Tag Archives: love

Birthday Are Not About Numbers

Beware the Fish

Dear SRF

You didn’t respond to my Happy Birthday text, which is not your type, so I assume you boycotted your birthday. I hear that. But birthdays are not just for marking another year of age, but it’s a day that people get to focus on you, and realize how much they appreciate knowing you, and having you in their lives. So I’ll skip the “how old are you” part of the song, but I’d still like to celebrate you as a person SRF.

You are one of the most kindest, most sincere, and most generous person I know. You always have a smile, a laugh, a story to reach out with. You remember all the small details, like others birthdays, and their other friend’s name who you never even met and how they’re feeling, because they had a bad cough two weeks ago. People feel wanted, and loved because of you, by you.

SRF, you have such passion for things in this world, your genuine interest in ideas, knowledge and people, draw all of us in, and spreads the passion and fire along.

And your kindness, love, and genuine concern for others are reflected in your broad smile, and open hand.

You make a difference for so many people every day, just by you being you.

I know we don’t keep up as much as you and I’d like, but that’s my fault because you’re always there with a friendly note.

So, I won’t sing the song, send a card, or anything, but I’ll thank Hashem for giving me a beautiful friend like you.


Thank you.





Posted by on December 11, 2013 in The Sporadic Side


Tags: , ,

It’s Just A Haircut

The PeklachIt was E’s upsherin on Sunday, and I still can’t stop looking at him. My son is transformed into a new person it seems. Until of course he opens his mouth and as my grandmother said you’d realize he’s “still the same brat”. But such a cute brat. Now that his distractive (and so beautiful) hair is gone, I’m drawn to his eyes. They are soulful. Wide, asking, deep, framed by long lashes, they are the entrance to his soul and world. And I think he’s gotten more mature. Even if I know that that’s all in my head – maybe it’ll turn into a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Cutting his hair was very difficult for me. I was surprised, considering that I hadn’t wanted to leave his hair uncut and do the whole upsherin thing in the first place. But it wasn’t about the hair, it was about the person I knew to be my child. This is a transformative haircut. E doesn’t look like anything I know. I couldn’t even imagine what he’d look like afterward. While they cut his hair, yes, we all laughed that it was a shame for such beautiful hair to be wasted on a boy, but I preoccupied myself with taking pictures the whole time, lest the tears on the edge of my eyes break free of the rim. I did feel like I was losing my child as I knew him. And even though I know it’s the same E, with his finitive language, and inquisitive nature, on Sunday, he was a different person.

There we two moments where it crystallized and I had to turn my face away from the crowd. One, after all the men took their turn snipping off locks of hair, I stood in the back and looked at his hacked hair, and a loud flashing sign in my head read “It’s OVER. This stage is over”.

Naturally there’s a gradually passing from one stage of life to another, a shade of gray, or green, where the red and blue are changing, a mixing of the colors, with the shades starting lighter, fading into on another and gradually being completely transformative in hindsight. It happened in a moment here. It was hard.

And then about a minute into the real haircut, my mother in law (also the barber in this case) had trimmed away enough so you could see the curve and actual shape of the back of E’s head. It was so round and perfect. And I thought, I don’t this part of my son. I don’t know this boy.

Now of course logically, I recognize that he is the same exact person he was the day before, sans hair. He still manipulated his toilet training to get more candy, he still jumps off any surface possible, and still speaks in finite terms of, can’t and need. But he looks so different. So beautiful, yes. But so different than the child I know, that I can’t help but feel I need to get to know him all over again.


Posted by on August 28, 2013 in Jewish, Musings


Tags: , , , , , ,

Take a Deep Breath

They cut the grass today and I breathed summer.

I inhaled the hot air, the mosquitos and ices melting onto my kitchen floor.

I took in barbeques, scraped knees, and ants traipsing across my dining room.

I drew in the blue sky, the open days, and hours on a park bench watching my son.

They cut the grass today, and I can’t wait to be bored.

Leave a comment

Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Writing


Tags: , , , , ,

Made in G-d’s Image

Boldly she stood in the center of the room. Mirrors enveloped us, and neither of us could hide. I stood cowering in the corner; shoulders turned inward, my reflection only cast in small parameters of my reach. I wanted to be her, I watched as she pulled her shirt over her head efficiently, effortlessly, without thought, or consciousness.Her image refracted and bounced across the room, for all, especially me, to admire.

But then I didn’t, admire her, not, not look. Snaking down her stomach was a dark shriveled line. It was thick, thicker than a broad-tipped Sharpie. And it wasn’t a scar; it wasn’t red or raised, just raisin-esque. I wondered what condition could have possibly marred her with that ghastliness, the ugly. There were more winding around her abdomen in a haphazard pattern, and I wondered why she didn’t hide in a corner, like me. Involuntarily, I turned to face the corner, maybe hide for her. But her image was still in front of me, in the mirror, confidently, trying on a marled sweater.

No one else seemed to be watching her.

No one else seemed to notice.

Hastily, I tried on the skirt I brought into the open dressing room, careful not to expose my large thighs, and complementing backside. After a few minutes and sweaters, she went on her beautiful way.

I’ve since learned of her condition, and know that there is no suffering from it, but only love, that child can give.

