Every so often, you have to stop for a moment. This is one of those moments.
Last week, I became savta for the second time. Little Miss now has a brother, Young Sir. He will carry family names with him as he makes his way into the world. They are strong names, and one of them, his middle name, was at Ziggy's behest. He had asked that no child be named for him directly since he was dying young. Instead, he asked that should a boy baby happen along, that child have the middle name of Owen, his maternal family name and his middle name. Junior Son and Mrs. Junior son have respected that request and I am delighted.
When handed the senior son for the first time, my own dad said, "This is like holding eternity." I thought it was a lovely thing to say, but as a grandparent, now twice over, it's more than a nice sentiment: it's the truth.
At the hospital, Little Miss told me she was too busy getting ready for Purim to think about being a big sister. And that was perfect. She had other things on her mind that were immediate need and that sorta put things in perspective...again. After all, Young Sir is going to be around for a long, long time and Purim was the next day. Very wise child. I love her practicality! She made me laugh, but she also reminded me that stuff goes on regardless of monumental occasions.
There's an old story about a guy planting a tree when suddenly, he looks up, sees a procession coming down the road, and realizes it's the messiah. He watches for a moment, then goes back to planting the tree. "Stop what you're doing and come with us!" calls one of the followers. When he says "no," the follower presses him until the guy says, "If I stop planting the tree, the tree will die. If that's really the messiah, then he will be around for a long time whether I finish planting the tree or not. So I choose life. The tree must be planted."
Nine years ago, I could've made many, many different choices, but the choice I made was to not simply live, but to embrace life. It doesn't mean I miss Ziggy any less, or my folks, or FIL, or the dog. It means that I am thankful for the time I had with them, for the ability to continue to laugh, to love, to celebrate, to remember, to cherish, and to grow. These are not always the easiest choices; there are days I would love to pull the covers over my head. But I won't. I have way too much left to do, to many joys to celebrate, and too many great days to anticipate. I choose life.
Tomorrow, we will gather for the mitzvah of Brit Milah, the ritual circumcision of a baby boy as he is welcomed into the Jewish community. Oh, how I wish Ziggy and my Dad could be here to fulfill their traditional roles; they will be present in our hearts. I can only imagine in my heart's eye how they would beam incandescently at this child. I am certain FIL will be standing with them. And we will miss them all.
And in an odd confluence of events, sundown tonight began my own grandmother's yahrzeit. Grandma Sarah, my dad's mother, that robust and brave English woman, left us 38 years ago. This is the grandmother for whom the protagonist in LINGUA GALACTICA is named. She was a trailblazer in her own inimitable way. She taught me to embroider, crochet, and tat at the same time she was teaching me how to make lukshen from scratch and the proper way to light Shabbat candles. It's only fitting that she, too, be honored at the brit milah of her great-great-grandson who just happens to carry her father's Hebrew name forward with him.
The Wifely Person's Tip o'the Week
Choose life. There really is no Plan B.