Hi. I am sitting at my computer trying to come up with a column that will blow your mind. That will make you laugh AND cry AND contemplate the world around you. Well, the world around us has a great deal going on. That whole gosh-darn circle of life.
I went to visit my aunt tonight — I haven’t seen her since shiva was over. I mean I have spoken to her at least two times a week since my uncle died, but being in the apartment for the first time in three months was weird and sad, and it must be even weirder and sadder for my aunt. And then, to make matters more depressing, one of my good friends is sitting shiva for his mother. Like my uncle’s sickness, it went really fast. Too fast. Everyone thought that they might get better, but they didn’t. And though you think there are those moments of clarity, when everything would be okay, those haven’t come yet, and it is sad and daunting.
Can’t anyone admit that it is just really depressing? People are born and people die and the one constant is that they leave behind people who love them. And then hopefully, all will move on, and all will find some kind of happiness again..
But really this is getting too depressing, and I wanted to write about something else. So here we go. Last week, I spoke to a very large crowd of woman at my parents’ shul. It was their sisterhood event and they were kind enough to ask me to be a part of the celebration. I was very excited because I was speaking only to woman, not to men, and I could choose any topic. It seemed appropriate that I pick a topic that was appropriate only for women. So much so, that the title of the topic was “Mammograms, Menopause and Other Unmentionables — Things You Don’t Talk About When You Only Have Boys.” It was brilliant! Do you know how many topics you can never talk about when you only have boys? Well, I do, because, as you know, I only have boys.
Boys only like to talk about sports, well, mine do anyway. And not just real sports, like why the manager of the Giants was fired (or why it took so long for him to be fired.) Like who the new Yankee manager is. (And why I thought it was Aaron Judge the player, not Aaron Somebody Else who used to be a player…I am a girl, give me a break.) In my house, we also talk about the Yeshiva League sports, which are primarily hockey and basketball, played by students who go to Yeshiva.
Son #1 is the assistant coach for Moriah middle school hockey, which is only ironic, because when he was goalie for his middle school, which was Yeshivat Noam in Paramus, his biggest win was against Moriah. But now that he coaches Moriah, we hope that they win and not Noam. That is the lesson you learn from sports — you cheer for the team that you are personally invested in.
Back to my speech. One of the topics that I spoke about was the Judy Blume classic, “Are You There God, It’s Me, Margaret.” If you are a girl who was born in the 1970s you probably read this book, mainly because it taught you all of the joys of womanhood. Margaret, when we first meet her, is an 11-year-old girl who has just moved to the suburbs from Manhattan. Fortunately for her, she makes a whole bunch of new friends and they enjoy the trials and tribulations of womanhood together. Of course there is drama, because there is always drama when you are dealing with girls. Even when those girls grow up, there is a drama.
In my speech I talked about the “where is she now” about Margaret. Did they stick their beloved grandmother in a nursing home? Did her parents move to Florida? Is Margaret happily married? But my question is — does she still ask God questions about life ? And when are things finally going to happen to her?
It seems that all we want to do is grow up when we are younger, and then, when we finally grow up and realize what life is really like, we wish we were an 11-year-old girl again! Yup, back to the circle of life. So if you are a young reader, and all you want to do is grow up and drive and do “adult” things… put on the brakes, kiddo! Take time to smell the roses and appreciate where you are in life. Trust me!
Banji Ganchrow of Teaneck doesn’t want to be 11 years old again. She would rather be 16. That was a good year for her.