Help me; I feel a bit discouraged today. I’m not my usual sunny self.
My kinder, Little and Big, are growing up in a culture that is so riddled in hate. And it is growing overwhelmingly, and at warp speeds.
Me, I’m out looking for the fairies tossing pixie dust, playing harps (really cool ones), planting trees and lighting the path to eternal sunshine, love, peace and happiness? Others, they put on vests voluntarily and enter crowded airports and tourist hot spots, or purchase firearms and forever change what safety means.
Such brokkh (disaster and misfortune) I refuse to get used to!
Hate, the worst of the four letter words, is learned and it spreads like a contagion.
I have a friend whose family came here to visit, leaving from the very same Turkish Airport that the terrorists blew up, less than 24 hours later. Someone was shot in our parking lot just a few weeks back, and just minutes before, he killed another human being.
I’m sorry, but moments of silence and prayer are bullshit not cutting it for me. I do not mean to offend those who believe, but there cannot be a God whose plan is that we strategically pick each other off the planet to see who wins; most often, one by one — and too often, en masse. Poo, poo, may they all rest in peace…
Why the hell can’t we find a way to all live in peace? Is that so farshlugineh (crazy, irrational, mixed up)?
Did we just throw away our moral compass?
How did the bar get so low?
This post is filled with questions that I do not have the answers to. What I do know is that:
I’m all for gun control, background checks and mental health checks
I don’t think my neighbor, or yours for that matter, should have the right to bear arms. I have shpilkes (panic) when I consider that he or she may – what if my shana madelahs (sweet little darling girls) are there for a play date?
Color me crazy, but mental health is and should be valued as highly as physical health, whether you want a gun or not
I think we all should feel safe going to school, the movies, a dance club, the airport, at work and anywhere else the fuck we want to go
I think everyone should be able to pee without showing a birth certificate
I want to love out loud, fearlessly
Do we have the chutzpah (balls, yes balls) to make change out of this unconscionable tsuris (troubled, mayhem) of a world?
Won’t you help me? Please? My kishkas (intestines) are in knots at the thought of us not joining together with empathy in our hearts. Don’t we all deserve so much better than this? For the kinder (children), we make it better?
Alevai (It should only happen)!
Das hartz hat mir gezoght (My heart told me) it would.
Who needs cable? We have our own excitement around here. Vey iz mere (heaven forbid) some normalcy we should have. Our evening started off so tranquilly. As a family, we noshed (ate dinner) on a nice meal. We streamed a delightful documentary, ‘First Position,’ about young ballet dancers, hard work, determination and the joy of the dance. It was magnificent. Little and Big were kind to each other, wore their listening ears well, and we were all assembled in a family-style, sofa-sized snuggle. Bouts of ballet broke out before us as Little and Big sensed the genius they were watching and tested their own moxie as dancers took to the stage. We watched through the credits, kinder leaping and twirling.
It was Friday night, my turn to cuddle my kinder (kids) to schluffy (sleep). We kissed the Mrs. and Gatsby, our pooch, good night, and pranced into the bedroom for dreamland. I had a shana madelah (little innocent daughter) curled in each arm. What could be bad? Nu?Big, she fell first, as witnessed by the cutest little purr of a snore. My Little, always the challenge, dared dreamland and the imaginings ahead in the dark. Yet even she soon surrendered sweetly. I felt her soft breath on my cheek. The toil of the ‘short-long week’ took its toll, and I soon drifted off too, smile on my punim (face).
Mittendrinnen (in the middle of everything), the Mrs., she comes running in, out of breath, shaking my feet, trembling, and saying, “Someone’s been shot in the parking lot!” Not two minutes before, she was outside with Gatsby for the last walk of the night. I pray, no I don’t hope I’m dreaming? No such luck. I pinched myself; it hurt. Kaynahorah (without the evil eye), I looked around and my family was okay.
I stumbled out of the bedroom to the frightening scene that played out downstairs, just below our kitchen window. Police cars, marked and unmarked, flew in, lights blazing as it neared midnight. A man stumbled and fell out of a white car, blood pooling around him as he lay in agony on the macadam. Neighbors were trying to stop the blood that poured from his groin. Everyone called 911. I even called NBC 10 news-as if they would cover such a story.
“We’ll be right over, said the women at the news desk.” Have you seen them?
Where in the hell was the ambulance. At least six cop cars had arrived. Two cops dragged the poor screaming man by his legs, across the pavement, to their car. A trail of blood followed him. His girlfriend cried out in terror; he shouted, clearly suffering. The cops, they insisted they were helping him to get to the hospital. I can still hear his screams. My heart still thumps uncomfortably in my chest. Was this brutality? The Mrs. and I, we couldn’t help but wonder if a white man on a better street in a better section of Philly would have been schlepped (pulled) like that. #BlackLivesMatter
So began the investigation. No sign of a gun. No sign of a struggle. No shattered windows. No bullet holes from outside of the vehicle. A bloodied drivers seat and blood along the parking lot. What’ happened? The police turned to the girlfriend, arms bloodied as she tried to help her boyfriend, to stop the flow of his blood into the street.
