Student of Life

Life is teaching you. Me. Us.

And I’ve had quite the two years of lessons.

I record them here.

There are no such things as coincidences. Nope. None. That can be hard to understand especially when those coincidences are negative like two rare cancers hitting a family in less than 6 months. But take this lesson seriously. When you have that moment “wow! That was weird” know that there was nothing weird about it. That was supposed to happen, but it is your choice to listen. Listen.

Everything should be expected. “To be expected” was a phrase that used to bring me to my knees. It was a favorite utterance at the hospital. To be expected is a just a catch all term to describe the truth of reality, that no one really knows. No one knows. Not your teacher. Not your mother. Not your doctor. No one really knows. And understanding that, is your first step to listening to who does.

Which leads me to the ultimate lesson one that was the hardest for me to understand as if there is one thing I am, its an excellent teacher. Proud of my knowledge of the brain, motivation, and mastery. Heck I am an educator. If anything I know, it is how to educate, but there is only one true educator, LIFE.

And its lessons will be right there when you need them. You may think they are TOO much. You may think they are TOO inconvenient, but that is not true. It is life saying STOP. Listen to this moment. Forget the rest.

And I’m going to spend the rest of my life helping others understand these lessons. That life is a ride and there is no course that will get you through it, but there are tools and most importantly, there is community.

There are Nightwings in every corner of this earth.

Welcome to the student of life movement.

Welcome to us finally putting as much effort into the human as to the studies.

And here is the REAL FACT that the value of education is not the credits, but the people, the network, and the opportunity to do. The opportunity to make/ explore, not study. 

This past year I’ve been living the creed.

I am a SOL, Student of Life. 

And now I help others find it too.

New York, come!

There is nothing I don’t love about New York. 

Let me be clear. 

This city is incredible. 

The best.

The GOAT (greatest of all time).

There is truly nothing like it and as someone who has been to 52 countries I feel semi equipped to say that.

I ❤️ New York

While very proud of my mid western roots, I do strongly believe that everyone should live at least one year in New York. It should be a rite of passage. You are not whole until you let New York beat you up. It beats up all of your “knowns.” It makes you question. It is the place to get lost to then be found.

Required I say. Required!

So I’m proud to be a New Yorker, but this year I will be sitting from the sidelines due to my job. I need to be close to my team that is based in Long Island.

I can’t believe I’m saying this. I am moving to Long Island for the year. (I just vomited a bit)

SO if you have not done your mandatory NYC living, this could be your moment as we are looking for someone to take our baby (our apartment) for a year. 

This is not easy. Especially because I LOVE our apartment which has been my home for 15 years. I have yet to have apartment envy as my apartment is uniquely New York. Nestled in Soho, it is pre-war with 16 ft ceilings and a real community. My neighbors are some of our closest friends. Truly special people. 

Therefore, I’m reaching out to my Nightwing Community first. We are renting our apartment and I want someone to love it. This is a DREAM Covid apartment. I can speak whole heartedly to this as I hunkered here for over a year. The apartment has a movie theater, gym, playroom, currently configured for 2 bedrooms (but can be three-four bedroom easily), outdoor space (with overhead heaters! We sit there all winter long), AND contactless entry (first floor, no elevator fears!). It is 4 floors too, so you can create space within it. There is no reason to ever leave and all the best food options deliver here. 

But what it really needs is KIDS. This apartment is perfect for a family. The boys’ room (which is boat themed, of course) has lofted full size beds, “offices” underneath and loads of play space. 

As you know this year we have collected a lot of stuff. Some of it from you! There are boxes and boxes of toys begging to be played with. In addition, we live next to the “key” park, a playground run by NYU for its faculty’s children and it’s awesome, but only available to people in the neighborhood. We have that key!

But PLEASE play with these toys someone!

Okay…Steve won’t let me share any more photos out of concern of a security risk so please send people my way if they are interested. 

But let them know there is one REAL condition (just one!).

One of our favorite things to do in this apartment is to cozy up outside and open a bottle of wine. While we talk we write down topics that we “google.” This blackboard wall has become our learning board. We hope you, future renter, can continue this ritual. 

We got it ready for you. I share this video of us washing away our board to make room for yours, because it makes me smile. Sometimes it is the little pleasures in life like power washing that make your day, lol. Steve just found his form of mediation!

 We will leave some chalk.

Looking for someone family to join our family and create incredible memories!

Dear Ruth

Found in drafts! Forgot to press publish.

Dear Ruth,

Thank you for your years of service. 

True service. 

A service that touched every woman not just in this country but around the world. Your death is a heavy loss.  You were our advocate. We knew that you had our backs. We knew that in a world of chaos we could count on your voice. And even when you were a sole dissident, you never sat quiet. No shrinking wallflower. No nodder along with the masses. You stood and instead of yelling or fighting, you used a gavel and the pen. And your legacy lives forever in our records. 

And to lose your voice on one of the holiest days…that was a tough one to swallow last night.The honey felt a bit bitter.

But like yourself, which I can only assume from your writings, you are also not a big believer in coincidences. You very much believed in cause and effect and fought hard to make sure that we tackled the cause and were quick to see the effects years before others.

So why would you lose your battle after so many battles on this holy night?

Rabbi I am not. I don’t know this answer, but this is how I was able to wake up this morning.

Your death on such a holy day is for us to remember.

I believe it is our time to carry you. For years we have let you lead. You have had the weight of so many people on your shoulders. Heck, you were notorious!  Not a day did you not show up from work. Even through battles and the death of your husband, there you were the day for court proceedings. 

You set a high bar.

But maybe that is the message.

In this New Year it is our turn. It is our turn to battle your legacy, to pay it forward.

We are behind you and now every new year when we sit down to eat, I will remember your message, new year, new commitments. That the sad truth, that Jews know so well, freedom is not a given. 

Walk in. Walk off.

We remain in awe of Jacob. He continues to walk in. He did so last week and will again this week. 

He walks in to walk it off.

We are in the FINAL phase of treatment. I can’t believe I’m even saying that. It took 16 months to get here, but it is so sweet. This phase is the vaccine trial that has had great results in preventing relapse. So thankful to be here.

When meeting with the doctor prior to the vaccine he went to great lengths to tell us that it is very painful. This was concerning as prior to immunotherapy he never gave such a warning and that was unbearable to watch. 

The vaccine is a shot of the immunotherapy drug. Unlike the immunotherapy sessions, it is quick, but patients do not get the high dose of pain meds like when in immunotherapy sessions. “It will be excruciating and then over, but don’t be shocked if he starts screaming.” 

We were given advice too. Best thing is to “walk it off.” Walk the pain off.  Now how do you tell a six year old writhing in pain to “walk it off?” It seemed unfathomable and I was ready for a disaster.

But that is exactly what he did. He walked it off.

“Go walk it off buddy” and in that pain he did just that.

When we told him the next week we were going in to do it again?

He walked in.

And then walked off.

We will continue to do this walk for the next year. 

Jacob, per usual, will lead.

The gag

I’ve been gagged. My writing has been gagged. It’s been so hard!!!

Gagged Woman High Resolution Stock Photography and Images - Alamy

You see…

I’ve had a secret now for over a month and every time I write I want to write about it, but I can’t. Not yet…that it is.

BUT it’s good. SO GOOD. I get excited thinking about it. So hard not to write about it. 

But I can say this…remember that rewrite of education I’ve been speaking about for the past two years?! It’s happening! 

The future looks bright for our little ones. There is another path! A path that values the personal journey and recognizes that LIFE IS THE ULTIMATE TEACHER. 

Very proud of these last months. I hope to be able to write more soon!

But I do want to share one learning. The best remedy to trauma is finding light in the trauma and then acting on it. Action I’ve found is the ultimate medicine.

Q2: Is there something that you wish you had done differently this past year? Alternatively, is there something you’re especially proud of from this past year?

I no longer spend my days thinking what you may possibly think of me. I have evolved this year in ways I never knew possible.

