On our end-of summer family vacation to San Francisco, my husband Michael and I were delighted to spend quality time with our adventurous West Coast cousins, we were enchanted by the snap-fresh organic produce at the Ferry Terminal Farmer's Market, and felt mesmerized by the gigantic Redwood trees at Muir Woods. It was an abundant blessing of family, food and forestry.
I’ve heard some great one-liners in my life that have driven me to the kind of laughter that makes my lungs ache. Brilliant observations by Chris Rock, Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert have made me burst into giggles that speed up, slow down, stop…and then pick right back up again, sometimes for days. But few lines made me giggle as long as the innocent observation made about me by a fellow Little League mom sitting next to me in the bleachers:
“With what you do for a living, I guess you never fight at home.”
When my husband Michael and I packed a bag to bring up to visiting day at the kids’ sleep-away camp, we threw in the super soaker Jacob had requested, the light-up yo-yo Sophie asked for, and a pair of nail clippers. What we really should have packed was a tub of sheep dip for boys, and our industrial strength tolerance for apathy.
There's a first for everything, and every first deserves something - but what?
Most New York Jews probably don't remember their first visit to South Florida, aka the "sixth borough". However, no matter how many times my family heads to South Florida to visit my parents, my twins Jacob and Sophie find some new "first" to delight in.
Our kids had just departed for a month of sleep-away camp. Michael and I were finally alone, and we were ready for adventure, romance, and connection. For our first night, we had it all planned out, something we had never done before:
His and hers dentist appointments.
As Michael sat in one reclining chair, feet up, bibbed, and suctioned, I sat in the next examination room, similarly bedecked. Dr. W put on his four-lens glasses and attempted to relax me:
“I’m just going to take a look, so this won’t hurt yet.”
I wanted my newborn twins’ homecoming to be perfect. But four days after Jacob and Sophie were born, my husband Michael and I were permitted to bring our robust seven-pound son home while our daughter, a dainty four pounds, had to stay in the NICU for a few more days. With one baby in arms and one left behind, our return home was far from perfect. I would quickly learn, however, when perfection would be critical -- and when good enough was good enough.
If you actually pay attention at a Bar or Bat Mitzvah, you just might learn something new. Maybe you'll pick up a meaningful nugget of knowledge from the parsha that you've missed in the past. Perhaps you'll discover how you might get involved in the mitzvah project being discussed on the bima. Or possibly you'll get some insights (and eyesights) as to exactly how much shorter this year's hemlines are than last year's.
When I met my husband Michael thirteen years ago, we knew within the first two weeks that this was it. (I like to tease him that he knew within the first two weeks, and that I’m still thinking about it, but we both know that’s a load of stuffed derma.) So it didn’t feel like we were rushing things when he asked me to meet his parents after one month of dating.
When we think of the term “survivor’s guilt”, we typically picture those who somehow escaped a tragic car accident that claimed others’ lives, or who lived to rebuild their lives after natural disasters like the recent earthquakes in Haiti and Chile. Over the last two and a half years, however, a new and growing breed of American survivors has emerged, with guilt firmly intact: those who have kept their jobs despite endless rounds of layoffs, closures, and foreclosures.
When I received an email from the New Victory Theater announcing a family comedy show called "The Flaming Idiots", my trigger finger clicked to buy four tickets faster than I could stop it. Little did I know that, in between the crackerjack juggling and zany shenanigans, I would experience a dramatic illumination of my personal values.