The other night, as a family, we watched, An American Girl Story – Melody, 1963: Love Has To Win. It’s a short movie about social injustice and racism during the Civil Rights Movement of the 60’s. Melody, age 10, just like my Big, is a character in the line-up of American Girl dolls and the story of her experiences during this turbulent time in our American History is incredibly important and powerful. We all four, plus Gatsby, snuggled in on the sofa and dimmed the lights.
Melody is immediately likable. Smart, witty, creative, friendly and principled, she is a young African-American girl attending school in a sea of Caucasian students and staff. Her mom provides her with a strong faith for a brighter future. That passion effervesces in all Melody does. Her grandpa, he is a bit more cynical realistic? about this world.
At school, during the Pledge of Allegiancesomething I had to recite every morning in public school growing up, Melody stands atop her desk and cries out, “The Pledge of Allegiance is a lie. It’s a lie!” It may not be this line verbatim, but that is the gist. Melody clearly did not feel that she had the same liberties as her white classmates and she was not afraid to share that sentiment out loud.
While not showing actual violence, the movie did weave in some real-life, heinous acts of racism, moments in time that no one can be proud of… Police brutality, and the one that brought my Big to her knees, the brutal bombing of the church in Birmingham that killed four young black girls. We had to hit pause, up the lights and do our best to explain why such vile, repugnant behavior existed? Exists. My Big, her sobbing was real. She felt the pain and it cut through her big, beautiful, loving, compassionate heart like a knife through butter.
We let her cry it out as we talked about the way things were; the way things are now. The work that still needs to be done. The kinder (kids), they know from #MarchForEquality, #BlackLivesMatter, #WomensRights, #GunsDown, #MomsDemandAction, #NotOneMore… They have been read to and read about Dr. Martin Luther King. They are floored that anyone could be judged or mistreated for the color of their skin. My Little, she even asked if mrt was going to do anything fix racism. Oh, do not get me started on the man that uses the N-word and hangs with white supremacists.
Was it the very best movie ever? No. Yet all told, this movie served us quite well. It sparked a very provocative conversation about racism, skin color, slavery and a lot of the other things that are brought out by hate, misunderstanding, and bigotry in this world.
That 10-year-old Melody, she is a positive force and a role model for strong, mighty girls. Her rebel-girl spirit really got through to my 10-year-old maideleh (little sweet girl). This is why love has to win… it must. This momma is counting on it.
For your children’s sake, you would tear the world apart. Fer kinder tsereist men a velt.
Have you talked about racism in your home with your kids? Maybe Melody needs to visit your place, too. Nu?
Sandy beaches, sunshine, and just a bissel (a little) rain each day. Turtles, alligators, dolphins, fish, frogs, deer, baby gators, seagulls, ibis, lizards, and sandpipers. Spiders the size of my hand, definitely not for the weak hearted. Family, cousins, and even a baby! Five kinder (sweet children), four magnificent mommas, and ice cream beer, wine too! All, in our happy place, Bald Head Island, just off the coast of North Carolina. Together never felt so good!
“No matter what happens, travel gives you a story to tell.” Keyn enin vos khapanz, arumforn git ir a dertseylung.”
My Big, she talks about when she was in the ocean with baby C and his momma. The baby, he fell from the force of the wave riptide and was whisked up in the air, hanging by his hand his arm remarkably stayed in its socket lovingly held firmly in his mom’s grip. Baby C, clearly farshluggeneh (shaken, mixed up), then declared, “It is ag-gwa!”
My Little, she liked it when they all dressed up in the big blue bubbles and ran out on the golf course for pictures and videos. G, a kleineh kinder (small, little sweetie) clad in his blown-up blueberry, and almost lost inside its great girth big, he is not, literally rolled down the steps from the porch to the patio. He got up, blueberry suit as savior, fartootst (confused and bewildered), he looked at my Little and said, “That was so awesome!”
We heard from the Tanta’s (aunts)that ourLittle, she shared bragged, well she boasted, hell, she was kvelling (bursting with pride) her talent of being able to burp on command. She proved it, right then and there, too. The boys all broke into bursts of giggling. Me, and my Mrs., we were just grateful that she didn’t share the curse word she knows that rhymes with ‘truck.’ Oy vey iz mir. (Woe is me.) Our miniature komish (comic) in the making. Big, she read books to them all and tended to all of us the kinder like the mommelah (little mother) she is.
