Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. My shanah maidehlahs (little sweet girls) made Valentine’s for their classmates, their teachers and for me and my Mrs., and Gatsby too! When I came home from work, I was stunned by the artwork left for me to see, the prizes of love. Notes, cards, pictures, 2 boxes of Egyptian Licorice Tea (OMG!!!) and a bag of black licorice. They know me well.
I read Luka’s poem and I couldn’t help but tear up. I cried I bawled Her perspective is so different from my own growing up. My only wish is that Little and Big, my beautiful kinder (children), may we do our very best to do right by you, always and forever.
My poem at 8 years of tender age would be very different:
When I Think of Home
When I think of ‘home’ I think of cleanliness and order
When I think of ‘home’ I am not allowed on my bed until 8pm
When I think of ‘home’ my sister is wisely absent
When I think of ‘home’ I smell the stench of pine-sol
When I think of ‘home’ I think of disappearing
When I think of ‘home,’ I am unhappy
When I think of ‘home’ I think of entering through the garage
When I think of ‘home’ I hear the voices that tried to shatter me
When I think of ‘home’ I think of the dis-ease that was enabled
When I think of ‘home’ I see rooms not to be entered
When I think of ‘home’ I think antiseptic and sterile
When I think of ‘home’ of think no life lives here
When I think of ‘home’ I am dirty and wrong
When I think of ‘home’ I don’t matter as much
As the things we acquired or the rooms we can’t touch
To all the kinder (children) everywhere, live out loud, make a mess, make beautiful and loving memories. That little ones, you so deserve.
You know what? After a good cry, your heart is lighter. (Az mi veint rich ois, vert gringer afn hartz)
Thank you my friends, for letting me share. To dare to be open and vulnerable among you.
One of the posts I have been avoiding writing is the one called ‘We want a dog, dammit!’ The Mrs. and I, along with the kinder (kids), have been trapped in a long stage of grief. I refer to 2014-15 as our Titanic years. Such tsuris, you should never know from (so many bad things happened). And the worst of them all, were the loss of our two boychik (little boy) pugs, Atticus (from To Kill a Mocking Bird) and Elijah (because we were waiting for him).
If you are not dog people, or animal lovers, you may not understand such heartbreak. You may think these feeling absurd. My wish for you is that someday, you experience such great emotion that comes with the unconditional love of a dog. For us humans, who stand erect and have opposable thumbs, we come with countless conditions and circumstances.
Little and Big would talk about the boys, their brothers, constantly. They knew, when Mommy’s heart was better, we would get another dog. They watched as the Mrs. and me shed pools full of tears. They hugged us tightly and said it would get better. In every rainbow, we saw our boys (and I gotta say, we’ve never seen so many rainbows!). And remember, this Yiddisher momma just speaks a lot of this fun, robust language and soaks in the culture – beliefs, that’s another story. Not so much.
They say, di tsayt iz der bester dokter (time is the best doctor). Maybe. Sometimes when you go slowly, you get there faster.
This past Sunday, we rescued this little guy. His dog-mom was a Pekinese-Pug mix, and his dog-dad a miniature Dachshund. I guess that makes him a mutt with some pugger in him. We named him Gatsby (as in the Great Gatsby). He is sweet and handsome and every bit a dawg! Now our family has grown, and this boychik (little boy) has two shvesters (sisters) and two moms. Lucky dog! Lucky us.
On Sunday night, when we got home from our long drive, puppy in tow, Big walked over to me and whispered in my ear, “Mommy, is your heart feeling better?” Such wisdom! Priceless.
Now, our family has such naches (joy, pride and gratitude) from Gatsby. For me, I know my heart has two holes that won’t mend, but it also just grew a few sizes bigger.
Also known as Botulism toxin or BTX. And for this Botox we are not talking about leveling out the creases, crinkles and wrinkles that now beautify my pain strained face. Nope. This Botox will be injected into the back of my neck and all over my scalp to plainly paralyze the pain. In return, I will also sport the back head and cranium of an 18 year-old. The goal of injecting botulism is to aid and abet my bionics in controlling the incredulous chronic discomfort caused by occipital neuralgia, cervical dystonia, bruxism and the other dreck (crap) that can basically be defined as a PAIN IN MY NECK.
Bionicsbegins with B
Bionics as in the little machine installed just above my right tuchas (butt) cheek. Its wires wend their way up to the occipital borough of my neck where the magical leads are proficiently positioned. Bionics, from Boston Scientific, alters my brain waves to say, “Hey, that doesn’t hurt so much, ya know?” Bionics are a game changer.
Big Pharmabegins with B
Big Pharma is akin to the prescription drug biz that makes medications like Botox. These meds cost big bucks, despite having Blue Cross Blue Shield. What’s an exorbitant bill? When your co-pay is similar to your take home pay.
Boychiks (two young lads) begins with B
Boychiks, as in my two neurological besties, who continue to offer benefits like both Botox and Bionics. These medical miracle makers, yes, they’re doctors, give me hope for better days ahead.
Bubelah’s (the affectionate way of referring to my girls) begins with B
My bubelah’s, der kinder (the kids), my shana madelahs (pretty little girls) and of course, the Mrs., theybring me such joy each day—well, basically each and every day! They are hope and my daily simcha (joyous occasion).
