I take my children to school each day via the subway. One morning a week or so ago my six-year-old daughter excitedly told me I had just sat upon a square and to stand up so she could show me. And this is what I saw: a swastika in black permanent marker. But at second glance, I saw something else. Some other subway rider had whipped out her ballpoint pen and filled in the corners of the swastika to make it look like a square. And then she added peace symbols and hearts in the quadrants.
“What’s wrong Mommy? You don’t like the picture?”
Here’s what my first-grade daughter knows and understands so far:
- She is Jewish
- Her father is Israeli
- Her mother (me) is writing a book about her Savta’s extraordinary life (savta is Hebrew for grandmother)
“This is a swastika,” I said. “It’s a symbol of the nazi party.”
(I just now decided that I will not capitalize the “n” in nazi because it somehow legitimizes them; it’ll be capped in my book though, I’ll make sure my editor makes sure of it…).
“The nazi’s wanted to kill all the Jews and they succeeded in killing a lot of us, including some of your relatives. That’s why I’m writing a book about your Savta.”
“How come you never work on the book anymore?” she asked.
How could she have known? (Kids always know). I had spent the last few days contemplating whether or not to leave my job as an editor at BBC to work fulltime on my book. I had taken the position in December 2013 and have barely touched the book since. I miss it. I crave it. I really, really, really need to get back to my book.
“Well, I work fulltime and my life is really busy. I’d like to get back to writing my book,” I said. “What do you think? Should I leave BBC to work fulltime on my book?”
She looked away and then down at the ground. I could see that she was really thinking about how to respond. And then, “I think it’s a decision you have to make, Mommy.”
Well knock me over with a feather! Holy sh*t! I laughed and hugged her and said, “Thank you my oh-so-wise daughter.”
A week or so later I resigned from the BBC. I’m exhilarated about this decision and as of May 8 I will have a new fulltime job: to complete the manuscript for “What Happened to That Baby.”
For those of you who have been on this intermittent journey with me, please continue to check back. I will try to post somewhat regularly. For those of you who are just joining, welcome! I hope you’ll come visit once in a while too. I encourage discussion on these pages, but I do moderate all comments before posting. Please be respectful and no ad hominem attacks. These are very charged topics but there are ways to engage without resorting to intolerance and hatred.
peace and love