K, nearly 7, doesn’t understand why, if we have Baldhead, and we all can be there together, why is he now waking up in California? And us in Philadelphia? Smart, he is!
G, he told us stories about each animal, fish, insect, bird or reptile we encountered. Between books, school and the Kratt brothers (from the Wild Kratts TV show), this boychik (little boy) absorbs it all!
Baby C, he exudes cuteness. My Mrs., she has plans to kidnap him. But please, do not tell his mommas.
Now the Tanta’s, they are both shitterayn (able to cook delicious food without a recipe)no, I am not calling them bad things! I am complimenting them. Not a bad word at all! Each day, they would potchki (poke around) adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that in the kitchen. Gourmet snacks, meals, and picnics would appear before us, ready to be devoured. I did the laundry to make up for my lack of kitchen capabilities, however, please know that I am inspired!
Kvetching (Complaining): across the board. All five kinder had been varfing (throwing, as in throwing a tantrum) each and every time we slathered their skin with sunscreen. Enter curse word that rhymes with ‘truck’ here, now, as often as you like. Honestly, the geshries (screams) and moans that would come from these kinder, one might have thought we were coating them with alligator food and letting them out to stroll by the lake, alone! It was a painstakingly tough production for us all and anyone in earshot. And don’t you know, their gentle, smooth skin, like a babies tuchas (tushy, bum, butt), has been saved, despite the struggles.
Genug is genug! (Enough is enough!) You HAVE TO WEAR your sun shirt, your hat, your sunglasses, and we MUST re-apply sunscreen every 80 minutes!
“It’s time kids.” They got all broygis (pissed off, angry a real shit-fit).
We heard: “Putting sunscreen on is so boring. What if ___insert cousin name here_________ gets to the pool first? Why is it so thick we did apply it with a putty knife? You just put it on one minute ago! Yes, I did put it on my face already. You did that leg. The sun isn’t even out. Maybe we should only swim at night? Is there moonscreen too? Is it dry yet? Can I PLEASE go back in the pool now?” Imagine me explaining the depleted ozone layer, our dangerous proximity to the sun and its harmful effects to our derma, the largest organ in our entire bodies. Scott Pruitt, climate change…Oh, I went off.Oy!
My Mrs., she loved the shoals and tide pools over by Cape Fear yes, like in the movies. The small, waveless swimming holes were so much fun. It was calm and soothing sitting and swimming in nature-made pools, free from the pull of the full moon, fish swimming around our ankles. We all walked on the beach and collected shells. Big, she made drippy sand castles. Little and K stood atop boogie boards. G, he did too — even though he is slight enough to walk on water. I was bound and determined to find a sand dollar in its entirety – Bubkas (no such luck). Next time…
One of my most cherished times was biking with Big and K to the ice cream shop. The rain had stopped and we wanted to ride bikes. The others took the golf cart. We were rain free and riding through puddles on the way there. I led the way, K was to stay in the middle and on the right side of the path, Big, she rode caboose to help keep K in line. To K’s surprise, we beat the cart-full-o-family through Middle island and to the docks. To our surprise, he arrived in one piece. We all had the most delicious homemade ice cream beer when the clouds burst open. The amount of clean water pouring from the sky was stunning. The three of us rode back to the house, happily drenched in the deluge. We joked about needing soap and shampoo, and not needing any sunscreen. K, electrified by the sugar high, puddles and heavy rains, rode his bike as if he were drunk, swerving right and left. Just as our cart-full-o-family drove up, K pedaled himself straight into a tree on the side of the road. Remarkably, not a scratch on him. No head injury. No flesh wounds. (Knocking wood)
And I think we all enjoyed the pure, carefree, childlike fun and love as the kinder played, frolicked, fought (well they are real kids you know), laughed, and made collective memories. This was priceless.
And the photos and videos we all took made Nonna (Italian for Bubbe, which is Yiddish for grandmother) so happy. This trip to BHI was palpably different for us all because of our very tangible lack of Nonna and PopPop (grandfather, Zaideh). PopPop has, well, he has a farshlepteh krenk (literally, a chronic illness) and was recently moved to a nursing home, a much safer place for him and our Nonna. His decline has been so fast, like a lightning strike or the blink of an eye. His placement made it too soon for Nonna to make the trip. Everyone understood and felt her spirit there with us every moment of our days. We will continue to fill her heart with stories of the nachas (joys) we all experienced. These kinder will help to heal her heart and she does not need to apply sunscreen to take them in and ours too.
