As the birth of Raspberry approaches, I find that his Bris (Brit Milah, ritual Circumcision) is not as easy and obvious as I thought.
For starters, will his brother and sister be able to come? They are young, but they are his family. And others of their family will be here. We don’t want them to miss it (though they’d obviously be in a different room than the actual event), but we cannot predict the date of the Bris.
Which made David suggest to have the Bris not on the 8th day, but on a convenient day. To which I, without even thinking, said, “No.”
And then I thought about it. Why is this commandment so important to me that it must be done just so, when there are many, many commandments I don’t follow at all.
So why do the Bris at all? Maybe we could have a Brit Shalom or Bris B’li Milah (meaning Covenant of Peace or Covenant Without Circumcision), which is a new adaptation of the traditional ceremony that involves the blessings but not the cutting.
I have both a positive and negative visceral response to this. I’ve been ingrained from a young age to believe in Jewish traditions and belonging to a Jewish community. I’ve also been ingrained to act thoughtfully and in peaceful ways.
I find myself rubbing up against my personal beliefs and community beliefs a lot lately. Part of it may be that I don’t really have a spiritual home here in Reading, neither with yoga nor Judaism. I’m working on finding or building them, but it isn’t easy in a small, conservative town. Part of it is certainly that as I get older I have to face more and more difficult decisions that affect not only me but my family. Being a bio-mom (because I am already a step-mom with its own set of responsibilities) is a huge responsibility and one that I am so looking forward to, but I can see already that so many decisions are not so easy to make.
In addition to being a straight ally, arts-education activist, thifty-lover, and concerned citizen for the health and education of those with fewer resources than I have, I have of late become interested in newborn health. It makes sense, this is a topic that is quite literally close to my heart (about 6 inches below and a little to the right, to be precise).
I also love crafting, which is not necessarily something to take a stand for, but certainly makes the world a better place: slowing us down, reusing materials, working together, supporting local crafters.
Here is a way to combine crafting and newborn health: Caps for Good. Basically, you knit or crochet tiny hats to donate. They will be sent to the developing world. Many local hospitals also collect tiny hats and blankets for their newborns.
I am here committing to make one hat to donate for every craft project I make for the Raspberry. Winter is coming and we all need to stay warm. Here is a way to keep even the tiniest among us warm too.
I don’t know what else to call it.
I was at Goodwill, scoping out the maternity pants (none for me) and children’s coats (score for Nathan) when I found the treasure I’d been looking for, the answer to my questions, the winter wonderland dream-coat.
It will be cuter with a baby inside.
It sort of looks like a dementor with that empty hood. Ick.
Even with the barely bearable heat of summer, I was beginning to ponder how we would take home our little bundle of baby in the early part of January in PA. I looked for some things online, but spending $60 on a baby winter coat seemed a little ridiculous.
And then, Goodwill shined the light. It is warm and cozy, hooded, hand-covered, red and blue (not too masculine or feminine), and BEST OF ALL, it has a little slit cut out to buckle the critter in the carseat.
SAFE AND WARM!? For only $5! It is almost too good be true.
This reaffirms my love of Goodwill. And, I reluctantly admit that I am excited about baby clothes.
Let the baby-insanity begin continue.
I’ve read about this before, but this blog post from Motherlode cites a study that really supports what I believe (and what I experienced from my own parents): that the goal of raising children is to create independent adults.
I don’t need my parents, but I sure do like them. I look to them for advice and understanding. But they taught me and I had the opportunity on my own to learn to look to myself for advice and understanding as well.
There are so many books and resources on the right way to be pregnant, give birth, raise children, etc. My friend Liz gave me the best advice so far: take from any resource what works for you.
This has a wisdom beyond parenting. I see friends and family get stuck and righteous about their beliefs and practice (and i’m sure I do the same thing) even when those beliefs and practice aren’t helping them. And are possibly hurting them. I hope that as a person and as a parent I can have the wisdom to do what is best in the situation and never be too rigid.
Great article from a great blog:
The article is called An Idealized Birth and covers the complicated decisions women (and their partners) face in choosing a birth method.
I don’t agree with everything mentioned, but I like the thought behind the article. The point is to have a baby, not a birth. I’m awfully excited and intrigued about the birth, but WAY MORE about the baby.
I’ve been reading and thinking about birth, talking with David, preparing to make decisions. But the real message I keep getting from books and friends is that the birth is only my choice to a point. Then it becomes the choice of my body and mostly, the choice of the Raspberry.
But I like working with other people (even if they aren’t born quite yet). I also like empowering those who are younger than me to make decisions and take action. I’m looking forward to the whole process (or birth. I’m already up in the process of pregnancy…I’ll save my thoughts on that for another post.)
2010 will finish a very different year than it began.
I have been working hard to relocate my life to Berks County. This is a long and difficult process. Though I didn’t live in Bethlehem long, about 5 years, it felt like home. I had a job I loved, deep friendships, and a strong spiritual community both in my yoga sangha and my Jewish congregation.
But now I have David which tops it all. And I have a job I love, teaching theatre and creativity to youth in the city who wouldn’t ordinarily have the chance (and running the religious school, and teaching yoga…). I am developing strong, real friendships. And I will hopefully continue to develop my spiritual community here.
The biggest change is the upcoming addition to our family, current called Raspberry Spatula Graff (which may or may not be explained in a future post). At the end of this year or the beginning of next, I will have a baby. I’ve been reading Ina May Gaskin’s Guide to Childbirth. I have found a cozy and welcoming Birthing Center where I plan to give birth to Raspberry (but who knows what plans Raspberry has…). My yoga practiced has changed in a very exciting way – I cannot practice from flexibility or strength but must really focus on contentment and listening deeply to my own body.
Zoë and Nathan are so excited about becoming a double big sister and a big brother. David is delighted to expand our family. I hope that having a new baby will strengthen all of our relationships to one and other.
The other big change for 2011, although not nearly as dramatic, is that I have received a grant to write a children’s play. I have written two before, both for Touchstone. I’m eager to work on my own to develop a play completely based on my artistic vision. I don’t officially begin the process until January 2011, but I am already brainstorming ideas and possible points of entry. I will continue to document my process here.