Six years ago tonight, our second, known to you as Little, sailed into this world, our world, like greased lightening. She was truly ‘herself’ from the moment she took a breath outside of the warm comforts of uterine living. When she ‘eye-spied with her little eye,’ Big, her shvester (sister) it was love at first sight. We were two proud mommas (I of course was much less sore, stricken only with awe and true love at the strength, power and beauty of my Mrs.). It’s one of the benefits listed on the gay agenda when a lesbian couple – sharing clothes, shoes and birthing.
My Little, what to say… She speaks her mind and she claims her space. Sure, she learns and emulates Big, but she is not at all afraid to look outside the box, color outside of the lines and speak her mind, all while singing a merry tune, real, or made up. This girl, she has pipes. She can croon with the best and if cultivated, may just be the next Adele. She will anthropomorphize any object in hand into a family and immediately play imaginary games.
Dogs – don’t even get me started. Oh how she tortured loved our two pugs, Atticus and Eli, as they watched our family add two-legged creatures begrudgingly. Enter a room and Atticus was dressed in pearls and a bike helmet while Eli sported an outfit from any of the American Girl dolls. Oy vey, they tolerated loved her well. And now Gatsby, poor Gatsby… let’s just leave it at that.
My Littlehas style and flamboyance that is all her own. She embraces her spirit and wears it well and out loud (apologies to neighbors on all sides, up and down). She is a boisterous life force that can fill a space with her oomph and enthusiasm. She fills my heart!
Today, my Little bubelah (darling), she is grappling with getting bigger, older (like I don’t know from this). She has said several times this past week,“I’m gonna turn six, but after that I’m not doing it anymore. I don’t want to go to college. I just want to stay with my mamas.”
Join me today in this simcha (joyous occasion) as we celebrate my Little! L’Chaim! (To Life!)
Eyes, don’t deceive me now… Sometimes, you just have to wonder. Like for instance, when I was walking around on my lunch break, and came across this vision:
Either things are really progressing when it comes to dog-walking, or people are really digressing in terms of dealing with nature calling. Color me silly, but I fear the latter.
So, I tried to think about what other passers-by might have thought as they meandered across this less than idyllic scene. Please, as you read these next lines, conjure up the voice of an alte kocker (an old Jewish man or woman) for effect.
“I should stop here a sec before we get to their house.” -translation: If you would have stopped along the way, like I begged you to, I wouldn’t have to pee in this nogoodnik’s (one with low morals) outdoor mess.
I should stop here a sec before we get to their house.” -translation: Oy, a balebustah (homemaker) she is not. Better I should go here, it’s probably cleaner.
“I should stop here a sec before we get to their house.” -translation: What, you think there is something wrong with that? I could brech (vomit) from the thought of eating her food.
“I should stop here a sec before we get to their house.” -translation: Look at this drek (crap). What kind of neighborhood is this anyway?
“I should stopherea sec before we get to their house.” -translation: What? If you had a prostate you would understand! Mittendrinen (in the middle of everything), this is a mitzvah (good deed).
Growing up, my mother told us (Shvesters) we were gorgeous. It was disingenuous. Even back then, at a very young age, I knew her words were for her. She would often fish for compliments with total strangers, coyly at the grocery store baggers, at restaurants with wait staff. To her credit, she was, and still remains a very nice-looking person. She took great pains to stay attractive, now approaching eighty years of life. Motivation for her was to look good on the arm of my father. Not a whole lot more going on, unfortunately.
My sister—her beauty comes au natural and is throughout. She favors my mom and has maintained a statuesque 3+ inches over her since the early teen years. Both were, and still are, very attractive. My shvester, she is truly beautiful, inside and out.
As a kid, I looked, and still highly resemble my father, who looks like his father did. Funny, resemblance was never a thing I could see until I became a mom. Likeness via DNA is powerful. I can stand at the airport or a movie theatre, a bookstore, and spot the packs of gene-poolers as they pass by. (Let the record show, that as a mom, I can also now detect fever and/or illness with my bare hand, nose picking clear from another room, and I have become completely desensitized to vomit and other bodily secretions that spout from the kinder. Prior to the arrival of Little and Big, none of these things were possible. I thought motherhood would also empower me the knowledge of how to fold a fitted sheet, but epic momma-fail there.)
Back to the premise here: The Mrs., she is a pure beauty. She even looks good with a paper hat atop her head during holiday dinners (just ask her mom! It’s no joke–and sorry, she won’t let me post one for proof). The kinder, my shana madelahs—together, I have three stunners from their inside core to the outer shell that is our body.
Me? No eye candy here. No meeskait; no train wreck, mind you, just normal. Well, less than average height and weight; run-of-the-mill graying of hair. My face is ‘a bit too well lined with character’ for my baby boomer ‘end of an era’ birthday. And, I will not for one moment, lose sleep over any of this. Why? Because I know I am a good person with a good core. Not just the ‘six-pack’ kind.
