Monthly Archives: January 2014

Wave bye bye.

When she was very little, I used to say to my daughter, “Ok, bye, bye sweetheart. See you in a few hours” “See you tonight, honey.” “Wave bye, bye, sweetie.” It’s the oldest cliche in the world to say that time of her being so little has passed in the blink of an eye. I guess it’s a cliche because so, so many of us parents feel this way.

There is so much to write about now. My children, my own one daughter, and the few other young people who I consider most mine, are growing up. I’ve been lucky enough to have some wise parents give me the perspective that as a parent you don’t have to give up one bit on the deepest closeness with your children, ever. But the nature of it changes. In reality it is changing constantly– from the moment they roll over, or hold their own bottle, or start to walk. Part of our relationship now involves doing my least favorite thing over and over. Saying goodbyes.

They are a variety of different goodbyes, but they are goodbyes. Goodbyes where my daughter does things with friends that she used to want me with her to do, goodbyes as young people travel abroad, goodbyes that are small and feel monumental as their focus shifts away from us adults to their own friends, ideas, plans and things to do. If I could manage to stop and cry a little with each goodbye, I’d be happier and better off for sure, but I don’t yet have that down.

I started the week this very morning, with two goodbyes. My daughter’s good friend came over and they huddled talking and then went off to school together as she does most days now, with her friend, instead of spending those last few minutes before a long day hanging out with me in the morning.

And there was the big goodbye for now to my nephew, Izzie; the boy whose birth I was part of, the boy who goes to college in our town and then lived with us and worked in our city last summer. A boy who, along with his brother, is definitely part mine. We got a lot of him his freshman and sophmore years here, and then he was away for the first semester of this year. He studied in Ecuador. Then he came home to his own home in the midwest and got ready for his second semester. In a hopeful, exciting and cruel twist of choice and fate (I’m very tongue-in-cheek when I use the word cruel), he got into another program in a different far-away destination to study for his second semester. Again. To Israel this time.

He stopped in with us for four days plus this morning to visit his academic advisors and his friends (and did stay with us) before departing for his spring semester in Israel. Just three hours ago we helped him load his two just-under-50-pound-suitcases into the car. And my sweetheart took us both in the car, dropped me at work and drove on to the airport and helped him get checked in. My short trip in the car with him was so like this time of life. I sat in the back seat wedged in with his giant suitcases– looking at him. And he sat in the front seat looking ahead.

But my house was the home-base this morning– for Izzie as he finalized his packing, and for my daughter and her friend too, who often go to school together these days with the friend’s mom.

I count my blessings for busy, chaotic mornings like this one, with all of them getting ready to go but with my dining room table and extra bedroom still the home base. With beds and towels a very happy mess throughout the house.

The morning was too busy to snap pictures of either of them. I discovered my nearly-teen girl was in her sweatshirt and no jacket this 38-degree morning once it was too late to turn back and my tall string-bean boy, in his chinos and old farmer’s market tee shirt and fleece pullover and traveling gear. Both gorgeous and handsome, excited for what comes next.

Izzie, and daughter-girl, when you read this, take some selfies and send them on. I’ll post them later. And you too, jj, back home in the midwest…

Welcome 2014, slowly

Ah, ah, ah. Another year. Happy New Year. Thanks to all of you who keep reading, despite my long lapses. For me, as a Jewish woman, a Jewish mother, the Jewish new year is the real spiritual marker of the year gone by and the year ahead. Nonetheless, I have to buy a new day planner (yes, I still use a paper calendar) at the change of the Gregorian calendar, and there is vacation time at our workplaces and school is out for two weeks. (Read up on the Gregorian calendar if you wish.)

These weeks of holiday down time have been full, in every sense. A few highlights, but not nearly all, follow.

The three of us traveled to Indiana to see my mother-in-law who, since September 1, 2013, has broken her hip, been moved to a retirement center/ nursing home, stopped driving, stopped living in her own home and faced one of the biggest life changes one faces in a lifetime. Although Christmas with that side of the family isn’t always the best for me as a Jewish girl, I had a good trip. I loved seeing my mother-in-law. For the first time ever, we stayed with my sister-in-law who I like and love more the more I know her. We talked, cooked, and hung out.

One of the loves of my life– the happy-birthday-girl in this post and her love/girlfriend/co-mother/close-friend-of-mine– of 20+ years got married on December 28. They live in a close in suburb of our city but they just bought a small farm about an hour away and I loved, I mean I really loved this wedding. (This is not my sentiment about every wedding.) I loved seeing my beloved friends into this new phase, I loved being on the farm where the wedding took place, I loved what I wore and the time in the car with another best friend who drove up with me. I loved arriving in daylight and the darkness that fell after we arrived. I loved looking at them and the light in their eyes and looking at the votive lights they had strewn all around the house and at the lights out the windows– from the stars above and the lights they have placed in different places outside. I loved that when I asked to see the rings they had exchanged, they said– “Oh these are rings we’ve had for years and years– nothing new.”

My friends’ son and my daughter are true miracles in the story of our two families’ friendships– in that my old friend D. tried forever to get pregnant and I tried forever to get pregnant and then our adoption took forever. And with those two sagas of forevers; the long, long stretches of waiting and hoping and disappointments– our two children were born three weeks apart and are close, beloved friends. My daughter N. wore a dress for the occasion and was a flower girl! Then she spent the night at the farm with her buddy and the sheep and dogs and chickens.

There has been ongoing wrestling with internal struggles that still plague me about work and career and hope and disappointment and my honest desire to do good work that changes the world and work with which I feel at home.

I’ve had two long, delightful coffee dates recently with a long-time acquaintance who is suddenly (and very happily for me) a new friend. And I’ve had two pretty impromptu dinner dates with an old friend with whom it was so grounding to catch up.

There have been good times with my daughter and a rainbow of feelings as I take in that she is truly entering her teen years. There is a real shift in her relationship with me and her other mom. It’s not worse or less relationship, but it’s different. I’m very much in a “ready-or-not” situation.

And then the very time-consuming mundane. A dishwasher leak that will require a new dishwasher and a new kitchen floor– the latter being installed as I write.

And there have been two fabulous hikes in the woods– just the three of us–on New Year’s day out toward our friends’ farm and yesterday in rainy-snowy-icy weather in our huge sprawling, urban, wooded park.

I send love and good, good wishes to all of you who read. I wish you a very good, growing, connected, brave, sweet rest of the Jewish year, 5774 and a very good 2014. I wish us all peace and justice and courage to tackle the challenges and to enjoy beautiful, interesting life ahead. Pictures to follow.