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May 13 2014

The Insane Traffic Jam That Forced Me To Stop Controlling Everything

By at 4:07 pm


I am one of those people who always wants to be in control. Before I go to sleep at night (way later than I should), I pack everyone’s bags (diaper, work, lunch), make sure the tasks I want the babysitter to do the next day are all listed on my notes and that she’s got all she needs to take the kids out (metro cards, money, fresh water bottles, etc), and clean the kitchen. Then I wake up at 5 a.m. to make sure the kids’ lunches are all organized and their clothes are laid out. After I make the coffee that my partner and I live off of, I prep dinner and make sure the house in order.

It was one of these mornings when my partner called from the road; her route to work was flooded after the recent storm in DC. Could I help her navigate an alternate route, she asked. It took me a few moments to realize my route this particular morning would be the same because this entire semester, I have the honor of teaching (thanks to an amazing colleague) future Episcopal Ministers at a seminary in Virginia, a course introducing them to the world of rabbinic Midrash.

On these days our babysitter arrives early at 7:30 so I can hustle out to Virginia in time for an 8:45 start time. The car ride is normally about 30 minutes but I leave the extra time for thinking, finishing up my prepping, meeting with students, and such. I do not like being late–it is a pet peeve of mine. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 13 2014

That Time My Daughter Didn’t Let Me Walk Her into Preschool

By at 10:32 am


“I want you to have roots and wings,” my mother used to say to me from as early as I can remember until the day she died. And I think of this during preschool drop-off on cool mornings when the sun slants softly through my 5.5-year-old daughter’s curls.

“Honey, do you want to go in without me? We can do our hug and kiss goodbye out here if you want.”

And some of the other kids go in alone without their parents: This is the beauty of the community we live in–the Middle East’s answer to Mayberry, USA, where every child is everyone’s child, and we all live and love and learn together even when it ain’t easy. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 11 2013

Torah MOMentary: How Do I Tell My Kids to Go Forth When I’m Not Ready?

By at 11:35 am

little girl running away

This post is part of our new Torah commentary series. This week we read Parashat Lekh L’kha. To read a summary of the portion and learn more, click here.

There is little that breaks the heart of a parent more than leaving their child in the care of a stranger for the first time. Daycare drop off, new babysitter, even the first day of kindergarten–these necessary experiences all yield that same gut punch: letting go of a sweaty hand, watching your tiny child–did they ever seem so small?–walk forward into the unknown. Your stomach drops. You inhale sharply. Did I just do that? Did I just send my baby off, alone?

Maybe she’s looking back at you, eyes enormous, and crying. Arms outstretched, in that moment, she doesn’t think she’ll survive without you near, and you don’t think you will either. Or, maybe he’s bolted forward and found a friend, a toy, or a teacher he takes to quickly. Maybe it’s a matter of hours before your child has adjusted; maybe it takes your kid weeks or months. Maybe your baby doesn’t ever adjust but you keep trying, you keep dragging her to the edge of the pool and throwing her in. “Go!” you say, “Swim!”

In this week’s Torah portion Lekh L’kha, we watch as God throws Abraham into the water. “Go forth from your native land and from your father’s house to the land that I will show you,” God commands. Leave your home behind. Step into the unknown. Trust me.  Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 18 2013

Letting Go Before the Nest is Empty

By at 5:01 pm

closed bedroom doorIt’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 →


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