Sunday, April 29, 2012



A Short Story?

Mommy, tell the baby to stop talking to me.

Isaac, the baby is asleep.  She is not saying anything.

Mommy, she won't stop talking to me... she's not using her voice... it is like a straight line between two souls.  She won't stop telling me things.  I'm tired and I want to sleep. 

What are you talking about?

Mommy, it is called "twin-a-thetics".  This is how she talks to me all the time. 

Oh.  (I think to myself that I have never heard of anything called "twin-a-thetics".)  Oh, okay, I'll tell the baby that it is time to go to sleep, ... that she should stop talking to you. 

Thank you, Mommy. 

Rach', Rachel, your brother is tired.  He would like to go to sleep.  Would you please wait until the morning to finish telling him all these things?  (What things!!!?  What could she possibly be telling him?  I am whispering into the ear of a sleeping baby. )

Okay, Isaac, the deed is done. 

Thank G-d, Mommy.  She said that she'd finish up in the morning just like you have asked.  Good night. 

(I hear my little boy recite the words of our "Shema" and the house settles into the quiet calm of night.)

Sunday, April 22, 2012

A Big Sister


Adored for Life

Dear Bailah,

Greetings to you and your husband.  Again, I extend my heartfelt thanks to you both for all the help you are giving Mom and Dad.  I am as grateful to you as I am sorry that being a cancer patient and living out of town have made me unable to help.  Thank you for your understanding and acceptance. 

You know, I believe that we are good sisters even if we are not busom buddies.  In the long run it gives Mom and Dad a broader spectrum of help and assistance than what they would have had were we alike in thought, manner, and deed.  Now, as they are preparing to move near me and my family, I want you to know and remember how much I love you.  You are and will always be my big sister.  I have adored you my entire life and will continue to adore you. 

You were a tough act to follow.  Always smarter, more wise in the world, more aware, more responsible, very hard working, and astonishingly beautiful.  I grew up in your shadow.  All through school I was called by your name just as often if not more so than I was called by my own.  Even the kids in my class wanted my help with you.  They wanted you to know them... they thought you so beautiful.  I was only good enough to be a bridge to you.  But I did not mind because I loved and adored you with all my might which is why it was always painful for me to be unwelcomed in your world. 

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Years Ago Last Night


A Letter from my Bubbe

(written 36 years ago)

(Mail arrived in the evening)

Page 1
This letter has six pages.  I labelled each one so you know how to read it.  Dearest Anna:

It was so considerate of you to write the letter to me.  I read it over and over again.  But, first thing I did was to call Avram and Sara.  They were very happy to hear that you are okay.  Your letter is very interesting.  It shows that you  are very busy.  You are not wasting any time. 

We are having summer in Chicago.  The weather is pleasant.  It is a lot better than winter.  Yaakov took me to Avram's store.  Your mother looked very beautiful and she likes the business.  And your father is happy, but looks tired.  Avram is a very hard working man. 

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

And If I Live



There was, there is, and there will always be a wonderful woman named Amy.  Carl Jung says that for the most part the soul exists outside the body.  How could this be?  How could this not be? 

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer I worried obsessively over the question, "what if I die?"  Thanks to Amy I now spend much more of my time pondering the greater dilemma, "what if I live? ... then what?"

My beloved friend, Nancy, deserves the credit for shattering my obsession with dying.  When she heard of my diagnosis she called me to tell me of my place in her heartfelt prayers.  She also said that everybody has habits and that my habit was to endure.  She doubted very much if the breast cancer would kill me.  That black cloud of fear left me as I thanked her and we said our good-byes.  That was at the beginning of this new path.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012



In keeping with the spirit of the moment

We stand side by side at the stove in perfect mirror symmetry.  My mother the lefty and me the righty.  I have been in the hospital for surgery.  Mom and Dad came to visit and to hold the fort together.  On my first day home I can find absolutely nothing in my own kitchen.  How could this be?  My mother, my wonderful loving Mom, has been working in my kitchen in my absence, cooking and cleaning, and putting everything away where it belongs.  ... not necessarily where she found it ... rather, where it belongs.  I would like to scream but it would hurt too much by pulling on my stitches or staples or whatever the doctor used to close up my gut. 

"Mom, do you remember when I was little and I did not want to do what you told me to do?  You said to me that this was your house and I had to do things your way.  You also said that when I grew up and had a home of my own I could do things my way.  Don't you believe that the moment has finally and certainly arrived?!  I have a husband and two children and my own house with a kitchen.  I CAN'T FIND ANYTHING HERE AND THIS IS MY KITCHEN!"

"Anna, I put things where they belong.  Just because you set up your kitchen incorrectly does not mean it has to stay wrong."

"Mom, I am raising my kids a certain way.  I am very curious as to what they will do with this up-bringing when they go out into the world on their own.  Weren't you curious as to what Bailah and I would do once we entered the world on our own?"