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Listening for the Worm

Two days before Mother’s Day, I went to a local garden with Mom where they were having a sale on their plants. The sun was too hot for me and the plants were strangers, so I sat on a bench by the pond, in the shade, while Mom gathered up her new friends. I’d been told that a turtle did a log rolling exhibition in the middle of the pond, when he felt like it, but at that moment he was just resting on the log, getting some sun, so I watched as a duck did a systematic search of the pond, spiraling out from the center, doing surface dives with his butt up in the air and his orange feet paddling furiously. He was looking under the water for something, but I couldn’t see what. Had he lost his keys? Finally, he got tired and went to the spot where the other ducks were resting in the tall grass.

Can you see the turtle out there on the log?

Can you see the turtle out there on the log?

That’s when I noticed a lone robin coming towards me. He was hopping, and looking around, and pausing, and pecking for seeds. I sat still on the wooden bench and watched him as he stepped closer and closer to me. He stared in my direction for a long moment, and then hopped and pecked, and came even closer. Is it possible to make eye contact with a bird? He seemed about to say Hello, when someone approached from the other side of the pond, and he startled and ran for the trees.

When I got home I noticed that there were quite a lot of birds standing on the grass in our yard, just staring into space. Most often they were robins, with their red breasts puffed up and beaks in the air. Mom said that the robins were listening to the underground noises that would tell them where to dig for worms, but I thought it looked like they were doing their daily meditation exercises, breathing in the smells of spring and exhaling the toxic cold of the winter.

Is he listening?

Is he listening or meditating?

The way they leaned and tilted and turned their heads and stretched, it looked like they were doing a form of bird yoga. Mountain pose and Triangle pose were recognizable, but the most impressive pose was when they tilted forward with their weight cantilevered precariously over their tiny legs.

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Bird Yoga

It always seemed to be one bird alone, with a wide expanse of lawn to search, instead of two birds, or a group, working together. Maybe listening for the worm is a lot like writing, you need to be alone to concentrate.

“I’m not a bird!”

Butterfly does her own version of listening for the worm, or listening for the birds who are listening for the worms. She will run and gallop and stop short to listen, with her nose in the air, and her ears turned to the sound. She captures bird song, and the growling of low planes, and the sound of wind ruffling the leaves, until she feels all filled up. Cricket doesn’t do this. Cricket fills herself up by sniffing every blade of grass. Twice.

Butterfly, listening for the birds.

Butterfly, listening for the birds.

Cricket sniffing, again.

Cricket sniffing, again.

I’ve tried to convince the robins in the backyard that I am not a danger to them. I’ve told them the story of the robin at the pond who wanted to be my friend, but they are still circumspect, even though I am no danger to their food supply. I don’t eat worms, first of all, and I don’t have the patience to stand in one spot and wait for food to come. I prefer the short walk to the kitchen myself. But they insist on fluttering away when I get too close. Maybe if I just sit on the front step, and wait, one brave bird will consider looking my way.

The Cuckoo Clock

 

When I was little, my brother and I slept over at Grandpa and Grandma’s house in Chappaqua. We stayed in the guestroom, with the two twin beds at perpendicular angles, and while we were there we were almost like friends. My brother is two years older than me and, at home, I was a bother and a nuisance, but at Grandpa’s house we were a team. He needed me as much as I needed him, because we were in a strange place and didn’t know what to do, though, of course, he still didn’t want to actually talk to me.

There was some vague sense that our presence was a problem for Grandma, and that we really shouldn’t be seen, or heard. There were glass figurines by the front door – which no one ever used – and I was not allowed to play with them, though there are pictures of me trying to touch them as a toddler. They had no children’s books that I remember, or toys. Grandma had tambourines and maracas and two strange little keyboard/recorder hybrids on top of the piano, and we were allowed to play with those, I think, but not for too long, and not if we gave her a headache.

"What?"

“What?”

My grandparents’ house was built into a hill, so that on one side of the house, the first floor you saw was the main floor of the house – well lit, sunny, and facing a green lawn – and on the other side of the house, the first floor you saw was the garage, and basement, and laundry room – dark and mildewed, and with a rickety stairway up to the main floor. We always entered the house through the laundry room and walked up the rickety stairway into the light.

Me in the living room, looking for the light.

Me in the living room, looking for the light.

