Category Archives: Children

Where Was Freud When She Needed Him??

Some people don’t remember their dreams. Mine are so vivid that they have become at times their own reality, creating some very embarrassing moments.

When Larry and I first moved to Clifton Park in 1976, we didn’t know anyone. At the urging of Larry’s mom, a lifetime member of Hadassah, I joined the fairly new but very active Clifton Park chapter. The very first meeting I attended, I sat with a group of women who were also newcomers to the community. We became friends, and several of us became pregnant the same year. We attended Lamaze classes together, went to each other’s son’s bris, and attended La Leche League meetings together. Yes, 1978 was a bumper year for Clifton Park Hadassah babies.

When my son Adam was around eighteen months old, that core of Hadassah mothers, along with a few other friends, formed a playgroup for our children. Each week, we would take turns dropping off our child with the designated mother at ten o’clock in the morning. Seven of us would go off on our merry way, free from toddler responsibilities for two blissful hours. The assigned mother would organize activities for the day’s playgroup. During the winter months, the children played with toys, participated in an arts and crafts project, or enjoyed a story time. In the summer, the children went outside and played on the swing sets or in sandboxes. The mom-in-charge fed the children lunch—usually peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, fruit juice and cookies. By twelve noon, the playgroup mom was more than ready to hand the visiting children back to their own mothers.

The group went well, and the children, for the most part, played well together. Yes, there were the expected outbursts and tantrums and fights.But this arrangement worked well for both the children and the mothers.

The eight of us became good friends, so I was saddened to hear that Fern, her husband Steve, and their son Marshall were moving to Chicago. I shared the news with my friend Diane during a phone call on a non-playgroup day.

Diane immediately questioned my information. “Are you sure?” she said. “I spoke to Fern yesterday, and she didn’t mention a thing about a move.”

“No,” I insisted. “Steve got a promotion with his company. Fern feels bad about leaving all her friends here, but she said this is an excellent opportunity for Steve. They are moving in two months.”

Diane was still doubtful. “Look, I have three-way calling on my phone. Let me get hold of Fern right now and the three of us can talk.”

I agreed and heard a few clicks and buzzes as Diane set up the conference call. We soon heard Fern’s hello.

“Hi Fern!” said Diane. “Marilyn was telling me that you are moving to Chicago!”

“I’m not moving to Chicago,” Fern immediately responded. “Where did you hear that, Marilyn?”

“We talked yesterday, I responded. “You told me all about Steve’s promotion and his transfer.”

“What promotion?” Fern said. “As far as I know, we are staying put in Clifton Park.”

It was just at that moment that the circumstances of my “conversation” with Fern fell into place. Horrified, I realized that this entire episode had taken place in a dream I had experienced the night before. Every moment of that dream came rushing back to me.

“Oh my G-d!”I exclaimed. “I am so very sorry! This whole conversation took place in my sleep!”

I was totally embarrassed. I stuttered my way through apologies to both Fern and Diane. They understood—as much as they could understand that this crazy lady couldn’t distinguish dreams from reality. And what if Fern thought it was ‘wishful thinking’?

All of the mothers in that playgroup remained friends through our children’s nursery school years that followed. Three years later, some of us mothers, who all delivered younger siblings in 1981, formed another playgroup with the same positive results.

Many of us joined the same synagogue. Even after some moved out of the area, we continued to stay in touch. We attended each other’s children’s bar and bat mitzvahs, rejoiced in their successes in high school and college, comforted each other during the sad times, and shared each other’s joy in our former toddlers’ marriages and the births of each other’s grandchildren. Obviously, Fern and her family didn’t move to Chicago. She and Steve still live in the same house that housed our sons’ playgroup over thirty-five years ago. She is currently president of Sisterhood and is stepping up to the plate to become the next president of Congregation Beth Shalom.

I still clearly remember the “conversation” I had with Fern. After that incident, I was a little more careful after waking up from a vivid dream. I have checked myself several times over the years, realizing that I was about to pull another “Fern Moment.” But I also remember our playgroup and the friendships that grew from those once-a-week get-togethers.

Mother’s Day

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Julie and me with family.

When our daughter Julie was expecting our first grandchild, she called me to tell me about the children of her friends, both around eighteen months old. She commented that the little boy is a little fussy and needy, with frequent meltdowns. Her other friend’s child is  easy, calm and sweet; her name “Grace” says it all. Julie said that she hopes her child like Grace. My comment? “So you want a Grace, not a Julie, huh?” Not surprisingly, she wasn’t appreciative of my observation.

