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Jul 11 2014

The Surprising Way I Found Comfort in My Daughter’s Hospital Room

By at 3:01 pm

baby-in-hospital

On Friday afternoon, while I was alone with my infant daughter for a moment, there was a knock at the door of our hospital room. A short, pudgy woman–who just begged to be called Bubbe–pushed her reading glasses up on her nose and looked down at her clipboard, “Are you the Rosen-Prinz family?”

“Yes,” I replied quietly as the baby lay asleep in my arms. I had become accustomed to the constant daily interruptions after many days in the pediatric intensive care unit where doctors worked tirelessly to diagnose my baby with what we would come to learn is a very rare illness.

“Would you like a Shabbat kit?” she offered. Read the rest of this entry →

May 22 2014

The Sacrificial Broken Mug

By at 12:08 pm

broken-cup

I broke a mug today. My favorite one. It was half-filled with miso soup when it shattered. Jagged cuts of blue porcelain and tiny tofu clouds hurled across my floor like a child’s version of The Big Bang.

I’ve always marveled at how containers can enhance the enjoyment of the contents. This cup, with its elegant patterns and exaggerated curves had elevated my nightly green tea into a royal refreshment.

Now this magic goblet lay in pieces on the floor, bleeding its fishy contents onto the thin carpet. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 20 2014

Girl With Cancer Virtually Celebrates Purim With Help From Her Rabbi, A Robot & Google Glass

By at 2:58 pm

google-glass

What do Google Glass, a robot, and Purim have in common with one another?

Normally nothing, but this year, they came together in order to create a vibrant and engaging project that enabled a little girl from White Plains, NY to be a part of the communal celebrations.

Hebrew Institute of White Plains is home to around 300 families with many children. Purim is a time that the community comes together and celebrates. We host a carnival, a children’s megillah reading, a beautiful night time megillah reading where adults and children pack our main sanctuary to the brim all decked out in costumes.

Unfortunately this year, one of the children in our community was unable to attend as she is undergoing treatment for cancer. She is a bubbly, bright, fun and outgoing child, who unfortunately has been unable to join us at Sabbath services, and was unable to join us for Purim celebrations. Her family would like to remain anonymous during this trying time, so for continuity of this article she will be called Amy. Read the rest of this entry →

Mar 11 2014

Choosing to Have My Son’s Leg Amputated Was The Most Difficult Decision I’ve Ever Made

By at 3:42 pm

Amit-and-his-new-ilizarov-2

I awake to a familiar screech. “Mommmmmyyyy……HELP!” So begins my biweekly sleep-run to my 11-year-old’s bedside. “Mommmmmyyyy……I want to cut it off, I can’t stand it anymore…I hate my leg….make it stop,” he hollers, eyes wide open yet not quite awake. My 14-year-old son appears at the door, sleepy-eyed yet familiar with the routine. He helps bring his brother to the bathroom and wash his face until the terror subsides. “Mommy, can I please get a pill?” I give him a couple of Advil on top of the bedtime Tylenol, a cup of water, and I hope for some peace.

As a mother of four kids, aged 6 to 15, I am certainly used to making lots of decisions. As all mothers throughout the world, from the time that they were babies until today, I’ve made thousands, perhaps millions, of decisions. I decided how and what to feed them, which schools to send them to, where we will live, what extracurricular activities they will participate in, what time they need to be home, whether they can stay out late on school nights, on weekends, and countless more such everyday issues. Some decisions were easy, others more challenging, but all were quite ordinary. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 27 2013

My Son’s Concussion, My Mommy Fail

By at 2:01 pm

my son's concussion

I didn’t learn about my son’s concussion until a day after it had happened, when I saw the middle school phone number on my caller ID. “Daniel’s here,” Nurse Nancy said. “He apparently hit his head yesterday. He’s not feeling well.”

“My head hurts,” Daniel said in a soft whisper. “And this morning it was blurry when I read for too long.” My “mama bear” instincts went into overdrive even after he followed up with, “but I got some Tylenol and it’s starting to feel better.”

“When did you hit your head?” I asked. “Do you want to come home?” I couldn’t help but pepper him with questions, probably enough to reverse any effect the pain medication had already had. He wanted to stay in school, he said, go back to class and go on with his day. I stared out the front window, watching the leaves fall from the massive elm trees, making their way down to the ground in a dance of rust and oranges twirls. Read the rest of this entry →

Dec 12 2013

36 Rabbis Are Shaving Their Heads For Pediatric Cancer Research

By at 3:16 pm

superman sam 36 rabbis shave for the brave

The above mustachioed young man is Samuel Sommer, and he’s inspired over 36 rabbis to reach for their clippers. In a bold effort to support pediatric cancer research, 36 Rabbis Shave for the Brave is a fundraising campaign in which a group of rabbis will shave their heads this coming March in coordination with the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, a charity committed to funding the most promising research to find cures for childhood cancers.

