Tag Archives: rosh hashanah

Time to Cry Tuesday – Want and Need


This might be the first post ever to combine Dave Matthews and the Jewish Holidays; but that seems fitting since this is a post about firsts.

Here we are – playing holiday dominoes – with those of the tribe watching Labor Day cascade into Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year.

This particular holiday is a tough one for our family. We are still stumbling through the ‘firsts’… the things we are doing for the first time without my mom. Although three and half months have passed, it seems like both a moment and a lifetime. Just when I think I have found my footing, my new normal, my ability to feel sad but somewhat whole, it hits me. I have avoided sharing here but somehow this seems the right thing to do, so here goes.

Although no one can stop me from starting to circle the drain, there is always someone there to grab my hand and pull me out. I have my army of grief guides; my friends who have been there and let me know with their steely strength that I will, in fact, make it through. In spite of myself and because of them.

I am beyond fortunate.

Yesterday I had just finished the massive guerrilla food shop. I was cleaning chickens to make my soup and as I was doing it I thought of how when I was first married I could not bear to clean a chicken and my mom used to laugh with me on the phone as I did it to talk me through. And it hit me. Hard. The drain, she was a- calling me to circle to the left.

And then the phone rang. My Rabbi! Seriously, do they learn this in rabbinic school? Do they become hyper-trained to sense the drain circling? Or was it a coincidence? I think not. He also called on her birthday without knowing it. Both times to check on me; to make me try to find the sweet in all the bitter. To hold my hand so I would not succumb to that proverbial plumbing.

I am beyond fortunate.

And then I had a nice long phone visit with my mom’s best friend since childhood – Aunt Arlene (who is not my aunt), as we called her. Her laugh, her stories, her way… all a piece of my mom. As we talked about how much we missed her I felt another hand reach through the phone to keep me from slipping down those pesky pipes.

What I want, is what I’ve not got. But what I need, is all around me.

Wishing all who celebrate a sweet new year. And all who are grieving the strength to stay away from the plumbing during the holidays.


Filed under aging parents, friendship, holidays, loss

A Sweet New Year (and the funny thing about mashed potatoes)

There is an odd phenomenon surrounding the making of mashed potatoes. There is truly a fine line between the perfect amount of milk and…

well I would have to say:

wallpaper paste.

Yes, you guessed it. I was there. They were really perfect. But I could not leave well enough alone and had to add that one little drop more of milk. And the next think I knew I was preparing boxed rice pilaf (on a holiday, that’s simply a crime!) and dumping those potatoes before Gary got home to witness my failure.

But here’s the thing. It’s not about the mashed potatoes. Or the rice. Or the fact that you find yourself cooking chicken soup and brisket on labor day as if someone pulled the switch on your summer and sent you tumbling down the Days of Awe water slide.

It’s about stopping and taking a deep breath and remembering that even though it is 85 degrees out and you have a Chambers Stove from the 1930s that is causing your kitchen to feel like a sauna; traditions, community, family and friends are what the whole thing is about.

Like the friend that picks up your parents’ synagogue tickets for you because you were too harried to get there yourself. Or the one who wakes up to remember that she is out of flour but she always bakes you a challah and makes sure to get to the store early enough to make you one again this year AND have her son deliver it to you. Or it is sitting in Synagogue (yes in that state of post ruining the potatoes shame) and looking to your left and right to see not just both your parents, but both of your in-laws as well.

So to all the members of the Tribe that read this blog, L’Shana Tovah. May you have a good, sweet year.

And just a tip, go light on the milk in the mashed potatoes.


Filed under family, friendship, holidays

Email. Brisket. Conference Call. Kugel.

There are days when working at home is both wonderful and manic.

Is it hard to juggle it all? Sometimes.

Would I have it any other way?

Probably not.

There is nothing like preparing a holiday while you try to juggle tying up a week of work.

For those who are of the tribe, I wish a sweet new year. And for those who are not, I wish you no lines at the movies or your favorite restaurant on Friday and Saturday night.

I’ll be back on Sunday.

Haven’t had enough of me yet? You can also read me at 50-Something Moms Blog.For photo enthusiasts, visit Leaving the zip code, photos from outside the comfort zone.

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Filed under carreers, family, holidays

Time to Cry Tuesday: Keeping the Faith

For those of you who are Jewish, L’shana Tovah. For those of you who are not, that translates into: don’t forget to take a Pepcid before you start your holiday meal and don’t worry you should never be forced to eat gefilte fish if it grosses you out. Oh, and of course it is the day that every mother of a boy scrambles from friend to friend trying to find a pair of pants that are not up to their teenage son’s ankles.

Just kidding, this is how we wish each other a happy new year. Rosh Hashanah, which began at sundown Monday night, is the Jewish New Year. I always thought it was kind of cool to start a holiday at sundown. And it makes for such great traffic stress on the Long Island Expressway, doesn’t it?

All kidding aside, in the midst of all the turmoil our country has found itself in these days, it is a wonder anyone can still keep the faith. Whatever your religion, if you take comfort in the rituals it surely helps to ease the anxiety of the times.

I am not a particularly religious person, but I am one that holds strong to my heritage and the traditions that are tied to it. To me, religion is about family and friends. And I try my best to keep the faith against all odds. 

The fact that I can set a table and know that both my parents AND both my in-laws will be sitting down to a holiday meal with us is truly a blessing. Don’t get me wrong, we are all crazy in our own ways and that surely makes for some lively discussion, but how many teenagers can say that they have 4 living grandparents? Not many. Over the past few years we have had some holidays with one or another family member sadly absent from the table and hospitalized for a host of reasons. Thankfully this is not one of those years.

As a kid, going to services was torture for me. I am sure my kids feel that way today. Although I wonder now that Jana is so far away if she would not secretly rather be in the building. Ok, maybe just at the table for the home cooked meal is more realistic, but maybe not. Both kids are so comfortable there.

Now when I walk into the synagogue I am taken by the power of sitting within the community that I raised my children. This is the building where we have celebrated happy times and grieved sad ones, where the kids went to pre-school, became b’nai mitzvah. I see the all the faces and through them gauge the time I have spent here. I feel very fortunate to live in a place where people care so deeply for one another.

These have been wonderful years. I have made friendships that I could not think of living without. People who have seen me through my darkest days and who understood my warped ways and love me anyway.

With all my talk of the need to leave the zip code, when it comes down to it…

there’s no place like home.

(toto/mel, i don’t think we are in kansas anymore…)

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Filed under family, religion, Time to Cry Tuesdays