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May 8 2012

What Maurice Sendak Taught Me

By at 12:48 pm

maurice sendak where the wild things areThere are so many things to say about Maurice Sendak, the incredible children’s writer and illustrator who died today at 83 years old. In the famous book The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales, child psychologist Bruno Bettelheim wrote that the most truly magical works of children’s literature were the ones that allowed children to face their terrors and fears through symbolism. Sendak was a master of this–and not only for children.

Facebook feeds will surely be full up today with status message tributes to Sendak’s legacy. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 26 2012

The Divorce Vacation

By at 3:27 pm

empty kitchen table with two chairsIt’s quiet in my house. Way too quiet. It’s the kind of quiet that usually means that something really bad is going down in some remote corner. You know what I’m talking about–the quiet that means that one kid is sitting on another kid’s head, muffling the screams, or one kid is systematically dismantling the other kid’s Lego creation while kid #2 is off happily peeing and not flushing the toilet.

But this time, the quiet just means there are two empty bedrooms in my house for the week. I don’t want to think about this quiet. The lack of pounding elephantine footsteps at an ungodly hour in the morning means that my two boys are off for the week on spring break with their father. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 16 2012

(Too) Frequently-Asked Questions About Separation

By at 4:24 pm

For those of you who haven’t been following along: I married an Israeli, had two amazing kids, and then followed my husband to live next door to his mother on a kibbutz not far from Tel Aviv. It hasn’t exactly gone as planned. We’re no longer living together.

1. How are you doing?

Some days I’m fine. Some days, I wake up, and brush my teeth and wiggle the mascara wand through my lashes and flat iron my hair, and walk to work, and only realize how fucking ridiculous the situation is when I have to check my ex’s Twitter status to find out how my kids are doing. (#UsuallyJustFine.)

And yes, some days, the hours slip by while work engulfs me and I’m buzzing with caffeine and creativity. I ping B. on Google Chat and ask how the night went. He answers. And usually it’s fine.

Some days are like this. I watch time pass through the window. I measure out my life in status updates and the occasional tweet. I watch their day-to-day routine on YouTube. B. uploads cute movies, and I see how they’re really fine. Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 3 2012

Passover…For Everyone Except Me

By at 10:26 am

CucumbersAnother spring blooms in Israel. And everyone is getting ready for Pesach. Everyone except me.

I’m in a holding zone–waiting for my ex to decide what he’s doing with the kids and whether or not I can come. (If I hold my breath, I might pass out.)

Last year, I swore “next year in LA.” But it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen.

This isn’t the first time I broke a promise about coming home for Pesach. And being here–ten time zones away from my family, I remember the first Pesach I stayed away. Only then, it was by choice.

In a painfully obvious way of asserting my independence, I had accidentally-on-purpose missed my flight home eleven years ago, and stayed in the dorms over Spring Break my freshman year of college.

My mom had cried. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 15 2012

A Single Dad Explains Divorce to His Daughter

By at 9:01 am

dinosaur divorce book for kidsI am a (soon-to-be) divorced dad. What this means on a practical level is that I parent day to day without the input of anyone else, for the most part. Of course I have plenty of role models, but on the ground, I am winging it without another adult.

My daughter Ronia is 4, and though she is a curious and highly observant individual, she does not really pepper me with questions in the matter of some kindergartners in literature. Nor does she really respond to my questions/reveals in an outsized manner. When I warned her I was applying for a job with super long hours (I am fortunate enough to have only worked full-time for one month of her life) her reaction was: “Does that mean I can have more sleepovers with [her friend from school]?” Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 26 2012

Jewish Divorce Panel: When is it Time to Split?

By at 12:21 pm

red flags

Sometimes the red flags aren't so clear.

Here’s our first installment of the Jewish Divorce Panel, run by Sarah Tuttle-Singer, Jennifer Mittelman, Jordana Horn, and Jesse Bacon. Remember, if you have questions of your own, send them into info@kveller.com.

The Question:

How do you know? How do you know when it’s not just a rough patch, a lull, a temporary thing but something more? How do you know when it is time to consider separation or divorce? Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 23 2012

Our Divorce Panel

By at 12:22 pm

divorce drawingOver the past couple of weeks, our seriously brave and open-hearted blogger Sarah Tuttle-Singer has written about the fact that she is going through a divorce. Both her pieces, “Whirling Out of the Darkness” and “Loving Your Kids & Loving Motherhood Are Not the Same Thing,” had us all achy and heartbroken, but something else surprising happened, too. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 11 2012

After Divorce, Finding Love

By at 12:15 pm

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 →

Jan 4 2012

My In-Laws Ditched Me, So I Got a Puppy

By at 11:53 am

Moses, our new dog.

Yes, you read that correctly.

Without so much as a phone call, email, or discussion, my in-laws were extremely upset and offended by a post I wrote about Thanksgiving. Even though I wrote it about my anxieties going into the holiday, they read it as an autobiographical account of the actual event. To my dismay, I discovered that to even question the perfection of a family event on my husband’s side is cause for divorce.

I had no idea they were so upset. They chose not to discuss it with me and instead talked to other family members, digging for dirt and gossiping about me in an attempt to build a case that I am a person who is not “honest, truthful, or loving.” Those are their exact words as written in a nine-page rant that is the most hateful letter I have ever read (since high school). The letter arrived after my birthday trip to Vegas. What a welcome home! While I was away, my in-laws cornered my husband and laid out their argument against me. They offered their home for him and our son to escape to and threw themselves behind him if he should want to divorce me.

Divorce!?  Over a blog post!?

My husband admits that he participated in a hypothetical discussion about divorce, and he deeply regrets it. It is no secret that my husband and I have been bickering since we got to Austin. We’ve been dealing with unemployment, infertility, finances, family issues, going into business together, and adjusting to a new city. Each of these alone would introduce stress into a marriage, and we’ve been facing them simultaneously. When his parents confronted him on the first night they saw him, he had been caring for a sick child all day, hadn’t slept well in a week, was battling a nasty sinus infection, and was trying to placate parents that he trusted and idolized. I love my husband dearly and I forgive him for being indiscreet. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 22 2011

Whirling Together out of the Darkness

By at 12:26 pm

Two months ago, I took one of our 12 suitcases out of storage, dusted it off, opened it up, and crammed in all my clothes, three photo albums, my mom’s journals, a bag — (ok, fine, three bags) — of assorted hair and makeup products that I had collected before leaving Los Angeles, the soft zebra dress M. wore as a baby, and the tiny cotton onesie with the sheep parading up and down the middle that Little Homie wore for the first month after he was born.

And I left the kibbutz.

And while the taxi roared out the big yellow gate and down the winding road lined with fragrant eucalyptus trees, shattering the stillness of the starless night, it occurred to me that I had forgotten something: My family.

B. and I tried, but we couldn’t make it work.

Our marriage was broken. And over the last several months instead of trying to Krazy Glue the fuck out of the pieces, I ground my high heel boots into them.

Dust to dust.

“Where the hell am I going to go?” I asked myself over and over and over during dark nights while I rode around and around and around the kibbutz on my shiny purple bicycle. “What am I going to do?”

I don’t do well when I feel trapped — I get twitchy and edgy, and I lash out like an angry beast. I hiss. I growl. I bite. And ultimately, I knew the only way out, was to get out. Read the rest of this entry →

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