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Posts Tagged ‘Jewishy stuff’

Flashback Friday! (Who’s Your Mama?)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 11:38 AM
Friday, August 10, 2012

Every Friday, I post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memory, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below.

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – Whos Your Mama – the BLOG

The other day, while my 4 year old daughter was in her ballet class, my 2 year old daughter was leaping across the lobby, capturing all the ballet moms’ attention with her moves. Except mine. I was still watching my 4 year old through the glass window, so my 2 year old called out, “Ima! Ima! Ima!”

I felt compelled to explain at that moment to the confused mothers staring at me, that “Ima” was Hebrew for “Mom”.

What I didn’t explain was how an all-American gal like myself, living in America, with three American kids, wound up being called “Ima” by all of them.

I called my mother “Mommy,” and later, when I was too cool for “Mommy,” “Mom.” I only ever called myself “Mommy” or “Mama” to my firstborn, but he’s never called me anything but Ima. My husband is Israeli and he has always called me “Ima” when talking to our children about me. But that can’t be the only reason.

I’ve noticed that all my kids learned to say “Aba” (the word for “Dad”) way before “Ima.” It’s an easy word, it rolls off the baby tongue, like a happy baby’s babbles of “dadada” or “bababa”. I’ve also noticed that “Ima” (pronounced “Eeema”) rolls especially well off a crying baby’s tongue. This cannot be an accident.

For a while, with my son, I tried to correct him. To teach him. “Ima!” He would cry. “Yes,” I would answer… “Mommy’s here, what do you need from Mommy? Hmmm? Tell Mama. What is it?”

“Ima,” he would correct me, “Come here!”

I like to be in control. I live a completely different life than anyone else in the family I grew up in – I eat kosher, I “keep” Shabbat, and I take my Kabbalah studies very seriously. To them, I’m like a ‘born again Jew’ even though I really cringe at being called ‘religious’ because I see everything I do as spiritual – Kabbalah being a practice that, however Jewish it may look – actually applies to anyone and everyone, and is all about consciousness. I’ve never felt comfortable jumping on a bandwagon just because I share a skin color or religion with a group of other people. (Case in point: I was introduced to The Kabbalah Centre by a Catholic lesbian friend and my first thought when she invited me was, ‘if SHE feels at home here, then I’m willing to check it out, too.)

But names are a funny thing. I wrote about changing my name in a prior blog, but in that case, the change was something I asked for, chose to do, and implemented. (“Shana?” a co-worker would ask innocently. “Yes?” I would reply, followed quickly by, “by the way, it’s BatSheva.”) In the case of “Ima,” however, the name was wholly given to me by my kids – with some help, admittedly, from my Israeli husband.

It never occurred to me that my kids wouldn’t call me “Mommy.” And for years, I wasn’t completely comfortable with being called the foreign-sounding “Ima.” I didn’t even try to correct my next child, and now, with my third, I find myself calling myself “Ima” (as in, “Give Ima the stick right now!”) which is something I never used to do.

It seemed so strange, for so long, being called the Hebrew name for Mommy.

These days? Fits like a glove.

c/xo

“Ima” Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

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Flashback Friday! (Ch-Ch-Ch-Changes)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 12:12 PM
Friday, January 6, 2012

Every Friday, I will post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memories, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below. And there’s even an original GrownUpGirl Song to listen too, so scroll all the way down & keep clicking!

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – CH-Ch-Ch-Changes: the BLOG

Had coffee with a friend recently I hadn’t seen in about nine years. This guy was the heaviest drinker & smoker I knew growing up, played guitar and got into fights over stupid philosophical things, and never left home without his leather jacket. He honestly believed that anarchy was the best social and political solution.

(Yes, I hung out with people like that as a kid, and NO that is not what this blog is about. Note to self- write about childhood in another blog.)

Nowadays – my friend? He quit smoking while his wife was pregnant. He doesn’t go out to bars anymore; in fact, he is a part-time stay at home dad. He is planning to move to some green pasture in Utah over the next year to raise his child in a healthy, more affordable place. He votes Democrat and is kind of conservative, by his own definition. He’s in therapy.

I’ve still got one up on him: I changed my name. Both of them.

