Thursday, February 9, 2017

Gen Z

Dear Alex,

Sometimes I don't even realize how the world has changed until you point it out to me in the most direct way.

It's snowing today and we are all in the house for a snow day.  Of course, your dad and I are working because in the modern world there are no snow days for adults who can easily VPN and conference call in from home - business as usual.  
In any case, you had signed up earlier this year to volunteer for the Shovel For Seniors program that our town has.  This is the first (and hopefully the last) time that it has snowed.  Since it is still coming down pretty heavily, I asked you to call the older couple to let them know that you would be over later today after it had slowed down.  So you call and then come into the kitchen with your phone on speaker and say, "There's this sound coming when I call them, mom".  It was a busy signal, a phone sound that you had never heard and had no idea what it was.  I had to tell you that means someone is on the phone and they do not have voicemail or call waiting.

Modern times hitting up against luddites.  It can be confusing for a twelve almost thirteen year old.

Love ya,

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

And now for this brief interruption from living with pre-teenage angst...

Dear Alex,

I am alternately angry with and proud of you at any given point during your seventh grade, 12, almost 13 years old year.

It is a tumultuous year filled with growth and change and there is an enormous amount of demands being put on you as you study to become a bar mitzvah in addition to all of the regular demands of school and sports and music and friends.

So yes, unavoidably, there is strife.  Particularly for you, my organizationally challenged first born.  Through it all, I love you fiercely.

And then there are spots as bright as the August sun, spots where you take what is amazing about you and share it with the world.  Like the project that you have chosen to achieve status as a bar mitzvah. More on that in a few sentences, but first a description of mitzvot chaveri. The rabbi taught us about two different types of mitzvot, those between you and G-d (praying, keeping kosher, keeping Shabbat) and those between you and man, also known as mitzvot chaveri (commandments between friends).  It is this latter type of mitzvah that has led the Conservative Jewish movement to require some kind of mitzvah project for every person who will become a bar mitzvah.

We are living in times that very scarily mirror the social unrest that occurred in Europe before the Holocaust.  People who are legally seeking asylum in the US in order to save their lives are being turned away by a new administration that has implemented stricter immigration laws.  For your project, you are not being political, you are being humanistic.  You are raising awareness among a generation of people, teaching them about mindless intolerance and hate.  And you are doing it all in your own voice, making it relevant to kids your age.  Even as I type this, I feel an emotional swell of pride.  I love you fiercely.


Monday, January 30, 2017

And the compliment as a compliment

Saturday we went to Bernie Wedeen's party to celebrate him becoming a bar mitzvah.  Katie and Andy are wonderful hosts and we had a fantastic time.  It started out well when I came downstairs from getting ready.  A dress, heels and makeup on my face.  

About me.  I never wear makeup.  Not even some natural looking makeup that looks like I'm not wearing makeup.  I just don't wear it.  So when I wear it for fancy events it is very noticeable.

So I walk downstairs and the lovely and sweet Avery says, "Wow! You look just like a Snapchat filter!"

#hashtaggeneration #GenZsaysfiltersGenXsaysrosecoloredglasses

Avery says...

Mommy, you aren't so good to snuggle with sometimes because your hips are too bony!

a.k.a. the exact opposite of a backhanded compliment (a fronthanded criticism?)

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Alex says...

...the main things that I listen to on Apple music are Eminem, Van Halen and the Hamilton soundtrack.

Monday, October 31, 2016

I knit, I write I quiet my brain

Dear kids,

It's Halloween night and I am listening to you in the other room trading candy. This end of the day is idyllic and happy, but there have been times today where my heart hurt for you, where I just wanted to protect you from the pain of growing up. This specific kind of heart pain always comes from relationships and learning to be social and feeling left out and finding your place. It stinks, but in a way I am also glad for these tiny hurts. In the long run, it will make you decent human beings.

I hope that we are done with the bad and that we can settle into a busy, easy, happy time.

I am glad that you are exactly who you are.

I love you,

Friday, October 21, 2016

Hints of Judaism

Dear Avery,

Today I was listening to you talk to one of your friends.  You were talking about a Thanksgiving project on which your class is working.  You said to your Jewish friend (referring to a cornucopia), "You know that Thanksgiving thing that looks like a shofar?"

