Monday, April 21, 2014


Many people who know me are aware that I have many "favorites." It's a little bit of a joke around the synagogue that every Torah portion happens to be my "favorite." I will often say that, just like with my children, it would be impossible to choose just they are all my favorites.

Which brings me to my children, of course.

"You're my favorite daughter," I say to Yael.
"You're my favorite youngest child," I say to Solly.
"You're my favorite first-born child," I say to David.
"You're my favorite second son," I would say to Sammy.

And sometimes it changes:
"You're my favorite bluish-greenish-eyed kid," I say to Yael.
"You're my favorite non-sock-wearing kid," I say to Solly.
"You're my favorite kid-in-need-of-a-haircut," I say to David.
"You're my favorite bald kid," I would say to Sammy.
"You're my favorite kid in this hospital."
"You're my favorite kid with leukemia."
"You're my favorite kid in remission."

It's not hard to think of categories, let me tell you.

Another photo book arrived this week. This one started with Sammy's bone marrow transplant and ended with joy and hope. It ended as we came home from Milwaukee, with "REMISSION" stamped across our passports.

front cover
the last page...
Looking through that book, which I created just a week or two ago, you would think that Sammy is my favorite child...although I included pictures of everyone, there are far more pictures of Sammy than anyone else. I had a few moments of panic as I leafed through the book. What would the other kids think? Would they feel that it was "unfair"? And then I had the horrible thought that eventually there will be books completely devoid of Sammy's picture...and I decided it was okay that for the moment, he appeared to take center stage.

And that's when I started thinking about my favorite children. How is it that I love all of them so completely, so fully, and yet the absence of one can be so all-consuming? I remember when David was born, and I was so filled with the depth of the new love of a new mama for her newborn baby. How did I ever find room to love more children? I know that this is an age-old question, and many mamas (and papas) have asked it for generations. Space that I didn't even know existed came open to love each of my children, in beautiful rooms in my heart that were created long before I ever even imagined their presence in my life.

But once the heart has opened its rooms in this way....they are never closed again. There's always going to be that beautifully decorated room with Sammy's name on the door. A room filled with love and hope and dreams and stories...a room that won't ever be replaced or closed, and can't ever be filled by someone else. I am always aware of it....always.

And yet there are other rooms in my heart, of course....the ones that continue to be redecorated on a minute-by-minute basis by David and Yael and their living-breathing-existing occupies its space inside of me. I struggle so mightily to put their rooms at the front of the hallway, so to speak, to pause only for a moment at the doorway to Sam's room as I spend my time in the other light-filled heart-spaces. And sometimes I open the door to Sammy's room and I spend time in there too...sometimes I sit or fall down in there and I cry. Sometimes I leaf through the pages of his stories and I smile. And sometimes I do both...

129 days have gone by....
My four favorite children, January 2013
December, 2012
December 2011
December 2011 


  1. I hate this for you. For all of you. Hate hate hate. It's so unfair.

  2. I love what you say here about the rooms within the heart. Thank you -- even as the mom of only one kid, I resonate with that.

    Thinking of you and your beautiful family.

  3. thank you for sharing. the pics are so sweet. may you all have continued sweet memories of sweet sammy.

  4. You're my favorite Ima in Chicagoland, and I'm sending you lots of xoxo from NYC!

  5. When my daughter and son were small I referred t them as my pride and joy. Occasionally they wanted to know who was pride who was joy. I'd say yes then it was what was best to be . Same answer. Yes. Thank you for reminding me of that time. May your memories soon be more sweet than bitter. Thank you for sharing your family w us all. Especially those of us who have never met you all in person. Wishing ou a peaceful heart.

  6. This is such a beautiful post. I used part of it - about the rooms of love - as a jumping off point for a discussion with Banjo this morning. Thank you for so eloquently describing something so important.

  7. Thank you for letting us into the rooms; four favorites.