Larry and I were ecstatic the prospect of becoming grandparents. Julie and Sam had been married eight years prior to her pregnancy, and I wasn’t sure if they wanted to have children. Over Thanksgiving, 2014, however, we learned they were expecting a baby on a walk along the Mohawk bike path. Sam pointedly asked me how we were enjoying our hot tub. I told him how much we loved going in on cold  November days, “A day like today!” I offered them towels, robes, a bottle of wine, and privacy.

“I can’t go into the hot tub, Mom,” piped up Julie. “And I can’t have a glass of wine.”

“Why not?” I asked.

“Because [—pregnant pause—] I am carrying your grandchild.”

Once I stopped jumping up and down, and once we promised we would not share the news with ANYONE until at least mid-January, I began reflecting on words of advice I could give to the new parents. On Mother’s Day 2015, in honor of her impending motherhood, I gave Julie the following advice:

Nothing will prepare you for the moment you hold your baby for the first time. Throughout my first pregnancy, Larry and I were thrilled about becoming parents. However, Larry and I had several discussions as to how our life would not change that drastically once s/he was born. We would bring our child everywhere, and we would continue to travel and work and socialize as we had done before. Once we each had held Adam in our arms for less than a minute, however, we knew that our lives were never going to be the same. The reality of taking care of a tiny, dependent being who needed every ounce of our physical and emotional attention to survive put any ideas of “business as usual” out the window. In fact, we didn’t mind turning our lives upside down. We would move mountains to make sure our son was well fed, dry, content, and especially safe. Three years later, I harbored similar thoughts regarding status quo while awaiting the birth of our second child. During my pregnancy, I thought to myself, “Okay baby, I will love you, but just know that we already have a child, and he will  come first.” Again, I was proven wrong. The bonding was immediate and powerful, and our arms and hearts were more than big enough to accommodate another child.

Children don’t grow like lettuce. Whenever I encountered a bump in the road while raising our children, whether it was braces or a bad track meet or a broken heart, my mother would offer her favorite expression. Unlike lettuce, she would remind me, which you just put in the ground as a bunch of seeds and harvests thirty days later, children are work intensive. Things don’t always go smoothly, and you don’t sail through the eighteen years until they head off for college. It took me a while to realize raising children was more like growing prized orchids. And I have no green thumb.

Give your child roots to grow and wings to fly  While raising these “delicate orchids,” Larry and I tried provide Adam and Julie with a supportive nurturing environment throughout their formative years. We tried to give them moral values, a strong sense of community and personal responsibility. It was not until Julie packed up her life in my used Toyota and moved to Colorado and Adam headed to the West Coast for law school and life in San Francisco that the Dalai Lama’s words wholeheartedly hit me. Oh, how I envy my friends who have children ten minutes away! I would even settle for three hundred miles. But this was not to be. They have forged a life a long plane ride—or two!—away. They both have put down their own roots far from where we live but are happy, settled, content, and doing what they need to do.  We hope the root system we gave them will guide them in their journeys.

You ultimately know what is best for your child. 

When Adam was six weeks old, I drove him to a local mall, put him in a red umbrella stroller, and pushed him through the stores, my first time shopping since he was born. A woman stopped me and said, “Oh my goodness! Your baby is all crunched up in that stroller, pale as a ghost! He looks dead!” I immediately pulled Adam out from carriage. He began howling with rage because I had jarred him awake. As she walked away, the “baby expert” commented, “Oh! I guess he was okay!” I learned quickly that I knew what I was doing, not some stranger. Remember those roots your parents gave you? Trust that they will help you grow as a parent.

Ironically, during Julie’s pregnancy, friends gave us advice about grand-parenting. We were told repeatedly that the moment we held our granddaughter in our arms for the first time, our life would never be the same. “It’s different with a grandchild,” a friend said. “It is as if you are holding your future.” We even got advice about when, where, and how to give advice to Julie and Sam. Until then, I hoped that the “mommilies” I gave Julie that Mother’s Day would be taken in the spirit in which they are given —with much joy and love

Skorts, skirts, and kitty cat shirts: What are you wearing to school this year?

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Julie’s famous kitty cat shirt, 1986.

