How on earth will we talk about this?

As I was adding the final touches for this post, these two were listening and watching, “We Are The World” on YouTube, circa 1985. How fitting…

Yiddish Proverb:

What will become of the sheep if the wolf is the judge? Vos vet vern fun di sheps aoyb di volf iz di rikhter?

My kinder (children), they truly feel the anxiety in our home. They soak it in as they happily leap from the yellow school bus and cross the entryway into our home. They see it when I return from work each night. I am literally wearing the news on my punim (face) – and it is not a good look.

Big and Little, they know about deadly gun violence because they see me put on my orange cloak of activism and fight for gun sense laws (no guns makes the most sense to me) with Moms Demand Action. They hear my spiel (talk, like “please, don’t hang up…    on…     me!) pleading with complete strangers about conceal carry reciprocity and bump stocks, week after week.

But now, tragedy, it strikes daily. How can their naive and tender, trusting souls take in all of the madness when I have trouble simply not crying at the office or pumping the car with gas? Smart people who study such things, scholars, they say we need to tell our kinder in real-time, as the bad things occur. They say that when they hear hard/tragic news from us, the people they love and trust most, they can best take in the inconceivable and somehow still feel safe.

Feeling safe. Aside from my day job, isn’t that what I am here to do? How can I promise protection for my maideleh’s (sweet girls) in a world that can kill you while learning, praying, playing, watching a movie, doing yoga? I have read that we only tell them what is absolutely true. Live in the moment. “You, my sweet bubbelah’s (babies), are safe here, now.”  No promises that you cannot absolutely keep. Truth.

Yiddish Proverb:

Who owes her the hole in the bagel? Ver ouz ir di lokh in di bagel?

My father, he used to explain things to me and then say, “Capiche? (Understand?)  I did (well mostly), but he wasn’t hurling around huge concepts like anti-Semitism, racism, nationalism, white-supremacy. At eight and ten, hatred, violence, and grief are ‘tough to swallow’ dinner table topics. Allow them time to think, ask questions. As many questions as they need to ask. Always answer with honesty and reassure them of the many people around them, in addition to us, who are also safe havens for them. 

This past weekend, we even developed a ‘code word’ for our family after reading the news story about a little girl in Arizona who thwarted her would be captor in a potential kidnapping with, “What’s the code word? If you are picking me up, what’s the code word?” Be prepared.

And this, all of this is what I call a shondah (a shame, pity).

Tomorrow, Thanksgiving, people all over America will be getting together to celebrate, sup, break bread and nosh together. Many families have been as divided as those gonefs (thieves, dishonest people) on the hill in DC. Many topics are now more taboo than ever before. Politics and sports are out. Perhaps sex is a safe, go-to conversation? Wishing you all, a safe, loving and enjoyable time. And, may we all find a way to unite. Capiche?

L’Chiam! To life!

Eat a little, ess a bissel!

Normally, I say to my Gatsby, “Ess a bissel eppis, tatelleh,” (eat a little something, my darling boy. Then I feed him his 5,6,7 times a day nosh (meal). I always thought nothing is too good for my boy, until this happened! Oy vey…

Big is wrapping the injured hand of Millie, while our cute, but very guilty Gatsby, looks on… Millie, she smiles like all Wellie Wishers do!

Camille and Willa, American Girl Wellie Wishers, arrived from dear friends for Channukah for Big and Little. Nachas! (Joy!) Clearly, they love them! They take them everywhere and play with them non-stop. As a review, 10 stars out of 5! These dolls are a perfect size, easy to play with, less fear about ruining their well-coifed hairdo’s, and a lot lighter on the ‘wallet inflicted pain’ than their taller cohorts command. (This review is my own. I am not paid for my opinion. I should only, one day, be so lucky! Pooh, pooh)

One minute we are playing ‘Simon-says’, and the next minute, Camille (nick-named Millie) goes from 10-fingers-perfect to nine-OMG! One furry bruder (brother), guilty with his ‘jaws in the finger jar!’ Chicken bones are very nice, but the fresh, full-flavored fingers of a new Wellie doll, dee-lish! I look, I run, I scream, “DROP IT!” Out pops a very little, doll finger.

