Jul 30 2014
My 16-year-old daughter is an atheist. You can’t imagine how many people–both Jewish and non-Jewish–this seems to bother more than me.
She’s been an atheist for a long time, years perhaps. First, we forced her to have a bat mitzvah–at least that’s what she says. She still resents having to say a bunch of words she didn’t agree with, though I don’t remember her complaining at the time. She seemed to enjoy the DJ, dancers, food, friends, and gifts at her party. And she did an excellent job reading her Torah portion and leading the service. It was a proud day for all of us.
But now she tells everyone she is an atheist; her religious grandparents who attend services every Friday night, her friends, and my friends. Most of the adults generally look at her in horror. They look at me in horror, too. What am I doing, raising a godless girl? It doesn’t matter if the adult she’s talking to is Jewish, Christian, or Muslim. It just seems awful to them. Check off their “this mother sucks” box. Read the rest of this entry →
Jul 22 2014
Exactly two years ago, I wrote a post about how my kids would be doing nothing all summer long. Our laissez-faire experiment went so well in 2012, that I repeated the lack of structured activity in 2013. I’m a big believer in the notion that boredom is good for children. And if they dare whine about it, I tell them to clean the house.
However, 2014 is shaping up to be a horse of a different color. While my 7-year-old daughter continues to be footloose and fancy-free (though we are systematically working our way thorough the “Disney Princess Cookbook”), my almost 11-year-old son won a grant earlier in the year that allowed him to attend two weeks of computer camp and then a coding conference in England. I’ve already made it clear to him that this is a one-shot deal and he should enjoy every single moment of it.
But then, there is the issue of my oldest son. He just turned 15, finishing his freshman year of high school. Previously, my husband left the dispensation of our kids’ summer schedule to me. This year, he informed our older son that he expected him to get a job. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 18 2014
Did you know “nvm” means “never mind”? I didn’t.
My almost-teenage son explained that to me. When he texted me to ask how he could get my online signature for a board he’s applying to. But when I didn’t reply because I was in a different time zone, he figured out he could ask his dad, so “nvm.”
I didn’t understand why he didn’t ask his dad to start with–I was clearly out of town and not very available, or even at all available. And I didn’t know what “nvm” meant. Oh, and I also didn’t know he was applying for a position on this board. Because I think he has a secret life. Actually, I’ll rephrase: he thinks he has a secret life. Or at least one that need not involve his parents. Read the rest of this entry →
Jun 17 2014
Back in March, I wrote about the case of shingles that knocked me flat on my back (though that hurt, too) after a month of covering the Winter Olympics, and my subsequent decision to basically… change my entire life.
I resolved to learn how to relax, so we wouldn’t have a repeat of that stress-induced chicken pox virus. Naturally, I focused all of my Type A personality on the endeavor because, well, Rome wasn’t built in a day…. Read the rest of this entry →
May 29 2014
One Sunday morning I found myself at a mandatory parent workshop during my daughter’s religious school titled “ The Magical World of Talmud.” I must be honest, I usually head across the street to the local coffee shop during these sessions and have what I refer to as “independent study with a latte.” However, my husband and partner-in-crime was at home and the rule-follower in me took over, so here I was.
As the rabbi proceeded to read and discuss different passages from the Torah, I sped ahead and found the following passage from Deuteronomy:
If a man has a wayward and defiant son, who does not head his father or mother and does not obey them even after they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him out to the elders of his town at the public place of his community. They shall say to the elders of the town, “This son of ours is disloyal and defiant; he does not heed us. His is a glutton and a drunkard.” Thereupon the men of his town shall stone hime to death. Read the rest of this entry →
May 20 2014
I have three kids. With three very different personalities. My 10-year-old boy is my most “challenging” one.
“Typical middle child,” the self-proclaimed experts crow. No. Sorry. He was like that from the moment he was born. (I will grant that God knew he would one day end up the middle child and so designed accordingly, but, trust me, he came hard-wired that way.) I could tell the difference at the bris. My first son cried because he was in pain. My second one cried because he was angry.
He’s mellowed a bit since that eighth day. But, still, nothing comes easy with this one. Everything has the potential to turn into a philosophical, environmental and theological argument at the drop of a hat. Read the rest of this entry →
May 1 2014
“Hey Ima, you know, the college scouts come to see the U16 games.”
I felt shivers up and down my spine, the same sort of chill that gripped me in early fall while watching my 14 and 15-year-old sons play together in a competitive soccer match in San Rafael, California. Don’t get me wrong, I love watching them play; or at least I used to.
Both boys are passionate about the game, playing at a high level of competitive youth soccer. Every weekend during our stay in the San Francisco Bay area, I watch them play–two, three, or four games. I spend hours and days gazing at their strong, rapidly growing bodies, their lean muscles, tanned skin and their incredible agility as they chase a ball on a soccer field, somewhere in sunny northern California. Read the rest of this entry →
Apr 29 2014
“Take it down,” my 12-year-old told me emphatically when I entered the TV room where my family gathered to watch an NCAA men’s basketball tournament game last week. Prior to the game, I had taken an adorable picture of him and his 9-year-old sister, linking arms, decked out from head to toe in their favorite team’s attire.
The picture was “likable.” It was fun, happy, and symbolic of our family’s love for my husband’s alma mater and the university that my oldest daughter’s currently attends. It was a must-share. Therefore, I captioned with, “We’re ready! Go BLUE,” and did what so many of us proud, kvelling Jewish mothers do–I posted the photo to Facebook.
“Take it down,” my younger son told me again, as I semi-pretended not to hear him. “But people have already liked it and commented on it,” I responded, realizing I was pleading with him. “Mom, please do not post pictures of me without asking,” he said with annoyance. My youngest daughter chimed in, “Yeah, mom, same goes for me!” Read the rest of this entry →
Feb 28 2014
Dearest Sugar Bee,
It was your birthday yesterday and I fell in love with you again. We were out in the desert with friends and you were your beautiful, lively self, enjoying your family and friends and soaking in the sunshine. We spent a lot of time holding hands and swinging in a hammock and talking about life. I gave you your “7″ charm to wear around your neck this year. It’s the charm that I wore when I was 7 and Grandma wore and Aunt Lenore too. The charm that Grammy brought into our lives. Lucky seven. We are indeed lucky.
Flashback a week and we are fighting about homework. Again. You are giving me that look. Slack jawed, tongue forward, eyes rolled, wobbling your head like a car ornament. And I want to kill you. I feel my chest tighten and I want to shriek that I can’t stand you. That I don’t understand why you treat me the way you do. Why only me? I try to diffuse your frustration and anger which I have gotten pretty good at after this much practice. My encouragement falls on deaf ears. You are too far gone. I excuse myself from homework and give myself a time out in my bedroom and hold my head in my hands until my anger dissipates. When you calm down too you knock on my door and we hug. You give me the picture you drew of us together. I smile and thank you and add it to the pile. We continue to work; you finish your homework and peace is restored to our home. Read the rest of this entry →
Dec 27 2013
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 →