Hi. This is Dr. ____. I won't be back in the office until Thursday, Oct 23. James _____ is on call for me. If this is a life threatening, do not call James. Call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room.

As long as I've taken off 10 days for holidays (days so holy and yet so obscure that my kids' college professors think they're making them up) I thought maybe you'd like some snapshots of my in-town vacation.

Most of the children flew in with the exception of one near term (K"H) so she can't travel. We took a lot of video so she wouldn't miss much, especially at the zoo.* And a few snapshots.

But a therapist's snapshots are different, I think, than normal people's snapshots. Maybe not.

They go something like this:

My granddaughter (2) hasn't seen her cousins who are just a little older than her for a few months. She used to see them every day and played hard with the boys.

Her father insists that she needs a nap. She chooses Bubbie to put her down, but the youngest cousin wants to come along to sing her songs. He climbs on her bed and they're talking.

"You can go upstairs," he tells me. "I'll protect her."

If you recall, Blue, my main fish, has new friends, Nemo 1 and Nemo 2. He's become aggressive since they set up permanent residence, and torpedoed N1 and N2 into submission early on in their relationship.

Terrified, in search of another sea (shelter), the clowns read the writing on the coral wall and declare a necessary move to another tank or they will die. Very histrionic of them.

Anyway, I move the clowns to another tank and they're happy, back to clowning around. But my son-in-law can't stand seeing Blue alone in a 55 gallon tank.

He's proactive, surprises me with more pals for Blue.

So everyone is in the living room admiring 3 new fish, a dog puffer, another that likes to handfeed, and a fragile little yellow tang. Blue is adjusting and the fish and children are getting along swimmingly. My son-in-law tells me that the vitamins will be coming in the mail.

Apparently (we now know) garlic is good for fish, as are other expensive nutrients. My father, very pleased to hear about the garlic, says, "I could have told you about garlic."

You can take the kid out of Eastern Europe. . .

This is a family reunion. We talk for hours and hours into the night, not so much about fish. All together we occasionally break into strange songs that fit our conversations, such as, What if G-d were one of us. Just a slob like one of us.

Another pic.
We're lunching at the dining room table talking about why marriages don't work anymore and why some people seem so disappointed; why others are breaking engagements two weeks before the wedding.

My first degrees are pontificating about what people should be looking for in a partner. You should look for (this), you should look for (that). Finally I can take it no longer and say something commanding, something like, "I have something very profound to say. Really profound."

Somehow it is silent at the table and they're all looking at me. This is the first time in my life this has ever happened. I'm freaked. But I continue,

"Here it is. Here's the profundity of the day. I'm telling you that it is a truth. A powerful truth."
'I didn't know what I was looking for until I found your father'.''
In unison: Awwwwwww.

Number 3 Son picks up on process. "That was so like your father (not present at lunch); the way you did that, got everyone's attention, spoke really, really slowly, then said what you thought to be the most profound statement in the world."

Ha, ha, ha. They all laugh.

"Bubbie, will you play Sorry with me?"


Before we start his younger brother joins us. Soon the board is trashed. The littler guy isn't interested in Sorry.

"I don't want to play," he says, kicking the board again.

I suggest that he and I play Memory while I play Sorry with his brother. We do this, play the matching memory game to my left, Sorry to my right. And because both bore me to tears, a passable version of Spider (one real deck of cards) is ongoing in the middle.

There's a lot you can do if you have enough floor space.

Another shot.
The kids buy 2 boxes of Crispix. I buy one box. FD buys another. My pantry is hardly big enough, but there are enough Crispix now to feed an army. (See photo below. )

Why do we do this?

Another snapshot.
FD brings a bag of dried apricots to the family room where I'm straigtening out the wreckage. He takes one out and offers it to me. "Eat this," he insists.

I try it. "This would be better dipped in chocolate."

He raises an eyebrow.

I take the bag from him and rummage through the refrigerator, find chocolate frosting left over from the only cake I have made in ten days, eight of which have been holidays. At some point we have lost track of how many dozens of cookies we've frozen on paper plates in food storage bags soon after baking, working under the assumption that unless cookies are eaten directly from the oven they should be eaten directly from the freezer.