One minute we are playing ‘Simon-says’, and the next minute, Camille (nick-named Millie) goes from 10-fingers-perfect to nine-OMG! One furry bruder (brother), guilty with his ‘jaws in the finger jar!’ Actual size, less than 3/8 of an inch.

We recovered the damaged doll digit and somehow managed to save the injured soul of my Big, who did everything possible to successfully keep her emotions in check. I promised her I would soon perform a much-needed fingerectomy on dear Millie. I would reattach the pummeled pointer with the very best of my Jewish-doctor abilities. She knows I am a well-trained tinkerer, I fix things. I will make Millie whole.

Yiddish proverb:

When I am eating, everyone can go to hell! Ven ich ess, ch’ ob ich alles in dread.

Gatsby, he thinks, his only crime is getting caught! Lucky for him, he is so darned cute.

Caught, finger in mouth

Wishing everyone all the best the holiday season has to offer! Health, happiness, and prosperity! ❤

  

Yes, I promise!

My kinder (Big and Little) and me, we went for a nice walk in the ‘hood with our boychik (little boy), Gatsby. It was a gorgeous autumn day, not too cold and filled bright with sunshine. They were hesitant. A bit groggy from the previous nights’ festivities. Yes, I did the dreaded mom-fail move: I bribed them.

“Come with me to walk Gatsby and I’ll get you both vanilla steamers at High Point!”

Before I could say supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, shoes, socks, coats and a, “We’re ready to go, Mommy! Aren’t you coming?” Here are a few snaps for our jaunt. What a lucky momma I am!

Yiddish proverb:

Never promise something to a child and not give it to them, because in that way they learn to lie.

Keynmol onzog epes tsu a kind aun nisht gebn es tsu zey, vayl in dem veg zey lernen tsu lign.

Dressed and obsessed with chicken bones, he’s ready to walk…
Fun in the autumn leaves heaps
The stop at High Point Cafe, for some Vanilla Steamers with whipped cream, as promised… who’s missing his momma here?
Ahhh… lovely cuppa for kinder! Worth the walk! I wonder why they look so pensive? Nu?
Always, we make friends along the way…
The beauty of nature’s own design — priceless.
      
      
  

Busy, Shmizzy: Eat Together for a Better World

Folks, it’s time for a post update. We still fearlessly, tirelessly, endlessly march on, supping together in hopes of a higher purpose. Manners are hard to come by here at the Manor. This week I see that mac-n-cheese is still perceived and approached as finger food. Opposable thumbs do not impress our small humans. The Mrs., and me, our voices continue to make no sound at all to our giggly little, pierced ears who nosh (eat a little) during this very important nutritional act of derring-do. My glass, it stays half full yes, they spilled again, but I am using the metaphor now

and this is how we eat noodles
and this is how we eat noodles, in stereo with Cousin Max, at a restaurant no less, in public… Oy!

I’m always telling suggesting to the Mrs. about the importance of sitting down together to ess a bissel (eat a little). How we need to dine with the full mishpocheh (family). Studies by big machers (hot shots) like scholars and doctors all laud the big meal get together as the solution to practically all that plagues the planet (don’t get me started, oy vey iz mir).

Jointly sitting and supping brings benefits to the body, brain and overall ‘mini-mojo’ of our kinder (kids). A nice nosh (proper meal) together makes for little Epicureans that become ‘epi-curious’ eaters who will choose more fruits and veggies, and pick less fried foods and sugary beverages. If mealtime is conquered correctly, the consuming kinder (children) are less likely to kvell (be happy) over a ‘happy meal’ that is loaded with tasty toxins, added fats, oils and who the hell knows what other unsavory ingredients. They won’t hunger for the little tchotchkes (small, unnecessary plastic toys), that promote future gluttony and materialism. They will be less likely to become obese. That alone equals a healthier lifestyle with fewer illnesses. Kaynahorah (to ward off evils — like the big C, heart disease and stroke), all this magic with one familial sit down a day?

