Some things will forever and always smell, taste, hint to the glimpses of summer. Freshly cut grass. Watermelon. The sun on your back. Swings. A skinned knee. The hint of chlorine. Mosquitoes. Bikes. Dirt. Ice Cream. And laughter. There must always be laughter.
Let’s all hope this summer is a good one, a safe one, and a healthy one for us all, filled with more laughter. ❤
Life is like a child’s undershirt–short and soiled. Dos leben iz vi kinderhemdel–kurts un bash.
Early Saturday morning, I woke up after having climate change nightmares. These were not just hot flashes — I had real nightmares about the life of our planet. Think the Lorax, on crack. I wrote a post,Blog, Shmog: An Interview Today, poking some acerbic wit at mr t, orange-in-chief, and then I left to head over to the Wear Orange March. This march was not about global warming. It was the about senseless gun violence in our country. Yet another topic t won’t touch. After all, the NRA, they own him.
Hadiya Pendleton, 15 years old, was shot in the back. Gunned down while standing inside Harsh Park with her friends in Chicago in 2013. Just one week earlier, she performed live with her school band at President Obama’s (second) inauguration. Her murder occurred less than one mile from the Obama’s Chicago home. Hadiya, an honors student, volleyball player, band member, daughter — her future was bright in so many ways. The cause of death: shot by mistaken gang rivalry. The shooters, gang members, they told police that she was standing with people they thought were from a rival gang. It was a mistake. Michelle Obama attended her funeral. By that January day in Chicago, she was already the 42nd murder by firearm. A real shonda(shame) for her, her family, our world.
The gates of tears are never shut. Di toi’ern fun treren zeinen kain mol nit farshlossen.
Saturday morning was cool, raining. Hadiya would have been 20 years young on June 2 of this year. Her birthday now represents National Gun Violence Awareness Day across our country. Her brightness is now the color orange, the same color worn by hunters, so as to be seen and not shot. It is the color of gun violence prevention. Less than 100 of us gathered. Many moms held laminated photos of the children they lost to gun violence. We all talked. I told them I was there for Hadiya, and for the Sandy Hook Promise. When we failed all of those children and their teachers who gave their lives protecting them, I knew I had to do more. I couldn’t just sign a petition and call Senator Twomey’s office again. I had to enlist in the fight.
In the US, gun violence kills 93 people every single day — almost 34,000 lives per year. That includes murder, suicide, and accidental death. In Philadelphia, last year our number was 278. Almost 1 life per day. These numbers are stunning, but they must not leave us hardened. We must work harder than we ever have before.
Our kinder (sweet children) deserve better. Hadiya dreamt of going to Northwestern University. She wanted to become a pharmacist, a journalist, or a lawyer. She was a good kid. Hadiya, she deserved better.
Guns are a very large problem in this country. I do not think that our founding fathers had gang members, mental illness, violent domestic abuse, accidental death and suicide in mind when they created the second amendment. I believe there is some good legislation out there (SB 501 for stronger gun control rights) that needs enforcing, and I believe there are some horrible laws on the books (SB 383 that arms school staff, teachers, and boards). Vey iz mir (OMG), we need to make some drastic changes.
Last I checked, we were ONE human race. How can we all begin to walk with empathy and love in our hearts? When will we begin to embrace all of our very unique and beautiful differences, instead of fearing them? I will do that for Hadiya. I will do that for all of those families from Sandy Hook. I will do that for everyone affected by senseless gun violence. We need to do that for all the kinder (children). Please join me.
Death doesn’t knock on the door (and warn you of it’s impending arrival). Toyt tut nit klapn aoyf di tir.
This past weekend, my kinder (children) participated in our annual tradition, the Dance Recital. All year long, my shana maidelehs (sweet girls) have been studying ballet, and Big has added jazz to her repertoire. My Mrs., she too was central to the studies, as the chief shlepper (hauler, dragger) and nosherie (snack provider) to our mini prima’s.
If you can ever imagine me, at my very happiest space, it’s watching my kinder do what they love, and they do love to dance, in full regalia on stage. Kvelling (beaming with pride) and grinning until my punim (face) hurts, I am. It’s the tahkeh (absolute, certain) truth.
This year, the Wissahickon Dance Academy presented Shakespeare’s, A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The choreography was so beautiful. The talent, remarkable. They really put on an awesome production. After, all of the other forms of dance performed. Jazz, hip-hop, tap, modern — it was naches (the satisfaction gained from life’s gifts) for everyone in the audience.
