Wednesday, January 5, 2022


Today, Hannah Ruth, you are turning eighteen. 

Wow. Just taking a moment to let that sink in.

I think this will be the last letter to you that I share here on the blog. I'll still write them if you like, but it's not going to be the same. Because if all goes according to plan, in a few short months you'll be off to NYU, and maybe I won't know all about the little accomplishments of your life anymore. I'm not ready for that letting go yet, but I'm trying to get there.

I've been incredibly lucky to have a daughter who shares as much of her life with me as you do. I like to think that I'm helpful in whatever I bring back to you in this journey, but I also know you could do it all on your own. You are an incessantly responsible, thoughtful and empathetic young woman. You even out-busy me, and that's how it should be at this point in both of our lives. You got your license and drive yourself everywhere now. You were a merry murderess and a swashbuckling Musketeer. You had your first internship and learned all about managing corporate email and slide decks. You had a HaZamir solo and floated on stage during a choir concert upon receiving your first college acceptance.

You are TikTok musicals and sticker-covered water bottles. You are USY events and feminism and singing alone in an empty house. You're a good friend to many, and you take that role very seriously. You love love and you cry easily (never stop). You look after Max because you just can't help yourself, because you love him so much. And yes, I accept that you might miss Shira more than you miss me next year.

These next few months are going to go so fast and have so many major moments: HaZa festival, your last South musical, prom, graduation. I know you're ready for the rollercoaster of emotions ahead. And New York City better spend some time getting ready for you. Proud isn't a big enough word. Happy birthday, my BusyBee, my Hanniebelle, my Han. I love you so very much.

(You can also see letters for ages seveneightnineteneleventwelvethirteenfourteen,  fifteensixteen and seventeen.)

Saturday, January 1, 2022


Today, Max Benjamin, you are turning fourteen.

A second teenage pandemic birthday. You started asking me months ago about what we could do for your birthday, almost like the countdowns you used to enjoy when you were younger. I definitely offered up taking a few friends out to dinner as an option. It's so disheartening that it's not one anymore. 

That hasn't stopped you from making the best you could out of this year. You shined on your bar mitzvah day and raised over $2000 for charity: water. You play guitar almost constantly and you've started writing your own musical arrangements to Jewish prayers, and complete songs as well -  I found myself humming along to the one about elliptical orbits while washing dishes the other day. You explored some of your analytical tendencies in a Speech club last year. You had a fabulous summer at camp on your own, and one perfect day with me and Hannah in NYC.

You prefer savory to sweet, wolfing down spicy tuna rolls and whatever my leftovers are. You are part of the library task force and the GSA, and love being a Madrich (teacher's aide) in the first grade at religious school and with the children's choir. You're now the tallest person in the family, which means you want your arms to go on top when you give me one of your famous hugs, and I'm trying to get used to that. You were a great support to Hannah during the crazy college process and I think you've grown even closer over the past year. You give me regular "pupdates" on Shira, who you still can't get enough of.

As you've gotten older, these annual letters can't actually contain all of the things that you are, and that you are to me. I love you because you're my son, but I also love you because of who you are as a person. You give me something to be proud of every day, and I'm very lucky to be your mom. Happy birthday, buddy. 

(You can also see letters for ages threefourfivesixseveneightnineteneleventwelve and thirteen.)