Mother Daughter Mashup

Mother and daughter respond to life, love, and growth.

Month: January, 2013

Canine Care

by Emilia Diamant

Bartholomew the Beagle.

Chaz the Cockapoo.

Pom the Poodle.

Buddy the Schnauzer.

Mabel the Mutt.

I was raised in homes with dogs. I barely remember ‘Thmew, but I know he was my mother’s first dog, and she loved him hard. Chaz didn’t last long–not housebroken, behavior issues, etc. Sadly he had to be returned from whence he came. Pom was my dog from Kindergarten through 12th grade. I remember the day we had to put him down–tears still come to my eyes when I think of it. Buddy, still kicking at the ripe old age of 11, came to us at barely a year old, and he and I bonded during the summer of 2003. I adopted Mabel from a no-kill rescue shelter in Fayetteville, North Carolina, and she is currently the love of my life.

Dogs are the best. They love, they kiss, they protect, they snuggle, they live to see you and be with you. My parents taught me, through dogs, that unconditional love in a furry bundle is important and necessary for the human spirit to thrive. Between leaving my parents house in ’03 and adopting Mabel six years later, there was a void. No other being depended on me for food, water, or exercise. I couldn’t put my finger on what was wrong, but once Mabel came bounding into my life it was clear–I needed a dog.

I now understand why my mother was so attached to ‘Thmew. When you’re single, your dog is your partner. The one who’s always there, who won’t talk back, who just wants to give you kisses and show you how much they love you. Mabel never fails to make me smile as she snores, grunts, and whimpers every night, cuddled up in bed next to me.

Dogs teach kids responsibility, they say. It’s true, even if they aren’t the one doing all the walking or feeding. The acknowledgement that there are beings in the world that depend on us is a humbling idea. One day I imagine a baby might depend on me for food, water, shelter, love, general well-being. Having a dog, while admittedly quite a bit easier than a child, is a good reminder of what it will take. Patience, scheduling, consideration of others, accountability. I doubt that’s what my parents were going for–they’re dog people, thank goodness–but it’s a nice side benefit.

Mabel and Buddy in the car together. "Peacefully" coexisting.

Mabel and Buddy in the car together. “Peacefully” coexisting.

Welcome Home

by Anita Diamant

When friends ask what Emilia is up to, I say, “She’s moved back to Boston!” But I’ve learned to modify my delight in, having seen the wistful looks on the faces of mothers and fathers whose adult children live in California or Nicaragua or Thailand. “Aren’t you lucky,” they say.

Luck, in this matter, is measured by miles and methods of transportation. Someone could make a pretty penny running a weekend shuttle from greater Boston to Brooklyn. Washington D.C. doesn’t sound so far away, but it is a long drive and a very pricey flight. Being in the same time zone is a bit of consolation; it’s harder to schedule Skype to Seattle than Miami, but the cost of a visit is about the same and the distance is daunting.

I never took it for granted that Emilia was coming back. I remember when she told me that she couldn’t imagine living anywhere but Manhattan; that she might well call North Carolina home for the long term; and that she planned to live overseas. I took her at her word, smiled bravely, and mailed her the glossy Red Sox supplements from the Boston Globe, trying to support her local loyalties without sighing or whining or nagging.

It feels good to uncross my fingers.

A few weeks ago, I asked Emilia if she wanted to see the Bread & Puppet Circus and I’m not sure I would have gone if she hasn’t said yes. This was not something my husband/her father wanted to do and I wasn’t sure who else to ask. So it became a mother-daughter outing, sweet and funky (see photos). And easy. Same thing when she asked me to go see a documentary about high school poetry slams at More Than Words, a non-profit that benefits teens.

Having Emilia here changes the way I experience Boston. My city is bigger because she lives in Jamaica Plain (Boston’s version of Brooklyn, kinda), takes the T to get downtown, and hangs out with friends in Somerville. The occasional presence of her friends at our dining room table is a joy that has the odd effect of making me feel both younger/hipper and very much my own age.

It’s been a great start to the next chapter in our mother-daughter story. I’m eager to find out what’s next.

IMG_4060 IMG_4074Bread & Puppet Circus

Coming Home

by Emilia Diamant

I always intended to come back to Boston.

I graduated from high school 10 years ago and left to do my undergraduate degree in New York City. In my four years at NYU, I moved around a lot; Tthe longest I lived in one dorm room was six months my senior year. I  did a semester in Italy and finally landed in the East Village, which I still hold is the greatest neighborhood on earth. After a year in Costa Rica working at a boarding school, I very randomly moved to North Carolina; first Durham, then Cary, then Raleigh. I went to graduate school, had an amazing job, cultivated important friendships, but afater four years,  I knew it was time to come home.

I love it here. The culture is complicated and dynamic. We love sports, drinking, and fist-fighting. We also love the arts, fine dining, and politics. This is also an  incredibly segregated city, home to one of the most historic school busing struggles in the country. I find that I love being in paradox–my city taught me that it’s okay to be two things at once.

I grew up here. My parents raised me to be a rabble-rouser, a thinker, an activist, a foodie, a friend and a sports enthusiast (maybe a little less onthe sports thing.) And to be honest, the biggest reasons I returned to Boston are Anita and Jim —  my parents.  Ten years ago, when I left, I was ready to go. Not only was I was anxious to get out of the suburbs and into the city, but I had been…let’s say…difficult for several years there. I had not made my parents’ lives easy, and I had as sense that things would get better if I left.

I was right.Moving away allowed me to finally realize that (a) my parents are awesome, (b) I had been a jerk to them for many years and (c) I still had time to build strong relationships with both of them.

But as I entered my “late” 20s and think about the next phase of my life–and theirs–I knew that I wanted to be close to them. I wanted my independence but I also wanted to be able to spend a Shabbat dinner with them or attend the various amazing events they plan throughout the year.*

As I  explore Boston as an adult, I’ve added one more paradox , being both a child and  an adult (mostly.) I see my parents often, but not so much that anyone feels stifled (I hope.) We share  celebrations, though  not every one. We have the option of having lunch together, but we don’t always take it. It’s a luxury to be casual about seeing one another now, not a rushed five day trip where we feel the need to spend everysinglemomenttogether.

My city, my parents, my life; they teach me that it is ok, even enriching, to be two things at once.

This adventure has just begun.

*My mother is the Founding President of Mayyim Hayyim Community Mikveh and Education Center in Newton, and my father is the co-founder of the Boston Jewish Music Festival. Yeah, I know, they rock.