November 4

Today is my daughter’s 22nd birthday.

She is my one-and-only child, so this is a red letter day in my personal calendar.

E. is living in Costa Rica this year, so I sorely miss being able to celebrate with her. To console myself, I visited with my friend A. and her little girls, age 3 and 1 this afternoon. There were songs from Sesame Street and songs sun by Raffi on the CD player. I remembered the words! (A miracle given the state of my memory). And I remember the delight of those bright eyes.

I cannot quite believe it’s been so long since I sang those songs, since I played those games, since I lived that life: the sensations are still so available to me, so present.

The intervening years have been filled with the most important lessons of my life. It is my birthday as a parent — a role that contines to teach and to shape me more profoundly than any other.

So Happy Birthday to E. and to her dad, J. and to me.

And many more …


  1. Brian W. Thomas on November 23, 2007 at 2:33 am

    Ms. Diamant:

    I must say honestly that I have not read your book, THE RED TENT, or any of the other book length works that you have written. My wife read THE RED TENT, like so many other women that I know; she loved it.

    I am intrigued. I’m intrigued (by what you say about your life in these blogs and on the Barnes and Noble Book Club website, how you describe your life and world) and the way your life is led as if you were called to it. I recently attended a Bar Mitvah of two boys from my school. I’m the Head of a school pretty near the JCC in San Francisco. I’m not Jewish, although I definitely understand the deep well of spiritualism that some of my friends who are Jewish talk about. My school was founded by two Jewish women in SF nearly 90 years ago for their children who couldn’t get into any of the other private schools at the time because they were Jewish. I guess I resonate with your words in these forums because there is some connection that I feel to what you write about: your daughter’s 22nd birthday (my son turns twelve on the 24th and my daughter is ten), your generosity of spirit to the posters on the B&N Book Club’s Bulletin Board, and your love of the Red Sox. All human stuff.

    I, too, am feeling called to do some work that I don’t quite understand. I don’t think that I’ll write a best seller or become a famous school head, but I do feel something pretty profound just underneath the surface. Somehow I feel called to do this work that these two women started.

    I am African American and was raised Christian (Baptist), but even those descriptors can’t tell all of who I am. I’m probably more Buddhist than Baptist, but even that does not quite fit. I guess what I can say is that I am intrigued by your story and your good works, especially Mayyim Hayyim.

    Is that why you write? Is there an explanation happening, a telling of the world who you are in these stories? I guess it’s different than being an actor, which I was, because as an actor you are always dependent on someone elses words rather than your own. No need to answer this. I just felt like posing the questions.

    Thanks for your words. I look forward to reading you soon. Namaste, Brian Thomas

  2. Anita Diamant on November 23, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Dear Brian:

    What an amazing posting. Thank you so much. I don’t quite think I deserve the esteem you express. I write because… it’s what I was given to do. It’s very hard work for me and I often don’t like it and complain bitterly. But if I’m not working on a creative project, I am even more miserable.
    My hunch is that you called to be a mensch, a Yiddish term that means, “terrific human being.” Kind, careful, thoughtful, open to wonder.
    That is the highest calling of all, no?
    Wishing you all blessings,

  3. emilia on December 14, 2007 at 1:23 am

    you should all know that anita has raised her daughter well. i mean, i might be biased, but…

    you are the best mother in the world and i love you more than anything. i cannot wait to celebrate more birthdays together.


  4. Sharon on April 7, 2008 at 1:36 am

    Dear Ms. Diamant:

    I was so sorry to miss your talk at Stanford this evening on “Judaism as a Pathway of Spiritual Meaning.”

    As a psychologist, I spend my days (hopefully) facilitating the search for meaning in individuals’ lives.

    Is it possible to find your talk in print or online?

    Thank you for continuing to think out loud. I appreciate your insightful perspective.

    Sharon Nash

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