Monthly Archives: November 2010

Eight Days

Most kids count down the days to Christmas from December 26 until December 25 of the next year.  It’s a day of pure joy.  Pure excitement.  Anticipation.  Smiles and pajamas and giggles and family and early mornings and messes of wrapping paper and ribbons.

Or so I hear.

Because I have never celebrated Christmas.  Nope, no stockings hanging over my fireplace.  No cookies left for Santa.  No Christmas tree with beautiful colorful lights, memorable ornaments and a perfect star on top.  No early morning wakings to see what Santa brought for me.  Some of you may feel sad for me that I never got to experience the dazzle of this popular holiday.  I actually felt sad myself when I was much younger.  I felt a little left out.  A little on the outside. But not REALLY.  Just a little bit.

Because I had Chanukah.  Eight days of dazzle.  Eight days of waking up in the morning wondering what my gift that night would be.  Eight days of walking into the living room with presents stacked high on the table.  Eight days of lighting the candles on the menorah and singing a song I had grown to love (although never really knew what the Hebrew words meant).  I loved Chanukah.  As much as all of my friends loved Christmas.  And I still love Chanukah but more from a different perspective.  The perspective of watching my kids’ eyes light up when they see all of their presents stacked high on OUR living room floor.  Last year I watched Hannah sit indian style in front of the stack of presents willing herself to see THROUGH the wrapping paper. Looking long and hard at the shapes and sizes of each gift trying to guess what they all were.

I try to make Chanukah look and feel as special as Christmas.  Because it’s hard.  To drive down our street and see the majority of the houses lit up with Christmas lights and trees.  Jolly blow up Santas in the yards.  Reindeer and sleighs climbing over the roofs.  And not have any of that on our house.  Hannah is at the age of asking why we can’t have all of that on our house.  Many of my friends actually ask me the same.  “Why don’t you just do it… for the kids?”  And I know they don’t get it when I tell them it’s because we’re Jewish.  And Jewish people (for the most part) just don’t decorate the house with Christmas decorations.  Because it would be doing it just to Fit In.  And we teach our kids that doing things just to fit in, is not ok.  I ask them if they lived in a mostly Jewish town and THEIR kids were in the minority if they’d light a menorah to fit in… and they all quickly respond, “Well, no.”  Don’t get me wrong, I’m super proud of my roots, my heritage, my upbringing but for a little kid, being even slightly different.  Is hard.  Because the Hoopla is all around Christmas where we live.  And where the kids go to school.   Hannah told me yesterday she asked EVERY kid in her class if they celebrate Christmas and all but one said yes.  That was hard for her.  And as a mom, I want to make things easy for her.  I want things to make sense to her.  I want her to feel proud of who she is.  Proud of her religion.  Her upbringing.  So I make Chanukah a really big deal.  With games and chocolate and extra ribbons and fun pink Chanukah drinks, and big dinner parties.  And this year, we’re inviting her two best friends who are Christian to celebrate one night of Chanukah with her.  So she can feel proud.  And special.  And they can understand what she does for HER holiday.  All of her friends always tell her about the cookies they leave out for Santa and the traditions they have on Christmas Eve.  Now her friends will get a taste of OUR traditions.  Feel the warmth in our house during one of Hannah’s favorite times of year.

And maybe Hannah will stop asking me how we can get on that “list” that Santa gets each year telling him whose house he should go to with his sac of gifts.  Because I’m running out of ways to avoid the topic.

What’s it like for you?  Do you celebrate Christmas or Chanukah or something else?  What’s the big kid’s gift in your house this year?

 

 

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Who’s Counting?

I don’t talk much about Luke in this blog.  I’m not sure why… maybe because he doesn’t bring me as much emotional angst as Hannah and I don’t feel I need to vent as much about him.  Or maybe because he doesn’t say as much that totally blows me away as Hannah does.  Really, he doesn’t say much at all.  It also could be because I don’t relate to him as much because he’s not, well, a girl like.  I don’t know, the material just isn’t as in my face as the drama that Hannah brings me each and every day.  So, sadly he’s kind of missing from this blog.

But yesterday when out of the blue he started counting on his own, I stopped and turned to him and I felt my entire body smile.  Not just my mouth.  Not just my face.  No, my whole body curled upward into a smile.  Because, as many of you know, this little guy has been extremely slow in the speaking department and each word that comes out of his mouth is a true triumph for me.  And him.  When he answers a question with more than just “YEAH Mommy”, he looks at me, head cocked to the side, shoulders shrugging with a smile that says, “Yup, I DID just say that!  On my own!”.  And he sees the pride written all over me.

