Posts Tagged ‘motherhood’

A Friday Evening Mom, on Childhood

May 20, 2016

Some people wish
To return to childhood
So they may remember
Carefree play
Unfettered by worry.

Others recall
The gentle protection
Of a grown-up, secured
By space on a lap
Or a pinky to hold
Across the street.

Still others long
For the innocence
The trust
The earnest honesty
That only children
Can achieve.

All very well and good.

But what I seek
Is for someone, right now
To just send me to bed
Without my supper.



Mother’s Day: In Gratitude

May 8, 2016


To have someone else
Cook my dinner,

To lay in the grass
With my boy
Pondering dandelions and sky,

To play catch
And baseball
And all manner of games
Without drama,

To eat lunch alone
Reading a book and
Chewing my food,

Is apparently

Not too much to ask.

Emptying the Pockets

April 21, 2016

She told me
That someone told her
To set aside
Each day for a
A counting of things
One carries.

After checking my pockets,
My shoulders,
My soul, I have this
Of what I brought to school today:

My tea thermos
A school bag
The weight of my brother’s passing
Eighteen mental reminders
A wish to do today better
Four separate to-do lists
The grief and anger of loved ones
The burden of self-expectation
The need for self-forgiveness,
And the restorative power of

Day #18: Ask

September 2, 2015


Things I am good at asking for:
More cake

Things I am not good at asking for:

Day #14: Learn

August 30, 2015


I’m a teacher. I’m all about the learning. I LOVE learning. It gets me excited. It doesn’t matter what subject area or topic. I can find a way to be totally jazzed about it. Here’s some of what I learned this summer:

  1. How to throw baseball pitches. I can throw a 2-seam, a 4-seam, a change-up, a knuckleball, a cutter and a curve. I’m not saying that they’re pretty, but I can throw ’em. Learning how to throw these pitches has taught me other things, too:
    1. I actually know what those pitches ARE.
    2. My sons can be incredibly patient and encouraging, even when there’s little reason to be.
    3. Really. I suck at pitching.
    4. But it’s fun.
    5. No matter how tired, sore or crabby I may feel, it will always, always, ALWAYS be worth my time to throw the ball with them.
    6. Always.
    7. For that matter, I will choose to accept any invitation from my boys, at any time. Frisbee golf? Got it. Open skate? I’m there. Dog walk? Let’s roll. Snuggle time? Can’t stop me.
  2. How to let people go. I had a friend in my former job. She is a great person, and is one of the sweetest, most generous souls I know. But after attempt after attempt after attempt after attempt, it turned out I was the only one who was trying to make any contact. It made me feel more insecure and needy the more I worried about it. So? I let the friendship go. I wouldn’t turn away if reached out to, but I have discovered that, for now, I have better places to spend my attention (see section 1 above).
  3. How to go upside down at the rings at my gym. Not a huge thing, but boy does it make me feel awesome to say I can. Plus it’s good street cred with my kids.
  4. That my kids will be just FINE. That when I sense myself getting worked up about one of my sons – about his achievement, about his skills, about his placement or play on a sporting team, about any of it – I tell myself the following:
    1. My worries stem from my insecurities.
    2. My worries are not about my kids.
    3. But my kids’ experiences are NOT ABOUT ME.
    4. And I can close my eyes and picture them at thirty, being wonderful people.
    5. And I realize there isn’t a need to worry.
    6. Because they will be JUST FINE.
    7. And I can calm down.

Of course, there’s much, much more to it. And there’s so much more that I want to learn. So much I need to learn. So much I’m going to learn, even if I don’t know I need to learn it yet.

That’s why I’m such a big fan of life.

Day #6: Know

August 21, 2015


What do I know? Right now, at this point in time?

That I have good friends who think about me.
That I have an amazing, supportive family.
That I can’t write anything deep with four teenage boys bickering ten feet away.
That it takes a special kind of zen to ignore said boys bickering ten feet away.
I mean special kind of zen.
Really special.
I know that a martini doesn’t make my children behave any better, but it does make me care *that much* less.
That a Shabbat dinner does offer a degree of specialness I don’t always get.
That said Shabbat dinner can still fall to pieces with a glut of male energy.
That a homemade chocolate cookie and a glass of milk deserve their own unique circle in heaven.

And you? What truths come to you, either deep or trivial?

Day #1: Prepare

August 16, 2015


This blog post marks the first in a series of writings and posts for the Hebrew month of Elul. Each day, I will reflect on a variety of themes. Thanks, Rabbi Phyllis Sommer for the inspiration!


Best friend, worst enemy.

I’m a planner at heart.
I write this just as I’ve finished up preparation for a teacher workshop I’m giving next week on differentiating for gifted kids. It’s taken me over six hours to develop my handout.

