Once or twice a month, my friends Kim and Shari and I send each other quick, unedited essays. We intended to do this every week, but we’re not that consistent. Calling them essays is rather ambitious; they’re more like snippets or observations. We share a Dropbox folder labeled “Tell Me Something Good,” and fill it with these brief missives – a page or less, first drafts, first thoughts, reflections on something that made us smile or feel grateful or breathe a sigh of relief. Continue reading
We like to ask, “What can I do for you?”
Frequently the answer is, “Nothing… but thanks for asking.”
How can this be? If I am sick or lonely or sad, and you ask what I need, shouldn’t I speak up?
A gallon of milk.
A basket of laundry, clean and folded.
We answer, “Nothing, thank you,” because we don’t know what we need, or what we need is too much, or we can’t imagine how we would ask for the thing we need.
You didn’t even ask what I need, but I’m going to tell you anyway. I need something big. Continue reading
If you spend any time with me at all, I will talk about my children. I will tell you about Josh’s latest cooking adventures, about Sammy’s internship and about Miriam’s plans to move to California.
And I will correct your pronouns.
My oldest is non-binary – neither male nor female – despite appearances, name and everything you think you know about them.
We have learned to refer to them with the pronouns they, them and their, which, I will admit, makes for some awkward sentences, but the underlying issue is one of identity. As a parent and ally, I can learn to live with (and eventually even let go of) this discomfort. For my child, being mis-gendered (or mistaken for the wrong gender) is a daily occurrence, and it hurts.
I recently was asked to write an article for Keshet, a national organization that works for full LGBTQ equality and inclusion in Jewish life. The request came as a result of my last blog article about “coming out” as the parent of a non-binary, queer adult child.
You can read the Keshet piece here.
While I draw from my own experience, the Keshet article is not meant to imply that anyone in my wonderful synagogue has done anything wrong or dismissed requests for more inclusive language, programming, etc. I have not made such requests. Change begins with awareness, and I’m doing my part to promote that awareness. Frankly, if we ask many of our teens and young adults, they will say they are somewhat uncomfortable or disinterested in religious institutions for a variety of reasons. That’s normal. Then they come back or find a good fit elsewhere. And we learn too. Continue reading
The essay I have been looking for either hasn’t been written, hasn’t been published, or is hidden beyond my search engine’s reach. I have been composing it in my head for months, but now I can write the first draft, because Friday my child came out to the world.
The essay I’m not done writing is about becoming the parent of a queer, non-binary, young adult child. I say becoming because until my eldest came out, I told myself I had a daughter. Now I am getting used to the idea of having a non-binary child. And while that distinction may seem merely a clumsy trick of the English language, the implications run deep. More on that another time.
My husband and I are experiencing something that is both utterly unique and increasingly common. Here’s a peek into the types of conversations I’ve had during the last year with well-meaning relatives and friends. Continue reading
Yesterday I attended the most beautiful funeral. My cousin Minda died Saturday, and the rest of this week has been a blur.
Did I mention that we’re celebrating her niece’s bat mitzvah this weekend, and that there will be 70 people at my house Saturday night in her honor? The occasion was moved to a synagogue here in Detroit from Southern California a few months ago because Marcia, the bat mitzvah’s mom, knew her sister would likely be too ill to travel, and might even die. Continue reading
Perhaps the dog wants to meditate too. More likely, he wants me to get up and walk him around the block. I have tried so hard to incorporate ten minutes of sitting into my mornings. Many days I skip it, and today the dog visited. I heard him walk in, tags jangling. Dog face in my face. Deep dog breaths. And then he sat down, nearly on top of me, all 70 pounds of big black lab. Continue reading