My girls and I spent three glorious weeks in the US this summer with our family. Aside from the shopping, going to the United States is wonderful because while my parents are here for an extended period each year, going to the States gives my girls the added benefits of spending time with their aunts, uncles, and cousins; using their English 24/7; visiting places that I went to as a child and of course, the seemingly endless supply of love, hugs, treats and the presence (and presents) from their grandparents.
While there, we spent five days at the beach with my sister and her family. On Friday night, before Kiddush (blessing of the wine), my brother in law, as is his habit, blessed his children. I never paid much attention before. In my childhood home, my father's custom was to bless us only before Yom Kippur and while I do include them in my blessings when I light my Shabbat candles, I don’t actually put my hands on their heads and say a special blessing. For those of you unfamiliar with the blessing, it basically asks Gd to make them like the four matriarchs; Sarah, Rivka, Rachel and Leah.
If you have been reading my blog for a while, or if you actually know me, then you can attest to my "zagginess" In other words, when everyone zigs, I zag. Not in a rebellious way, but with my very own "Ellie twist". So while I do think the four mothers have many traits that I would like my girls to have, I can't help but add my own values into the mix.
Today at gan (nursery school) the teacher told me that Shira, my eldest, can take care of herself and that I did an amazing job instilling independence and the ability to know her own mind in her (and Maya). I took the compliment. But it got me thinking. I too am an eldest child. Maybe it is part of the burden we first born carry; survival, independence, strong wills. These, in my opinion are important qualities. But, as I get older, and look back on my life, I'm not sure that these qualities have always served me well. I have an incredibly difficult time showing vulnerability; how sensitive I am, how hard life can be, and how it would be so nice to have someone to lean on, to give me a hug and show support. Not always to have others assume that I'm fine, capable, competent, "amazing".
In the last three years I have heard my own accolades sung so many times. "Two kids on your own", "you made a holiday meal for 12 AND you have two kids on your own", "I barely get through the day with one and a husband and you have two kids on your own". I do all that, yes… but I am a mom with two kids on my own. And it is HARD and lonely and sometimes scary and overwhelming and wrought with decisions that may or may not be the right ones. While it is nice to not have to check in with someone all the time, sometimes it would be nice to have to check in with someone. It would be nice for my kids to have more balance in the value system they are taught. So as we come closer to the Day of Judgement, this is the blessing I wish you angel girls:
My dearests Shira and Maya, I wish you strength and the ability to achieve anything and everything you want. That you have the humility, courage and modesty of our Four Mothers, that you learn independence and survival from your mother but that you also are able to show your sensitive sides, your vulnerabilities and yes, sometimes your neediness. That you are competent and can take care of yourselves but sometimes it is nice to be taken care of. Learn how to let people see that side of your personalities.
I wish you both health, joy, peace of mind, and that you continue to grow into the most beautiful, amazing, smart girls that I have been lucky enough to have and to raise. I love you always and forever.
Wishing you (and all of you) a gmar chatima tova. May you be inscribed in the book of life.