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Monthly Archives: September 2011

Rosh Hashana Ambiguity Revisited

It’s Rosh Hashana – again.

Didn’t I just go through this last year?

It’s difficult adjusting to Yomim Noraim as a mother. Usually Rosh Hashana creeps up on me, and I turn around and am like “Holy heck, I gotta shape up!” and then I go to shul, and besides for a botched shmone esrei or two, and counting down an awful lot of pages (although honestly the last two years, davening seemed to fly, [am I growing up?]), I’d usually come away feeling something. That I opened up, bared it all, asked honestly, and modestly. That this year will be a good year, and things will happen and go right, and I’ll get that job, that raise, that recognition. That I’ll be happy, secure, and satisfied. That I’ve been given focus, drive and perspective. I won’t regret this year.

I don’t have that anymore.

My lot right now, is to stay at home with my child, and daven in my living room, while my son pulling at my skirt, and whining for me to read “Oh the Thinks You Can Think” to him. While my husband is pleading for his life, for our happiness, contentment, shaIom, our future, I’m sweeping up Multi-Grain Cheerios, and wiping up mushed bananas my son enthusiastically ground into the kitchen tiles. I shouldn’t complain, I’m not complaining, I just stating the difference, and how it affects me.

I don’t come away with a good feeling, I don’t feel like I succeeded, like I did it right. And this year will be.

Also, as I get older, every year, I realize and appreciate so much more, that Hashem is in my life, directing it, guiding me, and I need him. I look around and see things that happened, things that are happening, and things that will happen, and it all went down this day, last year. And this year, on this day, I’m putting borekas on the blech to warm up, and setting the table with linen napkins, waiting for my husband to come home, and tell me how our life is going to be.

I know, I know, I really know, that this is what I’m supposed to be doing now, that this is where I’m supposed to be, and I can achieve, just where I am, in my place as a Yiddishe Mama,

But

But

But

I feel like I’m missing my chance at life.

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 28, 2011 in Jewish, Musings, Uncategorized, Yom Tov

 

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Behind the Blog

I know a few bloggers

Some I knew before, some I got to know, some I’m a bit creepy, and I figured out who they were, so well, I know them too, they just don’t necessarily know that I know it’s them when I read their blog, (I don’t do it on purpose, it just hits me and all the pieces click – this happened with at least three blogs!)

Regardless, it’s always more interesting to read the blog of someone you know. You know their background, the people in their life, their personalities. Very often you know the other side of the story, the personalities involved, and how a story or piece came to be.

There are times where I get upset, because I’m featured in blog post, and think I’m being misrepresented. Or other times, other people I know are being roasted, and I don’t think it’s validated. But most of the time, it’s just fun to get a glimpse into the lives and thoughts of people you know, but they would never share these tidbits with you regularly, because you just don’t have that relationship. Or my friends that know I have a blog, enjoy reading it, as a way of keeping in touch with me, because I don’t call or speak to anyone.

I any case, today, I cried, like really cried from a blog post. There is a blogger that I don’t know per se, but we have mutual acquaintances (my sister and her sister), for once I wish I didn’t know who she was. If I didn’t know who she was I could read her post today and think, “Oh, that’s really sad, some people have really difficult and sad aspects in their lives”. It would give me some perspective, I’d count my blessings and move on.

But I know these people. I know who this situation is affecting. I see if in front of me, when I talk to my sister, I can feel the manifestation. When I text her friend, I feel the tension. And I’m not counting my blessings today, I’m just crying, because it hurts and it’s scary, and the inevitable is approaching.

Sometimes, knowing too much isn’t a good thing.

 
1 Comment

Posted by on September 21, 2011 in Musings, Writing

 

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Managing Motherhood

My son is clanging through my Shabbos cutlery. Somehow, he pulled the drawer open, and found a gold mine (or is that stainless steel mine) of forks, and spoons to play with (he has this thing for spoons).

The other day(s) he’s gotten into my pantry, opened up boxes of pasta and eaten them –raw. He liked it. My Panko crumbs, bread crumbs and cornflake crumbs were also opened – eaten, contents poured lovingly all over my kitchen floor (still haven’t figured out how he got the plastic tops open).

