Sunday, May 31, 2015

The Cool Mom

This morning,  we were snuggling in bed and talking about my going out one night this week while Raphaela stayed home with her favorite baby sitter.  Raphaela turned to me and said, "We need to reevaluate my bed time, eight pm is too early for me." I asked her when she thought it was appropriate for her to go to sleep, and she answered, "Ten pm works better for me.  You will tell that to the sitter, OK?"

Once we arrived at Gan today, Raphaela and several of her friends asked if I could stay a while and "play" with them.  Since I am starting work later today, I happily agreed and we all sat down at the drawing table, where I took requests from the children:  "Can you draw me a playground?" "I want a magical forest!" etc.

The drawing gave way to discussions about dinosaurs ("They're dead, they're all dead, " said one of the boys, glumly.)  and gerbils ("They eat their babies," exclaimed one of the girls.) and other important kindergarten subjects.  One of the girls said that her house was "ugly," on account of the new baby that just came home from the hospital. I told her that as long as there was love in the house, it could never be ugly.

The Head Teacher, who had been observing quietly from the corner, came over to me afterwards and said to me, "It looks like I have a replacement today."

I love being the Cool Mom. (One day in the future my teenage daughter will be embarrassed to be seen with me and will not want to hang out with me, so I will grab the opportunity of the moment.)

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

That sweet moment in the early morning when my daughter (curly hair all over the place) has decided to use my stomach as a pillow, with our cat Harry wedged exactly in that small gap between Raphaela's body and mine, purring all the while because he is surrounded by his family.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015


It is rare, professionally or personally, for someone to touch you so deeply.  Mollie was one of those women, a true Lady, who showed me that you can age beautifully and gracefully, with energy and health and joy.

Mollie would have celebrated her 96th birthday this coming June, she was both a client and a neighbor, and she became a friend.  Every time the temperatures dropped in Jerusalem, Mollie called without fail and insisted that Raphaela and I sleep in her apartment, so we could be warm at night.  She knew that we do not have any normal heating, and according to her daughter, she worried about us all the time.

Mollie also loved our cat, Harry, brought him treats and always asked about his welfare.  She had always thought about getting a pet, but as she got older, it became harder and harder to think about having to walk the dog three times a day.

She fell ill only in the last few months of her life, and she passed away on Tuesday.  Until the end she was surrounded by her children and grandchildren, and her friends.   I had the honor of being her Chiropractor, but more importantly, having such an inspirational woman a part of my life.

I will miss her.

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Power of Music

Friday afternoon, as we were getting dressed for Shabbat dinner with friends, Raphaela lost one of her shoes.  Just one of them.

I asked her where it could have gone - our apartment is not all that large - and she answered, "Maybe the shoe went on a trip somewhere."

Then, inspired, Raphaela said, "Oh I know how to find it, my shoes just love it when I sing to them!"  Raphaela launched into a heartfelt and dramatic rendition of "Let it Go" from Frozen.

Needless to say, it did not help us find her missing Shabbat shoe.

Monday, May 11, 2015


Today the Israel Museum in Jerusalem put on a 50th birthday party.  Not only was admission free for everyone, all day, but they also gave out museum-themed loot bags, created a giant cake reproduction of the museum itself, and had former President of Israel, Shimon Peres, cut the ribbon to open the birthday festivities.

Unfortunately, they did not actually plan a birthday party that was actual children-friendly.

They had one clown (one!) who functioned as the balloon animal provider, and after waiting on line for twenty minutes, Raphaela decided that it was not worth the time.

They had set up a long table, full of brightly colored drinks and special Israel Museum cupcakes for the children, and then it sat there for over two hours, guarded by one poor security guard, while parents and children clamored behind the thin barrier.

Those in charge kept insisting that they had to wait for some signal before they were allowed to serve the growing crowd of tired and frustrated children and their families.  At one point Raphaela started crying out of pure exhaustion, and immediately several mothers yelled at me for trying to manipulate the situation through tears. I tried to explain that Raphaela has never been a crier, and that I didn't plan this little show to get things moving.

