No one should have to bury their child.
The death of a child is inexplicable. There is no way to rationalize a child's death. Eight year old Leiby, almost 100 teenagers in Norway, all the children that die around the world of starvation, war and disease.
I watched a video on youtube yesterday (link) where the speaker attempted to come to terms with Leiby's death. My take home message from the video was God intentionally allowed Leiby to die. If this is true, then God also wanted the Holocaust to happen. And if that is true, then all the suffering and misery in the world is intentional. We are meant to suffer in this world.
We come into the world crying, hurting from our separation from our mothers. Our mothers cry out in agony as we appear. We sometimes rip their bodies apart to enter this life. We then spend the next year or so crying whenever we need anything. Our tears bring pain to our parents. We then go to school and deal with grades and classmates and teachers. I don't know anyone who doesn't have painful stories to share of their youth. We then become teenagers and suffer with teenage angst. Then young adults exploring ourselves and our relationships with our parents. We lose faith in our parents for a while as we realize they are human - they make mistakes and lose their demi-god status. Then we are adults and we find love and lose love. We lose one another. We marry. We have children. We may lose our children. God forbid.
No wonder it is so easy to be pessimistic. Life feels like the odds are stacked against you. And I am a privileged white girl in America. I have it easy for all the grief I've had in my life. How many minority people suffer open discrimination in this country? How many people around the world die from poverty and malnutrition? My worries would be meaningless to them. In their eyes I probably live like royalty.
I like to look at the world with rose colored glasses. I like to believe that we are meant to be happy and filled with joy. I like to think that death is unnecessary and people suffer out of random chance. Because, what's the point of praying to God if he wants you to suffer? I can't put the pieces together.
If the world was meant to be a place of suffering, why should I pray for the opposite? Why does God care? I don't have the answer and I'm not sure anyone really does. If God wants us to die, then how can I protect my child from dying? How can I fight with God's will?
Poor Leiby's parents lost their son. Their baby. Someone they created and raised for almost 9 years. God decided he was going to suffer and die at the hands of a disgusting vile creature. Why did this little kid deserve to die like this? Why would God plan this?
I'm of the belief that it is our role as Jews in this world to fight back. To tell God we are not okay with this kind of behavior. I don't know God's intent and frankly, I don't care. It's not right what he did to those parents and to our community. We don't need to suffer anymore. I think suffering is overrated. I think accepting this kind of world is selling ourselves short. I have and will continue to demand of God more and better. We deserve more and better. More love, more kindness, better lives. Less suffering, less death.
So, as always, I ask God to protect my family and the world.
There are words.
And then there are words.
I use words everyday. I speak with the words that my lips and tongue create. The vibrations from my throat enunciated by my mouth communicating everything. Or nothing.
Words. English words. Russian words. Spanish words. Words that aren't even real. Words that exist simply to tantalize. Words that exist to compliment another word. Words in Latin. Words in Chinese. Words are a funny word when you say it again and again.
Words my daughter does not have to communicate her needs.
My words to you.
My daughter is learning how to speak. I am observing the creation of words. At 16 months she can say "daddy, doggy, mamamama, hi, bye, dolly." That's it. And she can sign for nursing and point.
Sadie's frustration in her inability to speak disrupts my life. She yells. She stomps her foot. She pinches me, grabs me, whatever it takes to get me to understand her desire. The thought process exists - the words have yet not been found. I struggle with this concept because she can understand me. How can she understand my words and yet not speak? Why is there a lapse in her ability? How do words have meaning without actually being able to use them?
I find words to be delightful. A beautiful sentence, the turn of a phrase, makes my heart flutter with excitement. I love Oscar Wilde for his audacity, his use of language, his ability to create meaning in a sentence only understood by the careful reader. Some would call it "wit," I would call it genius.
The written word is wonderful. It is a living creation. Even if every single word is careful chosen by the author, ultimately the reader will decide the meaning of the piece. The reader's internal voice will decide what the author wrote. Indeed, the written word is a gift, a living art work meant to inspire.
I can't wait for my daughter to use words. I want to hear her thoughts. I want to understand her needs. I am ready to walk her out of the land of whining unintelligible things towards a utopian world where she tells me what she needs. What a delightful fresh life that would be!