I do not fuss with my hair or even use a comb or brush. I had a fleeting encounter with makeup in my sophomore year in college (Bernice, remember?). I saw cotton balls in my home for the first time when the Mrs. first moved (in 1998!). I still have no clue what their main purpose holds. I want to thank Nature’s Knowledge for letting me know I can add some apple cider vinegar to a cotton ball and use it as toner for my face. (I do this now!) My outfit of choice is jeans, Dansko’s and several layers of shirts, and a hoody to keep warm (Blizzard of 2016 Jonas or not). Yes, I’m happiest in a hoody and sneaks, just like big-Daddy Zuckerberg himself. I despise dressing up and find shopping to dress up even worse. I come to you purely, sans schmaltz. What you see is what you get, always. And when you know me, you can see me inside and out. That’s the emmes truth.
My kinder are the ‘girliest’ of girls. I have learned to spy, with my little eye, a dress that has good twirl (this matters)…shoes and leggings that will enhance with sparkle, dazzle and élan, and what will ultimately make my daughters smile like Cheshire Cats. The fashionista-gene has been passed, along with the wherewithal to shop. I have made the case for pink chucks to no avail. Recently, Big announced she wanted a pair of pants! To my ears, such music! Kvelling!
So, not too long ago, that nice chap with the white beard and jolly red suit, he brought us tickets to see Beauty and the Beast (Feb.)! After studying the picture Mr. Claus left with the tickets, Little said, “Ema is Beauty, and Mommy is the Beast!” Okay!
Not long after, I was told that the same kinder, spry little fox that she is, was discussing Harry Potter and said, “Mommy can be Dumbledore.”
Thankfully I have thick skin, a good sense of humor, and the joy in knowing that my kids find me worthy of a Disney extravaganza! How can that be bad? I remain unscathed and well hooded. I embrace my inner and or outer beast and welcome another delightful day in momma’s house. After all, how many kids think their momma is Broadway Bound? Out of the mouths of these babes, right? Nu?
Aa is for Alte Kocker: an old fart, old and complaining; kvetching. This is a picture of my Nannala and me–I was a young pisher and she was my favorite Alte Kocker. Oh how I miss her unconditional love and sense of humor. My Little, she gets a lot from this one…
Bb is for Ball: 1. kneidlach; matzoh balls, 2. chutzpah; has a set
Cc is for Coffee: You think without my coffee, I can have such a conversation? I’m verklempt; emotionally overwhelmed…Cc is also for ChemEx, the only way to brew. What, you don’t believe, kish’m tuchas! You suffer.
To quote Judge Judy (really!), “Du kanst nicht oif meinem fus pishen und mir sagen klass es regen ist.” Translation, “Don’t pee on my foot and tell me it’s raining!” This is no ‘woe is me’ post. I bullshit you not. But c’mon…body? Vus iz dos? Despite it all, I unfailingly (well, 98% mostly) choose the glass half full side of life. Why. Three main reasons (and yes, there are more):
Hair: I have a lot of hair and for that I am grateful. As a kid, I had light brown hair that would get lovely blonde, sun-kissed streaks. With ah, mmmm, maturity, and less time on the swings, came light brown hair. My crayons began to run out of colors in my mid to late thirties, and so began experimentation in color. I was brown, browner, a touch of red, henna-touched, blonde (very, very bad in hindsight), blonde splashes for ‘softening.’ The Mrs. has had her share of hair-happenings atop my kop. Lucky for us, hair grows out, and I’m pretty easy going. I’ve been my current, au natural, for about the past decade. It’s an overall gray, frosty sheen, with an undercoat (yes, like a dog) of mopsy brown. The result is not the beautiful, white gray coif like Jamie Lee Curtis, Helen Mirren or Kate Moss, but one that is more of a field mouse. You already know how the Mrs. feels about mice…
Eyes: Since first grade you have let me down. If you only knew how mad my mother was at me for needing glasses? Like I had a choice in this gene pool? She didn’t believe that I couldn’t see the chalkboard from my front row seat (geek way before it was trendy) and was mortified when the eye doctor confirmed the prognosis. That was one appointment that I recall very clearly (unlike my vision). Despite mom, I made peace early on with my inner Mr. Magoo. I used to have quite the portfolio of glasses to suit my many moods. Never a lover of clothes shopping, but glasses—hold me back. Those were the non-frugal days of yore. Now, my seamless trifocals come from VisionCrafters. I have but one pair that’s a bit bent out of shape from Little’s rough and tumble play. And, I am now like the Karate Kid working with his mentor, Mr. Miyagi: “Glasses on. Glasses off. Glasses on. Glasses off.” Which is best???
