Life Work Balance

Solly (back right) and his school buddies

Yesterday, as I prepared for my trip to Denver to attend the TedX conference I was feeling very mixed emotions. I had decided to attend this conference because I thought it would be a good opportunity to share my book and the story about the mitzvah project. However, it coincides with both the 5th anniversary of my father’s death – which felt quite poignant and my son’s 11th birthday which gave me some pause. I am definitely a hands on mom, I love making memories and traditions for my children and I was quite distraught about this dilemma. I spoke about my concerns with my son and he was very sweet, he said, “Mommy, if you think this is a good opportunity, then you should go. But you have to be back for my birthday party.” Of course, we have already planned the annual sleepover with some friends for this weekend. “Also, could you get me a Denver Bronco’s hat for QB Tim Tebow?” Absolutely!

I realize that other parents deal with these kinds of dilemmas all the time and that it was only new to me because I have recently started traveling more for the book promotion. Sometimes work opportunities will give us pause and we will have to make hard choices. I believe though it also helps us enjoy those simple moments in our lives when we are fully present because they are valuable, precious and fleeting. A missed opportunity is a simple reminder not to waste other moments.

To make up for the missed birthday today I had also joined my son and his school buddies for hot lunch at school yesterday and brought him a favorite meal from a local take out restaurant. That was a HUGE hit. I expect he will remember that I went away for his birthday but also that I made a point to do something before hand and afterwards to celebrate. At least that’s what I hope!

Happy Birthday to my smiling, creative, funny 11-year-old son, Solomon!


Emergency Money lunch money used for a friend

It’s been quite awhile since I have been able to share any stories about my kids doing mitzvahs. It isn’t that they never do good deeds they do, it’s just that things have somewhat shifted since my mitzvah project was complete.  It’s actually been interesting working on my book while my kids are getting older, because things they did when they were 6 and 9 just aren’t things they would do at 9 and 12. A couple of weeks ago, during Yom Kippur when I was reminded about the mitzvah of saying a silent prayer when you see an ambulance with its siren going by, I mentioned it to my son. I had just written about how my son turned to me when he was 7 and asked if I had remembered to say a prayer when we’d heard an ambulance a few weeks after the holiday, however, when I turned to him this year, he was kind of like “whatever, Mom!” Not exactly what I would want him to say about this simple gesture.

So this week my daughter called from school on Tuesday to say she had forgotten her lunch and had no money in her lunch account. I was home sick that day and was in bed resting when she called. I told her to double-check that there truly was no money in her account and figured they’d let her have the one lunch (as they sometimes do when your balance runs out) until the next day when you can repay it. That afternoon after school,  she admitted to me  that she had been kind of embarrassed and had decided to forgo lunch that day. I gave her $5 and told her that was her emergency money, in case it happened again. Tonight she told me that her friend had forgotten her lunch today and she wasn’t sure what to do since I had given her the money in case SHE had an emergency. She said after a few seconds,  she thought about what I would want her to do and she knew I would want her to help her friend and give her some of the emergency money, so she did. Of course, she was right and I had one of those parenting moments where you realize they do emulate you and listen to what you say, for good or bad. This was one of those moments when I was glad she was emulated in a positive way.