Brownies ditto.

I bring the melted chocolate to FD, dip an apricot, make the offering.

"Well, these are better."

I go to the synagogue. It's a really happy holiday, a dancing/singing kind of holiday. All the young people bring their babies and catch up on pregnancies. I look from one face to the next, try to catch a baby's eye. Any baby will do.

And another.
My machetainista** comes over to see the grandkids before they leave. I tell her I won't decide who to vote for until November 4.

She's aghast. How can I be on the fence? She goes into all the reasons I can't be on the fence.

But still, I'm on the fence and yet Barack and Michelle, even Joe Biden and viber*** won't stop emailing me, neither will someone named Carson.

Why should it matter? I live in Illinois.

And another.
"Bubbie, do you have any Wacky Mac (disgusting boxed macaroni with powdered, processed cheese)?

Well, actually, I do.


"Will you stick the boys in the shower?" Empath Daught begs me. She's trying to pack up to go.

"Well, sure."

In a flash the two little guys are stark naked and giggling. I direct them to the shower and they march in obediently, wash and have the time of their lives. I don't have to do a thing. They come out clean.

FD shouts to me as I pull away from the curb at 6 a.m to take them to the airport. "Don't make any sharp turns." He has packed 4 suitcases into the trunk. Shot cords are holding it closed.

He should know I'm the kind of driver who rarely changes lanes.

Sharp turns?

At the airport I read his text. "Don't make any sharp turns. I mean it."

Or this one.
Empath Daught, S-i-L, and progeny are at the airport. We're finished with those hugs, the ones that make people stop, stare, and feel.

I'm in the car pushing buttons for sad music to get it out of my system. I look for the kind of music that FD hears and asks, "Why do you like this?" I end up listening to the song, Now I have everything.

The gas gauge is very low. It always is when I'm nowhere near home. The same thing has happened only a few days before, I'm lost driving to Midway Airport, dropping off my son. I'm not really lost on that trip, just feel lost and take the wrong highway because in our last moments he brings up something we should have discussed before these last moments, but mutually avoid.

I fill the car with $10.00 cash at a Marathon and he can't understand why I don't just fill it up, and I can't explain it to him, can't explain it now.

But this is a different time, a different day, different departure, and I fill up the car and am seeing the sun rise as I swipe my credit card. A woman about my age is leaving the mini-mart with 6 packs of cigarets and she drops them onto the seat of her white convertible Miata and I think, "This can't be her sports car."

But maybe it is.

Hi, this is Dr. ___________. Please leave me a message. If this is urgent, please try my cell phone _________. If this is an emergency and you don't hear from me and can't wait, don't wait for me to call back. Call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.


Okay, here are a couple of pics.

*Seriously, that one of the apes? OMG, a real crowd pleaser. I have to put it up on Youtube.
**A machetainista is the mother or step-mother of a daughter or son-in-law.
***Viber is wife in Yiddish, rhymes with why-her


Jack Steiner said…
Your description of the family gathering sounds very familiar to me. Not all that different from my own.
Anonymous said…
I love your posts they are so happy and fun to read and the sad ones are even better ! I wish I had a shirt that said I love TherapyDoc in Yiddish.. it would be fitting :P :P
therapydoc said…
Anon, thanks. Blogging makes me happy.

And Jack, do they sing that song, too? I bet you do.
Jack Steiner said…
They sing a lot of songs... badly. ;)
Want to hear more about the apes? You sound like a good, patient Bubbie. So many games, so little time. Glad you are enjoying so much family time.
Margo said…
Thank G-d you posted a picture of the Crispix boxes. It's VERY hard to imagine, otherwise...
therapydoc said…
I have one box left. Come back.
Anonymous said…
I smiled through the whole post. Lovely. And I have to ditto your "profound statement." While of sort of knew what I was looking for, I didn't recognize all of the pieces fully until I met my husband some twenty years ago. Still feel the same way about him all this time later. Helps to start with the right ingredients. :)

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