“Where is the gun? Where are the cell phones? Do you have his SIM cards? Did you give them to your daughter to take inside?”
“I didn’t know he had a gun! He has lots of cell phones. I didn’t know he had a gun!”
We were two white moms witnessing the horrors of the #BlackLivesMatter movement. The fear and the tension for everyone outside, painfully clear. The detectives started to pressure, to criminalize the girlfriend, who lives two flights below. The police wanted to take her in, didn’t trust her innocence in the events. The Mrs., she ran down 3 flights of steps to tell the detectives, “She’s telling you the truth! I was there, with my dog. Everything she said is what happened.”
The cops took the young, bloodied woman to the station. Her mother said to her, “Go along. We don’t want any trouble here.” The woman walked confidently to the car. The grandmother stayed home with the 9-year-old granddaughter, a witness to too much too soon, and perhaps too often.
The remaining cops and detectives placed yellow police tape around the area in question. The pool of blood shimmered in the night. The evidence bags came out, the flashlights. The Mrs. and me sat on the sofa, holding each other, crying. We were so grateful our girls slept through it all. We talked about what happened. Were we safe living here? What about the kinder (children)? Moving forward, we will refer to this horrible event as ‘pasta salad’ because Little and Big are too damned smart for their own good, figuring out everything we talk about in front of them. Listening only when we don’t want them to.
The next day, the Mrs., she ran in to the family, three generations of black women. They hugged her. They told her they loved her and that she really saved them that night. The daughter was released from the police safely, without incident. They said they let her go because the Mrs., she vouched for her.
We can only surmise how the gunshot transpired. Said boyfriend called moments before arriving to tell his girlfriend he was picking her up. Somewhere in the two minutes between, “I’m coming to get you” and pulling into the lot, he was shot. With no visible distress to the vehicle, he quite possibly, accidentally shot himself in the groin as he removed the gun from his pants before he picked up his girlfriend. He very likely shot his own nuts private parts off and ditched the gun along the way.
A few things I do know:
Black people are and have been deprived of basic human rights and dignity in our country and it’s got to stop
I despise guns
My kids do not know about this event at the Manor, so please refer to this as ‘pasta salad’ if you discuss it in front of your kids, their friends
My kinder, they know #BlackLivesMatter
This has got to stop.
A bei gezunt (we should all live and be well) together.
A prompt that has been floating around the blogosphere this week really left me pensive. Thanks to Laura at The View from My Window and Gary from Dream Big, Dream Often for allowing me to stumble upon it, and, well, brood! Here it is:
If you could change one thing about the world in which we live, what would it be?
I would empower all people, every single one of us that inhabit the globe, to be equipped with empathy.
What a wonderful world we could be if we were all equipped with the capacity to comprehend and hold compassion for the thoughts, feeling, and opinions of others. If we mirrored the eyes and hearts of others in ourselves, envision the endless possibilities for our planet? We could really walk a mile or spend a day in one another’s shoes, and get it – really get it. If we held the depth of honor, respect, and benevolence in our hearts and minds for our fellow beings, how then would we treat each other?
The Buddha said, “See yourself in others, then who can you hurt? What harm can you do?”
If we had more empathy, would we:
Still battle wars over religion, oil, territory, greed and power
Be kinder to those less able, dis-abled, unable
Understand that #BlackLivesMatter, that #HumanityMatters
Have such high crime rates, deaths by senseless violence, sexual assault
Beep the horn, shoot the bird and kill over traffic disputes and parking spots
Bully, hate and disrespect the views of others
Deliberately hurt others with our words, our actions, our power
Have long lists of endangered species and an ailing earth
Assist the homeless, hungry and addicted instead of walking over / past them
Grasp the laid off worker, the struggling family, the plight of others
What if we didn’t jump to do something, and just stood there.
Felt first. Listened. Heard.
Were open to other points of view with respect.
Understood the pain and suffering of others; understood the joy through our own lens, our imagination.
Then, and only then, reacted.
I think we need some more empathy — for each other, for the kinder (children). What a mitzvah (good and caring deed, act of kindness) this would be for us all.
Yes, I’m ranting. Why have we lowered the bar on civility?
Does it really matter where one pees? This Yiddisher momma will tell you that in the many times nature has called when I have been out and about, and the line at W went around the corner, I walked into the empty M without causing an international threat to gender. And haven’t all Euro-pee-ans been sharing a WC without worry for, well, ever?