I used to be Shana Susman. From about age 17 until around 24, I partied like crazy about 4 or 5 nights a week. (I’d go into more details, but I really cringe to think someday my kids could get a hold of these blogs.) I was insecure, needy. I didn’t believe in God. I suffered from headaches, stomach aches, insomnia, and I grinded my teeth.

I wound up in therapy when I moved to LA, age 22, and that 7 year process pretty much saved my life, thanks to my angel of a therapist and my sincere desire to get better and be happy. She encouraged me to write, act & sing, which also helped dig me out of my self-destructive hole… and then I discovered a spiritual system – Kabbalah – that pretty much rocked my world.

I asked for the Rav Berg, head of the Kabbalah Centre, to channel me a Hebrew name, one that was connected to my soul, and he gave me BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin). (BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) was the soulmate of Kind David.) Not Sarah. Not Miriam. Not Leah. BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin).

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – a crazy Hebrew name that has all sorts of cool kabbalistic secret codes hidden within (technically the name means “daughter of seven,” if you’re familiar with numerology or Kabbalah you start to get the idea) – a name that no self respecting American can pronounce. A name that makes every Israeli assume I am also Israeli, which leads to incomprehensible messages on my voicemail every once in a while. (Luckily Israeli Husband can translate.) Also, a name I happen to love.

So I changed it, right around the time that I married… and at that time, I changed my last name too, to Vaknin, which is also unpronounceable and un-spellable by any American worth his or her salt.

Shana Susman became BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) Vaknin.

Over the course of the past 20 years, I’ve gone from hard-partying, ironic & secretly depressed girl, to stable, mostly happy and confident mother, wife, and woman.

Excuse me. Grown up girl.

c/xo

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

PS I’ve included a song, below – CRADLE YOU – that was the very first song I ever wrote, back when I was digging myself out of a black hole with the help of therapy and creativity. Enjoy!

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – Cradle you – the SONG

I didn't believe there was anything beyond the physical world when I was a kid. And now, look at my son! Oh, the times, they are a-....

Give me a Break

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 3:17 PM
Wednesday, January 4, 2012

I love The Week magazine. And by “love” I mean, it’s crack.

Pop SAT Quiz: choose the answer with the same relationship as the top example.

1. The Week: Magazines

a. Chocolate: Food

b. Baby Kittens: Spam Emails

c. The Daily Show: Television

d. Crack  cocaine: Drugs

e. All of the Above

Where am I going with all of this? In short, arriving at conclusion: I am nothing short of a petulant, cranky jonesing addict when my Week Magazine doesn’t arrive for two weeks straight over the winter holiday (not to mention the 2 weeks they shut down during the summer). How dare they!! Don’t they know that their readers need their crack I MEAN THEIR MAGAZINE more than ever, during the dreary ‘lots of time to read’ holiday break?

I mean, COME ON!

But as my kvetchy Jewish great aunt probably never said but let’s pretend she would have (with a nasally New York accent), “who am I to complain?”

Because… I meant to keep up my GrownupGirl blog while I was on my “break”. I put the word ‘break’ in quotation marks because I was actually working the whole time during my one week out of the office (btwn Christmas & New Year’s), and actually, my job got busier than ever, PLUS I was home with my three kids full time for the week, but anyway, it was a “break” from routine, that’s for sure… (and by ‘break from routine’, yes, I mean I ate about three thousand cookies and hundreds of desserts and drank a good bit too).

[A break, by the way, which was also AMAZING and wonderful because it allowed me to spend so much time with my kids that it spawned an equal number of fantasies that I should ‘chuck it all’ and be a stay-at-home mom as wells as endless fertile opportunity for more fun blogs like this one I wrote (the week before my break, but the first week of their break).]

Anyhoo – bottom line: I’m sorry I left you guys hanging. And by “hanging” I mean devoid of new Grownup Girl Goodness. I meant to keep writing. I actually thought perhaps I’d write more than usual, since I wouldn’t be in the office all day like my usual routine. Turns out, life is MORE hectic, not LESS, when you stay at home with three little kids AND still have to work practically full time from home.

So…. welcome back, world! I’m sorry I left you for a while. And, while I won’t flatter myself to think that The Grownup Girl is as addictive to any of you as the above list is to me (the ‘crack’ bit just in theory, of course, you know – so I’ve heard…) – I imagine it is possible that a few of you stopped by while I was gone and were perhaps just a little disappointed not to see some new stuff.

