Jewish Journal

I’m a Daddy!

by Mark Paredes

October 13, 2013 | 11:28 pm

My lovely wife delivered a beautiful baby girl last week, and we couldn’t be happier. It is the first child for both of us, and we feel unbelievably blessed to be parents. At this point I even view getting up during the night as a welcome opportunity to bond with my daughter.

If you’re a religious person, having a child focuses your mind on spiritual things like nothing else can. In our case, we are grateful that our child was born “in the covenant”; that is, born to parents who have been married for eternity in an LDS temple. In LDS theology, this means that we can form an eternal family that will endure beyond death as long as we live good lives. Basically, as long as we behave ourselves, our daughter is ours forever.

In accordance with Mormon custom, in a few weeks I will bless our daughter in front of the congregation. This involves asking a few men who hold the priesthood to join me in a circle as we put our hands under the baby and I pronounce a blessing on her head. Wherever possible, the father does this for his child. There is no prescribed content for the blessing, but most men announce the baby’s name and bless her to lead a righteous life (e.g., marry in an LDS temple, choose good friends, stay close to God). Baby blessings are usually performed on the first Sunday of the month. Non-Mormons are welcome to attend.

It will come as no surprise to my readers that my daughter’s name was inspired by a Jewish girl. Prior to teaching, my wife worked as a nanny in London for three Jewish families. One of them had a beautiful daughter who was my wife’s favorite. She vowed that if she ever had a child, she would give it the girl’s name. I was only too happy to make her wish come true.

Our ward (congregation) has four women, including my wife, who are scheduled to become first-time moms over a period of four months. Three have already given birth (all of them “in the covenant”), and one is scheduled to deliver next month. One of the babies will have a bris this week that will be conducted by a Jewish mohel. Needless to say, I plan to be there.

I thought that my wife was on a pedestal before I went through labor with her, but now she’s Superwoman. I am very grateful to have a wonderful wife and a healthy, adorable daughter, and can only pray to be the kind of father that our daughter will be proud of.

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Mark Paredes is a former Mormon bishop currently living in Los Angeles. He has worked for the ZOA, the American Jewish Congress, and the Consulate General of Israel in Los...

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