I don't know why, but that one little sentence made me so happy.  It is hard having a Jewish identity when you live in a country where although there is separation of church and state, the majority of people do indeed go to the aforementioned "church".  Somehow by knowing the word "shofar" before you know the word "cornucopia" I have hope that you will be an American (adjective) Jew (noun), rather than a Jewish American.

Shanah Tovah to my sweet Aviva Gila.


Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Let's Talk About Sex, Babeee...

Dear Avery,

Yesterday you and I had this conversation:

Avery: (out of no where) "So what does sex feel like, anyway?"

Me: (thinking to myself, why the heck are you thinking about this and how can I deflect and do I really want to have this conversation) "When you are in love, it can feel good."

Avery: "But like, what is it!?!  I know you get under the covers....I mean, have you ever done sex?"

Me: (thinking, phew! she gave me an out!) "Yes, of course.  You have sex to make babies and I had you and Alex." (also do I need to do a better job of explaining where babies come from?  maybe, but not right now.)

Avery:  "Ok.  Makes sense."

You are almost eight and a half years old.  Don't grow up too fast.


Tuesday, August 30, 2016

Looking into the (not so distant) future

Dear Alex,

Last week we spent the week on a family cruise to celebrate Grammy and Grandpa Howie's fiftieth wedding anniversary.  For the most part you hung out with Avery and your cousins and had a wonderful time.  But you also wanted to push outward a bit and be a (pre)teen, if only for a little while.  This attitude manifested itself a few times during the cruise, most notably:

  • They have this teen program.  Most kids who attend go with their friends or family who are on the boat with them.  It is VERY brave in my opinion to go on your own to something like this.  Not only did you go, not only did you make a friend (at first you thought his name was Brett, but then you discovered that his name was Fred), but you stayed out until midnight!  We were already in bed when you came back to the room.  It just felt so "teenager" of you.  By the way, it's not like you and Fred became life long buddies.  You agreed to hang out with him the next day, but then you were kind of done.  You wanted to prove to yourself that you could do it and you did.
  • And then you were back with your family.  But you were still acting like a teenager at times.  In fact, Uncle Josh helped you with this pursuit by being your wingman (and teaching you how to talk to girls).  This is you guys waiting in line for the FlowRider on ship surfing.  Josh is helping you in your conversation with Emma.  An older woman of thirteen.

I hope you have a great seventh grade year.  That you continue to grow up.  But please don't grow up too fast.

Love you,

Sunday, July 31, 2016





Five weeks is long enough.  I'm ready for them to come home.  And I can't sleep thinking about it.  And about other things.  Because once they come home:

1. Will I arrange the perfect homecoming?  Will they get the right amount of time with their parents? With their friends?  Alone, because they haven't been alone in seven weeks.

2. Do I need to get them checked for lice and have their laundry done by a professional like the other moms?

3. How will I have enough time to get all their laundry done and everything organized before we leave for Florida?

4. How will I have time to pack for Florida and the cruise for myself and for them while also working and spending time with them?

5. Is it weird if they come home and don't want to hug me and kiss me endlessly?

6. Will they be okay in school this year?

7. Will I do a good job of planning their activities while balancing a need for busy-ness with time for homework and time for laziness?

8. What will I forget?

And then there is work:

A. Ms. 98% HAS to finish packing up her office this week.

B. And has to do her online digital training.  All six hours of it.

C.  For our temporary work space, where will I drive and park?  What is the best place to park?

D.  Will there be a place for me to sit?

E. What if my new job stinks? 

F. Will I still feel like a part of a community?  And if I don't, how will I lead?

And personal:

1. What the heck is wrong with my left leg?  Will I ever feel like I am important enough to get it checked out?  And if I go, will they validate that something is wrong?

2. With my graying hair and expanding waistline, am I still attractive?

3. Do I indulge too much and become a selfish human being while the kids are away at camp?

4. Am I not adventurous enough (at all) while the kids are away at camp?

5. Is there some sort of summer philanthropy that I can add to my routine to feel good about myself?  Where and how should i get involved?

6. Will typing all this down make it easier to go to sleep or make the thoughts swirl through my head even faster and more furiously.