Mother Daughter Mashup

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

Month: March, 2013

Passing the Torch

by Anita Diamant

It’s been years (and years) since Jim and I hosted a Passover seder. When Emilia was little, we co-created and co-hosted a few with other families who had young children, too. Those evenings included doing the rituals (dipping parsley, reading the story, singing songs) on the floor in the living room – pretending we were in a tent to engage the kids and enhance the traditional message that we were all going into exile along with our ancient ancestors.
That was a long time ago. For nearly two decades, we have been guests at other, wonderful tables, where we were treated as family. The Kushner, Mencow, Cohen and Kline-Slomsen seders were different in countless ways, from menus to melodies to how many pages were skipped and how many extra readings were added. Year after year, I was profoundly grateful to be included and embraced and, I have to admit, to be excused from the gargantuan job of cooking, cleaning, planning and running the show.
But this year, Emilia moved back to Boston and I was eager to break out the fancy dishes and make Pesach at home. This was always my hope and plan and, as it turns out, hers as well.
Emilia is the most literate Jew in the family. She has the most Hebrew, is a natural teacher/performer and led the eight people at our dining room table through a hagaddah of her own creation, which was funny, engaging, political and eloquent. We sang songs and the blessings after the meal. We laughed and learned together.
Our seder this year was memorable for many reasons; Nathan’s presence, Jim’s leg of lamb, my mother’s excellent matzoh balls, our guests Amy, Roberta and Sarah. But to me, the most unforgettable was Emilia’s mastery, comfort and pleasure in her role as guide and emcee. Dream come true.

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Whistling in the Dark

by Emilia Diamant

When I read mom’s last post, the first paragraph struck me:

“As a young parent, I assumed my daughter would grow up to become a dog person the way I assumed she’d grow up to be a feminist, politically progressive and glad to be Jewish. As an older parent, I realize that I was whistling in the dark.”

What I paused on was that she wasn’t sure this would happen. I understand that, as a parent, you never truly have full control over how your kid(s) turn out. There are LOTS of factors at play. But, Mom’s checklist is pretty spot on:

Feminist (x)

Progressive (xxx)

Glad to be Jewish (x)

Dog person (xxxxxxxxxx) 

In my late 20s, I attribute these things (and a host of others) to being raised by my parents, in Boston, in a specific time period. My parents infused Judaism and politics into dinner table conversations, participated in communal activities on a regular basis, and always taught me that equity is important and worth fighting for.

It makes me giggle a little to think that I could be anything put a progressive feminist Jew who loves dogs (and baseball). But now that I work as an educator, I understand the parental wishes that may not be fulfilled. Kids become whoever they are going to be–of course they are shaped by their parents, peers, teachers, media–but so much is left up to chance. My parents shaped me in so many ways, but at the end of the day I’ve become who I am supposed to be. Well, for now at least.

I guess I hope the same things for my kids, when I have them someday. And I’ll have to remember what my mom wrote–it’s all whistling in the dark.

But one thing I know for sure. My children will NEVER be Yankee fans.