And should whether one pees standing up or sitting down really dictate the gender pay gap?
If November 8th declares a victory for Hillary, will she only receive $316,000 per year / $0.79 per dollar of all her male predecessors?
Why do so many people care only for the unborn child while in utero, and not give a flying fu, well hoot, once the kid has left its amniotic apartment?
Why so much racism, hate, injustice and senseless violence?
How is Monsanto allowed to devastate our food system and spoon feed us garbage and chemicals? Don’t they deserve a squirt or two of RoundUp?
Fracking is the new F-word in the world of fossil fuels, foreign oil, future and further damage to water, health, our environment, and the planet. Pope, can you pipe in here please?
Climate change is real. Even the Pope, head macher (big deal, boss man) of the Catholic Church, says human beings are the cause of this major catastrophe. Why can’t the ‘collective we,’ countries and corporations, that share this planet all own that progress and evolution does not always make for a revolution.
With the bar so low, can we ever raise it again? How long will it take? I worry about all of our kinder (children) growing up in a world so careless, unkind, racist, bigoted and focused on the wrong green.
Oy vey doesn’t even begin to cover this shpilkas (intestinal terror!) folks.
Please, I am open to suggestions. Wallet activism and voting alone won’t change where we are headed.
We need a mindset shift, Yes? Any ideas? I’m askin’ from my heart.
Finally, after much ado and a very long wait since Santa left them for us, the Mrs. and I took Little, Big and their Toffey (Grandpa—self proclaimed name that means The Old Fart) to see Beauty and the Beast. The traveling cast came to our fair city and we soaked in the culture like a plant thirsting for water.
First, as we waited outside for the doors to open, we grew beholden to the splendor that is The Academy of Music, located on the Avenue of the Arts in downtown Philly. Big, maven (expert) that she is, had been going on and on to Little about theatre, the stage and live performances. Just over 5 years ago, we took Big to see Mary Poppins at the very same place. She was plotzing (exploding with excitement)! We stood outside and took in all of the buildings’ magnificence, while purchasing soft pretzels the size of yardsticks. Theatre watching can bring out the ‘hangry’ in the best of us, and when in Philly, nosh (eat) like a Philadelphian.
We had tickets in hand and made our way up to the (nosebleed) seats, aptly called, Family Circle. We were sitting among young dapper dressed dudes and the many ‘Belles’ of this ball. Despite our ears popping and slight signs of altitude sickness, our seats were awesome. The kinder (kids) didn’t know what to look at first…the columns, the people, the orchestra pit, the curtains, the lights…sponges, they are! Once the play began, many kinder (children) kept twisting their necks to see the main spotlight and it’s keeper, located right behind us.
The noshing (eating) took place immediately, which led to the insatiable thirst, which permeated throughout the performance. Toffey, always a mensch (warm, good soul), made the journey to the water fountain, many times.
The orchestra started tuning up. Big asked if they were practicing, and if they knew we could hear them. Soon, the magic of Broadway began. The most adorable thing from Little was this exchange:
Little: Mommy, are they for real, like for real live people singing for real live songs?
Me: Of course they are sweetie, isn’t it amazing?
Little: No Mommy, I mean, like really. Are they alive, like us? Do they have for real families?
Me: Yes honey. They are alive like you and me. And they have families and people who love them.
Little: Wow. I can’t believe they are for real life! This is so cool.
The show was fantastic fun. As you probably know, the Beast, he’s not such a bad guy. After a serious bout with vanity, and endless time as a nasty nebekh (poor soul) he becomes a haimish’a (warm and loving guy) schlemiel (dolt, oaf) to our Belle. Belle, kaynahorah (without an evil eye), saw the wonderful goodness and worth in this threatening-looking brute, and they become friends, and then later, friends with benefits. Everyone in the castle becomes human again and the evil spell cast his way was broken.
When they sang, “Be our Guest,” we roared! When they sang “Beauty and the Beast,” we ‘awwwwwwwed.” The girls were dehydrated and hangry despite the pretzel-ators and the water fountain visits. They twisted and fidgeted all over the Mrs., very unusual behavior for my little madelahs (girls). Toffey loved watching the girls enjoy this experience, almost as much as he enjoyed the show. Me too
Later that night, after a nice, early dinner, we dropped Toffey off at his house and starting talking about the play on the drive home. We kibitzed (gossiped) about our favorite scenes from the play and what we learned. We talked about being good people on the planet, treating people with respect and dignity and knowing that beauty is so much more than skin deep. No one had to start a social media campaign stating that #BeastsMatter?
We landed just where most of my posts on this blog end up: #HumanityMatters.
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.