Budsbegin with B
Buds are the hope that comes with spring, and quite frankly things like Botox and Bionics. Buds make me beam and believe in warmer clime and sunnier times.
Blogging begins with B
Blogging makes me happy. Blogging makes me blissful. It gives me a healthy outlet to vent, share and kvell (boast), and allows me entrée to you, my therapists. Blogging is cathartic and liberating. Hopefully, it somehow touches you in a beneficial way, or at least makes you beam or chortle a bissel (little).
A bei gezunt (As long as you are healthy.). Well, it almost begins with B. Nu?
Today, Big, my shana madelah (sweet little girl) turns eight. About ten minutes ago, she was born. I remember the night before when the Mrs. felt a little funny. I said there is no way I’m going to work tomorrow, and she laughed it off. After all, it was a full week early, and anyone who knows my Mrs. knows that she does early (honey I say this lovingly, mwah!), well, not so much.
We went to bed that night and were both restless. By 4 am, contractions were coming. By six am, we were on our way to the hospital. I notified the essential mishpocheh (family), and we were on our way. The city was tranquil. I tried my best to dodge every pothole to make the ride as painless as possible, no easy task in Philly in early March.
We checked in and the Mrs. was checked out. One cm. Hmmm. They called our midwife, who was in no rush to make it in. She had the chutzpah (nerve, more like gall) to think this would be normal, like other births. Feh! Our nurse came in and helped us through a major contraction. I held the hand of my love, and wished I could make her pain go away. My kishkas (intestines) were in knots. I could only imagine what she felt. The nurse and I watched what looked like a seismograph for earth quakes—we waited for the line to max out, and then come back down. When it didn’t, the nurse looked at me and mouthed, “WTF?” I mouthed, “WTF” right back, and said, “do something!” We were definitely not in birthing class anymore. This was definitely mishegas (craziness).
We both cried aloud for meds! Bring ‘em on. Epidural! Set me up too! Stat! The anesthesiologist arrived too late to begin. The Mrs. was in full on labor, and they raced us over to delivery. No meds for this ride. Oy vey. To make a long story short, Big came into this world like greased lightning. Less than 3 hours start to finish.
They placed her little perfect body right on top of the Mrs., skin to skin. A more beautiful scene, I have never witnessed. She was wriggling, cooing, almost dancing. They were the most beautiful thing I had ever seen in my life. I witnessed the miracle that is Big, and the Mrs.; she left me awestruck (as she often does).
And today, in just a few hours, she will wake up and be 8. Wow. I am still awestruck by them all, My Mrs.,my Big, and my Little. Der kinder (the children). My family.
Big, she may just have the biggest heart on the planet. She is thoughtful, kind, compassionate, creative, sweet, loving, sensitive, smart, strong and beautiful, both inside and out. She is a gutte nushema, a mensch among mensches (a truly good and kind person). Like a little Mrs., she is.
Today, like a tree she is growing tall, her front tooth is all wiggly, and she dances and glides through the air as she walks.
Cheppy Boyzay (Happy Birthday) Big! Mommy loves you so, my shana madelah.
This Yiddisher Mama is so lucky. Tonight, bobka (cake) for everyone! I’m kvelling (gushing with pride and joy)!
The Mrs. mentioned that our flat here at the Manor has become somewhat of a convalescence home. I added that we don’t seem to be restorative or showing any signs of improvement since last November when the first ‘–itis’ hit our mishpocheh (family). Our little petri dishes, Little and Big, share their cooties a bit too freely.
Keep the tune of a Hard Day’s Night in your head as you read this little ditty…
It’s been a hard long night, and we’ve been feelin’ just like dreck (crap, ca-ca)
Our skin has turned a dulling white we really are a pain in the neck
And when we get out of bed we feel the pain in our heads
Won’t let us see daylight
You know we work every day to eat real healthy and exercise
But no matter what we do or say
The microbes make us just wanna cry
Despite the Lysol clean wipes we can’t unclog our nose pipes
The bugs just won’t go away
When we sneeze, germs discharge all around us
When we cough, its like we were hit by a bus, bus yeah
It’s been a hard long day, how long can we endure this lack of zest
And the feeling of proverbial brech (to vomit) can leave us emotionally so depressed
The tsuris (heartache) is too much to take, what’s the point of awake
When we feel so feh (physically and emotionally disgusted)!
It’s been a long four months hosting germs ‘n feelin’ so unkempt
And it’s worth it just to hear you say
You must be overwhelmed and so farhklempt (emotionally choked-up)
So let’s get out of that bed and get our clothes on instead
It’s gonna be okay
When we sneeze, germs discharge all around us
When we cough, its like we were hit by a bus, bus yeah
May our homes soon be rid of these invisible nogudniks (bad guys, in this instance, germs) that lurk in our air. May our kinder (children) really use soap and sing the A,B,C’s twice as they wash their hands. Let the schmutz (dirt and grime, in this case, mucus) stop dripping from our many orifices. Gutinue (at last, with exasperation), enough already!
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.