Your hand on my cheek | Maya's Gifts

Your hand on my cheek

January 25, 2006

Dear Maya,

So much is going on in your sweet little life.  I think you’re experiencing a bit of stress these days.  Just as I was putting you to bed, you talked of things at school that have been difficult.  You were going to play a new math game with S.  You got it right, but she kept on doing it wrong.  “It’s because she was fooling around when the teacher was giving directions.”  This really bothered you.  “It was so frustrating.”

And M. said in a nasty voice, “I’m not going to invite R. to my party, only Maya,” right in front of R.  You felt bad for R. and stood up to M.  You are dealing with diversity (different abilities- i.e. S) and bullying issues all here in kindergarten.  Tough lessons to learn.  I am so glad that we can talk about this.

Again, you mentioned how noisy it is there.  I suggested you go to the library when it is too noisy for you.  You lit up when I told you Elayne [Maya’s kindergarten teacher] said it was okay…”Maya is one of the few kids who could do that!”

On the home front, other recent challenges include Adin’s fractured arm.  Naturally, he has been getting much attention.  The very first night, you were doing some “coughing.”  “Mommy,” you said, “when children are sick, their mommies are supposed to stay home with them.  They shouldn’t go to school.”  You knew that Adin was taking a day off from school.  And you kept on “breaking your arm.”  Of course at one point with all of this, Adin said to you, “you’re just doing that to get attention.”  You admitted adamantly, “THAT’S RIGHT!  I DO NEED ATTENTION!”

Quite a funny thing occurred this weekend.   Our family often shares in writing cards to friends and family.  Mathew’s friend, David’s father passed away.  We were all writing a little something in a sympathy card.  I got quite a laugh from what you wrote:

“Dear David,

I hope you had a great father.

Love, Maya”

How sweet is that!?!  I was actually doubled over in laughter.

Recently you took to kissing the palm of my hand, then putting it on my cheek.  You tell me, “When you are sad, just put your hand to your cheek or heart and say, ‘Maya loves me, Maya loves me, Maya loves me.’”

You are soooo precious and I love you dearly!

All photos are from January 2006.  From the top, with:

  • Adin, the magician
  • Gabriel, last night of Chanukah
  • Jo
  • Aunt Ruth and Uncle Hy (at Maya’s age, I would refer to my aunt as “Aunt Truth!”)
  • and Shanti


  • Thank you for sharing these beautiful stories; we are all so blessed that you wrote this journal.

    Did I actually write to you that you were strongly in my thoughts all week because it is B’shallach? Or did I just think it many times? I really am not sure but am assuming you got my message either way!


    • I am smiling! I “got” your message. I went to another lovely service this morning and new perspectives were opened.

      Sending love.

  • I’m so glad you wrote all that down while it was happening, Elise! What an incalculable blessing you received to get to raise Maya.
    Love always,
    Rabbi Jonathan

    • Thank you, Rabbi Jonathan!
      And I do know. I really am so grateful for getting to bring Maya into this world and raise her.

      Now you know, Irv would say:
      “Love, love, love!”

    • Yes, in some ways, these moments seem like yesterday.
      Forever ago and yesterday at the same time.
      Thank you!

  • Thank you for sharing your blog with all of us. I am always so impressed and inspired by you, Maya and your beautiful relationship!


  • “You tell me, “When you are sad, just put your hand to your cheek or heart and say, ‘Maya loves me, Maya loves me, Maya loves me.’”

    So, so beautiful. Thank you for sharing these memories.

  • Your stories are so very precious. I love reading them and seeing the pictures of Maya, friends and family. I love her taking your palm, kissing it, touching your cheek and telling you to always remember that Maya loves you.

    • Thank you dear Lani,
      In the moment, I felt how precious that moment was.
      Looking back, I continue to feel the preciousness.
      I know that we all have so many stories. I look forward to hearing more of yours.
      Sending hugs.

  • So many memories of our beloved Maya. Thanks for continuing to share them, Elise. Much gratitude, much love. Cindy

  • Reading your journal entries, which you share so generously, it is so clear that you raised Maya as an intensely present mother. For the joy and the pain, all of it. Your visual narrative adds another extraordinary dimension. Soaking in the comfort, lovely to linger where there is so much love. Thank you

  • I love these precious stories. “That’s right, I do need attention!”
    I wish it were that easy for all of us to ask for what we needed.

    • Yes, David!
      We often will express the coughing and pretend broken arms and stop there.
      In that moment, Maya took it to the next level with gusto!
      I too, wish it were that easy,

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