As many of you know, we had a bit of tsuris (trouble) this past spring break, when everyone got sick, save for Gatsby and me. Everything was ferkokt (all fucked effed up) Plans were canceled, tears were spilled along with other bodily fluids … Well, we finally got a re-do on that break, and this time, we headed to Boulder, Colorado to see my shvester (sister)and shvager (brother-in-law). I hope you can see how much fun we had! I am so very lucky…
The fresh smelling air, the sights, the sounds of nature, all were as glorious as this shot which doesn’t even begin to capture what our senses absorbed. We all need to be good to our planet to preserve such a treasure. A shtik naches (A great joy) for us all to revel and relish.
As an important note, I think we only stopped 7 or 403 times to utilize our new unicorn bandaids for various blisters and to add a bissel (little) bling!
Some of us were Terrified of back bear sightings — we stumbled into this tiny rabbit while hiking. A little later we saw a very big deer, resting in the shade. She was unscathed by our presence. Of course, we were then terrified of ticks and Lyme’s Disease and inspected our kinder like Jane Goodall and her gorillas in the mist. On our way down, we spoke to a couple that saw a few baby black bears (Oy vey!) playing, on their hike, higher up. Luckily my kinder won’t likely read this post for many moons, if at all Feelings of shpilkes (fear, pins, and needles) in our group? ‘Spot on!’
Never too tired to swim, and the water is never too cold when you are kinderlech (young children). Besides, there are two hot tubs to choose from to warm up if you need to! The water was actually quite comfortable in temp. Nothing stimulates the soul, activates the appetite and allows for sweet slumbers, like daily swimming. And the scenery, it couldn’t be more beautiful.
If he knew the words, he would have said, “Loz mich tsu ru! (Leave me alone!)” I had to look them up! He is one proud uncle, who gets a kick out of these maideleh’s (sweet little girls), and, he loves his ME time! Nothing wrong with that! ❤ While we swim, he aerobicizes and lifts, solo style.
With the patience of a saint, and an overwhelming need to play, she taught us again how to throw and catch a Frisbee. I really think we have it now! For me, just running freely, throwing, hiking, swimming and playing, without severe or any repercussions, shows the proof in the pudding from living so close to the dispensaries! Medical or recreational, cannabis works for chronic nerve pain (and so much more)! I see why people up and move to feel better. Mrs.?
We all had a blast. It was good to get away from our daily grind and take in new perspectives and sights. Needless to say, I was verklempt (all choked up, emotional) for the entire bus ride to the airport, and even during the frisking, she didn’t even know me! at the airport check-in … and, for a few more hours too. My shvester, she is a bit on the magical side. She is loads of fun for us all, and together, we laugh, and laugh and laugh until we pee ourselves. No joke! And for me, to have a body that can feel so good, priceless.
The Dance Recital was yesterday. Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Act I, and disciplines of modern, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, and tap, artfully and passionately performed in Act II. There are *two days/nights a year that I smile so wide, from ear to ear, that my jaw actually hurts by nights’ end I can, and have, thrown out my neck and back from experiencing such profound naches (joy). It’s because I am kvelling (oozing with pride over) over my girls, their friends and all of the dancers who work so hard every day to practice, grow, glean their art and perform it on the stage.
Big, she has a grace and elegance that clearly is woven in her own personal strand of DNA. If all goes well, she will be on pointe oy, the feet, they will hurt in the fall. She is in pursuit of her dream. From the moment she could walk, she was twirling on her tiptoes in tutus. Fear? Never. She holds a comfort on stage that suggests she was meant to be performing.
Now Little, she is following in the ballet leaps of her shvester (sister). She is dancing with her besties in class and on stage. I am watching her skills develop. Together, the shvesters are constantly dancing and leaping about — At home, they choreograph their own shows and put them on for me and the Mrs. We get tickets and directions that phones and flash photography are not allowed! These kinder (children) make me so fraylekh (happy) it is so true, 99.999% of the time. What? I’m human.Little, still only 7, has fun on the stage, and perhaps the performance itself is not quite as important. That in itself carries its own brilliance, for fun and childhood lead to greater learning.
