Debi Lewis is the mother of two daughters and blogs regularly at http://www.swallowmysunshine.com. You can find her essays at Brain, Child Magazine; RoleReboot; Mamalode; The Mighty; and on ChicagoNow. She is currently at work on a memoir about her younger daughter's journey through medical mystery.
As my teenage daughter was crocheting one evening, I sat on her bed. As we chatted, I mentioned offhand that I don’t measure the flour for my challahs.
She curled herself over the perfect rows…in her lap. “What?!!” she exploded at me. “The challah you make all the time, that everyone loves, that’s famous with all of our friends? The best challah in the world, and you don’t have a recipe?” I explained that I do have a recipe, and that I follow the instructions, mostly, but the amount of flour… >> Read More
My grandmother’s kugel recipe came to me as a gift from the beyond.
Eight years ago, just before the High Holidays, my father received a message from a cousin. In the process of cleaning out her…mother’s house, she had found a stack of yellowed recipe cards in a drawer. They were labeled with my grandmother’s name and so, she wondered, did my father want them? In many families, recipes like this would have long ago been taught to any interested family member. Daughters and daughters-in-law would have traded cooking tips… >> Read More
The shortest seder I ever attended took place in a hospital room. It was also the most meaningful of any seder, and the most memorable.
In 2014, my younger daughter spent a week in the hospital…for cardiac surgery. Smack dab in the middle of her stay were the first two nights of Passover. My mind was miles from the thought of preparing my home for the holiday. I wasn’t sure that I would make it to any seder at all, and certainly I wouldn’t be hosting our family’s usual celebration… >> Read More
We entered the children’s hospital on a dark December evening. We didn’t bring a child.
We made our way through the mazes of floors and elevators until we reached a place that looked like…nothing we’d ever seen before: a carpeted hallway, two small couches, and an empty coffee table outside a closed door with no window. We were not visiting the doctor in an examining room, we learned. There would be no paper-covered table, no swiveling chair, no cheerful posters. We were visiting the doctor in his office… >> Read More
For me, Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, is a reminder of where stifling dread and sincere prayer meet.
When my youngest daughter was 13 months old, Yom Kippur fell one day before a doctor would…reach into her chest to release a ring of artery strangling her trachea. Two days before that, a doctor had turned us away at the emergency room where she had coughed herself purple in my arms, telling us she’d be happier at home, and just to come back for her scheduled cardiac surgery. After months… >> Read More
The family room on the cardiac floor of our local children’s hospital is full of natural light, wood grain, and soothing colors. Windows on every side offer views to the outside–either the real…outside, where people are not struggling to hold their hearts and their children’s hearts together, or the hallway outside the room, where just about everyone needs some kind of care. I sat in a rocking chair in that family room–one of several, clearly not designed to offer rhythm to mothers with babies and toddlers, since… >> Read More