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November 1, 2010

A Dream, An Ultrasound, A Tallit, A Baby, A Promise & Endless Questions

http://www.jewishjournal.com/blog/item/a_dream_an_ultrasound_a_tallit_a_baby_a_promise_endless_questions_20101101/

Photo

My son at his Bar Mitzvah, wearing his tallit.

I fainted when my doctor told me I was pregnant.  We had been trying for so long, the news I was finally going to have a baby was overwhelming.  I wanted to be a mom for as long as I can remember.  It was my dream as a little girl, and being a mom is the greatest accomplishment of my life.

I used to pretend my dolls were babies and I always dreamed of motherhood.  I wanted to have four kids.  I was one of four so I imagine that’s why.  In the end I was blessed to have one child, and from the moment I knew I was going to be a mom, my life was wrapped about him.

When I had the ultrasound to tell me the sex of the baby, and they said it was a boy, and cried.  I wanted a healthy baby, but if I could have picked, I would have asked for a son.  I always wanted my first child to be a boy.

Once I left the doctors office I wanted to buy my unborn son a gift.  I thought about a stuffed animal, or an outfit, but as I drove home I passed a Judaica store.  After looking around I decided to buy my son a tallit.  It was a gorgeous blue and gold prayer shawl.

I took the tallit out often over the years. Whenever my son hit a milestone, like walking, talking or tying his shoelace, I would write about it and tuck the paper into the tallit.  If my son was sick, or struggling in any way, I would pray for things to be better and tuck those prayers in too.

I would put my son to bed, pull out the tallit, and tell it all my hopes and dreams for this little boy.  It was the first gift I ever bought for my son, yet over the years, it really became a gift to me because it held all my prayers for the life I brought into the world.

When my son had his Bar Mitzvah, I took the tallit that had been my comfort for so long, and I placed it on his shoulders.  It was a profound moment.  All the hopes and dreams I had for my baby were a part of that tallit and when I placed it on him, I made a promise to my son.

I promised to always pay attention and listen, and never lose sight of what a blessing it was to be a mother.  I believe in my heart, and know in my mind, that I am a good mother.  I love this child with all that I am, and am doing a good job raising a wonderful human being.

This weekend was tough.  With each stage of a child’s life, there are parts that are easier and some that are harder.  I find the older my son becomes, the more questions I have.  Am I doing the right thing?  Giving him the tools to be happy and secure?

It’s been a looooooong time since I was a teenager, and while I like to think I remember, I really don’t.  There are so many things going on in terms of peer pressure, homework, hormones, stress and temptations.  Can I properly guide my son through the landmines that are the teenage years?

My son is really great.  He is caring, sensitive, funny, smart, popular, handsome, charming and an all around happy person.  He is all the things that you want for your kids to be.  He is also a teenager, finding his way while transitioning his relationship from those of a kid to a grown up.

I’m not saying at 14 he is a grown up, but just that it’s a new ball game.  Everything is changing for him, but it’s not him I’m worried about.  It’s me.  Am I doing a good job?  Am I being supportive enough?  I am giving him the room he needs to grow?

I have endless questions.  I want my son to be happy.  I don’t care what he chooses to do for a living, or who he chooses to love.  What I do care about is that he is happy, healthy and safe.  I want him to reflect on our life together and think I did a good job at being his mom.

To my son,  I love you Buddy.  You are a great kid and I am very proud of you.  I know being a teenager is hard and you’ve got a lot going on.  Know that I am here, and you have my support.  Be strong, believe in yourself, do the right thing, and no matter what, keep the faith.

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