Here’s to hoping this year will bring us all more joy, abundance, love, health, peace and creativity….

Here’s to a Grownup Girl World!!

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Racheli deciding that her new "Orbeez" WILL be the mani-pedi kind - even tho the kind "Santa" bought her was actually for making necklaces. Yeah, this is the kind of thing that happens when you're home for a week with the kids...

Yep. And this is what happens when you sleep in, and tell the kids they can "dress themselves" for a change.

Flashback Friday! (Hung Over)

posted by BatSheva Vaknin 12:46 PM
Friday, December 2, 2011

Flashback Friday!

Every Friday, I will post an oldie but a goodie blog for your enjoyment. To those of you who just started reading The Grownup Girl recently, enjoy the “new” blog! To those of you who have been with me from the start, but have memories like mine, enjoy the “new” blog!

And to those who were with me from the start and who already read this blog and burned it into your memories, word for word, photogenically, I say:

What are you doing wasting your time dilly-dallying on my website? Get out there and find me a book deal!

If you hate to read, just click on the audio link, below.

BatSheva (BatSheva Vaknin) – HUNG OVER the BLOG

Do you ever drink so much that you have a total and all-out blast?

And then get alcohol poisoning the next day?

I’m ashamed to admit that that was a semi-often occurrence for me in my earlier adult life, say from the age of around 17 up until the ripe older but still young age of 27.

Every time I was dizzy and throwing up, I would swear to myself that I’d never do that again. For about 10 years, I wasn’t so good at keeping that promise to myself.

But ultimately, as my life changed, I grew into a much healthier version of my old self (yes, therapy, yes, yoga, yes, discovering God and spirituality, yes to every other cliché you can think of, but hey, if it works, it works!). So that, combined with having 3 kids & the lack of drinking that automatically goes with being pregnant and breastfeeding, meant I had all but cut the stuff out of my life.

Until.

Every heard of Purim? It’s a Jewish holiday – or in my world, a Kabbalistic holiday, where you are supposed to dress up, listen to “the whole Megilah,” and drink. Or more specifically, get drunk.

As I mentioned, over the past 7 years, I’ve been either pregnant or breastfeeding every single Purim, so I haven’t been able to fulfill that last requirement. But this year… I am still breastfeeding, but not much. Time to get drunk, I said to myself!

And so I did.

And I had fun! I danced. I flirted. I badgered my husband mercilessly, and he was a great sport, he took it all in stride and we had fun together. I (allegedly – this part I didn’t remember at all until I got some mysterious texts and messages later “thanking me” for the talks, and then it all started to come back) – took friends aside and told them what they needed to change about themselves in order to reach their true potential, and generally did all the other fun things that you can only get away with when you are drunk and everyone else is either drunk or at least understanding of your drunkenness.

And then came the barfing.

All day Sunday. Heaving. Even when there was nothing left to throw up, I kept throwing up. (Sorry, to those of you who just ate.) My head spun. My skull felt like it was about to crack open. My husband racked up about a thousand Husband Points (yes, we do keep track, men, we have a whole secret scoring system) by letting me stay in bed all day and taking care of the kids even though he was also hung over and had only slept about three hours.

I felt badly that my daughter missed her beloved ballet class that day. I was too sick to take her. I felt stupid for mixing about 5 different kinds of alcohol and skipping the food – my 20 year old self would have rolled her eyes at my naïveté. And I was annoyed at myself that I didn’t remember until half the day was over that I needed to take a particular homeopathic remedy – Nux Vomica for all you alcoholics out there – that rapidly and most excellently erases all signs of alcohol poisoning (along with another 3 hour nap) .

But mostly? I was glad that I had gone a little crazy. Just for one night, and for a good cause. I guess sometimes we have to act like a stupid teenager again to remember why we’re so glad we are not stupid teenagers anymore!

Thoughts?

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Drunken blond cheerleaders never looked so good, right? (Or so tranny-ish)

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Piano Ties and Facial Hair (AKA Hebrew School)

posted by Sheva 11:59 AM
Wednesday, November 23, 2011

When I was around 6 years old, my parents divorced, my grandmother died and my father remarried a shiksa (that’s a Christian lady, for you non Jewy people reading this).

