New Year thoughts

As is typical at the end of the year, I’ve read/ watched/ heard a lot this week about “starting fresh” in 2014 – and at other, more important, life-markers. This is the first year that I have noticed the theme of forgiveness as a January 1 ritual – in a TV interview with a psychologist and in several pieces I read on the Internet. I don’t subscribe to the theory that a Yom Kippur-style cleansing is needed to go from one calendar year to the next, so I’ll try to dispense with that notion and then go on to my own transition from ’13 to ’14.

A life's work that matters

Today’s opinion piece in the Washington Post by Juliet Eilperin goes a long way toward answering a question I’m sure many of our family members have wanted to ask – why Washington? It’s such a fickle, hyper-political place, and “Washington journalists” are such a despicable lot. Whatever made us want to come back here 30 years ago, to raise our kids in such a fast-paced, high-cost environment?


Gabriel at the beachOur Jacobson-Borenstine-Becker family Thanksgiving week in Florida went very smoothly, and we all acknowledged - one way or another - that we had a lot to be thankful for! This is the third year we have celebrated this holiday together, four generations of my family in a rental house big enough for us to spread out in, and spend a few winter days in the sun and relatively warm air on the beach. By the time we left, we all had agreed - we want to do it again in 2013.

A thought for Thanksgiving

Like lots of other things, Thanksgiving is different for me this year. I’m much more easygoing, and I can’t imagine letting anything take that away. This, I say, despite the fact that big family get-togethers are always fraught with possibilities for misunderstandings, hurt feelings, unintended slights – the whole schmear. But I’ve had so much else on my mind these last few months that I haven’t had a chance to get hyped up about the upcoming holiday. In the long run, that’s probably going to make it more enjoyable.

Gabriel turns 3!

My trip to Asheville for Gabriel’s birthday was wonderful – what a delightful four days! It’s fun to watch how he’s grown and matured, and to be part of thechanges that are taking place in his life. One thing is constant: his focus on vehicles of all sorts. At home and at his new school, trains are a major focus. I’m always blown away by how contemplative he is. If only we could know what’s on his mind ...

Thank you for ‘getting it’

A recent post on the Melanoma Research Foundation’s community list made me sad, mad, and – very thankful for you all. The writer, a newcomer to the community, was venting her frustration at her siblings’ lack of understanding that she is facing a very serious situation – newly diagnosed, recurring melanoma. She wrote: “It is so defeating to know that there will always be a 'next time' for surgery, and stitches, and co-pays. And there will always be another social expectation of a sunny beach get together.”

The understanding from our families and friends – the outpouring of concern, favors small and large, visits, cards, and phone calls – has been so important to us!

Under his skin, in his words

I started to write all the sordid details about Robert's diagnosis with melanoma because otherwise it feels like starting in the middle. I decided not to write it, though, because his own summary tells the story much better than I could. The following comes from an email that he sent on May 29 to our families and a few friends. 

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