I’ve been out walking with my son for the last hour plus, thankfully about15 minutes into it, he gave in and promptly began that nap he sorely needed since waking at 5:30.
Becoming his mom has definitely acquainted me with more than just early ass waking hours and stubbornness. It’s made me more aware of how my behavior emotionally impacts him. My husband thinks Raphi is shy because he likes to demure and hide his face in whoever is holding him chest. As a shy child myself I have no remedy for that but it does seem to make me smile at him even more than I already do and I wear his giggles and snorts like badges of emotional honor.
I don’t know much of the Jewish approach to mothering. My mother, I feel, wasn’t really Jewish in her caring for me, and honestly I don’t even really have a clue of what the hell it means though undoubtedly there are books on it I can at least get some insight from. Instead I wish I had the chance to learn something, anything from her example. Instead I must draw from my memory of her personality to understand how important patience is when raising a child. Oh my God, is it important! And that’s not a Jewish value, but a human value that dwarves most others.
Raising Raphi hasn’t tested my patience a whole lot yet, sure I lost my shit when he was tiny but that had more to do with the fact that I was in postpartum physical hell and he was a newborn. Instead (I keep saying this today often) I now think on the Jewish Ashkenazi wisdom of naming my son for his babushka. Raphael means “God has healed, healed by God, one who heals” in Hebrew and in infinite ways that’s exactly what he has done for my family. Though seeing his smile and hearing his laughs every day reminds me often heart wrenchingly (I’m talking watching Russian grandmas at a playground with kids and trying not to cry) that his babushka isn’t here to watch him grow, I see his existence as a great healing worthy of his namesake. My father was floored and almost destroyed when my mother passed three years ago and I didn’t know if anything could ever make him truly happy again. Well, Raphi has done that for all of us and especially for my father who is genuinely in love with his grandson. That’s the greatest healing there can be. What’s more Jewish than that?