October 10, 2016
During PBS’s broadcast last night, political analyst Amy Walter disclosed that she would not be allowing her fourth-grade son to watch the second presidential debate. Like many parents of young children, Walter was uneasy imagining how a young person would process likely references to sexual assault, marital infidelity, and who knows what else might fly out of Donald Trump’s mouth. < more >
January 17, 2016
I wish I had a photograph — or, better yet, a video clip — of Sam in the family van, heading out of our driveway this morning. I thought of running inside to get my camera/phone. It just didn’t seem the right moment to impose my Smotheriness on Sam and his friend, both strapped in for their last trip from Boston to Ohio. So, I will conjure the image through words. < more >
January 12, 2016
Perhaps you missed this story. A 21-year-old Syrian “man” shot his 45-year-old mother in the head with a rifle and killed her. He was involved with ISIL, the Muslim terrorist organization. She wanted the two of them to leave the Syrian town of Raqqa, fearing for his safety as US-led troops neared the ISIL stronghold. He told ISIL leaders of his mother’s request. They insisted he publicly execute her. He complied. < more >
November 24, 2015
We meet every month or two. We sit around a long table, sometimes in a dark-paneled room in the church downtown where my temple is located, sometimes in a brightly lit conference room in a neighborhood cultural center. We are middle-aged, Reform Jews. We are young, ritually observant, Turkish Muslims. We kvell over babies and share baked treats. Our conversations focus on favorite passages from our respective books of scripture, the role music plays in our worship services, the “bad women” in our faith traditions, and so on. We volunteer a few times a year at a food bank or soup kitchen. We call ourselves “Sisters in Spirit.” < more >
September 4, 2015
Two stories caught my eye this morning, both relating to families. In one, Boston Globe columnist Shirley Leung champions the rights of mothers to return to work the week they give birth. In the other in The Wall Street Journal, Joe Parkinson in Istanbul and David George-Cosh in Toronto analyze the ways Nilufer Demir’s photograph of Alan Kurdi, a drowned, 3-year-old Syrian refugee boy, has gone viral. < more >
February 12, 2014
Excavating in the basement storage area this week, I unearthed “Lily, Max + Sam’s Day by Day Book, Volume I” (Mark’s titling), a.k.a. “The Book of Life” (my titling). Mark and I began recording in the book on October 22, 1992, when we brought our two-week-old triplets home from Yale-New Haven Hospital. We seem to have stopped keeping records on Friday, January 30, 1993 – the last page of the book and also the eve of the kids’ baby naming ceremony. If there is a second volume, I don’t remember it…or haven’t come across it.
On the sheets of this pad, we tracked each kid’s ins and outs. That is: what the babies took in…and what came out t’other end. Who could muster an oral report at 2 AM? Who’d remember by 4 PM? These records aren’t very interesting, except to demonstrate how often we were feeding and changing diapers.. The jottings – in my hand unless otherwise indicated – evoke what it was like to get premature triplets (who weighed about 4 lbs. each at birth, about 34 weeks gestation) from two weeks to three months old. < more >
November 22, 2013
A long-time, much loved friend posted a question months ago, which I paraphrase: what do you think about parents who have the resources not to work outside the home and who know, from the get-go, that they will seek full-time employment because they want it?
My answer today is prompted by a piece I read on Politico.com this morning. Writer Michelle Cottle criticizes Michelle Obama for “Leaning Out.” Cottle complains that Obama has wasted her Ivy League education and career as a high-powered lawyer and that when, this week, Obama weighed in on an education system that leaves behind impoverished kids of color — especially impoverished girls — it was too little, too late. Cottle also criticizes the First Lady for choosing a public role that has emphasized traditionally “feminine” issues such as healthy eating and exercise. I am sympathetic to the complaint that Obama might have focused on less traditionally feminine topics, but I draw the line at the following: “Turns out,” Cottle writes, “she was serious about that whole “mom-in-chief” business—it wasn’t merely a political strategy but also a personal choice.” < more >
June 27, 2013
I stayed up late last night listening to Diary of a Bad Year: A War Correspondent’s Dilemma. The piece, produced with Jay Allison and Transom.org, is NPR reporter Kelly McEvers’s remarkable, hour-long audio documentary about her struggle to justify covering deadly war zones while raising a toddler.
McEvers’s choice – and her agony over her choice – is specific and universal. Not many of us civilians are in lines of work where a tenth of our colleagues have been murdered or killed in crossfire the past year. But most of us struggle with the complex emotions of wanting to succeed professionally in jobs we love and also wanting to be with our spouses and kids. < more >
June 12, 2013
Today, I did the second stupidest thing I’ve done in my entire life. I’m 51. That’s a lot of time to do stupid things. I am not going to tell you about the first stupidest thing.
I decided to run a few errands before sitting down to work at my desk this morning. I needed to get a move on it in part because I wanted to mail my sister-in-law the cake I made her yesterday. She had surgery last week. She’s going to be fine.
I don’t live out here in Wellfleet year-round. I’m lucky to be here for a few weeks at a time, and this year, I’m on the Cape for most of June. Unlike in Boston, where I mostly live, here in Wellfleet if I don’t get to my post office by noon, I miss express pickup for the day. My plan was to mail the cake and then zip out Route Six to the Transfer Station to drop off my garbage. < more >
December 13, 2012
Just a week left, now, until the winter solstice, and less than twenty-four hours until kids start coming home from college. Mark and I have had a pretty terrific couple of months in our empty nest.
Highlights of our time together: a day at The Big E (annual regional fair in Springfield, MA) to celebrate Rosh Hashanah; hearing brilliant banjo player Bela Fleck in concert at Berklee School of Music; making new friends at the Indian classical dance recital of the daughter of old friends; and babysitting our two favorite little boys. The humdrum has been terrific, too. We’ve watched TV together, talked over the newspapers at meals, gone out to the Cape for long walks with Amos. Was this what life was like twenty years ago, before we were parents? Maybe it’s even better now. < more >