Nettles update: twenty two months

Nettles,

One of my favorite things, on the days I pick you up from maon (daycare), I love walking up the stairs to the second floor and before there’s any way you know it’s me you come running. Or do I have distinctive footsteps? Or do you do that to everyone until you finally get it right?

And then there are the days you play it cool, too cool, and put on a show of whining and crying that I’m there and you’re torn about leaving all the kids you’ve been pushing around the gymboree.

Either way.

Pushing yourself around is something you’ve been doing more. No one is going to put baby in a corner of calling baby ‘baby’. So yes, I need to stop.

You’ll get dressed in your brother’s pants if you damn well please.

You’ll help do the dishes no matter how much more of a mess that makes.

You will sort the silverware while my back is to you as I’m trying to finish work, and by sort the silverware I mean take everything out, lick some of it, and put it back.

You also will take care of all the baby dolls in the house. With blanket wraps, stroller pushes, the occasional toss.

But you will.

 

Expat life: Eleven years.

As of today I have spent a third of my life living as an expat, having made the choice to leave what I knew and start over somewhere else, with specific goals and ideology fueling the decision. And 11 years later I really don’t have much to complain about, which I appreciate is incredibly fortunate.

Sure, over a decade later taxi drivers still balk at the fact I left New York City. Even other olim balk at the fact I left New York City. But I maintained during year one and I maintain now that I was born in the wrong city and it took me (only) two decades to find the right place to grow, breathe, build, and live.

The one thing I tell people and grows truer every day is that the cost of leaving family never goes down; it gets more and more taxing as you build a career, settle with a partner, have another kid, watch your siblings and parents move on without you.

For myself, I made the right decision 11 years ago and it set my life on a course I’m proud of. Not all my goals have been met yet and the ideology that fuels my perspective and life has transitioned. And no matter where I am, I always feel like an outsider and, oddly, that’s where I’ve realized I operate most naturally.

But I’m happy feeling as natural as I can as an inside-outsider here in Israel rather than an inside-outsider back in New York.

Fifty-Two Frames: What I’ve Learned

Week 52: What I’ve Learned

Life

This is my last submission to 52 Frames.

I joined in 2012 and never missed a week. Using smartphones, I played, stretched, doubted, proved, even made the cover once off an HTC Desire! I struggled with editing. I learned about focus, macro, layers & getting down on the street for a weird angle. I learned the best things are nestled within imperfection. To submit every single time even with no juice left.

This year proved I’m stubborn enough to see the project through, but also tired of not being proud of what I submit. Of submitting, consistently, for the sake of submitting. Life got too hectic. In a good way. In a ‘too many choices’ way.

I promise to keep seeing things differently. I hope I will continue sharing what I see.

Thanks to Yosef and the 52Frames community for pushing me these three years.

Happy shooting in 2016!

Nettles update: twenty one months

Nettles –

This is a crazy time. Last month, this month, the next month – all are and will be intense work months for me. So I haven’t been able to give you as much as I’d want. Write the chapter on being the third child of a full-time working mother someday. It will make people laugh for sure. Because this seems to make you laugh.

But you find ways to keep yourself busy.

And you find ways to help out around the house.

And I just want to add that you are one of my favorite ages.

What’s next for my girls in Judaism?

The following is a note I jotted down and posted for opinions on Facebook. I plan to follow up with further thoughts after a discussion was started and I had time to think deeper. 

need to talk this out somewhere.

sometimes I hear friends say how nervous or worried they are about raising girls because it comes with so much *teaching* and complications – because there’s so much work to do for girls to keep up with society’s expectations or breaking the expectations. ok I dunno if friends say it, but I say it.

and for me a lot of that comes out in ‘establishment judaism’ – expectations built in either on purpose or as a byproduct of the way establishment defines jewish tradition and standards. now that I have two daughters in the ‘system’ – which is pretty much society itself – I’m reliving all these feelings of being put down, jewishly-speaking, while growing up in the ‘system’. wearing skirts five days a week while boys wear pants limits you – it limits how you are portrayed and it limits your definition of yourself. it tells you what you are and what you are not. being expected to bring the challah ingredients or the snack for ima shel shabbat on Friday while boys are expected to bring grapejuice – limits. handing out the tzitzit to the boys, as the toranit, limits. it limits and it sends a very strong message – my place is here to give and give and give. give the boys what they need to be chazan and lead. and then take a step back and follow.

there was a week back there when my four year old wanted to wear tzitzit every day. who could blame her? I remember standing to the side on simchat torah watching the boys and men dance and make a show and be the center of the universe. me, and my mom, and my friends’ moms.

I’m raising two girls and every other day something pops up to remind me that things don’t change easily. or at all. and I moved across the world to a jewish country embedded with traditional jewish establishment. and I live in a *mixed* community, but when applicable, the judaism standards are set for the mainstream and everyone expects it.

it’s unfortunate that I don’t want to send my girls to the same school my son is in. he’s having a great time – it’s beautiful. I’m so happy for him. but I know it won’t be the same for them. the expectations will be different. the dress will be different. the language will be different. the way they are spoken to will be different. and so it goes, on and on.

and that’s what put me down in jewish day school. that’s what I think failed me. and I went to a relatively progressive one! and I’m still working on my self, more than three decades in the making, and I don’t even know where to start with my daughters. ‘just being myself and showing them’ is not the answer – I’m jaded and traumatized and damaged.

and the sad thing is, at 4.5 and 1.5, my daughters are already on that path.