Neck: Oh how I despise you. Not for the usual reasons women hate their necks. You look just fine. Functionally, not so much. I was 18 years old, riding a borrowed bike home from work (“Dermatology Associates, how may I help you?”) when I was hit by (I think it was an old lady, but truth is, only knuckles showed on the steering wheel with a small tuft of blue hair. She drove off, perhaps thinking she ran over a squirrel or something) a car and careened into the center median of a very busy road in south Florida. This was the catalyst for my chronic pain. I got news for you, the borrowed bike didn’t fare so well either. Fast forward a few years into my twenties, and add a few instances of whiplash (Philadelphians perhaps don’t drive so well?). The thirties (maybe why the crayons began losing color) brought on a horrible roller blading accident (who let me on those things) that cracked my helmet in half like an eggshell. As I came to, I recall seeing and hearing cartoon birds chirping over the (three to four versions of the one) man that came running across the street to my rescue. I felt like Wile E. Coyote with an anvil atop my head. “Beep. Beep.” These snowballing concussive events have lead to thirty-two plus years of escalating, loathsome, and agonizing neck pain. I waken each day, 2-3 hours earlier than most, so I can ease out of the cacophony of pain points. I’ll leave out the assortment of accompanying despicable symptoms for now. We’ve got time…Glass half-full here! Lots of visits to countless ‘–ists,’ procedures, meds, surgeries, massages, acupuncture, injections, potions and bionics! Yes, I am a $6 Million Dollar Woman (remember Jamie?) with a remote control for a device placed smack dab in my right tuchas with wiring straight up to my keppie. It actually tricks my brain to think, “hey, that’s not so bad now, is it?” Zap the pain away.
One more thing for now: Hot flashes. While few and far between, you’ve managed to come at every wrong time during the hot summer months. Now, you totally disappear when the temps have dropped to tundra degrees? Nu? As a person who has been cold my entire 633 months on this planet, one would think that just 1 or 2 properly planned convection oven style-flashes would have been nice?
Not a lot of kvetching here because I’m always choosing ‘happy.’ What, like I have another choice? And for those who ponder whether this side of life moves quicker than the first half…I think it’s the same. It feels quicker because of the people we include in our lives, the fun we create, the play we make and the wisdom of our choices. Ennui is no fun. Livin life, staying present is maybe what it is all about.
So you may wonder why I’m here blogging, sharing my spiel? Truth is, I started blogging because it’s a hell of a lot cheaper than therapy. And that makes you, dear readers, my therapists. By the powers vested in me, please follow, share and leave your comments, good and bad. Let’s kibitz?
I don’t want to kvetch (a lot), but dreck happens, often. And that’s okay. I am here on the planet to learn and grow daily. So what if we share a little growing pains?
Armed with my keypad, camera and some words, hopefully strung together fairly well, I can fill you in on what goes on, while also working on this ‘life in progress’ journey we all seem to be taking. Wouldn’t it be nice, if maybe we could all laugh, cry, see some commonalities, embrace some differences and inspire each other to keep going?
My muses? None other than my crazy, zany, beautiful (inside and out) and lovable family. That includes me, the Mrs., Little and Big. Yes, we are two mommas with two little girls. Trials, tribulations, parenting, working, aging and surviving, while food shopping, doing laundry, making meals, cleaning up and trying to save the planet.
Sometimes I’ll offer up little nuggets to nosh on, and sometimes a bit more of a tirade about whatever may have my kishkas in an uproar. I figure, this blog will see me, us, through the ups and downs of the hand(s) we’ve been dealt. Chronic pain, major life changes, moves, losses, gains, wins, ballet recitals, tooth fairies, friends, foes, fears, tsuris, yadda, yadda…
I blog because…
my girls may someday look back and want to see who ‘Mommy’ was as a person, through their adult eyes
I want to remember every (okay, most) beautiful moment of their childhood that is priceless and filled with such naches
every moment isn’t pretty–sometimes it’s messy and fehklempt, and I want those memories too
other parents out in the ether must know what to do when…? and share with me
for some crazy reason, I am channeling great Aunt Frieda with all of this Yiddish
I have funny thoughts, and I write them down, in the hopes that you (my therapists) may smile or chuckle over them too
my family, my little mishpocheh and my extended and chosen peeps, need to know how very much I love them and feel loved by them
life with two kids, work, school and all the other mishegas, doesn’t always allow for adequate ‘tawk-time’ with the Mrs., or anyone else for that matter
ahhh, the Mrs., whenever I see her, my heart still skips a beat
every night, Little cries out during bedtime that she is hungry
Canada looks very good in the event of a Trump inauguration, and we will need to know where to send Little and Big to school
have I got stories to tell. Oy vey!
