May 1 2013
Ten years ago, just before I turned 30, I left my nuchal appointment for my first child, went straight to my work computer, and quickly banged out an “I’m Going To Be A Mother!” email to send to my 5,000 closest friends.
Few of my friends back then were married, let alone having kids. I was a pioneer (I later went on to become a pioneer among my peers in divorce, of course), and an oblivious one. It didn’t occur to me that other people’s reaction to my news could possibly be anything but happiness (mildly uncomprehending happiness, perhaps, but happiness nonetheless). Read the rest of this entry →
God is a huge topic. Like, really huge. Many of us have a hard time figuring out just what we believe about God on our own terms. Throw a 4-year-old in there who demands answers? Yep, even harder.
Or is it? We’re devoting the next month to exploring how parents have talked to their kids about God. We’ll get stories from parents of different religions, from devout believers to atheists and everywhere in between. You’ll see posts from New Yorker editor Ben Greenman, children’s book author Laurel Snyder, a practicing Mormon, the formerly-Catholic half of an interfaith marriage, and many more parents who are currently struggling with what to tell (or not tell) their kids about God.
We’ll be rolling out one post a day on the blog, so check back here to read them all.
Apr 29 2013
I gave birth to my daughter six months ago, and, a few sleep-deprived weeks later, I realized it was right around the 10th “anniversary” of when I was admitted to a hospital for an eating disorders inpatient program.
When I try to reconcile the memory of my scared, enervated teen self with myself today, as a (somewhat) confident mother of two with visibly muscled biceps from lugging around a giant purse, a diaper bag, a breast pump, a baby, and sometimes a 38-pound 3-year-old, it’s difficult. But I still vividly remember the feelings of insecurity, self-doubt, and physical weakness. As it turns out, you can be too thin after all. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 24 2013
Over here at Kveller we spend a lot of time talking about breastfeeding and how to make the perfect noodle kugel. Though it dawned on us that we haven’t carved out that much space to talk about a pretty important topic: God.
So, in May we’ll be rolling out a series of pieces all focused on that all important “God talk.” That is, that conversation you’re forced to have when your child asks, “Mama, what’s God?” or when you decided it was time to let your child know what you believe.
What we learned is that you, our readers and writers, all have different beliefs and ways of dealing with the talk. In preparation for the series, we’d like to open up a contest. We’re looking for short essays (300-500) words about your experience with the God talk. Even more, we’re looking for perspectives from parents of all religious (or non-religious) backgrounds, not just Jewish. We’ll choose a winner and publish the essay along with the rest of the series in May.
Please send entries to info@Kveller.com with the subject line “God Talk.”
Apr 23 2013
It happened again today.
My daughter went outside to the playground in front of our house and within five minutes the kids that were out there headed for the hills.
It’s happened before, many times.
The scene usually plays out like this. My daughter looks out our front window and sees kids at the playground across the street from our house. She furiously rushes to me and asks if she can go play outside. After a good five minutes of her running around aimlessly in excitement and me running after her telling her to put her shoes and a jacket on, she sets off outside. She gets to the playground and in her excited state runs and flaps her arms, doesn’t listen to what is going on or starts talking a blue streak about her stuffed animals or what we are having for dinner and even when she does listen, she often cannot follow what the other kids are doing. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 22 2013
Weeks before I met my husband, I went to Israel on a Birthright trip and pranced down twisting streets belting out Hebrew songs, swept up in the fervor of the group. I shared my feelings in drum circles and slipped a note into the Western Wall expressing the hope that I’d find love that year.
When my wish came true, the trip was so fresh in my mind that I could recount to Josh in detail the spectacle we’d made of ourselves, dancing through the desert in some proto-flash mob. When he joined me in rolling his eyes, I loved him even more. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 19 2013
Last night my husband and I sat on the couch together and watched reruns of Saturday Night Live. Melissa McCarthy was hilarious. We laughed. It was good to laugh. I was glad to have my husband home after he was away all week on work. I went to sleep looking forward to spending the morning at a local park with my daughters and some good friends.
I woke up to the news that we were on lockdown. Less than five miles from our home, thousands of police and SWAT are searching houses in hopes of finding a man implicated in the bombing of the Boston Marathon, the murder of an MIT police office, and the shooting of a transit police officer. My uncle offered coffee to the cops in bulletproof vests carrying assault rifles through his backyard. His 8-year-old daughter and 3-year-old son were fascinated by the “army men” outside.
No matter how hard I try, I can’t wrap my mind around the image. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 18 2013
It’s only 8 at night, and when our 16-year-old son rambles home, we pounce. “Want to grab ice cream?” I invite. “What about a movie?” says my husband. Our son stares at us, impassive.
“I’m going to bed,” he says, and my husband and I exchange glances. We know that “going to bed” is code word for I’m-going-into-my-room-and-shutting-the-door-and-staying-up-for-hours-without-you. I hear the door close and even though my son is right upstairs, I miss him. And I know that he’s going off to college in two years and I’m going to miss him even more.
I don’t know why I’m so surprised he’s independent. We wanted him to be that way. My parents had raised my sister and me to be dependent on them, to stay close to home, to reveal all our secrets. I, of course, balked and flew out on my own at 17, lived states away, and kept my thoughts locked up like a safe. Even now, my mom still scolds me for being “too independent for my own good” but I always considered that a plus.
Until I had a son. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 17 2013
This month, the Kveller Book Club is reading The Mothers by Jennifer Gilmore. Learn more about the book below and then enter our giveaway to win a copy.
Jennifer Gilmore’s book The Mothers is not a memoir. Yes, Gilmore herself did go through the excruciating journey into attempted adoption covered by the novel, but this is not her story. The story she has written, however a fictional account, is deep, resonant, and powerfully real.
I’m a big reader, but it is rare, for me, that a book can so thoroughly sink me into the world of someone else’s circumstances and mind as The Mothers did. Gilmore is terrific at making her characters palpably real, warts and all. Jessie, a woman looking to adopt a child with her husband, Ramon, after a prolonged fertility struggle, is “prickly,” to be charitable. At times, she can be a bitch on wheels, whether to her husband, her parents, her friends, or to herself. 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 →