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CAST OF CHARACTERSPrince Lenny- 17 year old son
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Monthly Archives: August 2012
I received an invitation to my friend’s daughter’s wedding in November. We’d have to travel to get there – but it’s doable. I’d like to go, but I know it’s going to be a crazy expensive wedding with all the bells and whistles, and the mother of the bride is doing it all on her own with no help from the bride’s father. (Divorced parents….) I know she cannot afford it, but is doing it anyway.
Do we go anyway because we’re invited and I know she’d like us there, or decline and send a nice gift?
What would you do?
Simple enough question. Innocuous. But do we ever really answer it honestly? If we did, would people actually listen / hear us or just dismiss the answer because a “fine” is expected, and anything else is lost in the ether.
Would you take the time to listen to how someone really is, the worries over children, money, education, health etc? Do we really want to know how someone is, or is the question just a simple societal nicety that we’ve all bought into?
We did the back to school / empty Ima’s bank account shopping today. The boys pictured above begged me for footie PJs. They beg me this time of the year every year for the PJs. I always say no. This year, well, I am tired. I said yes. Plus they talked me into buying myself pink camouflage ones.
When Squiggy was a teeny tot, maybe 16 months old, he had a pair of footie pjs in red. We had escaped to a little cottage in Tremblant for the weekend as Montreal was undergoing a fierce ice storm and I was 7 months pregnant and needed to be warm.
There was no crib for Squiggy, so he and Lenny shared a big boy bed. Lenny was two and a half at the time. We tucked them in, and sat down to warm our toes on the fire. We heard a little giggle, and turned to see little Squiggy in his red pjs, belly sticking out, flaxen curls dancing around his laughing face, standing by the door of his room with triumph in his eyes. We must have tucked him in 5 or 6 times until the novelty wore off.
However, that first look of him standing there at the doorway – that’s something that never left me. Looking at him in the picture above, it’s a little difficult to reconcile this almost-man with that adorable toddler, but oh what a memory that brought back.
The little one wanted to keep his pjs on all day today – but it is too hot. He can’t wait to need to wear them!!
We all have our favourite pet peeves – socks with sandals, flip flops with a business suit, pants that are 3/4 of an inch too short / too long, a guy who wears a belt and braces (suspenders).
What are yours? What fashion don’ts drive you crazy?
I stand watching him from the doorway. I watch his easy back and forth banter with the group of giggling girls gathered in front of his cash register, his patience as he takes their orders.
I study his profile, the stubble on his jaw, I notice his new way of combing his hair, his shiny leather bracelet adorning his left wrist. I drink him in visually, taking my time to remember every detail.
If I didn’t know who he was, I’d have thought this was a man in front of me. But I know better. This is my 17 year old son, the first baby to fill my heart. My little boy has become a man, almost overnight.
My breath catches in my throat. He is mine, this boy, but mine no longer. He belongs to himself – he knows where he wants to go and how he wants to get there. He doesn’t need his mama as much – but will always love her and want her approval.
I stand stock-still at the door of the restaurant, holding back the tears, trying to staunch the flow of memories. He looks up and sees me, his smile turning on all the lights in his soul. For a moment he’s that 12 month old who has taken his first steps and looked for his mother to share in his accomplishment, that six year old who has triumphantly mastered riding his bike without stabilizers, that 13 year old who has laid tefillin for the first time, then he winks at me and rolls his eyes and carries on taking the girls’ orders before allowing himself the comfort of my hug.
Just yesterday I was cradling him in the hospital, awed with the responsibility of having to raise this child, scared to mess up, wanting so much to do it all right. Even with all the missteps and sad times, he has become a mensch of the highest order. I am so proud to call him son.
I just realized that in less than a year my oldest is flying the coop. Leaving home. Doing the grown up thing and living his own life on his own terms. In less than a year life will change so much.
He’s been working upstate all summer. I had the chance to hang out with him a little today and I realized just how mature and grown up he is, and how sure of himself he seems to be. I think back to myself at 17 and I was such a naif!! I knew nothing. He knows who he is, and where he wants to go in life.
So proud of him – it’s such a privilege to watch them all grow up but did it have to happen so fast?
My very good friend Jamie Geller and her family made aliyah almost a week ago. There has been lots of press surrounding the flight they were on – almost 130 of those on the special Nefesh b’Nefesh chartered flight were young people heading straight to the army. The rest of the 300 or so were families making aliyah with young kids, grandparents joining married children and their kids in Israel, and others who have given in to that strong magnetic pull towards Eretz Yisrael.
I scrolled through the photos, tears streaming down my face. Envy flashed across my psyche, briefly. I wanted to be that person descending those steps at Ben Gurion airport. I wanted to have my family waiting there for me with huge Bruchim Habaim signs. I wanted to go HOME.
It’s a dream that I have had for so long. I wish I would have made Aliyah at 18 when I was unencumbered, but I was too fixated on finding a husband and having children. After my divorce I briefly considered packing the boys up and jumping on a plane and never looking back. I couldn’t have done that to them – to distance them so far from their father. And, had I done that, I would never have met the KoD.
But I want to be there so badly. As I age I feel the pull get stronger and stronger. Next year my oldest will head off to Israel (maybe army, maybe yeshiva), the year after his brother plans to make Aliyah and go straight to the army and never come back to the US. My heart sings for them, and aches for me.
One day, Israel, one day soon we will all come home.
Apparently, tweeting / facebooking about my hair is not tzanua. Not only am I not allowed to show it to the world, talking about is also verboten!!
Last week I decided to do something about the silver streaks that seem to have cropped up almost overnight, and I tweeted about going to get it dyed. As usual, such a statement generated some discussion – some people feeling that seeing as I cover I shouldn’t worry about it. I like my hair to look nice at all times, and the silver was bothering me. So what if no one other than me and the KoD see it – I need to do this for MYSELF.
Later that day I received an email saying how I was being disrespectful to the KoD by talking about my hair. I suppose if I ever decided to no longer cover, that would be disrespectful to him to, because, apparently one lives one’s life for other people. No self-respect allowed. The hair on my head does not belong to me, but to the KoD. Who knew?!
Technically, according to some, even if I had tweeted a picture of my freshly dyed locks (I didn’t) it would not be ervah because it’s a picture, and not the real thing. But can you imagine the emails I would have received then?
I wish these haters would clean up their own lives and religious practices before they start whaling on others. I don’t think it’s acceptable from any standpoint – religious or secular – to send nasty emails to people, whether you know them or not!!