When Distance Makes the Heart Grow

TAsunsetThe little one wakes up at the same time every morning, give or take 15 minutes. Never mind that it’s the weekend. I long to sleep in, but my internal clock has adjusted to hers, which means I’m groggy but awake when she comes padding into my room.

“I miss daddy,” she says, leaning her face into mine. I run my tongue around the inside of my dry, sleepy mouth.

“I know. Me too,” I say. “Let’s FaceTime him.”

I pick up my phone from the bedside and press “Josh in Israel.” A shrill ring starts up immediately and within seconds we see him on the screen. Thousands of miles away, he sits at a beachfront café, the sun setting over the Mediterranean, his face warm and glowing, grinning. Here at home we are just waking up. My bed-head splayed across the propped up pillows, the sleep still heavy in my eyes, my cheeks not yet rosy. The morning sun comes through the window, weak after a night’s rain, gray tinged clouds hanging in the bluing sky. Continue reading “When Distance Makes the Heart Grow”

Reclaiming All My Pieces, Motherhood Included

 

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There was the time I tried to exit motherhood, so hell bent on finishing it up, distancing myself from who I’d become as the bearer of children. I was immersed in diapers and shit and dribble, inundated with milestones and firsts and the hot tears of frustration and exhaustion and a joy so intense it sliced through my fingers when I tried to hold on to it, leaving me bleeding and raw and open. Too open. I’m afraid of that, of openness, of vulnerability and the whole truth, nothing but the truth. Continue reading “Reclaiming All My Pieces, Motherhood Included”

The Mom Who’s Always Right Here

IMG_5240On Sunday I wake up at 6:30, like I do every morning, without prompting. My monkey brain immediately calculates the number of hours I’ve slept and it’s not enough. I stayed up too late reading or writing, Tweeting, my mind whirring. I wish I could sleep in just a little more, but my body is stubborn in its ways. I’ve kept to my side of the bed all night even though my husband’s side is empty. He is out of town, skiing the powder in the snowy Canadian Rockies. Continue reading “The Mom Who’s Always Right Here”

Flutterby 7

A collection of what’s winged its way across my path and got me thinking, grinning and gearing up.

Up a tree.
Up a tree.

Start Looking by Jill Robbins: “I don’t run to the doctor over every ache and bump but I’m quick to climb the crazy tree with my good friend “what-if”. I’ll scale that tree with amazing speed, although it’s not too hard to talk me back down, especially if you have booze or chocolate.” That is so me, plus there’s some really good stuff here about appreciating what’s right in front of you.

The Identity Crisis of Motherhood by Meredith at Perfection Pending: Every mama can tell you about her days of doubt, her days of wondering “Does what I do matter?” Those of us who stay home with our kiddos often wonder what life would have been like had we pursued one or another of our dreams. Meredith turns the focus inward, giving us her insights into the small but beautiful world that defines who she is right now: Mom. Continue reading “Flutterby 7”

L is for Leaves of Grass

“I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”

Isn’t that how all good love stories begin? With celebration and singing, assumption and belonging?

I am still not sure if I fell in love with the boy because of himself or because of the already fiercely loved words tumbling out of his mouth. Or maybe I never loved him at all, at least not without the words, not without the land.

It is summer – hot, hot summer in northern Israel. I am there on an archeological dig through Duke University, but really I am there to find myself. I am on a journey. I grew up in a reform Jewish home, didn’t have a bat mitzvah and, at 19, I crave identity the same way a small child craves chocolate for the first time: I’m not sure what it tastes like but I know it’s going to be good.

Still, finding myself will not be as easy as eating chocolate. I am earning credit for this program, which means being on the tel before dawn, pickaxe in hand, ready to haul gufas (buckets) of dirt out of the earth. It is quiet on the site before the sun arrives. Just our heavy boots shuffling along the dirt pathway up the hill, hushed whispers traveling among us.

Some days the hard labor comes with the sweet reward of unearthing a shard of pottery painted with ancient Hebrew or a hand crafted tessera that hints of a mosaic treasure somewhere further down. My hands callous and my thighs grow strong while my eyes grow keen, catching covered coins and petrified camel bones crevices and shallow cracks.

Muscles aching, hair caked with dirt, we are done for the day at noon when the sun become relentless and cruel. We head back to our host village for showers and lunch and afternoons washing and cataloging the day’s finds. We have “free time” after our last lesson, before dinner. Kids play basketball. We buy Drumsticks from the makolet. It is like camp.

8240-green-grass-leavesMoshav Nahalal is a beautiful place, in the heart of the northern Galilee. The village is laid out in a concentric circular pattern, like ripples on the water. It is in the middle of the middle where I find him. He is stretched out fully, stomach flat to the ground, propped up on his elbows. Reading. I grip my own slim burgundy volume in my hand. I am almost right in front of him when he looks up. He smiles.

“What are you reading?” he asks, his English near perfect.

“It’s Leaves of Grass.”

He pushes himself up and reaches for the book. I sit down across from him. The grass is prickly on my calves. I notice his Nietzsche.

I’ve seen him on the dig site working a few squares away from mine. He is a local, home from university, helping out for the summer. He is tall and thin with dirty-blonde hair shaved on the sides and a flop hanging across his forehead. His eyes are dark blue. It is 1989. We are 19 and 20. We are all Say Anything and Dead Poets Society.

He opens my book, then his mouth. The words come tumbling out, sweet like chocolate. Walt Whitman in the northern Galilee. My heart sings in celebration. Finally, I belong.

I’m participating in the 2014 A to Z Challenge during the month of April using the very broad theme of LOVE to carry me through the alphabet. Check out writing by other bloggers taking on the #atozchallenge at @AprilA2Z.