September 29, 2007

Forgiving and Forgetting

So what if it's only been one week since Yom Kippur?
I've so far managed to break all my new Year's promises on not procrastinating (see the date since my last entry), trusting my instincts, listening with full attention, being more patient and involved with the kids...
Warning: Guilt trip coming.
But I'm going to take a U-turn this time, courtesy of an old teacher. She taught me to learn from kids when it comes to forgiving. "Just look at them," she said, "they're real pros."
You see, even during the most ear-piercing of tantrums, it's unbelievably easy for children to suddenly stop, work things out with the brother/kid who "stole" the last piece of the puzzle and simply run off laughing with them, as though nothing had happened. Best part is, this ability is not exclusive to child-child fights and injustices; it also includes forgiving their parents.
I don't know when we lose this innate ability to forgive and move on, and I certainly like the idea of a built-in mechanism for such. It certainly beats the shallow, I'll-come-back-to-haunt-you survival skill of repressing and (temporarily) forgetting.
So 19 days into the new year (I'll try to be in time next year, but won't sweat it) - A healthy, happy, creative and guilt-free 5768 to all.

September 08, 2007

Good manners

Ben and went back to Gan (kindergarten) last week.
He's not the type who says much about his day. Only after probing a bit, or even better, telling him a little about my "exciting day" at work (what I had for lunch is usually the highlight), he'll say something like "Our teacher brought a real shofar to Gan the other day" or "I didn't like my tahini-and-cucumber sandwitch, so I didn't eat a snack today" (And so, guilty of treason, I cross out another "nutritious option" filling and make a note to buy more "round yellow cheese" with the hope I'll manage to add another item into the menu before the end of the schoolyear)
But today, something seemed to bother him.
"Ma, did you know that people in my gan don't close their mouth when they eat!"
"Yep. Not even the teachers!"

I chuckle. What am I supposed to say? My loud, hyperactive (sure seems like it) four- year old, the one that hardly says hello and goodbye, and who knows that whining works much better than please and thank you - worried about this?
Should I answer "You're right" and implicitly criticize his teacher ? Should I tell him that all people are different and have different style for eating? Or say "c'mon, it's Israel, son, and everyone is doing their own thing"

So I don't say anything. I just smile. He was listening to what we say at the dinner table after all.

September 03, 2007

Tia Godmother

Mom called again. Tia didn't make it.
Baruch Dayan Emet.

September 02, 2007

The Godmother

Last Tuesday our family's Godmother (otherwise known as my mom's aunt Reyna) had a stroke. Early Wednesday the morning, finally crying since she first heard at midnight, my mom called to tell me. To sweeten the blow, she ended, "I'd like to think that my sister is exaggerating, because she tends to exaggerate. She says things with Tia seem pretty bad."

She was not exaggerating. Tia is still in a comma, suffering from even more complications since.

Doctors say there's no hope.

Every family has a pillar. Someone whose influence is so strong, whose presence is so important, that others define the family in relation to that person. I am known as Reyna's grand-niece.

I am also Zeide Nune, Tia's father, great-grandaughter. We used to call him The Godfather (no mafia connection here, but his charm and influence over the family would rival the Corleones.) Tia inherited Zeide's sense of strategy and influence, but she used it in a different way. She was the silent Godmother, always pulling strings and making things smoother for all of us behind the scenes, no glory there

And when Zeide passed away 11 years ago, she became the sole Godmother.

She was a womanly Godmother, a fairy Godmother. Caring for Tio Mike and for our 93-year-old Bobe Malka. Orchestrating all the seders and rosh hashana dinners and family events for the family in California, and never missing one elsewhere (weddings in Guatemala, Bar Mitzvahs in Mexico, her grandson's school ceremony in San Francisco, and had she not collapsed last week, Eitan's wedding in Boston tomorrow). (And before my time, building the shop with Tio, growing the business, making deliveries for him. Plus raising two kids)

Tia was always running the show, making plans, volunteering, calling friends, giving and giving. Even driving me to a business meeting 50 miles away in rush-hour traffic when I was in LA for a quick business trip ("But Tia, my company pays for cabs!" nonwithstanding.)

This pillar is now fading. What will we do without her? Did we ever tell her how important she was for all of us.

And will my kids ever understand the concept of Tia Godmother?