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Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Honor Where Honor is Due - 90 Years Worth!

Me and my special Nannigenarian!
Today is a very important day in history. Today is Nanni's birthday! And not just any birthday of Nanni's and not just any day in our family history, but a very significant one: Nanni is officially a nonagenarian! Or as I like to call her now, a Nannigenarian!

That may be a big word for a little boy, but every syllable of the word and every second of these 90 years has had a direct impact in my glorious heritage. And for that I am very grateful. I love my great grandmother! (emphasis on "great") 

As great grandchildren, we bask in Nanni's presence - and vice versa

The thing about great grandparents is that the word "great" isn't just because they are great, which they are. The other aspect of the word great is how GREAT their great grandchildren are, according to them. If you ever need a confidence boost or some salve to a bruised self esteem (deserved or otherwise), grandparents are where you go to get that. If you ever need or want to feel near divine, great grandparents provide that just by basking in their presence as they bask in yours.

Here's the Law of Generations. The higher up in generation you look to, the greater and grander you as a child feel. We babies abide by this scale of positive support and self esteem:

  1. Your parents = poor to average development of self esteem in child. (Common conversations are riddled with: "Stop! Come back! Don't touch that! I'm going to count to three!!!" 
  2. Grandparents = grand to grandiose growth of self confidence in their grandchildren. It is common to hear grandparents telling people: "My grandchild is so smart, he/she will be a doctor/lawyer/astrophysicist one day! My grandchild loves music, he/she has perfect pitch and precise rhythm! My grandchild is gorgeous. But really! My grandchild is an angel, he/she can do no wrong."
  3. Great grandparents = great to even grandiose proliferation of self confidence, self esteem and potential egotistical tendencies in great grandchildren. Commonly heard from great grandparents: "My great grandchild is actually an angel sent from the right hand of God. My great grandchild should definitely be in magazines. My great grandchild is smart, but I meant like Galileo, Davinci, Michelangelo and Einstein-smart. My great grandchild is the Babe Ruth of all sports! My great grandchild is a natural musician, Beethoven had nothing on him/her. My great grandchild has the world's most winning smile! My great grandchild lights up the world by his/her very existence!"
Or, if you get a C on your report card, you are a genius! Here's $10 and a piece of Gianduia chocolate! And your drawing, that haphazard, ragtag piece of scribbled paper that you gave me which is designed to resemble, um, something ... PICASSO you are! An artistic genius! And if you perform in the school play but forget all your lines, you are the next Cary Grant! And if you miss your free throw, you are Michael Jordan! And if you throw things, have a meltdown in public or stubbornly stop to the ground in protest and triple your body weight so as not to be moved, well, it's your parents' fault for not meeting your needs and anyway, you are actually an angel and whatever is happening is a lie!! 

When we invade NY, we try to hang with Nanni as much as possible

I do appear to be monopolizing Nanni

Naturally, great grandparents are very justified in their glorification of us. I mean, we are them! All of their goodness and their great genes have been seasoned on the way down to us. We look upon them with awe and respect because we know that they have worked to make a better way for us. And we get all the benefits! I'm musical - thanks to Popi. I'm a fashion template and an amazing Van Gogh artist - thanks to Nanni! I'm a gastronomical connoisseur - thanks to both (great) Grandpa and (great) Grandma, one a famous French chef and the other an anonymous yet amazing cook at home. And on the other side, I'm an intricate woodworker and medical expert! I am too good to be true!

And thus you get the great grandparent perspective/ego boost of the century!

I look to Nanni for more than just my genes

Nanni = unconditional love! ...

My motto in life is Shakespearean: "Brevity is the soul of wit." But "Nanni" is one of the few words I bother to say because she is very meaningful to me.

Unfortunately, an ocean is between us and now almost one year of literal face time (only slightly less of Apple-type FaceTime). But we live on pictures and memories and DNA to get us through the long months of separation. At least I know I have a delightful heritage!

...And lots of positive reinforcement in all my pursuits!

"The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me."
 Psalm 16:6 

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Wandering in the Wilderness that is Spring Break!

Too cute to be true
After approximately 40 years, we are back!
Backpacks. check! Lunch, check! Ate breakfast, check! Donned actual
clothes, check! Brushed teeth and hair, check! Duly bored after a really
really long break, check! Back to school!
Passover is supposed to be a time to remember the Israelites' exodus from Egypt, a move which probably took a week or so as 1 million people packed up and left for a better environment and freedom.

But in modern times, the Israeli Ministry of Education celebrates what happened after the exodus: 40 years wandering the desert in an effort to get to the promised land. 

Yes, our spring break, which take place about two months before the end of the school year, seems to be designed to mimic the 40 years, not the actual seven days God commanded be observed for Passover. Being off from school for nearly three weeks stretched into what felt like 40 years in the wilderness with no promise or freedom anywhere in sight.

Attempt to give Lucas some culture and entertainment simultaneously.
Fail. (That's a genuine Van Gogh behind you, Lukie! Smile!)
Egyptians?? Pharaoh?? Success!

Lucas had the most days off, I had just two days more of school than he and Raia had a week longer. But nevertheless, within a few days, our daily lives had unraveled into an abyss void of routine, and even lapsed into negative routines.

Lawlessness. Boredom. Daily trips for desperate entertainment. Empty wallets. Utter lapses in personal hygiene. Sleeplessness.

Mommy and abba, teaming up with Mimi and GongGong, tried to keep up a consistent string of activities for us. Mimi and GongGong did the heavy lifting, sometimes planning up to two excursions per day to parks or gymborees. But of course, meals also had to be made in between our entertainment sessions and virtually everything came to a halt for Raia's nap each day around 1 p.m.

Accordingly, the entire vacation disintegrated into a pile of hyperactive children and weary adults. We as children have way more energy than adults. So while our outings were not enough to wear us out enough to sleep through the night, the adults operated on a deficit of energy and nerves.

Me practicing my ballet moves with my ballerina
(note the Nutcracker playing on the TV in the background)

And so you may conclude that we slept later each day especially since we had no reason to rush out the door. Nay! We woke up even earlier instead! Every single day. Sometimes at 5 a.m.! And we went to bed later every night, rendering each day even more interminable than the one before.

Thus the feeling of 40 years as each day dragged to its bitter end.

Eating random things at random times.

Basically all bets were off. Normalcy was stomped out, ground into fine dust that drifted away in the unseasonably hot desert winds that scorched us during this time.

Forty years of wandering. Wilderness. Desert.

Many days off = many parks visited
Raia spins a new tale
Hanging by a thread after a long vacation
Maybe a train ride will entertain us?
Maybe it will!
Play dates too!
And even a haircut, as you can see by my disturbed look
And, most endearing, a mid-break visit from Talya, my PA,
since neither of us could go that long without a date
When May 1 miraculously rolled along, we returned safely back into our daily routines, routines that involve us wearing clothes instead of pajamas and eating at regular times as opposed to 1. all day long or 2. not at all, which were our our preferred and vexing (to some) dining options during the break.

And we are happy to be back...

Back to harassing my PA at school