I had some plans about what I was going to share from our High Holidays this year. What I wore. What we made for dinner. Fluff and stuff.
The reality is that these high holidays have, like so many other aspects of the first year of parenting, been grueling. I have worn pants to services so that I could more easily get down on the ground with my child. I have schlepped across the sanctuary with a North Face backpack-turned-diaper bag on my back, more closely resembling a back country hiker than a worshipper more times than I would like to count. I have more been attending services so that Critter could be passed around to doting family members than to actually pray. This is such a precious and fleeting time – Critter chewing on programs, batting at faces, looking wide-eyed in awe at the vaulted ceiling. But it was Not Necessarily What I Had Envisioned So Many Months Ago. Not that I actually had something in mind.
Watching Critter hear the shofar for the first time was a special thing. As I thought about him participating in this mitzvah with eyebrows raised (where is the sound coming from? why so scary?) I thought about my own Judaism. I have been attending high holidays services for 10 years, but as a Jew, this is only my seventh.
In the Torah, it is written that the seventh year is the sabbatical year. A year of rest for the land. A forgiveness of debts. A chance to find new ways to embrace our faith in God. I have found some personal peace in acknowledging that for me too, this can be a sabbatical year. I don’t have to be doing to be growing.
Even in all of this stillness, there has been newness.
We started our own Nachas List, inspired by this post. I bought a notebook for us to capture our list ongoing in. We wrote our proud moments for Critter together, and then we each took a moment to write out our proud moments for one another. Marcus was initially suspicious of this project, but after we read what the other had to say and the warm, glow-y feelings that followed, this is a tradition that will last. I have tucked the book away in the cedar chest with our wedding photo album and our book of love notes, to be retrieved at Passover in 2017.
I also saw this blog post from The Times of Israel about how this Yom Kippur, we can engage in Positive Confession. This really spoke to me this year. There are easily a hundred different ways that I failed this year, knowingly and unknowingly. But I think that in the year that I bore a child and embarked on what will be a lifelong journey of raising him, there is so much more Positive that I frankly, am obligated to focus on. I have done the best hard work.
This year, in 5777 I will be content in where I am, in who I am. I may not know what my future holds, but I know The One who holds my future.