Rituals & Spirituality

How “Merry Christmas” Upset Me (And How I Got Over It)

Wendy Sue's chanukah II

 

How can the most wonderful holiday of the year upset me, you wonder?  Good question.

I grew up in a reform Jewish home, meaning it was more cultural than religious.  For me, the best part of growing up Jewish was the Jewish food, still is, actually!

In Edison, New Jersey, where I spent my childhood, all of my friends but one other Jewish girl, had Santa sliding down their chimneys to bring them gifts galore.  I looked outside our home to see if we had a chimney too, and wondered, “Why didn’t Santa come down ours?” [Read More…]

Here Comes Santa Claus, Here Comes Santa Claus

Lori's Christmas I

On the outside of the boxes it says “SANTAS” in bright red letters. The corners of the boxes are reinforced with duct tape, since the contents get a little heavier each year. A musty smell clings to these two hat-sized boxes. Now, however, it’s time for the boxes’ annual unveiling.

Opening the boxes, I touch crumbled tissue paper and old, yellowed newspaper. I unwrap the first one and smile. It is one of the 30 Santas—one for every year my husband and I have been together—that are nestled together for safekeeping. It’s Christmas time and here comes Santa Claus!

When I was newly engaged, my husband and I attended a family friend’s home for an annual Christmas get together. Going to “Mrs. J’s” house was always fun, delicious, and filled with laughter and memories of our childhood. That particular Christmas, I noticed her collection of Santas. [Read More…]

Chanukah and The Passing Down Of Traditions

MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERAOne of the many reasons I wanted to have children was to pass down traditions and have a lineage (I am the last remaining member of the Shapiro family).

On holidays such as Chanukah, I’m reminded of what these days mean to me – a remembrance of my childhood, a passing on of the torch, a recognition of the wonderment of it all, a celebration of both religious and familial practices.

This photo of my son, taken several years ago, is one of the first remembrances he has of Chanukah. The sheer joy and delight on his face still takes my breath away.

How much do we all remember, relive, and annually embrace our own holidays with that same wide-eyed wonder?

Having children brings long-forgotten images and memories back. During times like these, those memories are sometimes too precious and too yummy to forgo. I often tell my children that they will have this experience or that experience to share with their own children and grandchildren. I hope my son remembers this very moment when he celebrates with his “tooties” (translated: children) and his children’s “tooties.” He will, at least, have this photo to refer to.

In keeping with this joyous holiday season, I want to wish each and every one of you a Happy Holiday… and a really special New Year.

My best,

Cyma Shapiro

By |December 16th, 2014|Categories: Commentary, Daily Living, Mothers Over 50, Rituals & Spirituality||0 Comments

Celebrating Multicultural Holidays In Our Home

Chanukah - ChristmasFor some reason, being the eldest daughter in a Jewish family, I always thought I should marry a Jewish man. Well, I fell in love with the most wonderful man in the world who happens to be the son of a retired-Episcopal minister.

I grew up celebrating Easter and Passover, Christmas and Hanukkah, even though I’m Jewish. I knew my folks would be fine with me marrying Tom; they knew we loved each other very much and they knew we both had good heads on our shoulders.  Our families welcomed our togetherness.  To culminate our union, we had a beautifully blended dual ceremony with an Episcopal minister and a Jewish friend (ordained minister) performing our service. [Read More…]

Sweatpantgiving

SweatpantsWe are quickly approaching the stimulus overload, food holidays. These holidays clash completely with my kids and their special needs.

In the short time my kids have been alive we have spent three holidays in an emergency room. Three.  The first one came as my youngest was just being diagnosed with his five anaphylactic food allergies. We were at the playground over a long holiday weekend.

My son, then a toddler, decided to sample a peanut butter sandwich that was on the tray of a stroller. He wound up having an anaphylaxis and I used his Epi-pen on him to save his life. Every single professional I encountered at the hospital told me over and over that I had saved my son’s life that day. It is something I can never forget. [Read More…]

In Defense of Halloween…

pumpkin IIYears ago, I read an essay by a reform rabbi explaining why she didn’t allow her children to celebrate Halloween. It’s not a Jewish holiday, she said and, in addition, she abhorred the stereotypical images of women and girls as witches and bunnies and princesses.

I wanted to admire her integrity and determination in the face of societal pressure to celebrate a holiday she had issues with, but I couldn’t help but feel only sympathy for her kids. We go to the movies that day, she said in the article, and no one else is there. It’s wonderful.

Later, when I had a child of my own in daycare, another kid’s dad told me, “We don’t celebrate Halloween. We’re Christian.”

Wow. Halloween gets it from all sides, doesn’t it? [Read More…]

Too Much Post-Halloween Candy? Never Fear, The Great Pumpkin Is Here!

Melanie Elliott Halloween IIIOur first Halloween with The Littlest E was easy breezy. He was 15 months old and didn’t really know or care about pumpkins, costumes, going trick-or-treating, or eating candy.  We stayed home that year and answered the door whenever the bell rang.

For the past few years some friends of ours whose son is The Littlest E’s age, have held a Halloween potluck.  They live in a great kid-friendly neighborhood with lots of children going door-to-door.  We starting going to their house when The Littlest E was a little over 2 years old.  That first year attending their party, we lasted 10 minutes trick-or-treating.  Our little guy was too scared of adults in costume and he didn’t even like being in his own costume.  It was all a bit too much for him. [Read More…]

Autumn in the Air (Going Back)

leaf“I wouldn’t go back there for the world!” I said to a woman whose daughter was picking out new school stuff alongside my son.

“All I did was worry about homework and clothes, and if I wasn’t doing that, I was chasing a boy – not that I ever caught one. It was just way too much stress.”

“I know!” the woman laughed. “I’m glad this one’s only in first grade!”

“That’s when I was talking about,” I replied. She grabbed her child and fled. [Read More…]

8 Tips For Boomer Women To Better Enjoy Their Friendships

We can say without a doubt that intimate friendships have always been important to women. But have you noticed that they’ve become even more so as you face the transitions of children growing up and parents growing older?

Findings from a recent MacArthur Foundation Study indicate that the emotional security and social support that these relationships provide for women have been a survival strategy for them in adversity. In fact, friendship is one of the keys to a long and more satisfying life. [Read More…]

Motherhood Is The Ultimate Blessing

It’s Monday night and the house is quiet.

Well, I take that back – it’s quiet except for Hayden, who is squirming and complaining on my lap. He’s been in a grouchy mood all day, and I think I’ve nursed him 49 times. Possibly less, but it doesn’t feel like it. Lily is chattering in the background too – covering her doll with a maroon plastic pasta strainer and singing “wash, wash, wash.” (Give that girl an A+ for creativity, because I promise she isn’t reenacting anything she’s seen here before.)

But. it’s more quiet here than usual, because the rest of my kids are dispersed throughout our town tonight….some are playing football in a park with their older brother, a few are off on an ice cream date with Daddy, and Mackenzie is staying the night with a friend from work whose husband is out of town. [Read More…]

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