Posted by Chava Tombosky
Call me a hysterical over protective mother, but I still insist that my seven-year old son use the “women’s” public bathroom with his mother. I will do anything to avoid him entering the men’s bathroom alone. Pretty much, there isn’t a single bathroom break where Meir has to use the public Women’s bathroom, which doesn’t result into a slight power struggle. Even if no one is in the women’s bathroom, he still insists it is embarrassing and ridiculous that he can’t walk into the men’s-room by himself. Today is Meir’s 8th birthday. Today, he had this argument for me:
Meir: Mom I’m not going in there.
Me: Meir, we’re not going through this again.
Meir: But there’s no urinal! I need a urinal.
Me: You can pee just fine in a regular toilet, you do it all the time at home. Look there’s no one in the bathroom- it’s just you and me.
We entered the bathroom. He took one stall. I took the other. And then I hear….
Meir: Mommy, I’M A MAN! I just don’t think you get this.
I do get it, but he’s still not going in the men’s-room.
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August 23, 2010 | 10:22 am
Posted by Chava Tombosky
Yesterday I was listening to the news and overheard a report that said scientists have figured out a way to customize in vitro’s to look like celebrities, which means you can order your child to look like Lindsay Lohan or Brittney Spears. It is this society’s vain, self-possessed, and egocentric celebrity obsessed reason that I decided to post this short story. Plus I’m grieving, so I’m allowed to be cheeky.
If the world went out of business and had to liquidate, forcing us all to leave our planet for good, and we were only allowed one incredible invention to take with us to our new planet, I gather the world would vote on taking Silicone.
People would shmear it all over their faces, and hope their wrinkles would disappear. So what if there’s an Armeggedon, society’s number one rule has become, vanity. Looking well preserved is practically a world law. (At least in certain countries. Don’t ask me to point out the ones that don’t honor this cherished value. You know who you are.) All you have to do to prove this theory is watch the many infomercials convincing women to inject their bodies with severely dangerous botulism so their smile looks less like the crypt and more like the well-preserved morgue.
Then again, who would blame us, since living without gravity will only improve this product? Buildings and homes will be kept in tact as lathering it with the special invention can help keep paint and dry wall from cracking.
We already use it in every day products like cookware, as sealants, and for our own medical applications. We may even use it to bake with one day and inject into our sponge cake recipes, so we don’t get deflated droopy pastry. Silicone is the best product, which is the reason I wonder why we don’t make “Silicone day” in the place of “Earth Day”.
It can stretch, pull, and fill in almost anything. Feeling lonely? Get a silicone fill. Need self- esteem? Get a silicone filling. Hate your curly kinky hair? Silk it up using silicone. Your lab-made celebrity look-alike daughter isn’t pretty enough? Give her a little boost. See how useful this miracle product is? Silicone can fill in the deflated human parts we’re ashamed of to make them perfectly engorged once again. Today, many would call that distasteful vanity, but once our species begin living on another planet, that may just become protocol. We’re already headed towards a world where the most popular TV show is called “Extreme Makeover”, and the only memorable commentaries in pop culture are made by plastic bobble heads slathered in silicone made body parts using crass humor and over indulgent insults to comment on the already perfectly beautiful (filled with silicone of course).
So while vanity is hugely repugnant and clearly an addiction in today’s culture, one cannot deny that Silicone will eventually preserve us beyond our own expectations. And it is vanity, which will clearly prevent us from becoming the lost, the forgotten, and the overlooked.
For the day will come, when our corpses will be buried deep inside the new planet, and billions of years will go by, and the region will erode. Thousands of civilizations will build over the existing cemeteries. One day, a scientist will dig us up, and our hair will be gone, our bones will turn to dust, and lying there in the grave right above our rib cage that has slowly disintegrated will be two round bags that look like jellyfish in the shape of 2 deflated balloons resembling a flavorless no-bake dessert. And they will say. “Here lies a woman who liked Jell-o so much, she inserted it into her body, hoping to preserve herself for all eternity.” Large museums will have the bog female from this archeological dig on display next to the Dinosaur exhibit. And many will wonder if she ever really existed as the Prehistoric reptiles did. Most probably, this generation will be forgotten, but all boobs, they will live on forever. Vanity will finally tell its story, and all will be good with the world. That is if it doesn’t combust from the decades of botox seeping into the bloodstream of our planet’s new soil killing off all that is left of our new home.
I feel much better now that I have gotten this story off my chest.
Thanks for letting me share.
August 12, 2010 | 7:56 pm
Posted by Chava Tombosky
My 7 year old: “Mommy, my birthday is in sixteen days! I am so excited!
Me: “I know sweety, what would you like for your birthday this year?
My 7 year old: “Same thing as last year…..CASH!”
Me: “But Meir, you never spent last year’s cash. Don’t you want a present, something you can play with? What do you need cash for anyways?”
My 7 year old: “I’m saving up for a house. Maybe a car.”
Me: “Meir, you’re 7. You don’t need to start saving for a house. When you grow up and get a job, then you can buy a house with the money you earn working.”
My 7 year old: “But mommy, the economic recession is bad, there might not be any jobs left by the time I grow up.”
Me: “What do you want to do when you grow up?”
My 7 year old: “I don’t like to cook….. I like baking though!”
Me: “Great, you can open up your own Bakery!”
My 7 year old: “I need my older brother to help me with that. Maybe my sister too.”