Wait! There’s more. Those same above-mentioned mavens add that clever conversation over a nice meal boosts vocabulary for our kinder (kids), which makes for stronger, happier readers. Nu? If you can survive manage regular family mealtimes as the kinder mature, higher test scores, better grades and overall academic performance are in your future.

Add an avocado to the meal, and you win top honors in Nobel nutrition.

Well, it is obvious that no maven of any sort has observed the goings on at our little corner of the dining room here at the Manor. The Mrs. and me, we do our best to offer nightly variations of healthy, overly expensive organic suppers while trying to stick to our frugalista rice and beans every night still ways. With you, I must be honest, dinners hock mier en chinikeh (drives me bat-shit crazy). Etiquette and decorum have left the building by this witching hour!

Things usually start smoothly. The girls, they clean up a bit and set the table when we beg, plead and bribe. They help bring out our food (beans and rice). We all sit, and the Mrs. and I, we ask open-ended questions like a job interview to try to get them to respond speak with us. They sit with their knees up, spread eagle (vey iz mir), and have clearly left their listening ears in the ‘OFF’ position. They seem to have their own form of communication that is specifically designed to exclude us. They use their fingers instead of utensils even for soup. In fact, just last night, I was prompted to wax eloquent on the beauty of our opposable thumbs and how they separate us from the animal kingdom in hopes they would just pick up a g-damned fork or a spoon and eat like humans.

Little, she has a tendency to lick random and incredibly disgusting things WTF. She gets up from the table an average of  267 times per meal. She may need more water, go use the bathroom, want something better to eat, have an undeniable urge to dance, jump on the trampoline, or simply incite an enormous giggle-fest with Big. And I won’t kid you when I say it, she ‘toots like a trumpeter’ at the table. My madelah (sweet little girl)!

Big, she started with the whole knees up posture. She may use a fork for a moment or two, then she will quickly resort to her more primal instincts and pick up everything with her fingers, especially condiments. She can tell a story or two during dinner, and get up to act it out, share via interpretive dance, or become totally taken in by the mishegas (craziness) of Little. This leaves the Mrs. and me sitting table-side for what must be days, weeks, months hours, getting all cobwebby, and stiff-jointed, waiting for her to finish the feast.

And mittendrinnen (in the middle of everything), Gatsby, will jump into any temporarily vacated seat, and make a quick and successful quest for any food sitting idle.

Gatsby, on the prowl
Gatsby, on the prowl

The shvesters (sisters) behavior has the Mrs. and me chugging the Apple Cider Vinegar (an excellent indigestion remedy) nightly, straight from the bottle. It’s a mitzvah (good deed) we don’t drink enough or at all!

Lo and behold, we will endure these rituals because we have put our trust in the big macher alrightniks (good people).

Charlotte, she will weave her nightly web around us. We make this sacrifice night after night with the promise that our girls will not engage in high-risk behaviors like smoking, drugs or sex ever, ever, ever. They won’t have depressed or suicidal thoughts. They will avoid bullies at school and online. They will be self-confident and self-loving and avoid eating disorders.

They will be strong, mighty girls who can lean in at any table. And they will have empathy and compassion, because each night, we do our best to make it through another make your own burrito bowl.

I wonder if there are any studies of what happens to us mom’s as we suffer go through this phase?

A bei gezunt (Live and be well).

 

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Swimming Upstream

Guatemalan worry dolls… been working them in over time

Hello, my friends. I have been quiet of late — very unlike me, I know. It has been a hell of a couple of years weeks. First, strep throat knocked us all to our knees. One by one, we fell. Despite hand washing, Lysol wipes and new toothbrushes, we were coated with cooties and all swilling shots of penicillin. Strep is literally, like swallowing a brick. Not fun times as an adult — I can only imagine the pain for my kinder (children). Gatsby was literally, the last man standing. Vey iz mir (OMG, but worse), it was bad. 

What followed in the aftermath was tougher to bear than the bacteria-baked bricks… Our, my journey of late has been tough. No harder than the next person mind you… of that I am well aware. Still difficult, nonetheless.

