Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

Contact Me

Any time - drop me an email
miriamhendeles@gmail.com
1-323-243-7116

[breadcrumbs]

A Not so Serious Look at Guilt

I used to be a huge fan of Erma Bombeck, may she rest in peace. My mother read most of her paperback books – filled with humor about raising children and running a household  in the 1960’s and 1970’s.  So naturally, if my mother read them, I read them too, and we laughed together at Bombeck’s inimitable and self-deprecating style.

One thing Erma Bombeck talked a lot about was the G word. Yes, guilt. No, she was not Jewish, but yes, she understood guilt and how we moms (and grandmothers) tend to feel guilty all the time.

I want to banish guilt from my vocabulary. That is not to say I don’t want to change and grow and improve and all that good stuff. But hello – what can be good about “Oy, I should’ve, could’ve….what’s wrong with me? I’m soooo bad….oy – I messed up, ….” ????

I know that Bombeck once wrote that as housewives we make more decisions in a day than judges in the Supreme Court!! Now, that’s very true. I’d like to draw a parallel.

As a middle aged mother and grandmother, I use the word “guilty” more times on myself in a day than the D.A. in a court of law does in a month.

Seriously, let’s give examples here: a) Oy, I might have asked a personal question to that friend after shul. b)I mistakenly excluded that person from the community project we were working on. c) I forgot to wish so-and-so mazel tov on her recent simcha d) I was too tired to go to that person’s event on Shabbos. d) I spoke gossip about so-and-so….

You get the point….notice the pattern here? I, I, I, I…
Hey – how much power do I really have over other people? (rhetorical question!)

And that’s only referring to the self-inducing guilt. We have not even begun to talk about the guilt-trips many put on others (hey, you grandkids never call me!!) — but that’s the subject of another article…..oy vey iz mir! (wo is me! in Yiddish)

Basically, (and I’m going to use the royal “we” here…) WE all do our best with our interactions with other people. We try really hard to be nice and kind, and good citizens as our mothers and fathers and teachers taught us. Remember the song, “Let’s be friends, make amends, now’s the time to say I’m sorry…” (usually sung during the time between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur by children in Jewish Day Schools.)

Yup. It’s all about treating others the way we would like to be treated.

And the rest is really not up to us. We can only do our best. And really at the end of the day, we have to just be kind to ourselves, and forgive ourselves for being human.

No place for guilt here….right Erma?? Move forward, carry on, and smile!!


Shaking Things Around

This morning I woke up to some messages from friends, “did you feel it? did you feel it?” A few said they didn’t feel it. Others said they lost a whole night of sleep, but no damage otherwise.  Still others wanted to know what in the world we were all talking about.

I felt it, and felt it big. It could have been in my own backyard for all I knew.

“It” was an earthquake. Epicentered near Beverly Hills, a few miles from where I live.  Only a 3.2 – which for Southern California standards, that’s pretty low and unimpressive. But nevertheless worthy of mentioning during the time of Ellul, the month before Rosh Hashanah,  when we need to shake ourselves out of our complacency and oblivion, and get down to brass tacks of fixing up our ways – both to G-d and to our fellow man.

So the fact that it was a small one is a kindness. Some say the “Big One” is coming….and it’s only a matter of time. To me that’s a scary notion, and it makes me want to prepare and prepare (water, batteries, canned food…huh? what else?).

But for now the real preparation is for the Big Day in a few weeks when we will stand before our G-d in prayer on Rosh Hashanah. Praying for a sweet new year. For a non-shaking year…

Sometimes we need to shake things up, change and better ourselves down here, so that G-d shakes things up for us in a good way for the coming year. May we all have a sweet, happy,  and healthy New Year. And safe.


Fresh Starts – and a Happy Birthday Wish!

I can’t believe it is September already! Never mind that we (I!) have been counting down the days till date of my book’s release. Never mind all that.  Let’s forget about my book for just a moment (as hard as that may seem for me to do! Oy).

Let me take a big breath. Breathe in. Breathe out. There.

This is a time for introspection.

Even though, I – the grandmother – completely forgot about school starting last week, only to be reminded by my little grandson, “Omi – I started school today!” — still I feel the newness in my bones. The fresh start of the month of Ellul. The time to introspect, take stock of the past year, regroup for the New Year, and pray to the One Above for blessings in our lives.

It’s the month that school starts – that awesome place of newness that we grew up returning to every year – day after Labor Day! That amazing chance to start fresh every year with our new school supplies, new resolutions to do our homework, keep our books nice and neat, pay attention in class, study hard, follow directions….you know – all the “right” things.

And for me – this time of year is that special time that our family celebrates my mom’s birthday. My mom, may she live till 120 in good health and nachas – was born on first day of Rosh Hashanah in Bremen, Germany many years ago (I’ll be a good girl and won’t write her age, even though my mom is not shy about her age). My mom thank G-d defies her age; she is youthful, vibrant, active in many community and family activities, and is even a techno-computer-savvy grandmother.

Every year, our family has a tradition. We send my mother 2 cards in the mail. She gets them – a New Years Card plus a Birthday Card on Erev (day before) Rosh Hashanah – wishing her in advance a happy New Year, and also a Happy Birthday.

Some of my siblings and siblings-in-law write long, humorous and touching; amazing and creative poetry for my mom to read on Erev Yom Tov, and then to savor after shul on Rosh Hashanah itself. I write long, mushy and funny prose. (maybe this year, I’ll try a poem for a change…)

So here’s to a fresh start, Mom. A new year again. A happy and blessed New Year. Nachas from all the kids, grand, great grands, etc. Thank G-d!.

Here’s to my mom- my biggest fan, the one who dares to write cute comments on my blog, even if she has to keep changing her screen-name  so that people don’t realize it’s my mom! (just kidding!!). To the one who has already read my entire book – the one I sent to her from the pre-release carton that came for family only. To the one who validates me, compliments me and believes in me.

I love you, Mommy! Happy Birthday!


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