Me: “I’m sure they’d be happy to help you, you can call it- Meir’s Bakery!”
My 7 year old: “So, no cash this year?”
Me: “ I don’t think so.”
My 7 year old: “How bout an I-pad, an electric car and a huge water slide instead?”
Me: “How ‘bout twenty bucks? For the Bakery of course.”
My 7 year old: “Done.”
August 5, 2010 | 12:04 am
Posted by Chava Tombosky
When we were kids, my father had a ritual that will stay with me forever. In the early days during his physician’s residency, he would get home from moonlighting at the hospital in the middle of the night. (My brother recounts his memory of thinking that “moonlighting” meant my dad was an actual astronaut who healed sick people on the actual moon.) Ta would wake my little brother and I up before the sun came up and he would whisper into our ears, “Come on we’re gonna go see Dawning.”
He would then drive us in his Datsun down at four o’clock in the morning right down to the pier and buy us spicy chilly for breakfast to keep the morning chill from freezing our small delicate bones. And together, we would watch the purple colored crest rise in the east. The sun would come up over the coastline and that was Dawning. Throughout the years, as my other siblings were born, he too would venture them on this Dawning outing. While on our summer breaks, it was my father who was the first one up during our family beach vacations to escort us little ones to “Dawning”.
This has by far been my sweetest childhood memory. But it has only been recent that I have discovered a greater and deeper significance and wisdom to the beauty of Ta’s Dawning.
My father lost his dad when he was nine years old. He always said that the hardest thing about losing a father at such a young age was the constant feeling that he was not like the other kids. He always said, he hated being different, and he wished he could remember his father better. Mostly, he hated the look that people gave him upon realizing they were speaking to a child without a father. The look of pity was a familiar gaze most uncomfortable to him. When he was in his thirties and began searching for purpose and spiritual meaning, he was very much attracted to Chabad Chassidus as a result of the relationship he had the privilege of having with the Lubavitcher Rebbe, also known as Rabbi Menachem Mendle Schneerson. More than anything, he was impressed with the Rebbe’s resolve and ability to overcome adversity and pain and transform it into purpose and action.
My father had told me on more than one occasion, that the Rebbe’s ability to connect with him filled the void he had had for so many years as a result of not having a dad. My father struggled to be an observant man, but he remained to his dying day a very religious person. He used to say, “The difference between an observant man and a religious man, is an observant man is afraid of going to Hell, while a religious man has been to hell and back already.”
This past June I was afforded the privilege to hear Rabbi Yosef Yitzchok Jacobson retell a story that was passed down to him from his own father, of blessed memory, who was a Journalist and a personal liaison to the Lubavitcher Rebbe while he was alive. During the USSR’s iron curtain, the Rebbe had sent Rabbi Jacobson Sr. to Russia for the sake of reporting on the Jewish community’s condition.
Rabbi Jacobson Sr. spent weeks collecting stories and writing down each person’s Jewish name on his own body since recording these names on paper, could have possibly been viewed as a national felony of the state, and a highly suspicious act of spying. Upon the arrival of Rabbi Jacobson Sr. to New York, he read from his limbs each Jew’s name along with their mother’s name for the Rebbe to pray for on their behalf. Rabbi Jacobson spent all night sharing stories of the Russian Jewry but it was one story that brought tears to the Rebbe’s eyes causing him much anguish and sadness, a character trait the Rebbe rarely allowed himself to indulge in.
A small child had gone to public school one day and instead of being given the typical ration for lunch that consisted of potatoes, that day the child was offered ice cream. The child’s mother had warned him not to partake in the ice cream as a result of it not being kosher. The child with a tear in his eye, wept and innocently asked, “But mama, I get nothing to eat all day, why can’t I eat the ice cream like the other children?”
It was this story out of all the rest that got the Rebbe sobbing. His sensitivity to a child’s innocent request for a childhood treat that he was unable to revel in do to his lot in life of ending up in a country that forbade him to celebrate his Judaism freely is the very story that crushed the Rebbe’s spirit. However, as the sun came up and the Rebbe looked outside towards the creeping sunrise, he slammed his hand on the desk, dried his tear and pronounced, “It is morning no more tears.”
Kabbalists have said that sunrise is the ultimate transition of time. And it is this transition that teaches us the ability to leap into a new day and into a new existence. We have the power to transform our pain from victimized Moons who reflect the wounds of time in our darkest hour into Suns who can shine on our own, stand on our own two feet and contribute to the world using the lessons and challenges we have endured. Dawning is that bittersweet G-dly whisper telling us something very precious must leave us and seize in order to make room for something new. Dawning is the perfect expression of recovery and revival. It is the remedy to all pain. It is G-d’s answer to growth. It is G-d’s ultimate comfort.
Yesterday morning I got up from Shiva. As I woke up to the sun hitting my face, a terrible fear swelled inside me. How would I go on? How would I transition to a new day without my father physically with me? How would I live normally? I closed my eyes and remembered driving through the night with my family just 11 days earlier from Chico, California, where our father died on the 13th of Av, on Shabbat nachamu, the Shabbat of Comfort. I recalled the silence of the night and the monotonous 10 hour drive. But at four a.m, I looked out the car window and watched the birth of the early morning and I called my dear brother who was driving in the car ahead of me and said, “Yaakov, look outside, it is dawning.”
“I know,” he said, “I see it too, I see it too.”