I’ve since gotten a lock for my pantry, but the moment I open it, for my own usage, his ears perk up, he knows the squeaking of the door, and running he comes, wedging himself between me and the door make a mad grab for anything he can reach while I’m preoccupied getting my own wares. He knows he only has nano-seconds. Last time he got the onion soup mix, or course, he got that open, and I had to vacuum by living room – for the third time that day.

Another day, he was dragging around diapers; when I took them away from him, I found them to be wet and heavy. Following the trail, I found that he had gotten into my diaper stash, took two of them to the bathroom and dunked them into the toilet. You wonder where they even get the idea from.

He likes my napkin rings. They’re gold ropes with oversized crystals at the end. He can play with them for quite a while. How he found them in the first place, I’ll never know.

I used to stress, and flip out about all the things he got himself into. I’d find myself running after him, expo facto and trying clean up, reprimand, get things out of his hands. It wasn’t working. I was stressed; he was kvetchy, and I had a house to clean.

And then I remembered an old sign in my father’s dark room at work. Next to “The day you’re down to your shabbiest socks is the day your boos takes you out to a Japanese restaurant”, was the sign, “Cleaning a house while children are growing is like shoveling while it’s still snowing.” The dark room is long gone, really long gone, but I still remember that sign,(dunno why a sign about parenting intrigued me at age 8 ) and it’s too true. I was fighting a losing battle, not even losing – but pointless.

I’ve since relented. And my home is not as neat as I’d like it to be, during the day at least. Come 30 seconds after he’s gone to sleep, and I’m on my hands and knees collecting that days damages. And I’ve stopped making excuses to people that visit, this is my home, I have a child and we are happy.

 Y’ know, I’ve got to appreciate that this is probably the only time in life where it’s more effective to clean up after a mess than to prevent it.

 
3 Comments

Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Parenting

 

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My Problem With Averages

Opening up a school has been a dream of mine for as long I can remember…well at least going back to 6th grade. Every year since I began envisioning the perfect educational model, my views on what constitutes model education evolved.

In 6th grade more vacation was my primal focus. I later started railing against uniforms. I matured a bit, and vowed to get interesting teachers, who knew their subject like their own child. I swore not to play politics or money. Most recently I’ve been advocating a school for the average child.

Of course, I could never promote my school on that platform; no one would enroll. Nobody is going to publically admit that they believe themselves to be mediocre. Actually, I don’t think anyone would consider themselves a candidate for my school, but they would surely know plenty other wonderfully average people that would make terrific students for my establishment.

Nobody truly believes that s/he are average. Every person imagines s/he have some redeeming quality or talent that puts him/herself the above the line, but somebody, or actually most people, have to be among the average. It’s just basic statistics.

As a high school teacher for the past 5 years, employed in three different (very different)schools, I have witnessed one common link between them all. They love to recycle, and I don’t mean going green. When it comes to any positions, privileges, committees, jobs, whatever term there is – the schools always referred to a small pool of students. Those students who exhibited that X factor (or their father’s checkbook) early on, earned themselves the spot of go-to girl.

These girls throughout their high school careers have ample opportunity to develop coveted skills for life: leadership, delegation, organization, brainstorming, creativity, self expression, confidence, just to name a few. They get to be on top of the totem pole, ahead of the pack, the prized few. The other girls have two options, follow them or despise them.

Yes, I know, that a success in high school does not equal success in life, but giving opportunities, safe risks, a place to try and fail without drastic consequence is a high school’s obligation. And our schools are falling very short of this goal. The Jewish High Schools rule extra curricular like a dictatorship, who’s in who’s out, who’s on top, is all by their say so, even the G.O. “elections” aren’t safe – who do you think selected the candidates. Extra curricular should be run by students and supervised by adults. Kids give each other more chances than any adult ever would.

Going back to success outside school, how many people do you know who “blossomed” after graduating high school. Suddenly they “came into themselves”. People see them as the capable talented adults that they are – and very often ALWAYS were. They were simply never given a chance to show the world who they were, because the adults in the world were too busy with the same tried and true students.

So that’s who my current school is for, the child who deserves the chance, deserves an opportunity, deserves someone to say, “I believe you can”, but won’t receive it, because they have the unfortunate lot of being “average”.

Anyone want to back this venture?

 
6 Comments

Posted by on September 6, 2011 in Teaching

 

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