When we first arrived, we sat awkwardly in the big chairs at the dining room table and ate butter cookies from a blue tin, and listened to the chimes of the grandfather clock. I don’t remember Grandma talking to us much, except to say no, and don’t do that. She liked for us to sit quietly on the floor and look through old family photo albums with strangers in them who she never identified. For entertainment, we’d crack open nuts from the nut bowl, and that’s how I found out that I loved hazelnuts, and hated brazil nuts, and found walnuts incredibly frustrating to work with.

There was dust everywhere, hanging on the rays of sunshine coming through the windows. And there was a hidden attic, with stairs that had to be pulled down from the ceiling, and there was a laundry chute in the wall that sent the dirty clothes down a slide to the laundry room. We were not allowed to try the ride for ourselves; we asked.

Grandpa took me and my brother food shopping at the local Grand Union, after snacks, and educated us about the wonders of “Red Dot Specials,” and out-of-date bread, and slightly bruised fruit. He’d spent a lifetime teaching Consumer Education and he wanted to share it all with us. He’s probably the reason I’ve always loved supermarkets; he made them seem like magical places, full of everything we could ever need.

Grandpa

Grandpa

He drove us there in his white Mercedes convertible, so that we could feel what it was like to drive with the top down, but I think he also took us out to give Grandma a break from having children in her house.

When we came back, we put the groceries away and then went down to the garage. The house sat on a big piece of property, mostly taken up by a pond. Grandpa had rowboat and life vests and oars hung up in the garage, as if it were a boat house, which it sort of was, and he’d take the row boat out on the pond as often as possible. I’m not really sure what he did out there, because I refused to get in the boat. The water in the pond was an opaque green and I was certain that there were evil creatures skittering around in there. I expected the Loch Ness monster to jump up and roar at any moment. I was even afraid to walk across the little wooden bridge to sit on the bench by the water to wait for Grandpa and my brother to come back, because I expected eels to fly up and grab my legs. I preferred to stand in the driveway, or over by the little stream, where the monsters couldn’t get me.

Late at night, they took us out for ice cream (maybe at eight PM, but it felt like midnight to me) and we ate ice cream sundaes, and brought home candy necklaces, and candy dots, and red licorice strings, and my brother even shared some of his with me, because I ate faster than he did, and because he was better at saving some for later.

At night, though, the house was too quiet. They didn’t have a dog anymore. I would hear about Rufus, the small, shaggy dog my grandmother used to dote on, but by the time I was born there was no sign of a dog in their house, no toe nails clicking on the hardwood floors.

Rufus

Rufus

But, there was the cuckoo clock in the guest room. It was so loud! Every hour, it seemed, the little bird would pop out of the front door of the clock and make noise, and it felt like the whole clock was giggling and shaking. I could hear the tick tick of the cuckoo clock all night. It was wonderful! I looked forward to visits from that cuckoo, like a long lost friend, checking to make sure I was alright. I always wanted to bring the cuckoo clock home with me, but everyone said no.

A Cuckoo Clock (not mine).

A Cuckoo Clock (not mine).

When the dogs wake me up now, at way-too-early in the morning, they remind me of that cuckoo clock. They have the same persistence as the cuckoo, the same cacophony of noise, and the same visible shaking from making all of that noise, as if any second their pieces are going to pop out from excitement. Their little tails wag like metronomes and remind me of the pendulum swinging side to side at the bottom of the clock. And I feel that same sense of relief I felt when the cuckoo came to visit. I’m not alone! Someone else is here, and talking to me. Hello!

"Who us?"

“Who us?”

Why Don’t Dogs Have Gynecologists?

“What’s she talking about?”

 

I’m supposed to go for a mammogram this month. I went for my baseline last year, and the doctor wants me to go every year now, despite recommendations to the contrary out in the world. I almost fell down halfway through the test last year as they pressed each breast into the squeeze machine three times. How can this be the state of the art? Is someone under the impression that breasts can’t feel pain?

I’m afraid I’m not going to be able to push myself to go to the appointment, and my doctor will be mad at me for not doing it, and I will inevitably develop breast cancer and die and it will be my fault because I didn’t want to faint in the radiology office.

Like this.

Like this.

I’ve never heard of a gynecologist for dogs, though you never know what’s out there, somewhere. My dogs haven’t had to get mammograms. I can’t even imagine how that would work. Cricket thinks that having the goop removed from her eyes is the worst humiliation; can you imagine trying to squeeze some sensitive part of her anatomy until it is flat?