I love the word "delightful." There is something absolutely delightful about the word. It is a word that makes me smile and think of a garden tea party. My delightful garden tea party below a beautiful tree and a table groaning under the weight of lots of cakes and whipped cream. I think a large hat would be appropriate for such an occasion.
Words. Friends. Friendly words.
Despite the definition of any word in a dictionary, the true meaning of a word is subjective. Delightful for me is boring for someone else. Boring for me is delightful to you. Who knows. Who is who? What do you know? What is what? Words are fun. What is fun? Does anything have an actual meaning?
I don't know.
And with that I'll wish you a good weekend.
What is fashion to a stay at home mom?
Can fashion have a place when you are your toddler's napkin?
I've always had a secret love affair with fashion. I started to read gofugyourself.com before it became hot. I used to follow a photographer blogger in NY who would bicycle around the city and photograph fashionably dressed people - this before he became well known and a fan of many. I read fashion magazines. I watched the way people wore clothing as they lived their daily lives.
In high school I dreamed of being able to afford designer clothes. I wanted to wear clothing that was finely tailored and couture. I wanted to be a muse. I wanted the body that designers draped with sensuous fabrics creating art out of cloth.
My parents could not afford to pay for such passions and I promised myself after law school I would wear Armani suits tailored perfectly for my body with matching stilettos and matching purses.
Law school never happened. I spent three years trying to get in and then met my husband, got married, had a baby and decided I wasn't interested in law school any longer.
Even if I could afford designer clothing, I would continue to buy practical cotton shirts that wash easily and cost less than $20. I am my child's paper towel. It doesn't matter how many times I attempt to wipe Sadie's face with a napkin, the minute I put the napkin down Sadie will come and rub her face on my shirt. I walk around in public with stains on my clothing. Usually I change my outfit before going out in public but Sadie manages to cover me in something the minute we step out of the house. Recently it was dirt that she picked up while walking to the car and smeared on my shirt when I put her in the carseat.
Wearing clothes with stains is a new habit for me. One of my biggest pet peeves is a stain on my shirt. I absolutely abhor looking down and seeing any type of imperfection on my clothes. I used to freak if I found a stain on my shirt and run to the bathroom and spend ten minutes trying to rub it out with soap and water. Anxiety followed me throughout the day, my hands nervously picking at the stain until I ripped the shirt off in a frenzy the minute I got into the house.
I used to wear makeup all the time. I would spend an hour every morning swirling make up on my face until a shinier, perkier version of myself stared back at me. I used to spend hours staring at my pores and extracting whatever all in the name of beauty. I used to look at myself in the mirror, familiarize myself with the curves I carried and clothed. After I became pregnant I stopped seeing myself. I was revolted by my pregnancy. My body, my sensual sexual body became a symbol of purity and innocence. I no longer could see myself as a sexual being. I was a mother, creator, a walking goddess. I did not feel human when pregnant.
After delivery I was left with a crooked C-section scar, angry purple stretch marks and a sagging stomach. To my amazement 16 months later my body almost looks like it did pre-pregnancy. It is a wonder how the body returns to its original state; other than a few faint stretch marks and my stomach slightly sagging from the crooked smile I have on my belly.
My body is starting to feel deprived in the clothes I wear. My body longs for clothes that are beautiful. I read Vogue, W, look at clothes online and I crave. I crave so badly it hurts. I want to wear silk and chiffon and walk down the street in heels with my purse swinging and my body moving and my clothes swaying. Instead I walk with a toddler on my hip, my shorts and t-shirt covered in stains and my 2 year old sandals falling apart.
I wear makeup for special occasions and in truth I have forgotten how to wear it. I have forgotten the lines of my face. I have forgotten the shape of my eyes, the curves of my lips, the feel of my skin. I have forgotten myself. My child has forced me to forget to love myself.
Clothes, purses, shoes - fashion - is more than just a way to stimulate the economy. They are the very tools a woman uses to empower herself. They are gifts used to remind yourself that you can and must love yourself.
I bought a new pair of boots Friday, the first pair of boots I've bought myself in years and I felt like I was walking on clouds. I put them on today and stomped around the house. I felt sexier than I had in a long time. There is nothing better than the feel of new boots whispering promises and adventures. I clunked around the house and felt like a sexy sheriff as the zipper on my boots clinked with each step. I wanted to turn to Logan and purr at him, "hand ups, you're under arrest!"