Why on earth do I do that to myself? I just love the idea of having things all squared away and organized. I like having the big picture in my head, crystallized to a point where I can communicate with clarity. That, and I have suffered through too many disorganized workshops to expect less of myself.

At the same time, I’m more than well aware that the presentation can go in a completely different direction from what I’ve planned.

Just like in my classroom.
Just like life.

Because let’s face it. We THINK we can prepare ourselves for mentally for life, but we’re kidding ourselves.

Case in point: I ran two marathons before I had kids, and it took an incredible amount of mental toughness. It became a process of telling the negative voice in my head to sit down and shut up. I naturally assumed I could summon that mental toughness when it came time for childbirth.

Ask my husband how quickly THAT went out the hospital window when I was in labor.

So, yes. I know that I can’t prepare for everything in life. And I know the things I can’t prepare for comprise life’s most amazing and heartbreaking things.


If there’s something I can control?
Something I might be able to prepare for?
Something I really can think out ahead of time?

You bet I’ll be all over it.

A Month of Reflection: Day 21 – Change

September 16, 2014

I stand in the water as it
Rushes by, whirls past,
Flows around, pushes through.
So much to take on.
My bare feet
Dig in
To the sandy sediment,
My body absorbs the
Of each new challenge.
Steeled by
Proud legs
Clenched fists
Squared shoulders,
I defy the flow.

There is power in water,
An energy
That refuses to yield
To my obstinance,
That heaves me up
End over end
A fury of splash and ripple
Only to cast me downstream
At where I am now.

A Month of Reflection – Day 17: Awaken

September 12, 2014

I have a confession. I read all those writings that teach us to raise our consciousness, to awaken ourselves to the world around us.

You know the directions: Pay attention.
Become aware of your surroundings.
Know and recognize what you see.
Hear. Touch. Taste. Smell. Think. Feel.

Here’s my confession. All that awakeness? It wears me out. And I like it that way.

Some nights I lie awake, and my mind races. I know some of you are with me here. For some of us, it’s the only chance we have for us to sit and listen to what our brain is telling us.





That’s where I fight wakefulness with wakefulness. I challenge myself to pay attention to everything around me: the feel of the covers
the sound of the refrigerator clicking on
the whisper of my breath
the fatigue of my muscles
the whirr of the heater
the wind in the trees
the hum of the earth

It’s a lot of work. Bit by bit, my brain flags with the effort. The sheer exertion of grasping every moment, every sense. It chips away at me until I feel myself, slipping, slipping.

Awakening into slumber.

A Month of Reflection – Day 15: Learn

September 11, 2014

Yes, I have skipped a few blog posts.

Back on the wagon now.

So…what did I learn yesterday?

Yesterday. I was in the kitchen preparing dinner. My 11 year-old came home from playing with a couple of friends of his. He started complaining about a couple of kids who showed up while they were hanging out. Kids he doesn’t really like, kids who bug him. He mentioned that one kid started telling racist jokes. And that some of the jokes were about Jews.

And then he told me the jokes. Both of which were of the concentration-camp variety.

I did my best to contain my anger, but I know some of it probably leaked out. Maybe that was actually a good thing. My kids need to see that racism and anti-Semitism are real, and terrible.

I almost called that mom right away, but I’m glad I’ve held off. For starters, it turns out my boy had joined in on some of the jokes to a lesser degree. I also don’t know that mom. At all. I wasn’t quite sure how to approach the whole thing.

I’ve been going over what happened yesterday in my mind like a stone I hold in my palm. I keep turning it over, looking at it from different sides. Watching as one point of view gets polished, and then another.

Was that kid a racist, or an Jew hater? Could be. Could also be he’s heard that joke from some other kid. Or from some dumb online source. Could be – praying not – that he heard it at home. I keep turning the possibilities over in my palm and can’t really come up with an answer to that one. I have a feeling I won’t get one, and I think I’m okay with that.

Do I need to call the kid’s mom? Still polishing up this one. I am not always going to be there to run in when someone hurts my child. My boy has learned what he needs to learn from this lesson. I lean towards it, then away. Towards it, then away. Most likely, I will call when I have found the words. Words which say we had some tough conversations in our house. That I would want to know if it were my kid.

And then?

I need to let it go, and pray that there will be some tough conversations in their house, too.

As for me and my boy?

  • We learned that it really IS hurtful when people tell jokes about you or your culture.
  • We learned that even if you live in a place where there are lots of Jews, there’s no guarantee you’re free from hatred of Jews.
  • We learned that a good response to rude or racist jokes is, “Dude. That’s not funny.”
  • We learned that if people are telling jokes about you, and you laugh, or tell one of your own, you’re telling people those jokes are both funny and okay to tell.

Chalk it up to a lesson learned the hard way.