My Mrs., she tirelessly schleps (drives, rushes, and hauls) these kinder to and from dance classes, rehearsals, performances. Hairpins, bun makers, costumes, leotards, tights, ballet shoes… oi vey iz mir (woe is me!)! It’s a lot. On any given day, you can find hundreds ofat least 12 bobby pins on the floor in the laundry, the sink, the car, the steps leading to our front door in our house. This is the emmas (truth)!
Me? I delight in my Monday nights when I get to pick up Big on my way home from work. I always get there around 5:30, knowing full well the class will go until 6. Spending time in the dance studio, spying in through the window and watching the process unfold is good for my soul. I welcome the congenial camaraderie of the cabal of caregivers making these same rounds. The chatter, the signals we share that show how we are a community holds yet another layer of priceless-ness.
And today, the day after the big night, our house is a disaster mess. Only Gatsby has food and even that is minimal. Bobby pins are strewn everywhere. The laundry, she is one tall mess, and we all have a bit of a pounding, massive ballet hangover. Gevalt (help), we are exhausted!
Gebroteneh teibelech flien nit in moil arein (If you want something, you have to work for it).
A great big, heartfelt Mazel Tov (kudos, congratulations, thank you) to all who work so hard at the Wissahickon Dance Academy! ❤ *The Nutcracker is the other day where I grin like the Cheshire Cat! Get ready, auditions will be in about ten minutes…
I’ve been a bit quiet of late, and yet I still have so much to say… Join me as we walk around our new neighborhood. The weather is good and we are exploring!
A heart that loves is always young. A hartz az lib iz shtendik iung.
There is nothing more spring-like the falling of pink snow from the trees. Perhaps unicorns come next? Look, how my Little, she eats up this moment! As thick as that pink snow that lies upon the ground is the pollen that is filling my throat.
Shpilkes: (Ants in your pants) That feeling my Little one gets when I ask her to sit, for just one small second, at the library… Big, she welcomes the opportunity.
We have the very best newly refurbished library right around the bend from us! What a gift.
A meowing cat can’t catch mice. A kas vos m’yavket ken kain meiz nit chapen.
Those green eyes, they caught me curbside as we walked by. This guy had no shpilkes, stopping for a photo.
We were potchki-ing (poking, looking) around for some plants for the yard, and look at the maidelah’s(sweet girls) I spied, with my own little eye.
We simply couldn’t decide yet. I think we need to draw a plan, and we must involve hydrangea.
A story without a moral is like a meal without a sweet dish. A mayseh on a moshi iz vi a moltsayt on a tsimes.
Did you know, I can get these girls to walk Gatsbyanywhere if there is ice cream involved! Nu? It’s win-win for us all! We walk a mile, we nosh (grab a snack), we walk another mile. Then me and my Mrs., we get the benefits of tired kinder (kids) and tired pooch. ❤
Spring has sprung! And, it’s almost as lovely as the joy of seeing these two being so happy to be together. I’d like to say that happens all of the time I’d be lying through my teeth, but I’ll take it when I see it!
Where does it lead to? Vas iz dir takhlis?
Said Gatsby, never… He is just happy to be outside and surrounded by his mishpocheh (family). As for me, I feel the exact same way!
The bitterest misfortune can be covered up with a smile. Dem bitersten mazel ken men farshtellen mil a schmaichel
My nephew, Benny, he taught my Little that fortunes from a fortune cookie will only come true if you wet them, stick them to your forehead, and let them dry until they fall off. Well as you can see, she bought into the dream! I love the added lip action, for drama!
When children are young; their parents talk about how smart they are; when parents are old, their children talk about how stupid they are. Ven di kinder zaynen yung, dertselyn di eltern zeyere khokhmes; ven di eltern zaynen alt dertselyn di kinder zeyere narishkaytn.
Oy vey iz mir, may they stay young! May we all stay young(ish).
And another one for all:
Time is more precious than money. Di tsayt iz tayerer fun gelt.
