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Jan 27 2014

Loving (and Leaving) the Kibbutz

By at 1:20 pm

kibby

My son was 2 years old and we were living in the West Village. I wasn’t sure the city was the right place to bring up this kid. Maybe another kid, my yet-to-be-born daughter, for instance. But not him. He was and has always been a physically active kid. The only running around he could do was at the playground.

My husband was born on a kibbutz in Israel. He had always described his childhood in idyllic terms, with loads of freedom and activities and nature. He was the person at the Central Park petting zoo who could coax the cow out of the shed. He knew which fruits and vegetables were in season, when. His parents still lived there along with his sister and her children. And while I was not Israeli, or for that matter, even Jewish, I longed for the community and family life he described.

We took the 11-hour plane trip and arrived on the kibbutz. Instantly, my son and I were in love. On the kibbutz I watched him run around excitedly from person to person. Kibbutznik men are generally a loving bunch and were a constant source of entertainment for my young social son. And I? I was relaxed. On that visit, for the first time since my son was born, I could let my guard down. On an Israeli kibbutz, just 15 miles from the Lebanese border, I found peace. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 15 2014

Saying Goodbye to My Childhood Home & Hello to the Sandwich Generation

By at 3:23 pm

moving boxes

Over Christmas week, my parents sold and moved out of the house they lived in for the past 40 years. The house in which I was raised. The place that I, at 39, continue to call my home.

It was sad, but not tragic. There was no death or illness or tragedy that forced them out. My mother has been retired for several years, and my father talks about it more and more. They are rational and practical people who are preparing for the next step in their lives, and they wanted to be well positioned to make it. The house had the potential to hold them back. They left it on their own terms, which is a blessing–but that doesn’t mean I didn’t cry.

I live in Maryland, and went back to New York to be with my parents for the sale and their move. I brought my husband and two children with me. The house didn’t “look” the same as the one I grew up in. It hasn’t for a few years. Long ago my parents took the wallpaper off the walls of the bedrooms, opting for a new palette of paint colors. Some carpeting was replaced by new flooring, new couches were purchased, central air and heating were installed. But it was still my house, and there is a lifetime of me in it. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 20 2013

Friday Night: We Survived Our First Year in the Suburbs

By at 12:28 pm

kids swinging in the suburbs

About a week ago, a friend posted on her Facebook page: “Happy Houseiversary!”

She and her family had been living in their new home for a year (a home that happens to be across the road from my home. Hi, Lori!)

I saw Lori’s post, checked the calendar, and immediately felt shame. Just a week before Lori’s houseiversary, we had a houseiversary, too. It’s just that I hadn’t noticed. I didn’t mention it to my husband, and he didn’t mention it to me. I didn’t post it on Facebook, or give it much thought, at all. In fact, when people ask us how long we’ve been living in our new home, in our new town, we usually mumble, “Uh, a year? About a year? Maybe a little less than a year?” (For the record: one year, three weeks, and five days.)

I’ve blogged on Kveller a bunch about my ambivalence about the suburbs. First I wondered if I was old enough to own a house and then I wondered if the suburbs would make my kids boring. There was a post where I asked, “Will we find people like us?” and one where I tried to instruct readers on how to “close on a house and not freak out.” Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 9 2013

It’s OK to be Overwhelmed by Happy Events

By at 11:59 am

boxes movingWe moved into a house recently. It’s kind of a big deal, I know. It’s a mazel to find a house you like, in a neighborhood you like, for a price you can afford. But moving is kind of like having a baby. It’s a wonderful thing, and everyone tells you mazel tov, and you’re happy and all, but OH MY GOSH it’s overwhelming, and even if you’ve done it before, you forget just how much of a pain it can be.

Since it’s such a happy event, I feel totally guilty for not being deliriously ecstatic about it. Right now, I kind of want to curl into a ball, but I can’t, because first I have to make sure that the Macguyverish gate is in place so the baby doesn’t climb up the staircase. Again.

The concept of First World Problems is a cute way of keeping perspective, but sometimes we just need someone to tell us, “It’s okay to be overwhelmed by your blessings. You’re not a bad person for feeling this way.”