“What?”

I wish I could be more like Cricket, and feel like I have the right to refuse these humiliating tests, or at least to bite the person who tries to perform them on me. I feel like women need to rise up.

“Fight!!!!!!”

The thing is, veterinarians go into veterinary medicine almost always because they love animals and have compassion for them. Whereas doctors for humans often go into medicine because of the steady income, the prestige, or an interest in science. And gynecology? I don’t think too many kids grow up dreaming of becoming gynecologists.

I went to my first gynecologist when I was in my late twenties. I had been putting it off to avoid the inevitable panic attack and having to talk to a stranger about my sexual abuse history. I told the doctor my story as quickly as possible, and she seemed sympathetic for a minute, but then she told me to get on with my life. She said that my health would be better once I had babies, because that’s what the female body is meant to do. And then she complained that my body made the internal exam “difficult.”

“Grr.”

The next gynecologist seemed more down to earth. She listened to my spiel about sexual abuse, and promised to be careful with me, and asked questions. True to her word, she did her best to avoid hurting me during the internal exam itself, but as soon as I sat up, in my cloth gown, on the edge of the metal table, I started crying uncontrollably, and she said, “Are you sad that the exam is over?”

She meant to be funny, but her cluelessness for how that would sound to a sexual abuse survivor was bizarre. I don’t understand why female gynecologists are not more sensitive to this, given that the conservative estimate is that 1 out of 4 women were sexually abused before the age of 18. But, even if I had no abuse history, it would be normal for a woman on a table, being poked internally with a piece of metal, to be uncomfortable and self-conscious. And yet the doctors seem impatient with this.

My current gynecologist is pretty matter of fact. At the first exam, after a discussion, fully clothed, in her office, and changing into paper clothes and having to shimmy down the table, she tried the regular speculum and then said no, let me go get the one we use for the nuns.

She works in a large office, next door to a plastic surgeon, and around the corner from a cancer treatment center. It’s not comforting. It’s like a one stop shop for women: get birth control, have a baby, get cancer, get your breasts redone, get cancer again, go into remission, and then celebrate living a long life by getting a facelift.

I go to the gynecologist because I have to go, but I dread it all year. I’m not saying I’d rather be a female dog, but sometimes I wish I felt free to act like one.

IMG_0237

Cricket’s Commandments

 

Cricket has something to say.

Cricket has something to say.

Cricket has a long list of rules for how we must behave in her house.

  • I am the big dog and no other dog shall come before me.
  • Thou shalt not wash my poopy butt.

    "Never."

    “Not ever.”

  • Stealing my eye goop is a killable offense.
  • Thou shalt not read a book when I want scratchies.
  • Thou shalt not douse my neck with Frontline.
  • Butterfly shall never have more treats than me.

    "No?"

    “Never?”

  • Butterfly shall not sit on the couch, or on a lap, unless she is getting her blood tested, which leads to treats for me.
  • If Butterfly gets scratchies or treats, I must get more scratchies and more treats.
  • Butterfly can never leave the house without me, because she might get treats I do not get.
  • No one shall walk up and down the stairs in my building, or open and close doors, or God forbid, bring the mail!

But Cricket has just as many rules for her own behavior as for ours.

  • If there is a leaf, I must catch it.

    "Mine!"

    “Mine!”

  • If there is a squirrel, I must chase it.
  • If there is a weed, I must grab it with my teeth and tear it from the ground.

    "Grr argh."

    “Grr argh.”

  • At bed time, I must crawl under Mommy’s bed and leave a paw out to be noticed.

    "You can't see me, can you?"

    “You can’t see me, can you?”

  • When Butterfly gets her blood tested, I must stand in the corner, between the two couches, and stare across the room at the bag of chicken treats.
  • If at all possible, I must poop in the planting boxes.
  • After a bath, I must run like a crazy dog and dry my butt on Mommy’s bed.
  • When I am angry, I must pick up a tug toy and taunt Mommy with it.

    "You can't have it!"

    “You can’t have it!”

  • When I am grumpy, I must hide under the couch.
  • When I am lonely, I must climb on a person for warmth, and ignore any protests.
  • If no one wakes up at two AM to take me outside, I am free to poop on Grandma’s green quilting mat in the living room, or under the dining room table.