I’m still suffering from mine though, not visible, not scarring, but more debilitating. And there’s no one’s love that will heal it, only my own.

1 Comment

Posted by on March 13, 2012 in Writing


Tags: , , , , , , , ,

My Version of Zaidy

I sat by the shiva and listened to the stories. We laughed at a lot of them, because my grandfather was a witty man, were in awe by many, because my grandfather is still an inspiration. I texted myself notes of the stories, so I could write them up later.

When later came, I had a lot of material, but nothing to write. These were other people’s memories and impressions of my Zaidy, they were representative of how they knew him.  I wanted to tell my story, my version of Zaidy, but my memory failed me. I could only think of one time where I could relate what he said, all the other memories, were just that, memories, fleeting glances and glimpse, small actions, and expression, no speech, or reaction; it was really all emotion. They all said one thing though, my Zaidy loved me.

Yes, my Zaidy was a baal chessed, yes, he was straight and righteous, yes, he was funny. He was all those things everyone who was maspid him said he was, and more really. For me, what I’ll always have is my Zaidy’s love, and the way he made me feel.

I didn’t see him that often honestly, nor did I call. I wasn’t the best and devoted grandchild. But from when I was small and fragile, and up until two days ago, when I’m now grown (and still a bit fragile), my Zaidy greeted me with, “Esther, my Esther.” Every wedding, bar mitzvah, sheva brachos, Channukah party, seldom visit that I saw him, he’d look into my eyes, clasp my cold hands tight in his perpetual warmth and say those words. I’d lean in and give him a kiss on his beard-scratchy cheek, pull back, and he’d look into my eyes again, smile small, and give my hands, still in his, a squeeze.

I was the only person in the world that mattered in those moments.

Yes, he told me stories, great mashalim for life. I remember his little notepad filled with all the funny anecdotes his kids did growing up, and him reading their mischief with pride. Yes, I spent a lot of time in the store and saw how he greeted the meshulachim, and how he made the kids say their “please and thank-you’s” to get paper. All these things, they made an impression, they shaped me, my perspectives, my priorities, they are so much a part of me, that I often forget where it started and often even attribute them to my father, who emulates my Zaidy in many ways.

But besides for the lessons and inspiration my Zaidy was for other people, and for me too, when I think of him, my first reaction, and thoughts, are love. I just feel loved. I feel loved, important, accepted, which as young confused child, to a navigating adult, I needed. And still need.


Posted by on March 1, 2012 in Memoir


Tags: , , , , , , ,

My Father’s Hands

My father expressed his love with his hands: a handshake, a hug, a pat on the back, and I was ashamed.

They were large, smooth, and warmest to touch. With a pat on my head, a squeeze on my shoulders, and on cold winter days, enveloping my hands in his to warm up, I knew my father loved me. But I didn’t want anyone to see them.

Do you know the intoxicating smell of ink? No, not pen ink, but the real stuff, the pails of densest black, seafaring blue, and Snow White’s, blood red. That’s what was imprinted on my father’s hand, embedded in every crevice, snaking every line: dried ink. Printer’s hands.

He’d wash his hands every day, scrub them really, with a brush course enough for your kitchen tiles, but the ink stained, blemished, tarnished and everyone thought they knew who my father was: a laborer.

They saw the back support belt when he carried the large shipments of paper into the store. They saw the dirty apron he wore, to protect his clothes. They smelled the high of the ink, and heard the clanging, suction, and rotations of the machines. And they saw his hands. Even on Shabbos, even by simchas, dressed in a Marcy’s suit, they saw his hands, his ink stained hands. And he was blue collar. And I was ashamed.

Two times a year they were pure, Succos and Pesach; he didn’t work on Chol Hamoed, so there was time for repeated washings without repeated contact. My father did those days, what his heart wanted the time to do every day, listen to a shiur, do a chessed, and really, love his family. I loved my father back those days. And I’d squeeze his hand in return; he was what I knew him to be: a ben Torah. For those moments, I was proud of him. I even took pictures of his clean hands.

Time has changed the printing process. Gone are the offset presses; everything is digital now. No more noise, plates, dark rooms, negatives, and no more ink. There are no more pails of ink, only drums and cartridges keeping my father safe from exposure. His hands are white these days. Clean, pure these days. Though I’ve grown older, and come to appreciate the stained ink, the dedication, the hard work, effort and sacrifice they represent; it’s still nice to hold my father’s hand today, hands that now reflect his heart.


Posted by on January 20, 2012 in Memoir, Writing


Tags: , , , , ,

The Madness Behind the Method

A mother holds up her child.
Image via Wikipedia

I just read this article from the Wall Street Journal. It’s titled “Why Chinese Mothers are Superior”, the author describes the parenting behind the stereotypical overachieving Chinese kid. In the beginning I found myself agreeing with the writer, but then when she went into further detail, I recoiled. I could never treat my child that way, nor do I want to, regardless of the results. The end does not justify the means, and who says the end is so admirable anyway, who defines academic success and musical accomplishments as success in life…on the other hand, Western parenting, doesn’t seem to be having much success in the respect and achievement department either. What is the happy medium? Where do you draw the lines?


Posted by on January 12, 2011 in Parenting


Tags: , , ,

%d bloggers like this: