Dreams are for Coloring Books: Midlife Marvels

Dreams are for Coloring Books: Midlife Marvels
Seashell Books. USA. 
May 2017. Buy it here.

One form of entitlement that bogs down folks is the assumptions about what we “ought” to receive in our relationships. For instance, I might presuppose that my husband “ought” to want to learn with me twice a day, or that my children “ought” to want to give up the precious hours of their vacations to help me prepare our home for holidays. In both of those cases, not only are my beliefs unrealistic, but they are also harmful.

Both of those cases find me assuming that my needs, i.e. the items on my agenda, are more important that are the items on the agendas of my loved ones. My husband likes me and loves me. He holds as precious the time we share. Yet, he has other urgencies. In no particular order, he needs to: work, rest, pray, eat, parent, and so forth.

Likewise, my teens, appropriately, do not necessarily gravitate toward “gee, we’re off from school now, how wonderful it would be for us to spend all of our free time helping our mother.” They have exams for which to prepare, friends with whom to catch up, neglected sleep with which to get reacquainted, and much more that calls to them during their unstructured time. It’s audacious for me to expect my children to tailor their schedules to the family’s needs, as those needs are perceived by me.

On other levels, expecting my closest relations to integrate their lives with mine is not at all outrageous. The more private time my husband and I share, the greater our family harmony. The more that my children help me with our household chores, the more that I am freed to engage them in fun and in discussions about their futures.

The trick, which I have yet to master, is knowing how, simultaneously, to: articulate my needs so that they are heard, encourage my spouse and children to articulate their needs so that they are heard, acknowledge the entirely of all of our needs, and to manage our meeting as many of those needs as possible given our humanly finite resources.

I think this aptitude is a lifetime’s work. Slowly, very slowly, I progress toward that end.

My husband is valuable. My children are valuable. I am valuable. Sometimes our needs complement each other. Other times, they conflict. In the process of learning how to weave them together, I am growing personally, parentally, and professionally. Dreams are for Coloring Books: Midlife’s Marvels explores aspects of my process of combining and refining family and personal needs.

Preface: Now, Slowly
Introduction: Recycling

1. Parental Matters
1.1 Scatch and Sniff
1.2 Growing Pains
1.3 A Little Late Music
1.4 A General Quality of Life
1.5 Moving On
1.6 Mindful Dating
1.7 Bride and Groom
1.8 Onward to Torah Studies
1.9 Gun
1.10 Another Tekkes
1.11 The Heimishe Graduation
1.12 She’s Gone
1.13 Dvar Torah in Honor of Younger Dude’s Bar Mitzvah
1.14 Ungrieved Pregnancy Losses
1.15 Scratch and Sniff
1.16 Call Me “Savta”
1.17 Mother’s Mother
1.18 Generations
1.19 Legacy

2. Personal Matters
2.1 The Not Flower Girl
2.2 Arrogance vs. Gratitude
2.3 My Thursday Skirt
2.4 Cashmere
2.5 Servant or Fool
2.6 Smug
2.7 Keeping to the Speed Limit
2.8 Quickly Now
2.9 Common Misperceptions
2.10 Just Keep Breathing
2.11 Approaching the Height that is Torah: Using Our Toolbox of Good Choices
2.12 Brick by Brick
2.13 Sabbath
2.14 Punctuation
2.15 More Punctuation: A Seesaw Day
2.16 Marital Harmony
2.17 Topsy-Turvy
2.18 Self-Acceptance and other Seemingly “Tawdry” Notions
2.19 Gravity Takes No Vacation
2.20 The Waters Above and the Waters Below

3. Persistent Matters
3.1 A Brief Span
3.2 Cosmic Acupuncture
3.3 Distress
3.4 Unbelievable
3.5 Sophomoric Attempts
3.6 Acceptable Emails
3.7 Getting Out of Bed, Anyway
3.8 Self-Importance: A Characteristic that Ill-Suits Us
3.9 Anti-Status
3.10 External Validation
3.11 The Smugly “Well-Behaved” and The League of the Irritatingly “Virtuous”
3.12 Testing, Testing…1…2…3
3.13 Reorienting
3.14 Mirrors
3.15 Nonlethal Feelings
3.16 The Final Moments of Elul
3.17 Many Folded Fish in the Life of an Eved Hashem
3.18 The Increments of Tishri
3.19 Glimpsing Gan Eden through Others’ Virtue

Conclusion: Half Full
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