Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Purple Heart

The Purple Heart is awarded to those who have been wounded or killed while serving with the U.S. military. Yesterday, President Bush visited Frank in the hospital and awarded him the Purple Heart. It is an honor to receive this award. Frank is 19 years old and was only in Iraq for 2 weeks before he was seriously wounded.

I am very proud of him (and the many others who defend our freedoms) and I am praying for a complete and speedy recovery.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Me, I'm fine. Part II

A few weeks ago I got a call from my cousin. Actually, she is my husband's cousin's wife. We are very close, even though there are four states between us. We hadn't spoken for a few weeks and she began the conversation with "I have to fill you in on the events of the past two weeks." She began to talk and the words I heard were: "mammogram" "spot" "a special kind of mammogram" and "mri."

I heard from her after the MRI. This time the word was "biopsy." I spoke with my cousin after the biopsy and she said she thought she would have the results by Friday. Friday came and went and I began to wonder. By Saturday morning when I hadn't heard any good news I became more concerned. But then I got distracted thinking about Frank, and going about my own daily stuff, in my own life.

The call came in the afternoon. The time the words were: "early stages" "contained" "surgery" and "radiation."

Late that evening, when my daughter saw how worried I was, she asked me if I was okay. I looked at her, a healthy child standing right in front of me, and I thought about my healthy mother and my healthy sister and I thought about all that I had and I thought about how so very worried I am. And I said,

Me, I'm fine.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

best toy ever

This week at Works for Me Wednesday, Shannon asked us to write about what toys are worth buying. There is one toy my son, now 19, played with for years and years. He would love this toy for a few months, then leave it alone for a while, but eventually always came back to it. As he got older his playing and building became more creative and complex. I still have all the pieces, just in case he comes home and the mood strikes him. I also love this toy when I was a kid. What is it?

Legos. Best toy ever.

Long Lines are a Good Thing

I live in an amazing country. For all its faults and all its beauty and all its wonder and all its challenges, the United States is an amazing country. Not only are we allowed to have a say in who runs our country, we are encouraged to to exercise that right. We have a right and a power to try to move this country in the direction that we each think it should move. This is more than a right, it is a responsibility.

Most of the people on this planet do not have this right, they are powerless in this respect. And we should not forget that it was not that long ago that many people in this country did not have it either.

So, when you stand in line waiting to vote, look around. Look at all the other people standing in line, waiting and waiting and waiting. Take the time to think--this is our chance, this is our country, this is our right.

Today, long lines are a good thing.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Me, I'm fine. Part I

I belong to a very small congregation, and pretty much everyone knows everyone else. I taught Sunday School for years and know all of the kids, at least those who were kids in the past 12 years. Yesterday, as in every Saturday morning Shabbat (Sabbath) services we say a misheberach, prayer for healing of body and spirit for those who are not well. Usually the prayer is said and names are mentioned, and then members of the congregation add anyone who was not on the misheberach list. Last week the Rabbi spoke about Frank, and as soon as he said his name everyone became very attentive because we knew it would not be good.

Frank is a Marine, he has not been a marine for very long and recently he was sent to Iraq. I saw his mother right before he left. I have known others who served in Iraq, but I had never seen the face of a mother whose child was going into war. Heartbreaking. Now we learned that Frank had been shot, but he is alive. He lost a kidney and his spleen. He was on a ventilator, sent to Germany and now is in a hospital stateside. He is off the ventilator now, his condition is stable and he will have a long recovery.

I saw Frank's mom right after it happened. She had the look of great worry on her face, but she said that the nurse held the phone up to his ear and when Frank heard his mother's voice he gave a "thumbs up." \She now is with Frank while he recovers. So, while I am praying for Frank's speedy and complete recovery, I think of his mom. And then I think of all the mom's who don't get a "thumbs up."

My daughter saw how worried I was and she asked me if I was okay. I looked at her, a healthy child who stands right in front of me, and I think of my son at college--where he is relatively safe and sound.

Me, I'm Fine.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


This morning I woke up out of breath. I had a vivid dream in which I was running very fast (and I don't even run slowly). Does this count as aerobic exercise? I wonder how many calories I burned.

sixteen candles

My daughter turns 16 today. I look at her and marvel at the young lady she has become--beautiful, smart, caring, stubborn, strong willed, determined, and I realize that this who she has always been. We saw some of these characteristics the day she was born. She was stunningly beautiful (I know every mother says this--but it really is true ;)), and very determined and strong willed (she insisted on being born when she wanted, not when the doctors planned the c-section). All 16 years this has been who she is. She loves animals and became a vegetarian at age 6 (for about 6 months) and then again at age 11 or 12, and has remained one. She is totally committed to Judaism, especially the studying and worship. My daughter worries about big issues and does what she can to help. She is an excellent student and insists on taking the most difficult classes. By age 2 we could see she looked at the world in a mathematical way. Now she holds conversations with her cousins at MIT and Penn that I cannot even begin to understand. She challenges her teachers and sometimes gets into trouble for it--she has always been right in what she was challenging, but is learning how to do this in a more appropriate way. This is not a kid to mess with.

My daughter has always been her own person and sure of herself. As a preschooler she was demanding and bossy (she insisted that her class call her Kim, the pink power ranger, and they all did-without question). Now, she will not wear make-up or do much with her long beautiful hair (except when she gets it cut for locks of love-which she has done-twice). She told my mother that she does not think anyone should wear make-up--she likes the way she looks and she thought everyone should like the way the looked just the way they are. My daughter does not get this from me--I love make-up and enjoy the art project I do on my face everyday.

She has the baby loving, baby holding, animal loving, trait of all of the women in my family. And the analytical, precise, scientific way of thinking from her dad's side. She is never satisfied with an answer--she always has one more "why."

There are moments when she is so challenging on my patience that I can't wait until she goes to college. But I try not to think about her leaving, because I know I will miss her terribly. Now I miss when she would sit on my lap and snuggle into my neck and tell me she loved me and would live with me forever.

But I know, that tonight when I look at this incredible young woman, and I ask her to make the same face she did as a baby, she will scrunch her eyes and purse her lips and puff out her cheeks. And in my heart and mind I will see the pink cheeked beautiful baby that smelled so good and first took my breath away at 8:52 pm on October 30, 1992.