Words are still coming slowly.  Very slowly.  But they are coming.  My mom joked yesterday that he talks a little like E.T. And it’s true.  He says the important words in sentences, but not necessarily all of the words that actually make a sentence a Sentence.  But it’s ok.  Because I get him.  I hear him. And I can finally talk WITH him, not just to him. And for those of you who can relate to this situation, you know how much it melts you when these conversations happen.

So yesterday, Luke was playing with his cars.  Pulling them out of his big box o’ cars and placing them in his little parking garage one at a time.  And with each one he pulled out, he shouted out a number.  As if he was announcing who was next at the deli counter.

“TWO!” (He skips the number One. Always. Who needs One anyway?)

“FREE!”

“FO!”

“ZIX!” (Yup, he skips five too which angers Hannah to no end as it’s her age).

“FEVEN!”

“EIGHT!”

“NION!” (kind of rhymes with Lion)

“DEN!”

“FUH-FEVEN!” (my favorite number of all time)

“TWELF!”

“FIRTEEN!”

And back to “TWO!” he goes…

I also loved watching him raise each car high over his head as he announced its number to the crowd, while he dug through the box for the next victim.

I tried to get him to learn the numbers beyond “Firteen”, but he was very happy getting that high and starting over.  He actually ignored all attempts on my part to coach him in any way.  And that was more than fine. Because this all happened on his own. Without prodding.  Without begging him to learn.  It happened how it was meant to happen.

Slowly.

On his own terms.

And it’s how he will continue. Not rushed. Not stressed. And soon, he’ll be counting to infinity. Including One and Five.

And conversing with all of us. For us all to understand. Not just me and E.T.

 

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Stretched

I sat with my chin in my hands, smile on my face as I watched Hannah last week in gymnastics.  She sat in the front row of a class of about twenty-five 5-7 year old girls.  She always likes to be in the front.  Close to the instructor. Having the best view.  Getting the most attention if she should need to tell about her trip to Pittsburgh, her dinner with her grandparents or her mom running a red light on the way to class.  I couldn’t hear the coaches or the kids from where I sat, behind the glass, as if watching monkeys in the zoo.  But I always know when Hannah is telling a story.  She twirls one ponytail around and around her finger, stands very close to whoever she is talking to and makes sure not to lose their eye contact.  The coach smiles and nods and I usually read, “OH REALLY? Wow!” from their lips.  I always wonder what story it is that she told this time.  She tells these stories all while she stretches at the start of class.  I’m amazed with the ease that she stretches.  Her legs spread in a near split.  Her nose or her ear touching her knee.  One side.  Quickly to the next. Out in front.  Face planted on the floor between her legs. She flips to her back.  Presses he arms to the floor into a backbend.  Perfectly arched. Like a rainbow.

I remember when I could stretch like that.  It caused no pain to jump into the air and land in a split. I could easily flip my legs backwards over my head, putting my knees next to my ears.  Like a pretzel.  I could grab my ankles with my hands in a backbend. Like a rubberband.

I no longer can stretch like that. It hurts. I get stuck. And I can’t bounce back.

But.

These days I am STRETCHED.  I guess that’s what happens. You go from being flexible and loving to stretch, to just plain being stretched.

There’s just so much.  Too much. And I’m being pulled.  From side to side. From above and below. From real world to online world.  From being thrilled to be where I am today, to being petrified of where I’ll be tomorrow. From feeling like I’m doing it pretty well, to feeling like I’m failing miserably. From knowing it will all turn out alright, to not even knowing what “All Right” is or if there even is an All Right.  From feeling like I’m able to take care of everything, to feeling like I’m caring for no one very well.

Stretched.

I wouldn’t mind being so stretched if I felt more flexible.  If it didn’t hurt quite so much.  I want to scream, “Stop pulling me!” but I know it’s just part of life. Being pulled. Not ever feeling balanced.  Always feeling like I’m about to fall over or dragged to a place that doesn’t feel quite right.

The strange thing?  Is that so much IS right in my world these days. I’m working.  Making money. Running my own little business with projects that I LOVE.  But these projects that I love are taking me away from this passion of writing that I love.  And I’ve hated having to choose.  Spend two hours at night on a client’s blog, or my own.  Get paid, or say “hi” to you all.  I’m finding time to remember the OLD me.  The one who played tennis.  I get out there and hit some balls, get some exercise, feel competitive and inspired to be in shape.  But that time on the court?  Is two hours that i could be making money, or again, be here with you.  Or making an effort to see my friends.  Or visiting my mom or my Nana.  Every day that I am happy with what I DID do, I realize what I did NOT do.  Clean my house.  Organize my kitchen/playroom/office/bedroom.

I’m stretched. Full of worry, impatience, fear. For what lays ahead. When the slight breeze will come that will knock me to the ground. It won’t even take a strong gust of wind, just a breeze.

Because I can’t stretch anymore.  I’m as stretched as I can be.

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