Clothes are an expression of our inner selves.
From this perspective my inner world is a sloppy, gushy mom mess.
As I continue to take on new projects and attempt to keep myself motivated and invigorated I have to admit that the "groundhog day" lifestyle of mommy hood challenges me to find fulfillment day in and day out.
I'm reading Mark Twain's autobiography right now. The first 250 pages are editor's notes and background, I've only managed to read through the first 30 pages.
I've always loved Mark Twain's wit and humor. He was a man that inspired me to make fun of those around me. He suffered fools lightly and knew his self worth. In the 9th grade I humiliated a girl in class by quoting Mark Twain after she said something particularly stupid. I still remember my teacher asking me to leave the classroom and his kind bright eyes explaining the importance of not putting down people who weren't as smart as me. It was a lesson that took me many years to learn.
Mark Twain spent 30+ years writing his autobiography. When he was 42 he was advised that he lost two good years of autobiography writing and he needed to start documenting his life. Before giving his publisher the write to publish his autobiography he demanded a signed contract stating his autobiography would be printed 100 years after his death. He had several reasons for this logic:
1. He wanted to be brutally honest in his assessment of people he knew.
2. He wanted to be brutally honest in his assessment of himself.
I am not sure either of these goals are realistic or possible. For example, I am friends with Sue. If you asked me how I felt about Sue while we are laughing and having a good time, I would have a positive response. What if Sue said something that upset me? Then I would have a negative response. Then let's say you come to me a week later, a month later, ten years later and ask me about Sue. I wouldn't remember every aspect and characteristic of Sue. I would remember some parts of Sue and fill in the rest with my imagination - subconsciously. I could not fairly assess Sue.
As for a honest assessment of myself, like Twain, I think this is a challenge most people cannot handle. He spent many years doubting whether he could speak poorly of himself. Even with the knowledge that it would be 100 years before his writing became public, he did not think he could humiliate himself, peel all the layers and show the world every aspect of himself.
I am also guilty of this. I don't tell you every time I lose my cool and snap. I don't share every secret that dwells deep within me.
Frankly I'm not sure it's necessary for the world to know every person's deepest desire and sinful indulgence.
Are autobiographies necessary? Are they merely an indulgence on the part of the writer to commemorate every experience and moment they see valuable?
I have years and years of journals sitting on my bookshelf - filled with stories and tears and emotions. They would fill volumes of books but are they actually necessary? Does every feeling that moves through me need to be acknowledged?
I continue to be intrigued with the idea of showing yourself to the world. Can we bare our souls to the world and survive the experience? Can we be honest and aware of ourselves? I can write a list of my flaws in a heartbeat. They are ingrained in my mind and swirl around waiting for the opportunity to remind me how I must improve. But am I being completely honest with myself? Am I catching every flaw? Every lie that I tell myself in order to function?
I have made it my goal for the past several years to stop lying to myself or goading others to lie to me all in the name of feeling good about myself. Yes, I am talking about my weight. Or my intellect. Or even my mothering skills. Without self-honesty there can be no growth. I am aware and protective of my need to improve. If I feel like I need to grow in some way, I don't make excuses. I get up and fix it. What if I'm not catching all the things I need to fix?
In Judaism there is a concept that the flaws we see in others are really the flaws within ourselves. We are all mirrors to one another. From a psychological science perspective, we are attracted to relationships that mimic patterns we have grown up with. I tend to be drawn to dominating, domineering girlfriends. And my guy friends are usually computer dorks with biting wit. We attempt to relive relationships.
I have found people to be too complex - I think it is impossible to truly assess anyone's character. Any assessment would be a mere caricature based on what I want to see. I haven't read Twain's autobiography so I can't say anything conclusively, but I hope he decided to portray himself honestly and did not use his book as a foundation to write about everyone around him instead.
Unlike my high school self, I don't see the need to tear down people around me. Someone who isn't as intellectual as me, as book smart as me, has other abilities that I choose to admire. Despite how cliche this sounds, everyone has their personal struggle and even though its easier to make fun of people who we deem as lower than ourselves, I find it very important to give people the benefit of the doubt. I no longer look to humiliate someone. I prefer to smile and encourage people to find their best version. I want people to be happy. I choose to not think of people as "less than," they are merely different - not better or worse than me.
