Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dancing Through the Wrinkles

I’m always amazed by the tapes that play in my head. This morning, I was taking pictures of Yakir to show Josh (who was already at work) the funny bed head Yakir had (yes, this is what we do to fill our time). 

So darn cute...bed head and all

And while I was taking these pictures, Yakir and I started having fun and ended up with some delicious pictures. After I got the kid to school and was able to look through the pictures, I thought I might post a few to Facebook.

They were, after all, so darn cute.

But then I saw them.

My wrinkles.

So many wrinkles.

Where did those wrinkles come from? Maybe, my tapes said, I shouldn’t post the pictures because then people will, you know, see that I have wrinkles.

Fortunately, I turned to those tapes and said to them, “Really? Has it come to this?”

And I threw them out the window (the tapes in my head, not the pictures) and posted the pictures. I wanted to put a disclaimer on the pictures (“Ignore the wrinkles!”) and then I realized just how insanely ridiculous the idea was.

I find that we, women, are so darn critical of ourselves. I’m sure not all women are – and I’m sure there are plenty of men out there who beat themselves up – but it appears that women have perfected this skill.

Rather than looking at the love, the adorableness of my bubbly 3 year old, I see my wrinkles in these pictures. And I realize that I do this a lot.

We’ll be on vacation with the boys and we’ll take pictures. And as soon as I see the pictures, I’m looking to see if I was caught at a bad angle. If I look fat in the picture. If all is ok.

Instead of seeing the crazy joy my kids are showing or the exciting thing we are doing, I’m looking for fat rolls and double chins.

I read this article yesterday about what people most regret when they are about to die. I’ve read articles of this sort before and I assumed that it was going to say the same cliché things we’ve all heard. But this article was different and fascinating.

It said that people regret how they’ve treated their bodies and how mean they’ve been to themselves.

One interviewee from the article said, “I’d never admit it to my husband and kids, but more than anything else, it’s my own body I’ll miss most of all. This body that danced and ate and swam and had sex and made babies. It’s amazing to think about it. This body actually made my children. It carried me through the world.”

And then she continued, “And I’m going to have to leave it. I don’t have a choice. And to think I spent all those years criticizing how it looked and never noticing how good it felt – until now when it never feels good.”


Obviously it’s important to maintain a decent weight and to eat as well as possible. But the tapes in my head go beyond this need. And try to ruin the great moments that life offers.

Why, anyway, is fat seen as shameful? Why am I embarrassed by the extra weight I’ve gained this year? Frustrated...fine. Hoping to lose the weight to fit more comfortably in my clothes…fine. But embarrassed? Why? Of what?

So I’m going to continue working on throwing those tapes out the window. Even when the tapes remind me that I don’t look like a model and that I’m no longer 25…I’m going to keep chucking them.

And dancing to the music of my life made by six adorable, loving, rambunctious boys and their father.

Romi Sussman

Neve Daniel

Monday, October 06, 2014

A First in 14 Years

At the very beginning of the summer, I wrote a blog about a very special evening and a very special community. But I never posted it. See, we took three of our boys as a big well-earned reward to Jerusalem to the Sound and Light Show. It's a glorious show and we were all looking forward to dinner and a night out. But after I wrote the blog in the morning, we realized that while we were gazing at the beautiful lights and enjoying ourselves with three of our boys - three of our country's boys were being kidnapped...and murdered.

And suddenly my blog post didn't seem all that important.

But now, I'm revisiting a sliver of what I wrote in the first blog with recent events this week to offer a picture of our lives and the truly holy people who are in it. 

On this evening in June, the hurdles began as we arrived for dinner in Jerusalem. We got a phone call from our very sweet and very capable babysitter. It’s never a good thing when you hear, “Hi Romi. Um. Did you leave the yishuv already?”

Oh boy. So Zeli cut himself near his eye and she wasn’t sure whether or not he needed stitches. Stitches? But there we were with three eager faces in Jerusalem, already sitting down to dinner and about to enjoy a great night. We called in the amazing Neve Daniel team. We called around to all of the doctors that we know to see if someone could evaluate Zeli. After all, if it ended up just needing a butterfly bandage or something little, then we didn’t really need to drive all the way home. Right?

We managed to get him evaluated but the person was a volunteer medic and didn’t want to make the final decision. More phone calls. Suffice it to say that we live in an absolutely AMAZING place. We had our always-on-call favorite dentist (who does stitches in his home) dashing back from Jerusalem to see Zeli at the same time that our always-on-call favorite ER doctor arrived at home. Our great friends picked Zeli, the babysitter and the other two kids up and brought them to their house. The doctor came over, saw Zeli and determined that he just needed a butterfly bandage. And our friends delivered the gang back to our house for the night. Phew.

Fun evening saved and kid safe.

Our night wasn’t ruined over a butterfly bandage and we proceeded to dinner and then to the amazing Light Show

Fast forward....yesterday I took Zeli to the doctor since he fell at Judo three days prior and seemed to be holding his left hand funny. Neither Josh nor I could see anything particularly swollen on his hand, he could move his fingers, and he only really complained when he fell (which he managed to do four times between the judo fall and yesterday). Oy. As soon as we saw the doctor, he turned Zeli's hand in just the right way and said, "Yep. I'm almost positive it's broken."

Broken? Gulp. Believe it or not (should I even say it?) in the 14 years that we've been parenting these guys, we have never had a broken bone. Not one. So this was a new experience for me.  Pfew...Pfew...Pfew...

And new experiences always require me to take a deep breath, have confidence in my ability to get through the system, and offer prayers that everything will get done.

First step - Zeli gets a sling so he can stop holding his hand up

We were able to get an x-ray right here in Gush Etzion (so convenient!), to bring it back to the doctor, and to be informed that the best place to go was Terem Romema. 

Now, I hate driving myself to new places and I'm always a bit nervous finding my way around unfamiliar parts of Jerusalem. 

But I had a job to do. 

And of course Waze wasn't working.

I took a big gulp, got Zeli into the car, and we were off. Josh directed me over the phone while also talking to our favorite Terem doctor to smooth our entry at the emergency center. Zeli was seen quickly, examined and casted, all while smiling that amazing smile of his. And all for free, of course.

He was actually in such a good mood that the doctor went back to the xray to confirm it was really broken. Why we giggled our way through the casting, I don't really know. But that's Zeli for you.

Terem poster child?

Then, it was time to go home. We were both exhausted, having been out for seven hours, but we stopped for some pizza as a treat, and then went home to bed.

Terem told us that we needed to see an orthopedic surgeon soon...but with Sukkot coming in only a few days we were worried about how that was going to happen.

Every Monday (we now know) there is a delightful orthopedic surgeon who comes to Efrat, and they squeezed Zeli into the schedule. Zeli actually played in the waiting room while awaiting his appointment.

When we got into the doctor, he removed the rather heavy and cumbersome first cast and casted it with something lighter and more fun (since everyone can now draw on it!).

This afternoon, friends who saw us at the doctor's office dropped off a treat for Zeli, other friends called to check in with him, and his judo teacher actually came to the house to pay him a call and bring him treats (and be the second person to sign his cast)!

These experiences allow me to marvel at the amazing place where we live. Our friends are ready at the drop of a hat to help with any and all expertise that they have. They will bend over backwards to make sure that we are taken care of medically, emotionally and physically.

And of course Facebook allows us to enjoy sympathy and encouragement from our families far away (thanks for the calls and encouragement guys!), friends nearby and everyone in between.

It's been a long week.

And it's Monday.

Let's hope for a bit of rest with Sukkot arriving in two days.

And no more new experiences - at least not the type that require us to call in our team.