Cricket’s number one rule, though, is: Cricket must never be left alone. She insists on this and treats us like criminals when we dare to leave her behind in the apartment. She’s not destructive. She never chews a pair of shoes or destroys a box of toys while we’re gone, she just mopes. She gives very impressive grumpy face. It’s like when a parent doesn’t punish a child for bad behavior but just looks at them and says, “I am very disappointed in you.”

"I am very disappointed in you."

“I am very disappointed in you.”

Cricket has quite a few more rules in mind, but has had a harder time insisting on them. No one listens, for example, when she says that she should get a whole roasted chicken for breakfast, or a chocolate bar for dessert. And she has yet to convince either of her people to let her go out and play in traffic. Harrumph.

The Glucose Curve

In January of 2014, Butterfly, my ten year old Lhasa Apso, was diagnosed with diabetes. We went for monthly visits to a doctor she loved, and did twice daily blood tests and insulin shots, and we seemed to be making progress. But, over the summer, her doctor left the clinic and Butterfly’s sugar started to go up and down like a roller coaster. By the fall, nice doctor or not, we had to go back to the clinic for advice.

Butterfly was not feeling well.

Butterfly was not feeling well.

The doctor who saw Butterfly in October was a per diem, filling in for the day, and he was concerned about her sugar. He made me very nervous, despite his choir boy face and laughing Scottish accent and frequent stops to tickle Butterfly behind her ears, because he said there might be another underlying health problem. He wanted me to do a glucose curve at home: starting first thing in the morning, I would test her blood sugar every hour or two, until I couldn’t stay up any longer, then I should send the results to one of the regular vets, to see if they could recognize a pattern.

But she always loves those ear tickles.

But she always loves her scratchies.

The glucose curve day was, possibly, the best day of Butterfly’s life. Every time I went to take her blood, she made me chase her around the apartment first, and after each test she got another chicken treat. I had to break the chicken treats into tiny pieces to avoid an exploding Butterfly halfway through the day. And, of course, Cricket matched her treat for treat, and attempted to climb the bookshelf to reach the bag of treats when the pieces were too small for her liking.

Butterfly's tail is ready.

Butterfly’s tail is ready.

Cricket's tail is running away.

Cricket’s tail is running away.

Cricket and Butterfly, ready for their treats.

Cricket and Butterfly, ready for their treats.

By the last blood test, at two o’clock in the morning, Butterfly was wiped out and ready for bed, but still willing to grab a last chicken treat on her way down the hall.

We made an excel sheet out of her test results, with comments about her moods, and meals, and exercise, and pooping. The vet we sent it to was duly impressed, but she said she was worried about Butterfly’s very low sugar numbers midday. She wanted us to lower the insulin dose and redo the curve in two weeks.

I liked the compliments – I really love compliments, and I especially like when my organizational skills are noticed and appreciated – but I was hoping for a different response. Anything but “do it again.” The second glucose curve, two weeks later, was closer to normal, and the vet told us to keep everything the same, and redo the test in a few months.

By December, Butterfly’s twice daily blood sugar readings were getting wild again, so I ordered extra test strips and lancets and chicken treats and woke up at 5:45 AM on December 30th and started testing her blood every hour or two, administering an enormous amount of chicken treats to get her, and Cricket, through the ordeal. We stayed up until 2 AM, or I stayed up, Butterfly took a few naps.

Nap time.

Nap time.

When we finally met Butterfly’s new vet in person, she had a theory she wanted to test: that Butterfly’s blood sugar was bouncing up so high as an over-correction to too much insulin, and if we lowered the insulin dose again, maybe things would even out. Two weeks on this dose, and then another glucose curve. This was becoming normal for us.

Cricket sniffed Butterfly all over when we got home, to make sure no extra treats had been consumed, but also to make sure Butterfly was still Butterfly. We’d tried taking Cricket with us to the clinic, once, and she spent the whole time hiding behind my legs and barking at everyone and everything. But still, staying home alone made her disgruntled and suspicious.

Cricket's suspicious face.

Cricket’s suspicious face.

Unfortunately, the low insulin dose skyrocketed Butterfly’s blood sugar levels into the too-high-for-the-meter-to-count range. She was drinking and peeing constantly, in the house and out, so even without a glucose curve, we raised the insulin back up. And, of course, waited two weeks and went through the whole day of testing again, to Butterfly’s delight. And the numbers were still not right.

