finally started to create a life that kind of sort of makes sense, I still can’t get from point aleph to point bet–something so freaking basic–without help.
Because unless I have help, it’s going to be a long walk home. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 27 2013
The Jersey Shore has been resurrected just in time for the beach season, while the only bathroom in my house, also a victim of Superstorm Sandy, is still in ruins. Fortunately the most important feature is in place, but the sink remains in a box in our living room, and the tub is encased in plastic wrap to prevent water from seeping into the walls where the grout should be. Showering is a bit like stepping inside a giant sandwich bag.
A combination of factors has seriously stalled the construction on our bathroom. Luckily I now know that I can adapt to almost any circumstance because of the current state of our home. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 5 2013
This past Memorial Day weekend I was inspired to do a mitzvah after seeing a friend on Facebook placing American flags on soldiers’ graves to commemorate the day.
On my drive to Starbucks for a rare treat, I contemplated how I could make the world a better place when I literally saw the sign. It was for a blood drive and it was posted in front of the Shriner’s temple. Perfect! I will donate a pint of blood to an anonymous person facing an immediate crisis as a symbol of my gratitude for the men and women in our armed forces who have shed their blood for my freedom.
As it turns out, however, the anonymous person was not so anonymous. His name is Owen and he is 2 and suffering from a rare disease that requires continuous blood transfusions as part of his immediate treatment. In exchange for my donor paperwork, the blood bank worker handed me a picture of this beautiful child in the form of a thank you card from his folks. My pride in my mitzvah and the resulting joy was extinguished instantly with the realization that a family was in pain. Lying on the portable table with a needle in my arm, I stared at the various light fixtures overhead trying to make sense of the thoughts and events that had led me to my current state. Read the rest of this entry →
May 28 2013
In our world there are statistics all around us. No where is that more true than in the world of autism.
There is the whole one in 88 kids are diagnosed on the autism spectrum, which is the big ugly, awful stat but there are loads of little stats, particularly if you start investigating treatment options, dietary options, and so forth.
The one that hit me the most when my daughter was diagnosed with autism was this one: 80 percent of marriages where there is a child with autism end in divorce. Read the rest of this entry →
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 →