The Happiness Experiment

Dear Avery,

Growing up is hard.  I think particularly for a girl in our Western society that it is even more difficult.  Girls are mean to each other.  Emotions run strong.  And even at the young age of nine (almost ten!), you are exposed to nastiness in person, via social media, across all avenues. 

I want to do everything I can to shield you from this to make sure that you can grow up as easily and stress free as possible.  This morning I decided to document the days that you feel happy and the days that you feel sad to show you that there are definitely more happy days than sad days.  Every morning before school, we will take a photo and talk about how you are feeling that day given what has transpired in your life over the previous 24 hours.

I look forward to sharing your happy and counseling you through your sad.

I love you with all my heart.


PS - Day 1 = happy (also, I'm choosing to go blonde right now)

The busy season

Dear Kids,

I know I should love basketball.  Because you and your dad, you all love basketball.  And I do love watching you play, I do!  But I have to say that March cannot come quickly enough.  With two rec teams and two travel teams and your dad coaching three out of four teams and sometimes between the two of you there will be seven games to be play across the span of 48 hours.  And that is too much.

I find it all overwhelming.  I cannot deal with much else like scheduling kid or adult play dates or remembering to be a good friend or mom.

Know that I will always support you in whatever it is you choose to do.  And I will revel in this feeling of being overwhelmed knowing that all too soon I will have to fill my life with my own stuff once you go to camp this summer and (gulp!) once you leave for college.

Love you lots,

PS just for posterity because I have not written it down anywhere else, this is the year that you BOTH made Glen Rock Travel Basketball teams and I couldn't be mor…

I also still wear a pair of shorts that I purchased from the boys department of Howlands in 1986

The "fifth" member of any of my family vacations turned 26 this week (that's 78 in hat years!) This occurred while we were away at the beach on a family vacation. As evidenced by the photos (only selfies of course since I am the only one who ever thinks to use a camera), she was with me. She is loyal, always up for an adventure, traveled to five out of seven continents and keeps me looking young both in comparison to her and because she protects me from getting too much sun. 

PS. I'm not really what one would call an aficionado, but Go Blue!

#antidisposableculture #reusereusereuse #debatableifitstimelessfashion

Why I send them to camp

Dear Alex,
I’m feeling a bit emotional writing you a “welcome to camp” note for this summer.  I think it’s because I am 100% sure that you don’t need one from me to reassure you that you will have an epic summer.  And also, because a tiny part of me worries that beyond not needing reassurance, you may not WANT to read any mushy declarations of love and encouragement from your mom (the horror!).  This is of course exactly what should be happening as you fully enter teenager phase.
But here it is anyway.  Welcome to camp – you are going to have another epic summer!  I’m sure of it.  Enjoy the friendships you already have.  Be open to new ones.  You never know with whom you might actually have lots in common.  Befriend a cute & smart girl.  Ask her to Bash/Bistro.
Take the time to work on the stuff you want to master (like basketball and lacrosse and guitar) when nobody is watching.  Also take the time to do absolutely nothing.  Let your brain rest from having to remember things like br…

Alex becomes bar mitzvah

Shabbat Shalom.  Thank you all for sharing with us today as we watched Alex become a bar mitzvah.  The thing that I’m sure you’ve heard a lot of parents talk about is how proud they are of their bar mitzvah child.  I wrote this speech before today and in advance I could already write, yes, I am so proud of this kid.  That is because I had all the behind the scenes understanding of what it takes to become a bar mitzvah in 2017.  It’s a lot.  It is way more than what he made look effortless today.  A little more than 75 years ago all you did was pop by the shul with a spongecake that your mom made, said a blessing and then went on to school.  That’s exactly how my grandfather - Alex’s great-grandfather - became a bar mitzvah.  As an aside, while my grandpa wasn’t feeling well enough to make the trip out from L.A. today, he got to see Alex read his Torah readings and haftarah on Skype and shared these feelings of pride.  

Okay, so let me explain this pride a little more.  As an observer, …

Silver lining

Dear Alex and Avery,

It's hard to find the silver lining in our household tonight because your dad is REALLY angry with Alex for both not doing/handing in a bunch of homework assignments and for lying to us about it. But even with all the tears this evening, I managed to find a tiny bright spot that I will hold with me forever. Following is a conversation that I overheard between Eric and Avery. 

Eric was yelling so loudly at Alex that Avery became scared and began to cry. I had escaped to my bedroom because while I support Eric in parenting to help Alex succeed in life, I too find Eric's loud screaming ways to be disconcerting. 

Heightened with emotion, Eric happened upon Avery crying and said (still loudly and still passionately), "You should save your tears for something important!"

Avery through her tears, but not afraid to stand up to her father, said "Alex IS important and you may not think so, but I do and I love him!"

May you two always share a bond this…

The girl who will change the world - Avery turns nine!

Dear Avery,

It's 9:30 a.m. on your birthday.  You went to sleep late last night after hosting 16 (!) girls for your birthday party.  And still at 9:30, you have already opened 16 gifts, run a 5K and are happily playing away at a friend's house before you head out to your 1 p.m. lacrosse game.  Phew!  You are a force of nature!

It's funny how when I take the time to reflect about how you have evolved over the past year how much I realize that you are who you are and some parts of you will forever remain unchanged parts of your personality.  Things like your joie de vivre, your perseverance and your general "more the merrier" inclusiveness.

My goodness, do I love that inclusiveness part of your personality.  It manifests itself as pure kindness.  (It also means that you have extremely large birthday parties!)  Your kindness means that you are aware when someone is feeling a little bit left out or on the fringes.  I have watched quietly from the sidelines as you pull t…