What does all that have to do, you may wonder, with the title of this blog?

Everything!

You see, my father felt guilty marrying a non-Jew right after his mother died (it’s doubtful she would have approved). Even though my stepmother may seem more Jewy than my real mom to the naked, non-Jewish eye (Stepmom studies Torah with a rabbi & had her daughter/my half-sister do a mikveh-conversion, whereas my real mother doesn’t even believe in God) – all that doesn’t matter; we Jews  care more about maternal blood lines, overeating and guilt trips than we do about “Torah Study.” QED: My real mom > Jewy than my stepmom.

Gosh, this blog is getting so mathematical!

But I digress… because what I wanted to point out was that one of the wonderful side-effects of my father feeling guilty in the wake of his mother’s death & divorce & subsequent re-marriage to a non-Jew, was that he threw all three of us kids into Hebrew school for some quicky bar & batmitzvahs.

Which was awesome.

And I’m not just talking about the batmitzvah money. Which was AWESOME.

Or the fact that I wore a purple paisley suit with a white ruffled lace collared blouse, permed hair swept up on one side AND lip-synched at my after-party to “Let’s Go Crazy.”

Which was awesome.

No, I’m talking about the zany fun which was Temple Sinai – the place I had to go for a couple years before my batmitzvah, once a week after school and every Sunday. Not so much the ‘learning the Hebrew alphabet and Torah stories’ – that part was thuddingly boring (though I admit it helped me when I later decided to do the Kabbalah thing and found I remembered how to read the Hebrew letters).

It was the people I met there who made it fun – people like Josh, for example, who was about three feet shorter than me, wore a piano tie every single day, followed me and my friend Gaby around everywhere, and ultimately, years later, shocked me by showing up at Yale and being much cooler than I was. Who knew that piano ties were indicators of brilliance and hipness?

Josh was a cute boy, but there were other, cuter boys too, like  Jimmy, whom I remember secretly making out with in my sleeping bag during one of the Hebrew School “camp out” nights. We fumbled and fondled, practically suffocating beneath the heavy zipped-up covers, as the rest of the campers around us sang songs like “Uno Candelita, Dos Candelitas.” (I think it’s the Spanish version of “Light the Manora.” No, none of us spoke Spanish. Don’t ask me.)

BTW, These occasional overnight “camp outs” were held INSIDE the Hebrew School auditorium, with nary a walk into something green like grass or even moss for the duration of the retreat. We were such wusses.

And then there were the teachers that made the whole Hebrew school thing awesome, too – people like my teacher Danny who never failed to make us laugh, or the overlarge woman with unruly facial hair and moles the size of a large country tick.

Plus I remember one teacher telling me that some Jews believed in angels, and even reincarnation. For my little Agnostic mind, she planted a seed that would grow years later, after reading Many Lives, Many Masters, Autobiography of a Yogi, and finally, The Way, as I found my way to the Kabbalah Centre.

Where… so far… I haven’t found anyone wearing a piano tie or female facial fuzz.

A girl can still hope, can’t she?

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

I'm not kidding, I really think this is the lady who taught me the Aleph Bet. I'd recognize that beard anywhere!

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Yom Kippur– LOOK OUT!!!!!

posted by Sheva 1:38 AM
Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Remember waaaaaay back in that blog I wrote about driving thru the empty streets of Los Angeles during rush hour on Halloween? Holidays are the best times to drive in LA, since usually they are the only times the city empties out a bit and/or people go home early or stay home from work to prepare for the evening’s festivities.

Usually.

A glaring exception to this rule is the Jewish holiday of Yom Kippur, which skips around on the calendar depending on when God wants it to be (either that, or according to the lunar calendar, I can’t remember which). But generally falls sometime between August and Thanksgiving.

The reason this holiday can be a true Los Angeles traffic nightmare can be summed up in two sentences:

JEWISH PEOPLE ARE NOT ALLOWED TO EAT OR DRINK FOR ONE WHOLE DAY ON THIS HOLIDAY.

AND WHEN IT’S OVER, THEY ARE RELEASED FROM SYNAGOGUE AND LEFT TO THEIR OWN DEVICES TO DRIVE TO THE “BREAK THE FAST” PARTY THAT WILL FINALLY AFFORD THEM SOME NOURISHMENT.