So, you’ll join me? What, you have something better to do? Nu?
As you go about your business and relate with people, families, groups, please kindly think before you speak. Do I mean to say this so harshly? Maybe. It occurs to me, that as a culture, there has long been some traditional hardwiring when it comes to the rule of family. Husband, wife, and 2.3 kids have long been the accepted norm. Over time, many of you have even acknowledged the single mom who has one or more kids. Single Dad’s exist too, holding custody of children in a post-Kramer vs. Kramer world.
However my fellow creatures of the good ol’ U.S. of A., please be aware of the ‘rainbow-banner year’ 2015 has been for human rights. (Such naches this year has brought.) Yes, did you notice I didn’t say just LGBT rights? Small thinking must stop. The word ‘family’ is now fascinating and complex. Prejudice and discrimination must stop. It’s time to believe that all lives matter. #HumanityMatters.
You’ve recognized different religions marrying. You’ve accepted bi-racial couples. Let love win.
In June of 2015, Edie Windsor and Jim Obergefell braved SCOTUS and won, making same sex marriage a right nationwide, citing the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Talk about a Mensch on a Bench! Our mass shpilkes had ended! In a momentous 5-4 ruling, 5 mensch’s struck down the U.S. ban, stating that this ‘liberty will no longer be denied.’ Surely it is a mitzvah for all humanity when love wins.
Marriage licenses were issued all over the country to same sex fagele’s. Registries and calls to the caterers rang throughout the land. In this same year, more than 450 elected officials served as openly fagele. The transgendered community became visible as Laverne Cox posed nude for photographer, Norman Jean Roy and Vanity Fair magazine led with “Call me Caitlyn.” Kneidlach or not, #HumanityMatters.
With all of this positive change, hear my spiel. Families in your line of vision may appear different from what you are used to — and this difference is good and beautiful and long overdue.
Two dads and their children may eat in a restaurant, shop in a store, walk in a park, play at the playground or catch the new Star Wars flick. Do not have the chutzpah to think (with your outside voice) that one of the adults is the dad and one is the brother, the uncle, the friend, or the grandfather. Don’t assume alte kocker when one parent looks older than the other.
Two moms and their children may eat in a restaurant, shop in a store, walk in a park, play at the playground or catch the new Star Wars flick. Do not have the chutzpah to think (with your outside voice) that one of the adults is the mom and one is the sister, the aunt, the friend or the grandmother. Don’t assume alte kocker when one parent looks older than the other. (Please read this: I am not the Bubbeh, I am Mommy.) Vai is mir.
Because you know what happens when you assume…
And guess what, our families are just like yours. Except maybe, sometimes, we work harder than most to birth our kinder.
So please, I beg of you, open your minds to new things, new ideas, and new families, even a bissel. It’s mashuggeh not to. If you can’t, you can kish’m tuchas. Poo. Poo. Poo.
I have to share with you the craziest thing that keeps happening to me. Each and every day, when I brush my teeth in the morning and at night, someone else is there brushing right there with me! Not in a ghostly way, or a spiritual way, or even a Harry Potter-esque way. It’s insane. She resembles me, I guess. Which in turn means she looks like my Dad (minus the dreaded comb-over). She has much whiter hair, much paler face and a she’s a bit gaunt and wrinkly. She is never anywhere else around the house. She’s not in the car. She’s not at the office where I work. She’s never reading or playing with the kids. She certainly doesn’t do the laundry around here…baffling how she has the same oral hygienic proclivities as me, in my very own bathroom, in my very own home. A fastidious flosser she is!
If she’s going to be here, she might as well do her part. Cook, shop, clean? Did I mention she should cook?
Could that person be me? Really? Could my very own image of myself be so distorted that I am still recalling ‘the me’ of my 30’s? Or even my 20’s? Sheeze, at this point I’ll take ‘me’ in my 40’s! I’ve had a lot of diagnoses in my life, but am I really coming dangerously close to being an alte kocker (literally, an old fart?)? I already have an AARP card. When did this happen? How dare she, this woman, show up in my bathroom mirror, of all places, with the chutzpah to expose my vision of myself, to me, of all people! Oy vey.
Well they say age is just a number. As long as you’re healthy, a bei gezhunt…
You’re only as old as you feel. Feel, shmeel. Let’s stop this right now.
I can walk away from that reflection, and be just fine. No need to be farhklempt. Age happens. I have a beautiful family, a loving partner, and two wonderful and sensitive daughters. I have more energy than all three of them put together (even with chronic pain-–well mostly). I need to stop kvetching and keep kvelling. Look at all that is good in my life. Such naches. I am grateful. And yes, I am 52. Six hundred and thirty-seven months old (thank goodness, this horrid way of calculating age stops early).
I won’t think about this again (at least until tonight, before bed).