The fundraising campaign is spearheaded by Kveller contributor Rabbi Rebecca Schorr in honor of her colleague’s son, “Superman Sam,” an 8-year-old Chicago-area boy who suffers from refractory acute myeloid leukemia. As explained on the “36 Rabbis” donation page:

At the end of October, Rabbis Phyllis Sommer and Rebecca Schorr had a crazy idea: what if thirty-six Reform rabbis would shave their heads to bring attention to the fact that only 4% of United States federal funding for cancer research is earmarked for all childhood cancers as well as raise $180,000 for this essential research. Two weeks after this conversation, Phyllis and her husband, Michael, learned that their son, Sam, had relapsed with AML (acute myelogenous leukemia) and that there are no other treatment options for him.

Schorr has already recruited 44 registered shavees, including eight women and one rabbinical student, along with 10 additional rabbis who are fundraising in order to reach the goal of at least $180,000 in sponsorship donations toward research grant funding. Most of the rabbis are gathering in Chicago on March 31, 2014 to do the actual shave.

In just two weeks, their efforts have already raised over $81,000. To learn more about the cause and donate to “36 Rabbis Shave for the Brave,” click here.

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Dec 3 2013

Two Grandmothers, Two Guggle Muggles

By at 2:01 pm

honeymik

Recently, my 3-year-old son came tiptoeing downstairs long after we had put him down for the night. “I can’t sleep,” he said, hugging his stuffed dog.

“Do you want a guggla-muggla?” I asked, opening the fridge and reaching for a carton of milk.

My husband snorted. “First of all, it’s ‘guggle muggle,’” he said. “Second, you make it for colds, not insomnia.”

“Says who?” I asked.

“My grandma,” he replied, definitively.

Like most discussions about Jewish food in our household, this one had its origins in our respective families, and specifically, with our grandmas.

For the uninitiated, guggla muggla (or guggle muggle, if you must) is a Jewish cold-fighting concoction of mysterious origins and disputed pronunciations and ingredients. Depending on your Bubbe, it might have been made with milk, sugar, and egg; milk and honey; or, for the unlucky, milk, tea, and schmaltz (chicken fat). My grandma made her “guggla muggla” with warm milk, honey, and vanilla. My husband’s grandma made her “guggle muggle” with egg, sugar, and milk. Hence the disagreement. Read the rest of this entry →

Oct 14 2013

Double the Prayers for My Interfaith Baby

By at 2:20 pm

newborn baby in incubator

My youngest daughter, Piper, started out life as a pretty sick baby.

She was born in the middle of the night a little over a week early. I prefer to leave the hospital as soon as possible, since I despise being cold and bothered every hour. I like my bed and my house and very much missed my older daughter, Delanie. Piper had “other plans,” as I like to say. She had a small heart murmur, causing us to stay an additional day for some overly expensive testing.

One night, while my parents were visiting, Piper was having a coughing fit and turned purple. My mom, who is an RN, patted her back fairly hard and Piper seemed to be fine. We let the nurse know and she thought maybe because she was born via C-Section (my second) that she did not get all the mucus squeezed out of her. All in all, they monitored her and performed the additional test. Everything came back normal, and we went home. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 18 2012

Jogging Made Me Cry

By at 2:22 pm

sick teddy bearI’ve been making lots of declarations lately (I’m not an adult! I AM an adult!) and here’s another: I had not seriously been tested as a mother until recently. I know, I know, you think I’m exaggerating. You’re thinking, how could that be? You have baby twins! Surely, you’re forgetting the trials of the 13-and-a-half months past! Double breast-feeding? Mastitis? Sleep training? Or the month where Avi and Maya got all of their teeth at once?

But really, that was nothing. Read the rest of this entry →

May 30 2012

Breaking My Child’s Arm, and Other Parenting Fails

By at 10:22 am

boy with broken arm in castWhile I wrote about the multitude of ways I’ve failed professionally, and how I make a point of telling my children all about it and even encouraging them to fail, as well, I realized, after the fact, that one area of failure I’d managed to leave out (consciously? Unconsciously?) was my parenting failures.

Let’s rectify that right now, shall we?

When my oldest son was 4 years old, he got into the habit of shrieking everything. This, as you may imagine, was not pleasant. My husband and I told him to pipe down and, when that didn’t work, we yelled for him to pipe down. (Yes, I can see the irony now. But, when you’re in the moment, it seems to make perfect sense.) He didn’t. So we yelled at him some more. Read the rest of this entry →

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