The key phrase in that last part is the “left to their own devices” bit. By the time most Jews are done with Yom Kippur, they are so hungry, and so cranky, that they can’t see straight. Their blood sugar is low, their emotions high, and that is the exact moment when they…

…take to the streets.

See where I’m going with this?

I remember once, I went to Yom Kippur services at a fancy hotel in Beverly Hills at the Synagogue of the Performing Arts. (No, I’m not kidding. It is not an accident that our city’s nickname is “la la land.”) When it was over, I was stuck in my car, in the midst of thousands of other cars, trying to get out of the garage for thirty minutes.

THIRTY MINUTES!

Do you understand what that translates to in Yom Kippur Years?

Nine years.

In a word: come the hour when Yom Kippur is over, do not walk - RUN! – off the streets of LA entirely, into a secure building with strong walls (preferably one that is miles off the street, in the case of wildly veering SUVs).

If you are not Jewish, let me take this opportunity to educate you: A Jew does not like to be parted from his food. If you need to entertain some Jews, or impress some Jews, or simply not make an enemy out of some Jews, YOU WILL DO WELL TO FEED THEM.

And feed them well.

And get out of their way.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Clear the streets and run for the hills, folks!!

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Deck the Halls (with toddler-size Nutcrackers)

posted by Sheva 2:43 AM
Tuesday, October 18, 2011

I bet my mom’s Christmas decorations could beat up your mom’s Christmas decorations.

Every Christmas, my Jewish mother lines her staircases with toddler-size Nutcrackers. Soft Christmas music pipes in through the speakers, Snow white reindeer fight with pinecone candles and holly for position, and a tree the size of the Hulk stands tall, adorned with ornaments spanning four decades.

The ‘decoration’ aspect of Christmas at my mother’s house may be getting a little out of control. Each year there are more and more giant Nutcrackers, more holly, more stockings, more cranberries… and last year, two additional Christmas trees popped up, each decorated, one in front of the guest house and one at the end of the driveway.

Don’t forget, gentle readers, we’re Jewish.

But there are grandkids to impress, by golly! They must be dazzled by candy canes, wowed by exploding stockings that magically fill the night before Christmas, and passionate about leaving Santa the perfect amount of cookies and milk – and his reindeer carrots – so Santa and his crew will have enough stamina to hit the rest of the world’s children before sunup.

Never mind that my kids are… uh… very Jewish. As in, they speak Hebrew with their Israeli dad (my husband, who, by the way, I have trained to absolutely love Christmas, too – to the degree that now, every Christmas, he constantly berates me, telling me I’m too stingy with gifts and we need to get more, more, MORE for everyone!).

My kids go to a (Spiritual, Kabbalah, but still,) Jewish school. They listen to the Torah every Saturday, don’t touch electricity every Shabbat and holiday, eat Kosher, and generally are not accustomed to hearing anything about Christmas or Santa Claus outside of every single cartoon that is played in the months of November and December and… my family.

My son’s friends have ‘set him straight’ a number of times about Santa, but he’s not stupid. Last year, he reasoned to me, “Ima!” (Yep, we’re that Jewish; he calls me the Hebrew word for ‘Mom’) – “I’ve figured out why no one thinks that Santa is real!”

“Really?” I asked, curious where this was going. “Why?”

“Because he’s in Maryland!”

Maryland is where my mother lives.

Where, every Christmastime, the toddler Nutcrackers march up the stairs to take their post opposite the banner, the countless mini Nutcrackers cover any -gasp! – bare spot that doesn’t already boast a Christmas tchotchke, the three Christmas trees live, the sixteen or so stockings hang (2 for their 2 dogs, 1 for each child, spouse, grandchild, stepchild, etc, etc…), the Christmas cards are strung – on a string from the rafters, of course, the carols are sung and played over the sound system, and a snow machine pumps fake snow on top of glittery crystal snowflakes that hang from the ceiling…

Okay, that last part may not be entirely true.

Yet.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

You didn't think I was lying, did you?

I have so many other good ones but I’ll just leave you with this:

White reindeer, cranberries, a stocking and a snowy owl. Couldn't make this stuff up if I worked for Hallmark!

Christmas Rocks

posted by Sheva 11:24 PM
Sunday, October 16, 2011

You know those liberals who want to make America into a socialist country nanny state and by the way, they hate Christmas?

