Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Names for a New Year

Of course - one of a parent's biggest decisions is naming their child. Think about how many pieces need to fit into the puzzle of a name- of course, you want a name that you like, then, you must consider family names, history, English or Hebrew (or both), Tanakh, pronouncability, and of course, whether the name fits the child (though I think that I believe that the child will grow to fit the name).

But I think that many of us also struggle with the name that we are to be called- Ima, Mommy, Mama, Mom, and a host of others. We make a decision, and then foist it upon our children. My DH and I decided that he would be Daddy and I would be Ima. Using one Hebrew name and one English was confusing at first, but we practiced eventually adjusted. (Think about that for a moment- practicing and adjusting to your own "name"- and believe me, I feel like my name is now Ima).

I was devastated when Yalda started calling my Mommy, despite months of us saying Ima. She grew out of it. Now, I'm sometimes Mommy- mostly when she's being silly, sometimes Mama- when she's trying to be sweet, and most of the time, I'm Ima. And I'm happy with that.

Let's not forget that we also carry other names- our real names, our names as Aunts and Uncles, as sisters, friends and members of society at large. Every time we are with my extended family I think about how confusing all of our names must be to the kids. Yalda calls me Ima, my nieces call me Aunt, my siblings and parents call me by my first name. How do the little ones keep track of who we actually are? And how does being called by these names affect our responses? Is it possible that we become different people based on the name that we are called?

On Rosh HaShanah, how do I relate to G-d? Is it as me, the me I was for all the years before I was Ima? Or is it as Ima- the person that I have become? Is it as Aunt- the person that relates to my nieces? Maybe its as all of these names, plus the names by which I am known in the community. Are my requests of G-d and my pleas for forgiveness different as Ima then they would otherwise be? I think so. I hope so - I feel like Yeled and Yalda's relationship with G-d rests on my shoulders (probably a topic for another day).

Shana tova u'metukah to all!

1 comment:

phyllis@imabima said...

what a great post. It is true, we do relate to God differently in the different parts of our lives. Your post brings to mind the Zelda poem, L'chol ish yesh shem, Every Man has a Name. It speaks beautifully to the dilemma you speak of.