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Nov 20 2014

I Love My Family But I Miss My Old Lover

By at 9:48 am

I Love My Family But I Can't Stop Thinking About My Old Lover

I remember my summer in Israel when I was 16 years old as being one of near-orgasmic bliss. I wasn’t dating anyone seriously, but I did have a lover. My lover was sleep. And he was hot.

Every Friday afternoon, I would take the bus from the small town where I was living to my parents’ friends’ apartment in Tel Aviv. They were an American couple my grandparents’ age who were in Israel for the summer, long-standing family friends whom I loved as much as my grandparents. Fortunately, the feeling was mutual, because every week, after Friday night dinner, I would go to the guest room in their apartment and fall asleep. I would fall the way a skydiver falls out of a plane, with wholehearted abandon. And I would sleep. And sleep. And sleep. Read the rest of this entry →

Sep 3 2014

After This Summer, A Whole New Set of Parental Worries

By at 11:45 am

a dad worries

Parenting and worrying go hand in hand. Some might say this is a stereotype of Jewish parents. Others might say it’s tradition. In either case, I think it is accurate to say that a large part of being a parent (whether one is Jewish or not) is being worried about your children.

If you had asked me what I worry about most prior to this summer, I would have told you that I worry most about the ways in which sexism will impact by daughters. I would still give you the same answer today. This is because I worry about rape and sexual assault and sexual harassment in the street and in the workplace. I worry about whether my daughters will be able to control their bodies. I worry about whether they will be paid less for their work because they are female. I worry about eating disorders and depression. I worry about the sexualization of young girls. I worry that they will follow a script that limits possibilities, discourages imagination and individuality, and diminishes them. And, I worry that my daughters will be judged by their appearance and their ability to procreate, and not the content of their character. And worse–that they too will judge themselves this way. Read the rest of this entry →

Aug 5 2013

My Baby Wouldn’t Sit Up

By at 1:05 pm

baby lying downAs I watched other babies several months younger than my son cruise around rooms with ease while my Jared just sat and watched, I tried not to be that mom. You know, the one who compares what her baby can do against what others are doing. After all, Jared is my second child and I know better. Kinda.

At his 9-month well check, I told the pediatrician that he’s not trying to crawl yet. He said 10 percent of babies never crawl so as long as he’s sitting himself up and seeming interested in starting to stand, I had nothing to worry about. And that was my cue to officially worry, because Jared wasn’t doing those things either. Read the rest of this entry →

May 30 2013

How Worried Should We Be About Flame Retardants in Our Furniture?

By at 11:50 am

couch with flame retardantsI am a champion worrier, and I do not limit my worrying to the logical or the likely. I worry about there not being enough food at Shabbat dinner, and about stranger danger. I worry about my step-daughter refusing to eat vegetables and becoming anemic, and about animals escaping the zoo. But these days, I spend most of my time worrying about two big, terrifying environmental dangers: flame retardants in furniture, and fracking. Read the rest of this entry →

Nov 5 2012

The Killing at the Pittsburgh Zoo

By at 11:00 am

Sunday afternoon a 2-year-old was killed at our zoo in Pittsburgh after falling into the Painted Dog exhibit.

The words “mauled to death” almost made me sick as tears welled up in my eyes. I take my kids to that zoo almost weekly. My 2-year-old just started walking on his own instead of seeing the animals from the safety of his stroller. I wear my infant and push the empty stroller, just in case he gets tired and wants to climb in for a ride. I am often preoccupied with the bulky stroller or fussy baby and he runs ahead a little. The other day I turned my head for a moment and lost him over near the Komodo dragon exhibit. A moment.

Read the rest of this entry →

Feb 9 2012

After Two Years of Fretting Over Everything, I’m Ready to Breathe

By at 2:36 pm

vanilla ice cream with sprinklesLast night after dinner my son asked for a bowl of ice cream. He sat quietly in his booster seat and carefully guided each spoonful into his mouth and with about three bites left, he handed me the bowl and said, “All done axe-cream.” I sat there and looked at him in amazement. Partly because how could a child of mine not finish a scoop of ice cream, but mostly because he is a kid. A full blown CHILD who uses a spoon and tells me when he’s finished and while he still craps his pants, he’s lost almost every glimmer of babyness and replaced it with kid things like nose-picking and matchbox cars.

And somehow we got to this place after two years of holding my breath that every little decision I was making was absolutely critical to his future development. Read the rest of this entry →

Jun 14 2011

My Husband is in Israel, and I’m Worried

By at 12:32 pm

My husband is in Israel this week, traveling for work.

Yes, I am intensely jealous. Not only does he get to go to Israel, but he gets to do it without kids. I love my daughters, but what I wouldn’t give for 11 straight hours with just my iPad, a pair of headphones, and an endless supply of Diet Coke. And that’s before I even get to the vacation part!

I am also incredibly anxious. I do get a bit nervous any time he travels, even if it’s just to Minneapolis or Jacksonville. But this time he’s traveling overseas, and to Israel no less. In my American mind, Israel is not only the land of my ancestors, of King David and Masada and the Western Wall and the best damn hummus you’ve ever tasted, but it’s also the land of bus bombings and kassam rockets and war and scary things happening without warning.

Maybe I’m worrying for no reason. (I certainly hope I am.) Josh and I went to Israel in 2006 during the war with Lebanon. We thought about canceling our trip, and we asked our family and friends for their advice. Without exception, our Israeli connections and anyone who had ever been to Israel said we should go. Our friends and family who had never been thought we were nuts for even considering the trip. We went, and had an amazing time. (Which, in itself, was a bit of a surreal experience—the country was at war, and we floated in the Dead Sea while people were dying just a couple of hundred miles away.)

But maybe I’m worrying for a reason. We’re lucky in that we don’t know anyone who has been injured or killed in Israeli violence. There are many, many others who aren’t as fortunate. My husband narrowly avoided a bombing when he was studying there in college; by some twist of fate, he and his friends chose a different ice cream shop for their afternoon snack. But I can’t think about that too much now, not when he’s still there.

And of course the stakes are higher this time. We have children. I worry about what life would be like for me and the girls if something were to happen to Josh (again—not going to dwell on that right now). On a broader level, I worry and wonder about what my girls’ relationship to Israel will be like, especially if the violence and instability continues. I hope they will have a connection to Israel that I don’t, one that I wish I did, and one that may yet develop. Josh and I will do what we can to encourage it, but safety will always be our first concern. I wish safety didn’t have to be the first thing I worry about when I think about Israel, but right now it is. Even in this time of relative calm, it is.

As I wait for Josh to come home, I’m saying a prayer each night that he has a good trip, and a safe trip. And as I watch my daughter chew on a wooden dreidel, I wish, and hope, and pray that Israel will find peace.

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