Every August, newspapers are loaded with advertisements for back-to-school clothes. Viewing the options is an experience for me: lacy tight tops, skinny jeans, and leggings for the girls; t-shirts and jeans for the boys. The choices are a far cry from what I wore to school in the fifties and sixties.

I can still remember the smell and feel of new clothes that I put on for elementary school. I always got a couple of new dresses, sweet cotton prints with Peter Pan collars worn with white anklets and sturdy Mary Janes. Since my September birthday always fell close to school opening, new school clothes were included in my presents. I felt a little cheated, as my siblings and friends were getting new clothes, and it wasn’t even their birthday.

By the time I entered junior high, I became more interested in fashion and studied Seventeen magazine all summer, admiring the “mod” look popularized by Twiggy and Jean Shrimpton. Upstate New York was not exactly the fashion capital of the world, but I tried. My stand-by outfit in the mid-sixties was a solid a-line skirt with a ribbed or “poor boy” sweater; a jumper with a turtle neck, or a blouse and a pair of ‘skorts,’ a skirt/pant combination. However, my favorite outfit was a short sleeve wool ‘Mod’ dress, orange with a white hem and white stripes running horizontally down each side. When I wore it, I felt as if I were one of those beautiful, skinny models.

Skorts were the closest I got to pants, as girls were not allowed to wear slacks to our school. My sister Laura and a group of her friends were sent home in their senior year, 1960, when they all came dressed in pants. This all changed in 1966 when one of Larry’s classmates at Saratoga Springs High School was sent home for “improper attire” when she wore slacks to school on a cold winter’s day. The school’s Board of Education decision was overturned by New York State Commissioner of Education, James Allen, who ruled in the student’s favor, freeing female students across the state to forgo dresses and skirts for the comfort of pants. Of course, what we wore, the tailored solid or tweed woolen styles of the 1960s, is a far cry from the leggings and torn jeans that are so popular now.

Once I had children, my job was to shop for them. Dressing Adam for kindergarten was easy. I got a number of Healthtex polo shirts and pant sets from Larry’s parents’ store in Schuylerville, and Adam was perfectly happy. As he got older, Adam switched to jeans and superhero or Star Wars tee shirts.

Then came Julie. Getting her dressed for school became a major battle each morning, especially in first grade. Over the summer, I had taken her clothing shopping, and we had selected several new outfits. When school started, however, she complained that nothing felt comfortable. Her preferred but limited wardrobe came down to one turquoise tee shirt with an imprint of three dancing cats on the front; two pairs of leggings, white with silver metallic stars in the fabric; two pairs of frayed and graying white socks with holes in the toes; and one pair of worn pink sneakers with ratty shoelaces. We had major fights for several weeks. I finally gave in as it wasn’t worth the time and energy. Every night, once she went to bed, I would wash and dry her “kitty cat” outfit, and every morning she put it back on. She wore that shabby outfit almost every day for an entire year.

When Larry and I went in for a teacher’s conference in the spring, I felt I had to apologize. “Honestly, Julie has other clothes, but she chooses not to wear them,” I explained. “Julie wears the same outfit every day because she is comfortable in it. I wash them every night, so she is always clean.”Julie’s teacher smiled and said that was common with first and second graders. Julie also hated to be warm, and she wore an unzipped light winter coat, usually with no hat and gloves, down to the bus, even if it was bitter cold outside. I finally gave up on that battle as well, deciding that she was smart enough to figure out if she needed to add extra layers.

Because of my experience with Julie, I’ve learned to appreciate outfits worn by other young children. When I see, for example, a little girl wearing a flowered top, plaid pants, a pink tutu overskirt, polka dot rain boots, and a tiara for good measure, I ask her if she picked out her own clothes and then compliment her on her good taste. My favorite picture of my great nephew captured his three-year-old self sitting in his car seat on the way to swim practice with his swim suit, his Spiderman pajama top, and cowboy boots. Guess who picked out his outfit for that day?

To this day, Julie hates the heat. She lives in Colorado at 9000 feet, which only has three months of summer. Yes, she is happy as a big horn sheep living in the mountains. To her credit, however, she has become a sharp dresser. Now when I visit her, she takes me clothes shopping, and I am happy with her suggestions. And, thankfully, not one of her choices has included dancing kitties or white leggings with silver metallic stars.

