Wednesday, May 22, 2013


It’s actually happening for the first time in 4 years—our own personal Brigadoon. We’re going on Vacation.
Oh, I had big plans; my BIG birthday’s coming up, etc. etc., and I’ve been dreaming of going to St. Petersburg, Russia, forever, and let’s just expletive go!
But what with twin babies and not so much time or money…
So Sruli suggested a quick, booby-prize jaunt to Paris—oolala—I’ve never been and even got so far as to get Instant French CD’s and download them to my computer and got the Frommers—but—not this year.
So—we are going to Atlantic City, 53 bucks a night at Harrahs and the big kids are watching the little kids.
And I’m actually pretty excited.
Four days, right punkt smack in the middle of crazy camp prep, 2 graduations, 2 packing-out-of-the-dorms, a zillion gigs and the Rabbinate. Sruli promised me we won’t talk about work.
So I am hoping to do some reflection, pre-half century mark.
Like, what the hell? How did I get here? And—why am I still not thin? And—when did they start calling them Medical Centers instead of Hospitals, flip flops instead of thongs, and covers instead of playing a song that really belongs to another, more successful band?
And why DID I really give up my advertising job all those years ago instead of trying to do music on the weekends, knowing full well I’d never hit the stratosphere of performance since I started so goddam late and I seem to be working on the weekends mostly anyway? I would have been able to send my kids to any college they wanted AND had an apartment in the city (although living in a shul is fun and you should try it sometime) and I would be wearing real clothes like the kind that actually might have to be dry-cleaned, instead of yoga pants and long n lean tanks from Target. Every day.
And why am I still not thin?
And why do I have to pee ever goddam 5 minutes?
And why do I self-sabotage (this still has to do with the why am I not thin question) and ten years ago I managed to make myself look great for my last big birthday and  our big trip to play at the Cracow Festival and that Ann Taylor dress is still hanging in my closet, but this year I will, for sure, be the fattest parent at Aaron’s Heschel graduation dinner.
And I will also reflect why we go to bed so late, and why I can’t think straight any more. You know, remember things. And did I mention, why am I not thin?
I want to reflect on my next chapter, pending the Good Lord’s benevolence.
What I can do better. For my family, my shul, my community and maybe even the world.
How I can help Zachary more—as he battles the odds and gets up on a big stage tomorrow night—his first concert produced by a producer.
How I can help Ilana more—as she negotiates her new, free life, and help her make choices that even her Dad can agree with.
How I can help Aaron who is still figuring out how unbelievably fabulous he is—and how much I freakin’ love him and would help him if he would freakin’ let me. Like never sending emails to important grownups without me vetting them.
And—re the Twins: are we EVER going to really send them to school?
And Sruli, well—I can’t really change anything about him, can I? He’s even older than I am.
I want to be more patient.  I want never to grimace. Or roll my eyes. I want to stop sweating so much (see thin question above) but also not to anticipate fights and problems. Which I really do. It’s a double-bad whammy—you get the cortisol coming and going. Not a good situation for a flat belly according to the pop-up screen on my Yahoo.
So I will use the few days to calm down. Sleep. Read. Beach.
And count my manifold blessings.
And revel (ha! Atlantic City pun!) that at this crazy middle-age I can still go one or two rounds with my partner at the bar, and again, later, upstairs.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Every Day is Mother's Day?

There is one question that people ask me most often these days—after “Are you sure you’re ok, you look tired?”  and it is: “What’s harder—boys or girls?”

In fine Jewish tradition, and in fine fettle after a fine Mother’s Day, I will answer the question—with a question. A long question, heh heh.
If --you are changing diapers and you have to remember to keep some absorbent something over his little thing while you are also reaching down in what could be an advanced-intermediate yoga stretch, to pick up your entire ring of important keys that he needs to hold to keep his little hands occupied so they don’t end up in the poo-ish diaper, and which he threw down, mind you, in the first place—is that harder?
If--you are trying to get them into the car seat goddammit because you are late goddammit, and she has decided that the sequence of events must, by law, SHOULD have been: carry her out of the house, let her walk to the car by herself and climb up into the car seat by herself, but you, in your foolish and unforgivable haste, carried her out of the house, CARRIED her to the car and EVEN THOUGH you let her climb up into the car seat by herself, you must immediately go back in time and GO BACK TO THE HOUSE  and let her walk all by HERSELF to the car—is that harder?
If--you are at the playground with another mother who looks much, much, more perfect than you and there is a pirate ship that can easily and happily accommodate 15 toddlers, and your son and her son are the only buccaneers aboard, and her son will end up crying because your son will have walloped him because “I was standing there first, Mommy,”—is that harrrr-der?
If--you are again late goddammit, and you finally hold aloft a pair of CLEAN tights that match the dress that took many, many tries to be put, albeit with shrieking, on, they are deemed unacceptable because they have sparkles on them and you know, “Mommy, sparkles make my legs uncomfortable”—is that harder?
If-- you are at a diner, and it’s kind of crowded and you’re kind of starving and you know he never eats anything anyway, so what could be the harm if he climbs over all those built-in back to back mustard leatherette booths and she, the future chemist, who actually packs away pancakes and nuggets and pizza and soup with such efficiency that Sruli and I have no idea where she puts them--will be experimenting with the viscosity of an epicurean blend of ketchup, maple syrup and salt—which is harder?
In the meantime there are two of them and one of I, when Sruli and I tag-team which is often, and they say things like “WE want to go to the red swing playground” and “WE want to go to that place with the Ipads” and “WE want to go to the rice and beans store” and, almost every day, “WE want to go to Dunkin Donuts.”
AND they stick up for one another so that if Johnny cries because I potched him for RUNNING OUT INTO THE STREET RIGHT IN FRONT OF A CAR that was caroming down, Charlie will narrow her green eyes at me and say, with great articulation, “Mommy is bad.”
Or if it’s Charlie who is whining for yet another quarter to feed the evil machines, which, in their smug, glassy, colorful and silent ubiquity block the exit of every single—every single—store from the grocery to Wal-Mart, it is Johnny who wheedles it out of me, standing in my way and shaking his blond curls and holding out his firm, little, irresistible hand. He silently gives the coin to his sister, and reverently waits for her to twist those goddam twisters. “Are you happy?, he asks, when the plastic ring comes out in that stupid plastic bubble. Is that what you always wanted?
It’s a trip, what can I say?
What’s harder is getting ANY time to do what I have to do—call back my Bar Mitzvah Moms, call back my Camp Moms, deal with the camp permit, deal with my OTHER THREE KIDS, get on the bicycle, take a shower, write a little. And what’s harder is that being a Rebbetzin is also a job. A big, busy job.
What’s even harder to admit is that I am in serious need of an attitude adjustment, because I feel wicked complaining. I know it’s because my bum foot has kept me off the bicycle for a few weeks and my endorphins are low.
Sruli says I should be happy all the time—hey, he says, our life is working out! It’s true. We are going away together, week after next, for the first time in 4 years—the big kids are watching the little kids. AND I saw the podiatrist today and I can get back on the bike tomorrow (!) AND I finished a TV script that I have had in my head for TEN YEARS. It’s pretty good and I’m pretty proud.
So—here I am, mom of Boy/Girl twins getting back to the basic question. Boys or Girls?  Which is harder? IF you have boys—then you know. IF you have girls—then you know. IF you have both—do I really have to tell you?
And really, wouldn’t it be harder to imagine life without them?