Aug 7 2013
“So what are your kids up to these days?” I get asked by polite friends and family looking to make conversation.
I’d like to make polite conversation right back at them. But, I never know how to answer the above question.
I could say that my oldest son just got accepted into the most competitive public high-school in New York City, that my middle son was invited to join the pre-professional program at his ballet school, and that my 6-year-old daughter is learning to program basic games and animations on her computer.
But, that would sound like boasting. And boasting is obnoxious.
Plus, there’s the fact that my grandmother always taught me to watch out for The Evil Eye. When you admit (even to yourself) that any kinds of good things have happened to you, The Evil Eye (I picture Saruman from “The Lord of the Rings”) manages to hear it wherever (He? She? It?) hangs out, and promptly swoops in to make every single one of them disappear all the while cackling “Ha, ha, ha! Your puny, spitting ‘pu, pu, pus‘ wield no power here!” Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 12 2012
The opposite of kvelling is kvetching–and it’s something, if I can say so myself, that I’m quite good at. Every non-Jewish boyfriend I ever had learned the meaning of this Yiddish word that onomatopoetically conjures up its very essence: kkkvehhhtch. To complain persistently; whine.
I’ve kvetched about heat in August and cold in December, my mother, my father, and all my ex-boyfriends. I could (and have) conjured up a kvetch in Central Park, on a fresh April Day, while eating ice cream in the arms of my beloved (teenagers, you know. So freaking loud). Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 29 2011
I was talking to my grandmother the other day about my writing, and she said that she has renamed Kveller. She now refers to it as “Kvetcher.” We had a nice chuckle over that, but it did get me thinking.
She’s not wrong. We writers/Mommy bloggers do more than our fair share of kvetching about our children, our bodies, our partners, our schedules, our commitments, and any number of other issues that infuse our daily lives with stress and angst. It’s not often that you see posts up on Kveller (or other similar sites) talking about how great our children are, how much we love parenting, and how well we’re balancing the stress of competing demands.
This is not surprising; it’s merely a reflection of the human condition (and perhaps even more so of the Jewish condition). Misery may love company, but it thrives on platforms from which it can whine and groan its way into the living rooms of thousands of like-minded parents at the push of a button. But there’s more going on here than self-indulgent navel-complaining. There is truly something liberating about sharing your challenges, and then learning that you’re not alone. In this modern era of over-educated, high-achieving families, it’s easy to think you’re the only one who gets bored or sad or worried or pissed. Read the rest of this entry →