Ice Cream Cone

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My maiden name is Cohen. In all honesty, however, it should have been Cone. As in ice cream cone. As in my favorite summertime/anytime treat. As a matter of fact, if I were one of the Israelis wandering the desert with Moses, my manna from heaven would have tasted like Breyer’s Natural Vanilla.

My love for ice cream is in my genetic makeup. While I was growing up, a day wasn’t complete in the Cohen household without our dishes of ice cream. In the 1950s in our small town, choices were limited. Our freezer usually held one or two half gallons of Sealtest Neapolitan. Having all three flavors for six people worked out well. My father chose vanilla topped with a huge helping of strawberry preserves. My mother went for the strawberry. The four children took whatever we could scoop up with our vintage gray aluminum Scoop Rite ice cream scoop.

Our favorite food also played into all of our family’s special occasions. We dished out ice cream at birthday celebrations, Yom Kippur break-the-fasts, the first post-Passover meal, and Thanksgiving—what was apple pie without the a la mode! As an added treat, my parents would take us for ice cream at the Frosty Dairy Bar, a restaurant on Route 9 in Plattsburgh. Going there allowed us to go beyond Neapolitan, giving me my first tastes of “exotic” flavors like pistachio, chocolate chip, and cherry vanilla.

Fortunately, I met and married a man who, although not as fanatical as me, enjoys ice cream. He loves me enough to tolerate my addiction. Otherwise, I doubt if the marriage would have lasted. Our first date was a movie and a trip to Friendly’s. Larry had a chocolate Fribble, and I had a hot fudge sundae with—you guessed it—vanilla ice cream. It became our go-to place after every movie or play for many years.

Once we had children, we usually kept at least one half gallon of ice cream in the freezer, vanilla for me and Stewart’s Swiss chocolate almond for Larry—he still hasn’t forgiven Stewart’s for phasing out his favorite flavor. Once they could hold a kiddie cone, we would bring Adam and Julie during summer months to the Country Drive-In, a popular hamburger/soft-serve ice cream stand off Exit 8 of the Northway. Julie took Larry there every Father’s Day for a hamburger, fries, and an ice cream cone from elementary school until she graduated college.

My now-adult children don’t place ice cream as high on their favorite food list, but they take care of their mother. Julie and Sam makes sure they have Haagen-Dazs ice cream or gelato waiting for us in their freezer when we visit them Colorado. Adam humors us by taking us to Bi-Rite Creamery for a waffle cone whenever we visit him in San Francisco.

As empty nesters, we usually have a half gallon of vanilla ice cream in the freezer. I will have a small scoop once a week. Larry will indulge a little more often using his own “in-house ice cream routine.” First he softens the ice cream by putting the whole carton into the microwave for a few seconds. He then uses the Scoop Rite ice cream scoop we inherited from my parents to transfer one or two scoops into a cereal bowl. He squirts on Hershey’s Special Dark chocolate syrup, throws on a few Ghirardelli dark chocolate chips, and tosses on a healthy handful of chopped walnuts and sliced almonds. When Larry was laid up with a leg surgery, I tried to cheer him up by ‘recreating’ his masterpiece. I failed miserably as I messed up the proportions of ice cream, chocolate syrup, and nuts. To be honest, I think Larry treats ice cream as another way to eat nuts.

For me, however, a simple unadorned dish or cone of vanilla ice cream is my favorite food, a link to my childhood as well as one of life’s great pleasures. Ice cream even has played an important role during one of the most poignant times of my life. When my mother fell gravely ill four days before she passed away, she lost her desire for food. I asked her if she wanted anything special to eat. She whispered, “Strawberry ice cream.” The cafe at Coburg Village, the independent living place where she was living, had none. The wonderful young woman working behind the counter, upon hearing the story, went up to the main restaurant and brought me back a huge dish of strawberry ice cream to honor my mother’s request. When I got back to Mom’s bedside, she ate three or four spoonfuls before she pushed my hand away. “That was delicious! Thank you!” That was the last food she ever ate, a true Cohen to the end. I can only hope that I, like my mother, will a long, happy, healthy life that concludes with the sweet taste of vanilla ice cream on my tongue.

Until we relocated to Florida, one of my favorite stops was the three-mile trip to the Country Drive-In for a vanilla soft serve. As a matter of fact, I needed to make a trip there to take a picture of my eating my cone for the Jewish World, It was a cold, rainy, day, making it quite tough to buy that cone and eat it. Someone had to do the job, however, and who better than Marilyn Cone Shapiro?