Yeah. That’s not me.

I love Christmas.

LOOOOOOOOOVVVVVVVVVVVVVVEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE Christmas.

True, I could be compared to a “Modern Orthodox” Jew (one of the countless religious terms I can’t stand to be applied to me) in the way I ‘keep’ Shabbat, eat Kosher, and ‘observe’ the millions of Jewish holidays. On the other hand, I pretty much beat out every Christian kid, from my YMCA Camp Seafarer (four years in a row) to my all-Christian-kids-but-me elementary school in terms of sheer volume of Christmas gifts received as a child.

In Camp Seafarer, my counselor used to put us to bed by gathering us into a circle, and asking us to repeat after her, “Thank you Lord for our family, our friends, our counselors and campers, in Jesus Christ our lord’s name, Amen.”

And I’d be all, ‘in Jesus Christ whose lord’s name?’

But I was just like that silently, because I never really liked to rock the boat. Unless you count mooning passersby on our annual Seafarer trip into the tiny town of Moorhead, but that was just girly fun, not provoking the religious establishment, you know?

Plus, both of my (Jewish) parents had divorced and remarried Christian(-ish) spouses, so I was sort of step-Christian.  Plus,we celebrated Christmas! And Easter. Not the Jesus part, but the Santa and the bunny parts. The stockings and presents parts. The chocolate bunny and egg-hunting parts.

So yeah, growing up, I received more extravagant Christmas presents than any Christian kid I knew. I wrote about The Wedding Dress, yes, but I also got a drum set when I was fifteen and a CAR when I was sixteen. Being Jewish and celebrating Christmas was the BEST, because we never had to mess with any of the ‘feel bad that Jesus died’ stuff or whatever it is Christians actually focus on during Christmas, and we could get right to the business of the presents.

Add one divorce and two guilty Jewish parents to the mix, and, viola! Equalled two Christmases and two Channukahs, every year, for me and my siblings.

Cha-ching!

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

I'm not saying he's Jewish, but is nose IS bigger than mine...

Dress Up

posted by Sheva 11:50 AM
Monday, October 10, 2011

As a young girl, my favorite game in the world was Dress Up. I had a giant trunk full of oversized women’s dresses, high heels, hats, veils and boas. If girlfriends wanted to come over, they had to pay dress up or they wouldn’t get invited back again (if memory serves – and it rarely does, mind you – my dress up obsession was somewhere in the 9-11 year old bracket; post-Barbie obsession &pre-sticker collection obsession).

I was also happy to play dress up all by myself, thank you very much. This was the era before $20 ready-made Disney Princess dresses were invented, so my dress up clothes were a combination of my mother’s cast-offs, my grandmother’s leftovers, and feather boas, long gloves, and other accessories my mother would occasionally spring for.

And then there was the motherload.

The Wedding Dress.

The Wedding Dress was an old, secondhand lacey catastrophe that my mother picked up at a yard sale one year, wrapped it in an entire roll of wrapping paper and tape, and gave to me one Christmas.

The Wedding Dress was my absolute favorite present in the whole wide world of all time.

(Yes, we’re Jewish and we celebrate Christmas like it’s the last holiday on earth, get over it.)

The Wedding Dress had about 50 buttons that went down its back – the silk kind of buttons with the loop that hooks around it instead of a button hole. I can only imagine the good times my mother must have had as I forced her to button it up every time I wanted to wear it (every day, many times throughout the day) and unbutton it every time I needed to take it off.

The Wedding Dress was lacy, long, and poufy. I adored it. I worshiped the ground it walked on (with me wearing it).

Plus, it fit me! How in the world did an actual wedding dress used in an actual wedding fit a nine year old? I was always uber-tall, but still… Come on, I was nine! This wasn’t a midget’s dress.

Duh, I’m just kidding, I know why it fit.

The Wedding Dress was magical.

It made me feel beautiful, special, and lacy – possibly my three favorite adjectives at that point in my life. The Wedding Dress wasn’t so much about me wanted to be married (or in a wedding), so much as it was me wanting to outshine Princess Di, who had gotten married just six days after my ninth birthday.

I succeeded, naturally.

c/xo,

Sheva (BatSheva Vaknin)

Didn't I look beautiful in my dress? What? WHAT?

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