Spring break and we have been counting the days to our trip to see my mishpocheh (family). We’ve had four Nor’easters in 3 weeks, snow up to my tuchas (tush, derriere) and all too much tsuris (troubles, stress, woe) filling our minds. The thought of 80-degree weather, sunshine, swimming, and laughing my ass off with my shvester (sister)until we literally wet ourselves was naturally the stuff of dreams… like unicorns, L.O.L surprise dolls, and glitter falling from the sky. And the kinder (my girls), they love seeing their Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins more than anything!
T minus two days, and the fever, she burns through my Little.A temperature of almost 104. She had complained of a tummy ache, and like all good Jewish-atheist momma’s, I told her to sit on the potty. She has had so much junk food of late, a good poo would be a relief like it would for all of us. She tried, my madelah (sweet girl). We watch The Greatest Showman on the telly.
T minus one day, fever sticking around like gum underneath the table in a diner. Lethargy and skin as pale as fine porcelain said porcelain will play a role very soon. We plan, we pack, we share the news of germs and we try to stay positive. We watch The Greatest Showman, then we snuggle off to bed, myLittle wrapped tightly in my arms. A few tired hours pass and we all awaken to a fountain of vomit. Nothing really says love more than getting thrown up on, and only worrying about the helpless, unhappy, scared little patient in your arms. We clean her up. Big, she helps us to change the sheets and blankets. The Mrs. presses the ‘sanitize’ button on the wash cycle.
There is a strange calm in the air, with a scent none too pleasant. Little, she fell fast and hard to sleep, again tucked close by my side. I could hear the soft crying moans from Big, realizing that we wouldn’t be taking that big ol’ jet airliner in a few hours time. Tears roll down my cheeks, silently. At 4 am I text my shvester, our friend who was to stay with Gatsby. We are a no go. Ix-nay on this oliday-hay.
Has the world ended? No. Are we grateful that we only have a petite passing pathogen that will eventually vanish? Of course. Are we all desperately disappointed? Big time.
Day of. I let all three of my girls sleep. I promise my Big that we will find a way to make it fun. That we will take turns taking her out of the sickly house and have some well-earned fun. I speak several times with my mishpocheh.My schvoger (bro-in-law), hepunches frantically in the keyboard to see if we can squeeze out different dates of travel, salvage our trip. We have teary-eyed FaceTime calls. So many plans they had in store for us! Vey iz mir. (oh my effing G).
Little, she cries for my Mrs. to stay with her, so Big and I make our way into the world. We have a nice nosh (little something to eat) at Starbucks. And head to the movies in a gray, teary day. We see A Wrinkle In Time. The woman at the ticket sales booth is 803 years old if she is a minute. In the past, she has given me the senior rate, to my dismay. Today, she again rings us up, 1 senior, 1 child. I feel the dark cloud above, rather than reveling in the 8 dollar savings. f*ck it and enjoy the show with your daughter
We had a lovely afternoon and decided Little, she would have been afraid in this movie. We bring home a vast array of popsicles (they used to call them poppa-sicles) for the sick one, in hopes of getting her to eat/drink. We learn of the day spent in (and close to) the porcelain seat, now the excrement exodus from the southern region. Oy. This reaffirms our tough decision. We watch The Greatest Showman.
Little finally wakes up with no fever and no symptoms. We convince her of just one more day indoors. The 24 hour, fever free rule — to keep the rest of humanity safe.
Her hair has begun to form dreadlocks. We all fear the brushing of that mop. The Mrs., she starts round one, and Big, me and Gatsby head out the door to explore our new ‘hood. We walk for an hour, in hopes of better hair days. We have such a good time! Gatsby is loving the spring and leaving pee-mail messaging around for all his new friends.
We open the front door to a geshrei (shriek, loud, unearthly Jamie Lee Curtis in Halloween cry). At least another hour goes by, and I amsummoned soBigcan get out’a dodge withthe Mrs. Armed with a brush, conditioner, and really bad TV, I sit with my muse. It will be 4:45pm before I claim victory. Her head, like a BP oil spill, finally combs through. We did it.
Later that night, we watch The Greatest Showman. Who knew our spring break, our circus, would also be our groundhog day. Aud-o, Steve-o, Max, Vic, we love and miss you all so much.
A mensch tracht un Got lacht.Man plans and God laughs.
From The Greatest Showman:
‘Cause we’re dreaming with our eyes wide open.
So come alive!
And of course, a bei gesunt. As long as you’re healthy! Stop by tonight! The Greatest Showman, 8pm.