Almost 45 minutes after the original schedule, the volunteers behind the barrier began tentatively giving out a glass of sticky juice and a cupcake to the children closest to the gate.  Within one minute, the parents (including regrettably, myself) had ripped away any remaining barriers and sense of order, and everyone stampeded toward the treats table.  Juice spilled, people were trampled, and for five minutes I lost Raphaela in the crowd.

Afterwards I pulled Raphaela over to the side, chastised her for getting separated from me; and when she bit into this cupcake, she said, "I don't like it.  Let's go see something at the museum."

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mothers Day

Here's to my daughter, Raphaela, who inducted me into the Mommy Club.  Happy Mothers Day to every mother out there, who deserves to get honored all year round.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Last week the guard at the supermarket said to me as I walked in, "When are you due to give birth?"  Mortified, I spent the week contemplating a tummy tuck.

This week, that same guard looked me up and down and realized his error from last week.  He smiled and then said, "Hot outside today, right?"

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Anat Gertner Z"L

Today my friend Anat died, after a terrible battle with stomach cancer that appeared somewhat suddenly, almost ten years after she had survived breast cancer.  She leaves behind a loving husband and two exceptional children, brave and strong kids, like their mother.  Anat was not that much older than me, and even knowing how much she suffered before she died, I am still in shock and overcome by sadness.

Anat befriended me when I first moved to Israel, and for many years I was an almost weekly house guest for Shabbat, and most holidays.  Her family became my family, and to this day I thank them for it.  We had a falling out a few years ago, because she basically told me to stop wasting my life with dreaming and regrets, and instead to take action and live in a way that is true to yourself.  Because you never know how much time you have on this earth.

And she was right about me.  Except for choosing to get pregnant and give birth to my daughter, I spend a lot of time looking at my limitations, instead of trying to find ways to burst through the glass ceiling I have built for myself, my own personal prison of sorts.

So now I re-dedicate myself to listening to my friend, whom I loved. I am only sorry I didn't get to tell her that before she died; that is one regret I cannot fix.

Saturday, May 2, 2015


I post this to the other single parents who may or may not have thought about this question.
In conversation with my mother recently, she objected to the term "single mother by choice," stating that it implied that we women who have chosen this route want to remain single, like the Amazonian island where Wonder Woman was born.  Instead, my mother recommended the term, "single mother by circumstance."
I explained to my mother that first of all, SMC is the internationally recognized term, which focuses on the concept of choice rather than being perpetually single.  IE, a woman does not want to forfeit the right and joys and challenges of being a mother, just because she has not yet found the right life partner, and is aware of the biological clock ticking away.
Besides, the word "circumstance" implies to me that you went to a bar, got drunk, and got knocked up, that you had less than optimal control over your body and your common sense. "Oops, how did that baby get inside me?  Gosh, I might as well keep it."  Or that you happened to be married and for whatever reason (divorce, widow-hood) the father is no longer in the picture.
When I mentioned to my mother that I have no real objection to finding the right man and getting married, she answered, "Well, for that you would have to be dating..."
To which I replied, "Well in order to date properly I would have to have the time to myself, and a reliable baby sitter..."

Mazal Tov Princess Kate

The two princess who currently serve as major role models and inspirations for Raphaela are the real-life Duchess of Cambridge, Kate Middleton, and Queen Elsa from "Frozen."
When Raphaela heard the news of the royal birth, she sat at her crafts table and drew a picture for Kate and William and their now two children, and insisted that I mail it immediately to England.  Then she took out her prince and princess play set from Playmobil, and that kept us busy for a few hours. 
Though we are "colonists" by British standards, we await with the rest of the loyal subjects to hear the name chosen for this little girl, fourth in line to the throne.
Looking at the photos of the Duchess as she and her husband when leaving the hospital with the new baby Princess, I could only be amazed and jealous.  Of course I don't have a full style team, but didn't she just give birth to an eight pound baby?  The only other woman I know who looked that good right after birth is my cousin in California; after the birth of each of her three children, she posted a photo on social media that had her looking serene and gorgeous, like she had just experienced a spa treatment rather than an arduous labour.