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Passover Playlist: Four Songs

I’ve created this Passover Playlist for my children—who are understandably anxious and sad about leaving their childhood home of sixteen years—and there is a bonus song for my spouse. These are the songs I’ve been singing while they are at school and work and I am at home, spending my Spring Break packing boxes. Since the week ahead promises to be rough on all of us, let’s soothe our nerves with music:

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For all the things my hands have held, the best by far is you…

It just takes some time…you’re in the middle of the ride…everything everything will be alright…

Though I know I’ll never lose affection for people  and things that went before, I know I’ll often stop and think about them, in my life, I love you more.

With all your faults I love you still, it had to be you, wonderful you…

rwb_logo196I’m at the Rabbis Without Borders blog this week, sharing some moments from our family seder and reflections on moving next week. Please visit and leave your comments at the website:

From Slavery to Freedom, From Grief to Joy: In ten days we will be surrounded by these same boxes in a different house. After nine months of preparation—purging our house of unnecessary stuff and packing the essentials for our journey—my family will leave our home of sixteen years. The timing of our move, immediately after Passover, inspired much discussion at our Seder about leaving behind the burdens of last year and…Read more →

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One Long Night

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When the kids were younger and my spouse used to travel for business, we developed numerous coping strategies to make his absence easier on everyone. Generally, this entailed a relaxation of mealtime and bedtime routines. Once, our eldest wrote a list of “Single Parent Rules,” which included gems such as “there’s no such thing as too much TV” and “caffeine is a food group (for the parent),” and she displayed them on the refrigerator for him to review upon his return.

Time softens my memory of the challenges I faced caring for three small humans alone, while the cook, dishwasher and superior reader of stories at bedtime was gone. I’d nearly forgotten that almost every time he traveled, one of the kids would get sick. Often this involved a stomach flu or some other virus; an ear infection or sudden, barking cough occasioned a visit to the pediatrician, followed by a trip to the pharmacy. Sometimes, those awful times when “Mom Immunity” failed, my spouse would return to a full house of cranky, exhausted sick people.

This week brought my memory into sharper focus. Not because the kids were any trouble; the youngest is now old enough to take on the task of preparing dinner every night. The eldest is away at college.

This time it’s the canine child who demands all my attention while the leader of the pack is gone. Her symptoms appear after the Vet’s office is closed for the night, of course. As I hide a small pill in peanut butter and desperately attempt to fit the no-bite collar around her neck while she wriggles from my grasp, I remember the rules that no longer hang on the refrigerator door.

Curling up on the couch for a long night of telling her to “leave it,” I consider how fortunate I am to still have the energy to take care of everyone at home while my partner in parenting travels, how relieved I am that Luna’s ailment is not contagious to humans and how happy I am the Top Dog is only away for one night.

luna in collar again

 

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All the Memories

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I am blessed to have three children, and each of them was born to a different mother.

When my eldest was born, I was a young woman, married less than three years, unsure if I was cut out for motherhood. I learned that I was pregnant a third time, just six weeks after an early miscarriage, still unsure how my heart would expand to love another child.

In 1999, we moved with our two daughters to Atlanta, then the fourth fastest-growing city in the country and the only city in which we both had job offers. We knew we wanted more children, but it took a while to settle into our new home. By the time I was pregnant with my son, I was in my mid-thirties. I felt young, but the Obgyn’s designation of my “Advanced Maternal Age,” bouts of hormone induced insomnia and a mandatory meeting with a genetic counselor forced me to consider this child would be my last.

On Sunday, my thirteen year old will celebrate his Bar Mitzvah; he will lead the congregation in prayers and song, read from the Torah and share wisdom he has gleaned from it while studying with me.  Before he teaches the community, I’d like to tell him a few things I’ve learned from him:

Perhajonah and imaps the greatest lesson I learned from you is how time passes quickly as we grow older. Although you are my last-born, the child of my middle age, I’ve spent more one-on-one time with you than with your sisters. I was able to stay home with you for the first six months of your life and return to part-time work until you were three. This arrangement turned out to be good for me, for you and for my students, as well. Because you didn’t sleep through the night for fifteen months, and during your waking hours you were in constant motion—climbing, exploring, testing the boundaries—I learned to accomplish much while moving. I discovered I was a kinesthetic learner. You taught me to take risks as a teacher, to engage my students who were also kinesthetic learners in new ways.

I became an art student during your toddlerhood. At first, I took ceramics classes as an outlet for the anxiety I experienced daily: I had begun to feel disconnected from God, probably because I was so exhausted. I attained a true healing of mind and spirit in the hours of silence I spent at the potter’s wheel. Eleven years later, my yearning for creative expression is fulfilled. You taught me I was not too old to try new things.

As you approached adolescence, you brought music into my life. I mean this quite literally. Every morning you would set your iPod to play an appropriate song for our drive to school. You introduced me to Phillip Phillips, whose song “Gone Gone Gone” was a soundtrack of a sad time in our lives, when we said goodbye to our first dog, Jenna. Recently, you downloaded newer songs, including “Raging Fire.” While we were in traffic and I drummed the steering wheel, you suggested that I watch the video.

Listening to the lyrics carefully as I watched, I understood the artist intended this to be a song about romantic love. Still, I hear in the second verse a declaration of a mother’s love for her son, a reminder to cherish the gifts you have given me  and a prayer for this joyous time in our lives.

You know time will give and time will take,

All the memories made will wash away,

Even though we’ve changed, I’m still here with you.

If you listen close, you’ll hear the sound

Of all the ghosts that bring us down,

Hold on to what makes you feel,

Don’t let go, it’s what makes you real.

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