Because it’s totally true.  Read the rest of this entry →

Apr 12 2013

Friday Night: Desperately Seeking Mom Friends

By at 2:13 pm

lawn mowerThe weather is warming up and here’s a piece of advice for anyone thinking of moving to the suburbs: do it when the weather is nice.

Through the long winter months, I thought a lot about how living in the city forces you to be a part of the community in a way that the suburbs do not. Back in Brooklyn, I could easily spend a day alone with the kids but not feel lonely for adult company, because wherever I went, I was surrounded by people. If I sat on a bench with the girls at the park, other parents and their kids were inevitably doing the same at an adjacent bench and suddenly we had our own adult version of parallel play without meaning to. Lack of space indoors meant people were pushed out of doors, even in inclement weather.  Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 28 2013

My Exodus from Brooklyn

By at 9:52 am

long island pierAt the beginning of October, just a month after my husband and I closed on our house in the suburbs, I made a promise right here on the blog that I’d let you know how it all looked a few months in. Back in that blog post, I wrote about how nervous I felt at the closing despite my energetic spearheading of this move-to-the-’burbs project. I tried to stay upbeat, and wrote that the closing is really an “opening-up” and I recalled how the sellers got us excited by listing all of the wonderful things our new town has to offer.

I also explained that we were moving our young family to the suburbs because we wanted “more trees, more space, less noise, a basement!”

Update #1: We have all of those things now, and they are nice to have.  Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 20 2013

How My 6-Year-Old Handled Our Chaotic Move to Israel

By at 2:14 pm

moving to israelThe other day my 8-year-old son burst into tears when I told him he had to wear his old pair of pajamas because the new ones, which he has been wearing every single night since his grandma brought them to Israel in December, were unfortunately still in the washing machine. I hadn’t had time to put them in the dryer. Mea culpa.

He told me he refused to wear his old pajamas because they are a size seven and he is a size eight. Because he is 8. I apologized for my oversight. No good. I told him I would make it up to him and read an extra chapter of Charlotte’s Web. He wasn’t going for that. He wanted to stay up until his pajamas were dry. I said fine and as expected, he said FINE and went to put on his old pair. I know this kid. Then he lay down next to me in bed sulking while I read. Read the rest of this entry →

Jan 8 2013

My Five Bests of 2012: New Baby, Old Car & More

By at 9:41 am

The internet is alive with posts and lists rounding up last year’s favorites and this year’s resolutions, as well as confessions of how many people have already broken them.

It’s about a week into the new year and it literally just occurred to me that I will have to start writing 2013 on my checks. Then again, I can’t recall the last time I actually used a paper check. I hadn’t even thought about making any resolutions nor reflecting on 2012 yet. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 11 2012

How to Close on a House & Not Freak Out

By at 11:37 am

sign for a sold houseOne month ago, we closed on our new house. Its official now, we’re homeowners, we’re leaving the city, we’re moving to the suburbs. We’re not planning on buying a minivan and the kids are way too young to play soccer but I’m aware that in many, many ways, we’ve opened ourselves up to a host of conventions.

That’s okay. We’ve willingly chosen to become (even more?) conventional. It’s too hard to stay hip and relevant when there’s no space to turn around in your kitchen and the dog crowds you out of the hallway. We need more space. Picket fences, here we come. Read the rest of this entry →

Jul 24 2012

I Found My Promised Land, Except for One Thing…

By at 11:55 am

hartford connecticutTen years ago I left West Hartford, CT as a single woman with a dream: to return one day to raise a family. One month ago, my dream came true.

After 40 weeks of wandering the desert–OK, living in Austin–we have returned to a hamish Jewish community that reminds me of when I lived on the Upper West Side. As we drive around exploring the area, we are amazed that we keep driving by synagogues–10 or so at the last count (and this is a relatively small town). Aiven is enrolled for the early childhood program at a great Jewish day school for the fall (hurray for avoiding the train wreck of NYC preschool applications!) and he is finally enjoying the outdoors (it was much too hot and sunny in Texas for my fair-skinned redheaded munchkin). Read the rest of this entry →

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