A message from the oldest woman in the family to the youngest

A message from the oldest woman in the family to the youngest

You’ve just arrived. You don’t even have a name yet. You’re a big little girl! Over 8 pounds. Anyone who saw your Ima these past few months could figure out that you were going to be substantial! And who knows? Even Sabba Rabba, who has been fearful of holding all two dozen of our babies to date, may be willing to pick you, number 25, up, without tzittering (trembling). That remains to be seen!

Let me say to you, at the start, welcome, young lady. We are all so thrilled that you are here, that you are one of us, and we love you very very much — even without yet having been formally introduced. And I speak for the family now, we are all so eager to greet you in person, to hold you and hug you and hover over you and protect you from hurt or harm.

We all have our jobs in this world and the job of this family, your family, is to always be a big part of your life. We commit to that with the greatest of pleasure. That’s what love is all about.

We knew you were coming but we didn’t know if you were a boy or a girl. I think the days of big announcements before arrival are subsiding a bit. Time was, very recently, when the news of the pregnancy was quickly followed by plans for a brit or baby naming. In your generation, the boys had it. Your first three cousins are boys. We saw a trend! We truly expected an empire of young men. But then came beautiful Sophie and we understood that girls were always a delicious possibility. Delightful Elchanan squeezed in, but he was quickly followed by lovely Yael, and now here you are. Girls are outrunning boys. And word has it from Jerusalem that your savta already has been to Shilav to buy three matching outfits, girl outfits, for you three very young little ladies.

As your arrival came closer, I was again filled with the typical mixture of tingling nerve endings and joyful anticipation. It was hard for me to fall asleep, having the inner sense that I might miss the big announcement if I weren’t awake. But that’s exactly what happened. No matter. When I finally was awake (after all that was well before 6 a.m.) I had plenty of time to absorb, yet again this year, the incredible news. A new baby had landed!

I know that my readers have not been keeping abreast of my very active family life. And you should know that it’s really not typical that we have so many babies within weeks of one another. Usually things are more paced and orderly. But in life, good news is always what we yearn to hear, and your arrival is the happiest of news. In my imagination I can already see you all playing together.

I think about your name. I can guess but I will, as always, be wrong. On Thursday the big announcement will be made in shul. I’m very into names. So much of life depends on your name. Will you carry a secular name or a Hebrew name or both? Your parents, both very wise and Jewishly committed people, will make the choice, and it will be a beautiful name, which they have thought about a lot! We shall all tune in!

But, little one, I pray you are prepared to enter this world we now share. My generation has certainly made a mess of things. It’s not fair to pass this on to you, but what else can we do except to wish you the wisdom and the fortitude, the courage and the kindness, to make this planet the best it can be? Our hearts heave towards Israel, our own historic and heavenly place, and to America, which has welcomed all of us with open arms. These are both lands that lay claim to our souls and provide us with sustenance and faith in better futures for our people, and for the entire population of this place we call Earth. But it’s up to you, little one, to you and your teammates, to teach us about the generosity of spirit with which you will lead the world and make it the better place that it has to be. You will learn history and you will see all the many times that humankind has ignored its lessons.

My prayer for you and your cousins and all of your peers is that you will finally be the generation that has learned from history. Take its lessons and make this a world a better place, a world to be proud of. At last!

But, meanwhile, grow in health and strength and happiness and be a living tribute to all of us who came before you, and all of those whose memories and lives are in the stories we can share, so that you and all of your dear cousins will be proud and magnificent children of our family, a family that welcomes you with open arms and hearts filled with love.

Rosanne Skopp of West Orange is a wife, mother of four, grandmother of 14, and great-grandmother of seven. She is a graduate of Rutgers University and a dual citizen of the United States and Israel. She is a lifelong blogger, writing blogs before anyone knew what a blog was! She welcomes email at mailto:rosanne.skopp@gmail.com

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