Last night, I asked my kinder about the show and what A Midsummer Night’s Dream was about. Here is what they said:
Little: It’s about a donkey and an umm, queen and a king. And what was Z in the second show? Oh yeah, the queen’s daughter. And a man who turns into a donkey and fairies and umm, and an umm, wood sprites. ‘Cause that’s what (Big) was, a wood sprite. I liked when the donkey, who was really Jakiel, eats the grass and when he was really funny with the audience.
Big: So there’s a Queen, Titania, and she has a husband and they get in a big fight. Puck comes and, the husband, he asked Puck if he can borrow these magic flowers that if you sprinkle them on someone, the first person they see, they will fall in love with. You have to do it to people only while they are asleep. And so, he umm, he did it on Titania — sprinkled the flower stuff. And then, these actors come out, and Puck grabs one of them and gives him a donkey head. He (the Donkey) scares all the actors away. And then, he accidentally trips over Titania. She wakes up and falls in love with the donkey because of the flower magic. She was supposed to fall in love with her husband, but they had a big fight about their daughter. Then, I know! They both (Titania and the Donkey) go to sleep and then the husband has the magic flower and he sprinkles it on Titania and she wakes up and falls madly in love with him again. Puck comes on and takes the donkey head away, and that is all I know. Ohhh, and the whole thing, it was the Donkey-headed guy’s dream! That’s why he scratched his head at the end.
I asked them, what was the best part of being in the recital?
Big: I just love dancing. I liked the flowers on my costume, and I liked how the bottom was like a tutu, and I liked the wings.
Little: I really like twirling, twirling a lot.
In Act II, my Little, she danced with her elementary ballet class to Once Upon a Dream from Sleeping Beauty. Big, she was an orphan in Annie, dancing with her class in jazz 1 to, Hard Knock Life
Big: I loved it. It was fun because I love Annie, I love that song, it is fun to pretend to be orphans and that dance is just fun.
Little: My dance was from sleeping beauty. I don’t know what it was about, but I got to twirl. I liked the roses on my costume and twirling. I liked when (Big) danced with the bucket and slammed it on the floor too.
All in all, I was beaming. And for two shows, a couple of hours each, I actually forgot about the mishegas (craziness) that is happening in our world. Such a simcheh (joyous occasion) I wish for all of you!
Thank you for letting me go on about my kinder today.
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).
There is a certain trail we take when hiking, the Mrs., me and the kinder (children), where we pass this stunning tree. I love this tree, and it’s very obvious how many others do too. I would never carve my initials in it or declare my undying love for the Mrs. atop its thick ‘barky’ skin — I’m too much of a ‘Lorax‘ for such behavior. My Little and Big, they always ask why so many people would hurt the tree with so much engraving and writing? Who am I to know…
It’s good to behold beauty and live with wisdom. Oif shainem iz gut tsu kuken; mit a klugen iz gut tsu leben.
I do believe that this tree, (all of the trees actually), holds inside a certain shrewdness about you, me, and all of those that pass by its grace and grandeur. This tree, it feels our pains and celebrates our victories. She is a living, breathing road map of where we have been and will tell the tale of where we will go.
In the meantime, this very tree will continue to help our environment by absorbing the CO2 in the air, releasing clean oxygen, fighting against water pollution, protecting our skin from the powerful rays of the sun, and holding in its canopy, a wealth of wildlife, like squirrels, opossums, bugs, birds and the very special and much-needed, bees. I must add how this very tree is a wonderful source of outdoor play for my shanah maideleh’s(sweet girls) as we traipse about in her home, the woods.
This tree, may she continue to give me a big sigh of relief. When I look at her or think of her, I feel a little better about everything.
Nu? This mr t, he has me farklempt (all choked up) with his evil and hatred. Not too long ago, I wrote a post, I AM WOMAN HEAR MY VOICE. Well, I’ve taken it to the stage folks. Please, bear with my (awful) voice as I stumble through my own, personal feminist anthem.
Please feel free to sing along. If only to cover up my voice! Vey iz mir…I’m meshuggeneh (crazy), but I am so motivated to peacefully make a change. Because Never Again, is now folks.
Great big hugs and love to Mackenzie for her gorgeous participation and support! And Kristin, where would I be without the bug you put in my ear? And to all of you brave, men, women and children who showed up, and continue to show up in protest. That’s what I’m sayin.’
Why’d I do it? Well, I am trying hard to teach my kinder (little kids) to be brave, not perfect.
Hey, mr t, I Am Woman, and you, little orange man, are going to have to deal with that!