Monday, December 23, 2019

I'm Coming Home (before my father's eleventh yahrzeit)

How often do you lie down with your kids?  When they're little, obviously, it happens all the time, when you're nursing them, or trying to coax them to sleep.  These days, with my youngest kids 12 and 14 years old, I don't really have an excuse anymore.

But really, why don't we?

Why not lie down with your kids, cuddle them, cherish them?  Hold onto them not in a way that's clingy and all about our needs, as parents and imperfect human beings, but about them and how special and unique they are?

Sometimes, when I start out writing about something, whether it's a blog or story or article, I don't know exactly what it's about until I get to the end.  Maybe, if you write, this happens to you, too?

And then at the end, there’s this "aha" moment, and I realize what was really on my mind the whole time. 

After I wrote almost this entire post, I looked back and was startled to realize that it probably emerged here and now because of the spectre of my father's yahrzeit hanging over the month of Teves, which starts this coming Shabbos.

(If you read an earlier version of this post, or look at the URL up top, you’ll see that I originally thought this was the TENTH yahrzeit… but it’s not.)

So you can keep that in mind as you read.  This is about the present, about me and my kids, but also about ghosts of the past, about me being a kid.

One of the things that embarrassed me most, growing up, was that my father used to lie down on the floor seemingly at random.  He'd just spread out his arms and sometimes we'd join him, lying down there, even my mother. He didn't have carpet growing up, so he said