I was afraid that the doctor would give up on getting Butterfly’s sugar normalized and tell me to accept that she’s just going to die sooner rather than later, and it’s not worth stressing about. But she’s my baby! And I am stressed about it! I was angry that being a conscientious dog mommy hadn’t added up to better health and better luck for Butterfly, and for my carpeting.

“What’s wrong with peeing on the carpet?”

And then Mom came up with a plan (okayed by the vet) to give Butterfly an extra unit of insulin when her blood sugar levels are high, and the regular dose otherwise. I have no idea if this will work long term, or why the doctors haven’t wanted us to try it before now, but so far it seems to be helping.

I just want Butterfly to feel better, and not need to pee every five minutes, and live forever. Is that so wrong?

IMG_1259

Why We Need A Canine Co-Rabbi

Google image of a Rabbinical dog. What do you think?

Would this little guy make you want to go to synagogue? (not my picture)

Almost from the beginning of my time at the synagogue three years ago, I’ve been talking to the rabbi about dogs. I don’t remember how it started. Maybe I brought in a picture of Butterfly and Cricket right after we adopted Butterfly from the shelter, maybe it was because I’d heard about his dog, who’d died just a few years before we arrived, and was well known by the congregation, playing a role in rabbinical stories over her long tenure as canine in residence. And maybe it’s because, going to the rabbi’s house for a new members evening, I noticed that pictures of the dog were as prominent as pictures of his daughters, meaning, she was family.

"We are family!"

“We are family!”

He made it clear that he wants a smallish dog, but not too small, hypoallergenic, because he always has people at his house and doesn’t want anyone to get sick, and she has to be a girl. He has two daughters, so he knows he gets along well with girls, but maybe he also wants to avoid the marking and humping young male dogs can do. I did not ask.

I gave him a list of hypoallergenic, or supposedly hypoallergenic, dogs, and we went over it, a year and a half ago.

Talking about dogs is a neutral zone where I can offer the rabbi my attention and concern, without feeling like I’m invading his privacy. There’s such a strange dynamic with teachers and rabbis and therapists, where you create a bond and naturally want to know more about them, but their privacy is meant to be protected, and it feels like I am puffing myself up imagining that I know anything or have the right to care about whether or not he has a dog.

Once a year, dogs play a role in the ritual life of the congregation when they come to the pond on Rosh Hashanah. The ritual of Tashlich is about tossing our sins into the water to let go of them and start the new year fresh. At our synagogue we toss birdseed instead of the traditional bread, which supposedly chokes the birds. I guess the dogs are invited, because with all of the goose poop, no one will notice if they pee or poop on the grass.

"Where should we pee?"

“Where should we pee?”

But once a year is not enough if we want the dogs to get to know each other and develop their own roles in the congregation. We need a rabbinical dog to lead the rest of the dogs in finding their place in the community, whether it be helping kindergarteners learn to read, helping bar and bat mitzvah kids practice in front of a friendly congregation, or offering help to dogs who need it.

We need a rabbinical dog, a small, well trained, friendly, hypoallergenic dog, who can walk through the crowd offering consolation and sweetness and reminders of dogs at home. Just like a rabbi is often a stand in for the good parent you either had or needed.

The rabbinical dog could sniff each congregant’s dog, have private meetings with those in need of further consultation, and maybe plan a few more events during the year for the sake of dog/human families who otherwise have to go to shul without half of the family.

"Why can't we go with you?"

“Why can’t we go with you?”

I think the only real problem with dogs in the synagogue, other than peeing on the carpet, is that there is often food, especially cake and cookies and chocolate. We are in great danger of setting up the oneg on Friday night, going into services, and coming back an hour and a half later to an empty buffet table and sick dogs.

Butterfly is always hungry.

Butterfly is always hungry.

But Cricket might need some Pepto Bismal.

But Cricket might need some Pepto Bismal.

The Choir

 

I joined the choir at my synagogue a few years ago, when I was still a one-dog-woman, battling wills with Cricket, and needing somewhere else to be every once in a while, preferably with humans. At the first choir rehearsal of the summer, the cantor handed me a loose-leaf filled with the High Holiday music, and then he had to rush off to answer someone else’s questions. I didn’t even know where to sit.

