During my visit to NY last weekend, I had three experiences that surprised, wowed or impressed me in some way.
The surprise: Growing up in a Modern Orthodox Jewish community in New Jersey, I had several close girlfriends. Though we are only 25 years old, most of these friends already have children (as in multiple). Ayelet, a last fellow “hold out” and friend from seminary, announced this weekend that she is pregnant and expecting her first this winter. I was thrilled for her and still am, but I was surprised by the second reaction that I had. Though Yair and I know that we are not ready for nor interested in children right now, it was jarring to realize that not only was everyone else in my “crew” a mother or expecting and I was not, but that I won’t even be hitting this stage for at least two or three years. Not good or bad, just interesting to note the feeling.
The wow: There is a beautiful girl named Neshama who is currently fighting off a form of cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. Neshama and her family are close friends of mine, and I was honored to participate in her Summer Blessing Circle this past Sunday. Everyone present was there for the purpose of joining together to bless Neshama and to offer her and each other moments of hope, love and healing. We did so through song, dance, food, blessing and touch. One theme of the evening was the “web”, as Neshama had recently seen and taken to Spider Man. Neshama walked from person to person with a spool of yarn. Each participant offered a personal blessing to Neshama, at which point she wrapped the yarn around their wrists and walked to the next person – creating a visual web of blessing, healing and support. The evening was beautiful, Neshama’s parents are among the strongest and most positive people who I know, and I and others came away from the evening inspired. Total wow.
The impressed: There is a fabulous woman named Gillian back in Riverdale who kindly allowed me to crash her tenure party to visit a friend while I was in town. During the party, I learned that – just like many parents including Gillian have ‘star charts’ to track their children’s behavior and motivate them – Gillian’s children have a star chart for her. The children give Gillian a star for every day that she doesn’t yell or get stressed out. (Re-read that last sentence to let it sink in.) This practice has to bring additional self-awareness to Gillian and demonstrate the values of accountability and mutual respect to the children. In addition to these important lessons, the kids are apparently much more tuned into Gillian, her needs and the fact that she is trying to be good just like them. How totally, awesomely impressive!
posted by ayo