Category Archives: Inspire

I see myself (and my kids) in pop culture

Staring up at the young performers in “Dear Evan Hansen,” watching in awe as they masterfully captured the angst, confusion, boredom and small joys of being teenagers, two thoughts popped in my head:

  1. Wow, this reminds me so much of high school. 
  2. Is this what my kids will be like?

I am privileged to say I have attended a number of Broadway shows, several with strong, emotional stories and engaging characters. When I watched these shows in my teens and my 20s, I felt their struggles and connected with their emotions. It didn’t matter that I had no idea what it was like to be a 20-something in the late 80s living in the East Village (RENT), or a sexually-confused teen in 19th-century Germany or green witch struggling to find acceptance in Oz (Wicked); I saw myself in those characters.

I See Myself (And My Kids) In Pop Culture

We all see ourselves in fictional characters, whether on the stage, screen or the page. It is what drives us to experience these stories. That deep connection. That sense of knowing exactly how a character feels. We are moved by them, because we are them. Continue reading

Here I am, 35 and OK

During the early 2000s, “Sex and the City” was one of the hottest shows on television. I, a young college student, watched in awe as those 30-something-year-old women gallivanted about New York City, enjoying an endless slew of men, fashion and cosmopolitans. Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha seemed to have it all — great apartments, fabulous careers and access to the best clubs. Yet, no matter how wonderful their lives were, there was an undercurrent of emptiness following through the series.

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This feeling was exemplified by the episode featuring Carrie’s 35th birthday. In one of the saddest displays ever seen on television, we find Carrie, sitting alone at a huge table, wondering when her friends will arrive. Making matters worse, at a nearby table, an exuberant young lady is celebrating her own birthday, at which she exclaims, “Twenty-five! Fuck, I’m old!”

I turn 35 this week, and as a married woman with kids, my life is very different than the one portrayed by Sarah Jessica Parker on “Sex and the City.” Funny how when I watched the show in youth, I pictured my adult life involving lots of parties and a great career. Marriage and family were not top of mind. My life is very different than how I envisioned it at 19, and in many ways, I have what those women were striving for, a husband, a family – people with whom I can share my celebrations as well as sadness.

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Looking back and gazing forward

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lookingback

I had a few ideas for how I would close out this year. I thought about piecing together, what I think, would have been a strong post, pushing my page views up a bit more to round out my year with some solid numbers. Or maybe, one more silly piece, since my writing has been a bit more serious/sentimental lately, and I want to mix things up. Perhaps, I would finally complete one of the gajillion drafts I have sitting around, waiting to be published.

None of that felt right. As this time of year has me thinking about all that has happened, I realize how grateful I am. I hesitate to put a definitive word on the year, as it is still not over, but I can at least say that, up until this point, 2017 was an amazing year for “Maybe I’ll Shower Today.” Continue reading

Fear of labels won’t stop me from helping my kids

Growing up as a child who went to school in the 90s, there was definitely a stigma around special education. Autism diagnoses were much rarer back then, and you maybe saw one or two kids with ADD or ADHD in an entire grade. Most people had never even heard of Sensory Processing Disorder. At least, that is what it seemed like to me, living in my world as a developmentally typical student. The few kids who did need extra help existed in another world to me. I didn’t really understand what challenges they and their families faced.

labels

What I did understand, however, were labels. And the label of being a kid who needed “special education” was full of stigmas. The stigma of not being smart. The stigma of not being normal. The stigma of not being able to cut it in the regular world.

I would like to think that I was a kind person in my younger days, but I am sure I had my moments of looking down on those students who couldn’t cut it in a regular classroom. Maybe I thought, if only they worked harder. Or they are just making excuses. Or why do they get extra help?

As someone who had a relatively easy time in school, I often failed to comprehend why others might struggle. I didn’t know that many students learn differently and that didn’t make them any less intelligent or curious or eager to achieve than me.

I gained a whole new perspective on how kids learn, after having two kids of my own. Continue reading

5 things this Jewish mom loves about Christmas

Thanksgiving has passed. The store shelves are stocked with ornaments, tinsel, and lights. The mainstream radio stations are playing holiday tunes. Holly and pine adorn streetlights and shop windows. Santa and his elves are depicted in countless commercials. Christmas season is here.

As a Jewish mom in a predominantly Christian society, I do feel a need to shield my kids from the Christmas stuff. The lights, the tree, Santa, the presents—I get it—it’s pretty awesome. I can’t blame my 5-year-old for wanting in on the action.

5 things this Jewish mom loves about Christmas

I could respond by playing up Hanukkah, telling him we get eight nights of presents instead of one. Or I could diminish the role of Christmas in our secular society, and hope he just gets over it.

Instead, I will share with my son all of the wonderful teachings of Christmas. Continue reading

What parents of allergic kids want us to know

I have two small boys, and while I may joke my oldest, extremely picky, child is “allergic” to food in general, I do not know what it is like to raise a child who has food allergies. I do not know what it is like to spend hours in doctors offices. I do not know what it is like to rush my child to the E.R. because he accidentally ingested a harmful food. I do not know what it is like to overhaul my life to ensure I don’t endanger my child.

Allergic Kids

I do, however, know plenty of parents who know all about those things and more. They are living life as parents of children with food allergies. As their friend, I have learned much about their struggles and how they navigate the world a bit differently than the rest of us. I have tremendous respect for them, and as a fellow parent/decent human being, I want to do my part to help keep their kids safe. Continue reading

I let someone else plan my kid’s birthday party

I am a bit of a “type A” personality. I was involved with everything in high school, from the student newspaper to a Jewish youth group. I then went on to college, where I became president of my sorority. For much of my adolescent and early adult life, I was in charge of something, planning something, delegating something — always doing something.

I thrived on deadlines and responsibilities and was able to manage the stress that comes with them. I was also a lot younger, sleeping a lot longer and only had to worry about myself.

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Since becoming a parent, I have found my interest in doing all the things has waned. Managing my family has occupied so much space inside me that I often dread adding another responsibility. Some might call it lazy, or poor time management skills, and they might be right. But, I know what I can handle, and I don’t want to push myself over the edge. Continue reading