I wandered around until the musical director introduced herself. As soon as she told me her name, I recognized her as my elementary school music teacher, and started to panic. She was a bit of a… let’s just say she had a tendency to be critical. She didn’t really remember me, but reminisced about other students she really liked over the years. When she asked if I was an alto or a soprano, I said, “somewhere in between,” and she sat me with the altos, because there were only two of them.

The rehearsal started inauspiciously, with a song I had never heard before that required the altos to sing something entirely unlike a melody. The next hour and a half was pure panic and confusion, for me, and boring repetition mixed with endless criticism for everyone else. When I tried to stand up at the end, I couldn’t balance and fell back down into my seat, and when the musical director came over and asked if I was okay, I started to sob.

Partly it was the adrenalin let down after my 90 minute panic attack, but also, I’d been having seizure-like episodes and walking problems for a while by then, so my balance was unreliable. Mom was there to drive me home, and as she walked me out of the sanctuary, the musical director walked out with us, talking non-stop. She said that I was brave to have tried, but choir isn’t for everyone, which made me cry harder. I tried to suck it up and smile and pretend I was fine, but she kept talking to me and the tears kept coming.

When I got home, I was determined to show her that I could stick it out. I put my new loose-leaf full of music on my bed and took out my guitar and picked out the first song in the book note by note. Cricket jumped up on the bed and pawed at the guitar strings. The sound stunned her, but she pawed again, and seemed to think she had discovered a monster hidden inside of the guitar. She is not a fan of monsters, other than herself, so she jumped off the bed in search of safer adventures.

Cricket's suspicious face.

Cricket’s suspicious face.

I practiced the High Holiday songs every day, with Cricket nearby but suspicious. None of the music was familiar to me, and I wasn’t used to four part harmony at all, but I pushed myself to go to the next rehearsal. The people who recognized me were surprised to see me again, and when the musical director came over, she looked at me like I was a fourth-grader who’d just peed on the floor. She said she was glad to see me, and I chose to believe her.

"You pee on the floor too, Mommy?"

“You pee on the floor too, Mommy?”

I thought I would be better prepared this time, but of course we only sang the songs I hadn’t practiced yet. I didn’t cry after the second rehearsal though, that was my big triumph.

I went to the next rehearsal, and the next, but I never seemed to catch up. There were different altos at each rehearsal, so I didn’t get to know anyone very well, and the row of bases behind me was completely filled, and loud, so I could barely hear my own voice to figure out what I was singing.

Cricket thinks fluffy hair would help me block out the bases behind me.

Cricket thinks fluffy hair would help me block out the other singers.

In between rehearsals, my neurologist was testing me for everything under the sun, but finding nothing. I was having a lot of trouble walking Cricket, even around the block, and the butterflies in my stomach during choir rehearsals were turning into pterodactyls and trying to rip me open from the inside.

Cricket, leading the way, dragging me with her.

Cricket, leading the way, dragging me behind her.

By the end of August, the Neurologist was convinced that my problems were all psychological, and that I should try anti-depressants because he saw no physiological cause for my symptoms. He wanted me to see a psychiatrist from his group, but my insurance refused to cover it. They would, on the other hand, cover a hospital stay.

At first I was adamant that I would not go into a hospital: because I didn’t want to be away from Mom and Cricket, because I didn’t want to be watched all day, and because I did not believe I was crazy. But the choir rehearsals were setting off long forgotten pockets of dread that I could not squash, so, when Mom asked me, for the 72nd time, if I would please go to the hospital, I looked at the looming dates of the High Holiday services, and finally said yes.

That was more than two and a half years ago, and my neurological problems are still undiagnosed, though the anti-depressants have made other things easier. Butterfly arrived after my attempt to join the choir had ended, and after the guitar was zipped in its case and hidden in the back of the closet, and I wonder sometimes if I would have handled things differently if I’d already had Butterfly at home. But the fact is, I don’t sing to Butterfly at all! I’ve always thought that the one kind of singing I’d be able to do is to sing to my children, and yet here she is, big floppy ears at the ready, and I don’t sing to her.

Butterfly's big ears.

Butterfly’s big floppy ears are ready.

I do sing, but only when everyone around me is singing too. I look forward to the special Friday night services at my synagogue, when a full band comes to play, because with all of the singing and clapping and drums and amps, I can sing full out and not worry that everyone will hear me.

And it feels wonderful. It really does.

"Don't worry, Mommy. We're ignoring you."

“Don’t worry, Mommy. We’re ignoring you.”

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