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Feb 24 2012

Friday Night: A Sabbath Birthday

By at 3:10 pm

birthday candles in a challahTwo years ago today, I became a mother. I could get all mushy and nostalgic about how my baby is no longer a baby, how time flies, and that I should have treasured the moments more–and perhaps all of those things are true. Except I did treasure them.  I absolutely savored each moment and I wallowed in the gore and glory of new motherhood. I wrote, cried, celebrated, and talked about being a mother to anyone willing to listen. I love being a mother, I relish in being a full-time stay at home Mama and you can go ahead and slap me for being one of “those people”; I have my complaints but the rewards are far greater.

I’ve sang on stage in front of thousands of people. I wrote a 150-page thesis in 48 hours. I’ve been elbow deep in a pregnant cow’s rectum wearing a long plastic glove. Two years ago, at 5:32am, I became a mother and everything else I’ve ever accomplished in life pales in comparison to this role. Nothing I have ever done has been as challenging or as rewarding as being a mother. It has changed me, softened me, yet instilled in me a sense of visceral Mama-bear protectiveness. Every morning when I walk into his room my heart explodes with joy and every night I fall to my knees in thanksgiving. I think before I speak. I watch before I step and I am ever so aware of how lucky I am to have this beautiful boy to call my son.

I have never been able to picture my son a second older than he is this very day. I can’t pack up his 18-month clothing without tears, and I find myself wondering how I will ever put him on a school bus, wave goodbye at summer camp, or hand him the keys to a car. All I can do is be. My arms: his safe haven; my guidance: his map; my love: his reassurance; and our faith: his foundation.

Last night I asked him if he knows what tomorrow will bring. He answered, “bat-bat” and I told him it is indeed Shabbat but it will also be his birthday to which he replied:

“Happy birthday to you, Adonai Eloheinu melech haolam.”

And in that toddler mash-up my place in this world was better defined. Judaism and motherhood are the two things in life that I am newest at, but also the most proud of. I struggle, I question, and I celebrate the milestones of each. Tonight we will sing happy birthday and pray over candles. We will welcome the stillness of the Sabbath and celebrate two years on this beautiful journey together.

Happy Birthday, sweet boy. Shabbat Shalom.


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