I have been living the plight of the salmon. (Not the delicious kind that ends up atop your shmear (cream cheese) on a toasted everything bagel…) I’m talking about the astounding event where the momma fish like any other but the mother would do this leaves years of comfort in ocean dwelling, genetically alters its very form to seek out and return, upstream, against the tides, waterfalls, bears, and all odds, to the roots of their birth. Without google maps, these salmon, they locate the exact freshwater stream of their birth, to lay the eggs of a new generation on the gravel river beds. And then they die, knowing the kinder are well-tended and will carry on.

These salmon, they are fighters. They are filled with courage and defiance to do what they must do — to follow their core. They are the definition of #rebelgirls and #strongwomen. They defy all limitations and persevere, despite obstacles, predators and sheer exhaustion. They do this because they have no other choice but to be true to themselves and those they love. 

This Yiddisheh momma has been #livingfearlesslyauthentic, much like the salmon. I swam hard and long. I reached my freshwater riverbed, and I spoke my truth. I did so for injustice and all that is unfair. I did so for my Mrs., my Big, and my Little. I did so for ME. And I truly believed that:

If you lie on the ground, you cannot fall. Az mi ligt oif der erd, ken men nit fallen.

What I learned, was that you can still fall. That the truth is not always enough. That there are so many who can easily look away from truths. That so many can label, misrepresent, smear (very different from a nice shmear), and lie. And that the latter group that can win. And that in itself can be mentally and physically crushing.

My silence is over. My quiet has passed. I still grieve the loss, nurture my courage. I will become whole again. After all, I have two shayneh maidelehs (sweet little girls)  that must know that despite everything, it is always an obligation, to tell the truth. That we must always stand tall and respectfully fight, not only the injustices that we face, but those of our fellow humans too. I have learned in no uncertain terms that the battles that surround us are much larger than we know. That the work ahead is complex.

And despite my loss, I would stand up again, and risk the same fall. My Mrs. and me, we will raise two mighty girls with voices to engage and take a stand for their sisters and brothers who need them.

Injustice won this time, a shonda (crying shame). But this particular salmon, I am not rolling over and playing dead.

A liar tells his story so often that he gets to believe it himself. A ligner hert zikh zeineh ligen azoi lang ein biz er glaibt zikh alain.

Plus, I know karma is a bitch for all nogudniks (someone on the wrong side of the law).

     

    

      

      

 

Turns out, I’m insanely jealous

This Yiddisheh mama has a major confession to make. I’ve been holding this one in, so bear with me. It comes from a lifetime ago. You SAHM’s, like my Mrs., oh how I want to be you. Let me schmear (spread) some broad, sweeping caveats, loudly and clearly, that you, by far, have the single hardest job on the planet. 

Dem, ikh visn. This, I know.

You may find me to be the schmegeggy (doofus, idiot). Hours suck. Pay worse. Days are ongoing and relentless. Sleep? Vos iz dos? (What is that?) Tantrums, bickering, and ‘hangry’ (tired and hungry) whining. The driving, the traffic, the geshrei-ing (yelling).  There are enough scattered organic food scraps strewn across the car to easily feed a small city to enrage me. I am aware of the mistreatment and abuse you encounter. Selective deafness. Your voice sounds like the adults on any episode of Charlie Brown — Whaa whaa whaaa whaaaa whaaa… And, like the air they breathe, they take you for granted daily, hurling sweaters, trash, already-chewed gum, back-packs, boogers from their noses that they don’t ever pick, and whatever that was, that was stuck on the bottom of their boots at you on their way to play. Ewww. Disgusterous. The spills, messes, laundry, groceries and constant wardrobe changes. The lack of privacy and ‘me time.’ The lack of adult conversation. I feel your pain when a craft, carefully chosen with thoughtfulness and love, causes utter unhappiness, and you experience the ‘epic mom fail.’ Oy vey iz mir (OMG).

It’s this momma’s mishegas (craziness) for which I yearn. Who’s meshuggah (nuts) here? I know it’s me. I’m in awe of you and your daily sacrifices. I value you in ways society always overlooks. You have the charge of building little human beings that are kind and empathic in a world that is not.

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Poems, home and perspectives

Big's Poem
Big’s Poem

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

by Lisa

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.

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