Bluebird Powder Day

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While visiting my daughter and son-in-law in Frisco, Colorado, I went cross country skiing for the first time in several years. It seemed like everything was in place. Clothes? Check. Skis and poles? Check, Beautiful snow cover? Check. Perfect temperature? Check. Ability to cross country ski? Not so good!

Julie had moved to Colorado after college for a “one year” teaching position at a science school near Vail. She fell in love with the mountains, the snow—and Sam. They were married in Moab in May 2007, and after completing master’s degrees and finding permanent jobs, they purchased a home in Frisco.

Larry and I visited Julie and Sam at least once a year, usually around the Fourth of July in time for the parade, town celebration, Julie and Sam’s annual BBQ, and the fireworks over Dillion Lake. Julie and Sam had fully embraced the Colorado winter life style and had encouraged us to visit them during the snow season. For many years, we demurred because of our work schedule. After we retired, Larry and I preferred to spend our winter months getting away from snow and cold, NOT heading in the opposite direction to 9000 feet and more snow and more cold. In 2014, as I missed my daughter, I made the decision that I would go to the mountains in the winter, even if Larry wouldn’t join me.

As soon as I entered the kitchen my first morning there, Julie asked me if I wanted to cross country ski. She and Sam live only a couple of blocks from the Frisco bike trail, and the snow was fresh enough for us to ski right from their house. I agreed to give it a try.

Julie fitted me with an extra set of boots, poles, and skis. I snapped my right foot into the right ski easily, but the left boot/left ski didn’t cooperate. Six to eight tries later, both of my skis were snapped in. By the time we finished, the bottom of Julie’s skis were stuck with snow. She took them off, went back into the house to locate scraper chipped the snow off her skis, and put them back on. Then she showed me how to lift up each ski so at a ninety degree angle and balance on the other leg while she removed the snow and ice from the bottom of my skis. Once we were done, we headed out of the driveway towards the bike path.

The snow was as beautiful as anticipated. I naively thought that cross country skiing would be like riding a bike: Once my skis were on, I would be gliding along the path like a pro. However, I was a little older, a little less flexible, and a little heavier. My progress was pathetic. Fortunately, Julie was a good teacher. She reviewed with me how to kick up my heels, how to glide, how to lean forward to get better momentum. But despite my attempts, I always was at least two hundred yards behind her.

A “Vail 11 Miles” sign soon appeared along the bike path. My mind went back to a show on the Travel Channel, where Samantha Brown did a midnight ski from Vail to Breckenridge. Watching her glide effortlessly in the moonlight, I had thought, “We should do that when we go to Colorado!” But after twenty minutes on the trail, I was bathed in sweat, breathing heavily to compensate for the altitude, and seriously questioning my ability to ski another yard, much less eleven more miles. I didn’t want to disappoint Julie. I soldiered along.

We poked along for a mile or so, and Julie suggested we scrape off the sticking snow from the bottom of my ski as we practiced at home. I kicked out my left ski, tried balancing on my right leg, and crashed to the ground. After several attempts to get up, I finally had to remove my skis and right myself. Now I had to get back into the bindings. Multiple unsuccessful tries later, Julie initial patience was wearing thin. She pointed impatiently to the spot on the binder where the boot snapped in. “Right here?” I asked.

“Yes!” she answered. I put my toe in and snapped the binding down—on my poor daughter’s finger. She spewed out a string of obscenities fit for an angry, drunken sailor.

“I’m so sorry!” I exclaimed. “But where did you learn that language?”

After a couple of more tries, I was into my bindings and on our way again. We had to stop a couple of more times to scrape our skis, but I was enjoying the experience.

Forty-five minutes later, we were home, cozy, warm, and sipping tea.

Sam came down from the home office where he had been working. “You’re back! How did it go?” he asked.

“I’m a little rusty,” I said, “but I’m catching on.”

“How far did you go?” he asked.

“Actual miles were around three,” I said. “For me it felt like we went the twenty-two miles to Vail and back. For Julie it must have felt like to hell and back.”

The next morning, I woke up feeling pain in muscles I didn’t remember I had. But when I went down to breakfast, Julie was ready to try it again. A half an hour later, we were back on the bike path. My skis had clipped in on the first try, and the wax helped me glide smoothly over the fresh tracks Julie broke in front of me. I could not stop smiling. When I fell down, I picked myself up with no trouble.

