Time flies! It’s hard to believe I have a 3-month-old baby and will be heading back to work after the Thanksgiving holiday (boo!). Since she wasn’t a boy, we weren’t rushed to have a bris, but I always knew I wanted a Baby Naming Ceremony. I have been to many ceremonies, usually just a small moment in a Shabbat service, and never really thought too much about it, until it was my baby.
We had the ceremony a few weeks ago and I have to say it was so incredibly meaningful and special, much more so then I had anticipated. Because of work schedules, we opted for a Friday night naming, and because it was just a regular service (not a Family Service or bar/bat mitzvah), the naming was the highlight of the night. Most of the people in attendance were there for Charly and she was the only child under 10 years old in attendance.
She sat, quiet and attentive, for the whole service, only crying after the closing song–like she knew God was watching or something! When it came time for the actually naming, my husband and I brought her to the Torah and the rabbi gave a nice little speech about her–about the person we hope she’ll grow into and whatnot. We also got a beautiful certificate that we’ll frame and hang in her room. Afterwards the baby received lovely gifts and participated in her first Oneg Shabbat. When we went home, we were full of food, love, and happiness–grateful to be part of such a loving family and wonderful community.
I remember my first piece for Kveller was about what we were going to name the baby, and now she’s official! Charly’s Hebrew name is “Chavah Leah”–because it seemed a natural progression from “Charlotte Leona” and I really love Fiddler on the Roof. Then he read a portion of the email that I’d sent him about the name:
The “C” was for my Grandma Carol (my Dad’s mother) and the Leona is for his father–I went with the Holocaust survivors because I wanted her to be able to withstand anything. It turned out to be a good call, because even though she came 5 1/2 weeks early, she is certainly a survivor!
Even though I wrote the words, when the rabbi read them to me, as I gazed at my chubby little baby, who was gazing up at the Torah with her big blue eyes, I felt my eyes well up with tears. She’s grown so much in such a short amount of time, it’ll only be a short amount of time before she’s standing on the bimah again, singing with the Junior Choir, running the halls of the Hebrew School, and joining her class to chant prayers in their yearly service. I know when she takes center stage for her bat mitzvah, I’ll always remember this moment–the moment when she weighed less than a Torah and sat in Daddy’s arms being blessed and named.
At that moment, it also really hit me–I’m a mother! This child is my child. And ceremonies like this really help to stop and take a moment to appreciate that. To take a break from diaper changing and midnight feeding, and remind myself that this little girl is going to grow up to be an adult, a Jew, a real person, and this is just the beginning.