A Marvelous Lunch With Mrs. Maisel

I grinned as I saw the young man talking to the customers in line ahead of me. He carried a beige, old-style newspaper bag over his shoulder and wore a folded paper hat over his tousled black hair that he grabbed frequently to keep it from blowing away. He bounced slightly as he spoke, making quick comments and keeping the conversations brief. The banter seemed to come easily to him as he pinballed from person to person, his overdone, nasal New York accent remaining consistent throughout.

“Ah, see, this one’s got the right idea,” he said as he arrived next to me and gestured to Shayna, fast asleep in the stroller. “All bundled up in there, sleeping through everything around her. She’s got no idea how cold it is out here, does she?”

“I hope not,” I said, chuckling. “I want her to stay asleep as long as possible.”

“Good luck, buddy,” he answered. “It’s a little noisy in there.”

Continue reading “A Marvelous Lunch With Mrs. Maisel”

Hanukkah Magic

“Daddy, look what I found!” Eitan exclaimed.

I’d just walked into the apartment after teaching Hebrew school that morning. Our plans for a family Hanukkah party in the afternoon had been canceled since Shayna woke up with a fever, but that didn’t stop Eitan from discovering the towers of wrapped gifts that Trudy and I had hidden under the table behind the couch. He ran over to the table as I came in and pointed excitedly at the various shapes that were no longer covered by the towel.

“Mommy told me you didn’t put the presents there but I don’t think I believe her. It was really you two, right?” he asked. Continue reading “Hanukkah Magic”

Dear Eitan, Love Mommy

Dear Eitan,

I know Daddy usually writes these letters to you but I couldn’t help myself today. I am writing this as I sit down by the ocean and I watch you boogie board for the first time. Eitan, you truly are one amazing kid. Just yesterday, I bought you your first boogie board and today you are already riding the waves. Your sense of determination is awe-inspiring; I couldn’t believe how you pushed yourself to bring the boogie board into the ocean on just your first day with it. You have grown into such a strong, independent young little man. I am so proud to be able to call myself your Mommy. Continue reading “Dear Eitan, Love Mommy”

Be The Match Part 6: The Collection

“Aaron, you look like a different person today!”

“I feel like a different person,” I answered.

The PA’s face was a mix of wonder and astonishment as she gazed at me through her thin-rimmed glasses. Her lips broke into a wide smile.

“What happened?” she asked.

“I dunno,” I said with a shrug. “I did what you guys said to do. I rested into the evening, took some Tylenol to bring the fever down enough to get my appetite back, ate dinner, kept drinking Gatorade and went to sleep. Then, this morning, I woke up covered in sweat.”

“You broke your fever,” she said, shaking her head from side to side as she kept trying to comprehend what I was telling her. The smile never left her face. Continue reading “Be The Match Part 6: The Collection”

Be The Match Part 5: The Fever

It came out of nowhere.

We had spent the entire day out together as a family. We went to the mall, got lunch and met up with Trudy’s parents for dinner. Shayna was fine the entire time; she had been running around, talking and laughing throughout the day so, when we arrived at home, I was surprised when Trudy told me that Shayna’s head felt warm. I dropped Trudy and the kids off and went to run one more errand by myself. A few minutes later, Trudy texted that Shayna had a temperature of 100.5. Continue reading “Be The Match Part 5: The Fever”

Be the Match Part 4: The Shots

The hardest part about the intermediate step in the stem cell donation process was not the pain from the needles.

You might think that it would have been, since I received two injections for five days straight.1 The needles went into the fleshy skin on the bottom of my triceps, which is not an area I’m used to thinking about. The nurse alternated arms so I wouldn’t have freckles of needle-sticks peppered all over the same area of skin. She would pinch the skin and then press the needle in, pushing the medication through the syringe slowly to avoid disturbing the skin too much or losing any of the liquid. The needles hurt; but they were not the worst part. Continue reading “Be the Match Part 4: The Shots”

Be The Match Part 3: Count Your Blessings

This post is a little out of order chronologically but it seemed worth it to publish in order to continue the story. Every word was written by my wife, who has been by my side through the entire process. Also, any reference to time or days are simply based on when she wrote it and shouldn’t be considered indicators of the date of the collection procedure. Please also read the other parts of the series. Enjoy!

For those of you who don’t already know, Aaron matched with someone who needs a stem cell donation. After a few hiccups on our end (thanks, kids, for getting Daddy and me both sick), Aaron finally started the donation process. We’re not going anywhere for a while (6-8 hours to be exact); anyone have a Snickers? Continue reading “Be The Match Part 3: Count Your Blessings”

Pear Shapes And Water Bottles

I’ve never considered myself an artist.

The most generous among you would say that I am an artist with words and I would thank you politely while struggling somewhat to accept the compliment. In this case, though, I’m referring to visual art.

I do have some artistic talent. I can draw a fairly straight line without a ruler, for instance, and I know a little about the use of coloring, shadow and perspective. My drawings are usually close enough to the image in my head that someone else would be able to tell what I intended without having to ask. Continue reading “Pear Shapes And Water Bottles”

Be The Match, Part 1: Answering the Call

It was a Tuesday afternoon when I made the phone call, the kind of lazy summer day when everything seems slower. Even when work is busy during the summer, I feel like I’m walking through the shallow end of a swimming pool, dragging my feet and struggling to build momentum, while the world seems to continue rushing by. I’d been at my desk, slogging through a service plan or progress notes or some other task that isn’t the main reason why one chooses to go to social work school, when the small number “1” suddenly appeared in parentheses in one of my email tabs. I clicked on the email and immediately sat up straighter in my desk chair.

“You’ve been identified as a possible marrow match,” the email read. “Please call me immediately.” Continue reading “Be The Match, Part 1: Answering the Call”

A Little Night Music

Trudy had been asleep on the couch for about a half hour when I woke her. It had been a long week for her, from shuttling Shayna to errands and the beach to dealing with various bouts of sibling drama each evening. I had tried suggesting that she go to bed when I first saw her eyes starting to close but she protested that she was awake. I let the episode finish, knowing full well that I would have to fill her in on the details of the end of the show when she was ready to hear them later on. She began stirring when I rubbed her shoulder, lifted her head up and looked at the clock.

“I fell asleep,” she said, squinting up at me. “Sorry. Did you finish the episode?”

“It’s fine,” I answered. “You didn’t miss much.” Continue reading “A Little Night Music”