Sadie has this ability. She loves everyone. People are wonderful. She smiles at everyone, communicates with anyone around her. She cares little for their high school gpa or their career. She is my shining example of how I think God really wanted us to exist together. We are all born with talents that are necessary for our mission in this world, it is better to encourage and stand together than take each other down for our own satisfaction.
I woke up this morning to a gray day with a husband in the shower and a child running around our room. Even though I had gotten enough sleep I felt tired and worn. It was a long weekend filled with many events. By 6pm yesterday I was done with the day. I was ready to sleep and start Monday fresh. However, with Logan in Boulder I had destructoSadie on my hands - she was not worn out by our weekend festivities. I waited until 9 and got us both to bed. Around 12:30 my hubby finally came home and I woke up minutes before hearing the keys in the door. I jumped out of bed and greeted him.
Sunday without Logan wasn't the same. I felt cheated of my husband.
This morning getting out of bed with aching muscles was not easy. Between running and Zumba I have been extremely sore for a week now.
Next week I have two big events lined up, both I am anticipating for different reasons. On the 19th I will be at the Planning Commission Workshop for the Vista General Plan Update 2030; they are intending to take property from many homeowners on my street. Logan and I will be severely impacted by this decision.
This house has been both a blessing and a headache in many ways. Between a neighbor issue (he has 1/3 of an acre of our property fenced in), gophers, coyotes, poison oak and the constant need for maintenance - we have our hands full. Our Sundays are preoccupied with land maintenance. Our 1952 home continues to need improvement, something that has been on hold for over a year as we attempt to save up the money.
Sometimes I wish it was like the game SIMS where I could put in a code and have unlimited money. I could buy whatever I wanted, build whatever kind of house I wanted - I was in infinitely rich mode. However, once I built the house and filled it with the most expensive stuff I could get, I was bored. There was nothing left to do with the game. The whole point was the struggle.
I also have an ICAN meeting next Friday late afternoon. It's partner night and I am dragging Logan with me. I want us to really feel like we can do a VBAC together.
Today my house is thrashed. The floor is disgusting thanks to Sadie's efforts. Logan cleaned out my car and threw everything into the entrance of the house. There is a huge pile waiting to be explored.
This week feels like a waiting week. It's the moment before the bomb explodes. Everything is quiet and ready.
You would think staying at home would be good for my social life.
Perhaps you may even envision daily play dates involving kids running around, mothers rolling their eyes at each other in exasperation and sharing war stories of inventive ways their kids make their lives more difficult.
In reality if I hang out with another mommy once ever two weeks I'm doing well. Most of the time I'm at home with Sadie. Yes, we do go outside and I like to walk along the Carlsbad boardwalk for exercise. However, actually creating a time and day to hang out with another mom is extremely difficult.
Each kid naps at a different time. If a mom has more than one kid, then you have more nap times to juggle around. Then you need to factor in chores around the house, errands that need to be run and then you realize that the only way to spend time with each other is through texting and phone calls.
It can be very lonely being a mom.
I have a mommy friend that lives two houses down. She has two kids that both still nap. It is nearly impossible to find time to hang out. We text each other back and forth. One kid is awake, another is asleep. By the time both of them are awake my kid is asleep.
Likewise, it's super easy as a mom to get into a routine rut. Wake up, breakfast, play on the computer, run around the house cleaning up, lunch, nap time, more stuff around the house, more computer, work out, dinner, bed... it's hard to stop and spend time with a friend.
I'd like to become more proactive at it but when I have an agenda list a mile long it's hard to feel guilt-free hanging out with friends during the day.
I wish there were three of me. One to be social. Another to cook and clean. And a third to be Sadie's mom.
That's the solution, cloning.
Meet the Blogger!
I'm a mom. A writer. A lover of good fantasy. A proponent of nursing when possible. A birth advocate. I am absolutely horrible at keeping my house clean or the dishes washed or the laundry done. I strongly believe in women having a positive birth. When we start to respect women's rights to birth the way they want, we can start to treat women as equal people in this world.
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