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Dec 3 2014

The Lesson of the ER & The Open Window

By at 9:49 am

open window

Our family recently lost a dear friend, and my husband and I have had to digest and process the immeasurable loss with our children. Soon after the death, my oldest daughter told me that she would never pray again. I asked her why. She said that she had prayed and prayed that our friend would heal, and God didn’t answer her. I hugged her. I tried to say the right things–that God always hears our prayers, even if God doesn’t respond the way we want; that perhaps our prayers did have some effect that we don’t understand; that there is always so much more to pray for, and we have to keep trying; that praying is good for us, it helps us feel that we are doing something, even if things turn out so differently from what we hope.

Not long after, I found myself spending the entire day in the emergency room, with severe abdominal pain. Apparently, these things happen, especially on days when one’s babysitter texts at 6 a.m. that she’s home sick with strep (which she caught from your kid). While the doctors were puzzling over my cecum, I was left lying supine, unable to see beyond the privacy curtain. Those curtains are not soundproof, though, and it’s hard not to hear the pressing experiences of the other stricken human beings in the room. I was left with no choice but to eavesdrop. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 11 2014

Is It Wrong to Get Plastic Surgery for My 6-Year-Old Daughter?

By at 2:09 pm

should i get plastic surgery for my 6-year-old daughter?

My daughter’s 6th birthday party didn’t start off a total disaster. A handful of kids joined us at an art studio for a drawing lesson and other activities. I had a peculiar feeling that morning that the party wouldn’t be a good idea–I still can’t explain why–but when I saw the old-fashioned fun they were all having playing “Duck, Duck, Goose,” I started to pat myself on the back for a job well done.

But then, right in front of my eyes, yet too far away to do anything, my daughter Julian rounded the corner between one of her “ducks” and “goose,” slipped on the carpeting, and flew face forward into the sharp metal corner of a chair. We ran out–before even serving the cake–to tend to a nasty puncture wound just below her right eye.

Our pediatrician examined the gash and automatically mentioned a pediatric plastic surgeon who could revise the scar once it healed. After all, he explained, “If she was a boy, we wouldn’t even be having this conversation. For them, scars are cool. But she’s a girl; it’s totally different.”  Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 25 2013

Friday Night: My First Shabbat Visit to the ER in Israel

By at 12:51 pm

hospital

A trauma in three acts:

Act I

The Friday could not have started any nicer; my 4-year-old daughter, Raphaela, celebrated her birthday in nursery school–always a touching and emotional event in the Israeli school system–and as a bonus, my parents had arrived the day before from Boston and were able to join in the festivities.

That afternoon, my parents offered to babysit Raphaela, a luxury for me both as a single mother by choice, and as a woman who moved to Israel 16 years ago, with no immediate family living anywhere on the continent. What a sense of freedom knowing that my child is in capable and loving hands, and that I have several hours with no responsibilities other than to myself.

Then, that evening, while waiting at my parents’ vacation apartment for my father to return from synagogue, Raphaela tripped on a quilt and smashed her chin directly into the hard cold tiled floor that typifies most Israeli buildings. Read the rest of this entry →

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