So there’s this phenomenon, helped along by all the cute scrapbook stores, parenting mags, and peer pressure from other mommy friends, to spend a lot of time in the first year of your newborn’s life “scrapbooking” them.
You know what I’m talking about. It’s that urge that overcomes you to make an alphabet book–with your little miracle holding the apple for the letter “A” and a ball for the letter “B” and so on. Your child is just too darn cute to resist!
Trust me, I have been overcome by that urge too–-to take pictures at every expression, to bring out the video camera for each cute thing they do, to write everything down. While keeping a record of your child’s life is important, maybe we overdo it.
Just yesterday, as I was sitting on the couch reading bedtime stories to my 2+ year old, he asked me if he could hold the little baby (our 2-week-old daughter), and without batting an eye, the momentous event happened–our son held his little sister for the first time. I had to fight the urge to say “wait, hold that pose” and get my camera to record the moment. My internal dialogue continued “Just be in it.” And so I took a deep breath, and was.
The Hebrew word that came to me was Hineni, or “Here I am.” It’s the expression that is sprinkled throughout the book of Genesis to express an intense presence or ‘here-ness’ from the forefathers. (Abraham’s response to God and to Isaac when called to sacrifice his son, Isaac’s response to Jacob when he is about to be tricked into giving him Easu’s birthright.)
Liturgically, there’s another kind of Hineni, a prayer of meditation composed in the middle ages to keep prayer leaders grounded in their task of leading a congregation instead of just “going through the motions.”
So, Hineni my dear children. Here I am. When I am breastfeeding, when I am observing cute little interactions between you, and when I am reading you stories.
But just not when I’m blogging about you, then it’s your dad who will be saying Hineni.