I spent the hour before dinner on a Zoom call organized by a UT college student to listen to some speakers talk about Chanukah and Zionism.
So much of the conversation was familiar and yet so much reminded me about how the world our students live in is different from the world I knew when I was 20.
Made me think about the Pink video I put in a different post. There is no manual for most of this, no guide other than the one we create as we walk our particular paths.
Maybe you got a pair of new glasses like I mentioned here but there is not guarantee it will help you see as you wish, want and or hope for.
Reminds me of a time about five years ago when I asked my Dad for some advice and he looked at me and said it would have been better if my grandfather was still alive.
“My dad would know better what to do and say. He would be better suited for this.”
You can’t see the bittersweet smile on my face, but it is there and I suspect we all have moments like that where we think another might know more even though we know they had no more of a road map than we do.
Somewhere during the reflection of the Chanukah lights on this 8th night I felt a new sense of calm about a few things. Don’t know why and though it is not quite a Chanukah miracle I will take it.
Been trying to grab lunch with my daughter around once a week so that we can have a few minutes to talk. Daughter time is hard to come by, especially now.
She is in the thick of college applications, preparing for finals and thoughts about the future.
Every week she hears about cousins, friends and classmates who have gotten into schools already and every week I try to give her a steady shoulder if she wants it.
She doesn’t want me to tell her it is going to be ok and that she’ll get in somewhere or to mention there haven’t been any rejection letters.
Doesn’t want me to do more than listen and I do my best to do that but can’t lie and say I haven’t ever told her all of those things.
It is easy for me, I have been there and I have a perspective she doesn’t have.
It is a different conversation with her older brother who is concerned about not knowing what his life long career will be. I have tried to settle him with conversations about my experiences and some of my friends.
He knows stories about those who spent a decade or two as attorneys and moved onto other things as well as those who left the corporate world to start a business.
We have talked about the benefits of trades that cannot be eliminated, investments and recognition that we ought not to paint ourselves into corners. We don’t have to be one thing and we can change our direction, especially when we have no other responsibilities.
Pulled out Duolingo for the first time in a long while and went through some Yiddish lessons.
The accents of the man and woman who serve as instructors sounds a bit off to me but it is not a surprise.
I grew up hearing more of a European accent or one of my grandfathers. I have more than a few memories of being at Farmer’s market and listening to survivors with tattoos on their arms slip between Yiddish and English.
Depending on where they were from sometimes you’d hear them toss in some Polish or Ukrainian too.
And I can’t forget Dr. Singer, my high school Yiddish teacher either. If we got too noisy in class he’d tap the task and say, “chevre” and we knew he wanted our attention.
I thought about them all during the Zoom talk and what they went through. As kids we were intentionally exposed to lots of time with survivors and told it was important because one day they would be gone.
Some survivors are still around but for the most part they were the young children in the camps. That doesn’t lessen or diminish their experience, it just makes it different.
Obviously when I think about it now I do so as a father and sometimes wish I could go back in time and ask some of the survivors who spoke to us different questions than I had as a kid.
It is a different feeling now than it was at 10, 15 or 25.
Yiddish holds warm memories for me and I suppose spending time learning it again helps me feel Iike I’m sticking it to the Nazis again in another way.
Didn’t wipe us or our culture out, we’re still very much here.
Had a weird moment or two with a few people and wondered if I have done something to piss them off.
I know things, many things but I also know I am not a fucking mind reader.
If you don’t tell me something is wrong I may not always recognize or know for certain. If you could step inside my head you might hear a growl, “talk to me or don’t talk to me.”
I know who I am and what I am about. I recognize the intensity and know not all like or appreciate it.
And that’s ok.
We’re bound to some people and not at all to others. Makes for interesting moments sometimes and the occasional challenge.
But if you can’t say you have experienced that burning ring of fire with and that crazy intensity with someone than you have missed out.