“You’re doing so much better this morning, Mom,” commented Julie. “Are you enjoying yourself?”

“Every minute!” I responded.

“This is a bluebird powder day,” Julie said.

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“It’s a Colorado expression,” explained Julie. “The sun is shining, the sky is a brilliant blue, the snow is a perfect powder, and the temperature is ideal.”

“You’re right, Jules! It is a bluebird powder day!” And we kept on gliding through the powder.

Our Passover Bris

Larry and I at Adam's bris. Adam was asleep in his bassinet, waiting to go home.

Larry and I at Adam’s bris. Adam was asleep in his bassinet, waiting to go home.

This year, as we prepare for Passover,  my thoughts are not only on the upcoming holiday but also the memories of a very special Passover thirty-six years ago.

At this time in 1978, Larry and I were anxiously awaiting for the birth of our first child. My mother and my older sister had delivered their babies early and easily, and I was expecting the same experience for me. It didn’t turn out that way.  After I had gone through several hours of unproductive labor, our baby was delivered on his due date, Saturday, April 15, by Caesarian section. Despite the unexpected surgery,  Larry and I were absolutely thrilled.  We had a perfect healthy little boy, our little tax deduction, our Adam Michael Shapiro.

Now that we had a son, we needed to plan a bris. Unlike today’s births, the average stay for a woman who delivered by c-section in the 1970’s was eight days. We arranged to have the ceremony and celebration in one of the conference rooms in St. Peters on the following Sunday.

Now we faced the difficulty of finding a rabbi and/or moyel. Sunday was the second full day of Passover. As a C-section was not a “natural birth,” the holiday technically superseded the commandment of the bris on the eighth day.  Fortunately, my brother and sister-in-law had a close friend who was the daughter of a local rabbi, and he graciously agreed to officiate on “yontiff.” One of the doctors in my ob/gyn practice, who was Jewish, agreed to perform the circumcision.

By the time we had set everything up, it was Friday, the first night of Passover.  Larry was invited to a friend’s for seder and I had a decidedly un-Passover dinner in my hospital room. One of the nurses came in to check on me, and I commented that I thought I had developed a bed sore from lying around the hospital bed for the past six days.  She took a look, and said, “That’s not a bed sore! You’ve developed a cyst on the bottom of your tailbone.”

“What does that mean?” I asked.

“Well, I’m not a doctor,” she started. “ But you probably will have to have surgery to remove it, and you will have to stay in the hospital for another week while it heals. Of course, as it is an infection, you will have to be in isolation and not be able to take care of Adam until you are healed.”

That did it for me. I was recovering from major surgery, we were planning on a bris on Sunday, and now I was facing more possible hospital time. I did what any other sane, sensible postpartum mother would do: I had a complete, hysterical melt-down. Unfortunately and to add to the drama, Larry was at a seder at a friend who had an unlisted number, so it took some effort to get the phone operator to agree to contact Larry and then have him call me back. Once he was reached,, Larry left his friend’s house mid-seder and drove back to the hospital to comfort me. The next morning, my doctor assured me that a good dose of antibiotics would work in the short run, with surgery only an option down the road if necessary. The bris was still on, and it was time for us to focus on the celebration.

The day of the bris, my mother and mother-in-law  came with Passover wines, cakes and cookies, along with fresh fruit. They covered the tables with white table cloths, and used an extra one to  cover the crucifix that was hanging on the wall. Our family was all there, the rabbi was sweet and kind, and the doctor who performed the circumcision was steady handed.  The adults, including the father and mother, handled the procedure calmly.  The most attentive guest was our five-year-old niece Katie, who took a unusually close-up interest in the procedure. When asked if she wanted to be a doctor when she grew up, she replied.  “Yes, or a fireman!” After the ceremony, we all sipped Passover wine and ate sponge cake and macaroons. Friends and relatives said good-bye, and Larry drove me and our soundly sleeping son home to Clifton Park. We now could begin our life as a family.

I healed nicely, never needed surgery on the cyst, and, outside of having to call the paramedics my second day home after I got my wedding ring stuck on my finger, things settled down to the new normal of having an infant. Over the years,  Adam has had to celebrate many birthdays with Passover sponge cakes and macaroons instead of the traditional birthday cake.. However, he and our family always enjoy the retelling of the Passover bris as much as the required retelling of our “sojourn from Egypt” at our seders.