I’m proud of this growth. I’m proud to give my self the gift of forgiveness. The gift of YESTERDAY. The gift of letting go, but learning at the same time. Embracing the evolution of others and myself.

Q1: Describe a significant experience that has happened in the past year. How did it affect you? Are you grateful? Relieved? Resentful? Inspired?

This last year had only one event, Jacob’s fight with cancer.

How did it affect me? It made me question everything I’ve ever known. Even the “knowns” like the sky is up and the floor is down felt questionable. Right versus wrong felt uncertain. Even my own identity I was unclear about.


Was I good? Was I being punished? Is the world a good place? Did I even want to be in it?

I went inwards. I went walking. I went to the river. I listened to music.

But mainly I observed.

I saw the world in a new light. I watched it run by me. And even though I walked it felt like I was stagnant. It was really an out of body experience. At first it looked like pure chaos. I felt sad for humanity. Just all these people in their worlds with no rhyme or reason. Running with frowns. And at first I thought that was the lesson, that there is no meaning and my search for the WHY (why all these things happen) was a fruitless pursuit that would only bring confusion and pain.

But one thing I had was time. Lots of time. Sitting. Sitting. Sitting by beds. Sitting with books.

So I sat.

And I saw something. I saw a thread. I saw patterns. I saw some order in the chaos. I wish I could say I hold that understanding now in every step, but that would be a lie. I fight for that understanding each and every day.

Especially when the world feels so fragile and “tribed” off.

But I oddly leave this year of trauma with incredible inspiration. I also leave in debt to the world and the pattern that truly do exist. The reality that there are no coincidences. The reality that things happen because they have meaning for you, but that meaning may only present itself 10 years down the road. But the WHY does exist. It is up to us to connect the dots.

I feel inspired. I feel alive. I feel unbelievably grateful.

And my path led to remission of Jacob. A gift like no other. And it led me to today. To PAY IT FORWARD.

Inspired for tomorrow.

Shana Tova!

Can it really be real? 

How can one year be so different? How can the world change so drastically in 365 days? 

But it is very real.

And while I’m sure there is a lot to complain about, this year has been quite a ride, there is a lot to celebrate too. A lot of good in this world. 

And here is one to celebrate!

A year ago today, Jacob was recovering from surgery. A year ago today he could not speak due to tubes down his throat. But today he has one thing to say…

SHANA TOVA!

Thank you Nightwing.

How blessed we are to have each other. 

Let this year be full of love light and SOL (student of life). As one thing I’ve learned we are all still growing, adults no exception! Let this year be of life lessons that bring us peace.

I look forward to this year with you Nightwing. Let’s not only be there in the bad times for each other, but to also remind and celebrate the good:)

The applause

I think we all should rise. I’m going to start a slow clap. One of those dramatic ones. 

Or maybe this is more appropriate

Because there has been NO lack of effort here.

Standing ovation is in order!

As you can say a lot of things, but one thing I think we all agree on here. There is NO lack of effort. NOPE. There is no lack of effort from the educators in this country to do right by our kids.

Teachers- you were given the impossible. You were given days within a summer of wasted months to finally learn what was being expected of you and not only prepare in a new normal, do it in less time than you usually have. You were able to open with limited resources. You took on more roles and responsibilities than ever. And all the while with little support from our government that will spend wildly to spare our economy, but not for its children’s safety. 

And even given the lack of time, resources and extreme fear, you did what?!

Everything humanly possible.

Everything for our children.

You got creative and like the problem solvers you inspire, you became one yourself.

While my own children are not back in “school,” I applaud you.  I have watched in awe my niece’s experience. How in every class there is a 5 minute mask break where students are allowed to take off their masks, but no one can speak for fear of spread of the virus. How at lunch she sits at a table with dividers from her peers. How she can’t touch her friends.  How horrible it all sounds.

But ask her. “How was school?”

AMAZING!

And there you have it. 

Teachers you amaze all of us. You amaze us by your bravery and dedication. You make our children whole.

We all applaud you.