Friday, September 21, 2007

One Small Step for Didi-kind

How does the daughter of two unabashed, lifelong couch potatoes pick herself up and take her first steps at 9-and-a-half months? Yes, it's true, we have first steps. This kid wants to be on the go--and she is. Good for her. It's truly awe-inspiring to watch.

That's Didi's big news for the new year. As for the two aforementioned couch potatoes, we mastered walking long ago, but I can't help wondering where we're going in 5768. Rosh Hashanah was nice--we spent it with my family, Didi had a ball with her cousins--but distinctly lacking in spiritual meaning. Ditto for the remainder of this High Holiday season thus far.

At my parents' shul, where it's always a struggle to have a meaningful experience, we were too focused on Didi and whether she was OK--not climbing on anything dangerous, not about to start bawling--to carve out a spiritually meaning davening. And during the days of Elul leading up to and since Rosh Hashanah, the usual factors have gotten in the way of focusing, even briefly, on the meaning of this period: work, parenting, etc., etc., etc.

Last year, we were just weeks away from parenthood when the holidays hit, and today we have a thriving, wonderful 10-month-old who is only beginning to discover the wonders of her world. We have grown into our role as parents and do our best to juggle home life with our careers. But like so many parents today, finding time--to go to the grocery store, to take a moment to catch our breaths, to participate in community events, to focus on our spiritual lives--is our constant struggle.

Hopefully, Yom Kippur will be different from Rosh Hashanah, and as the gates close this neilah, I hope we will have experienced some semblance of meaning to these days. This time next year, Didi will be walking like a pro. I hope Didi's Mom and I can, in the new year, take our own first tentative steps, if not more, toward recovering the balance in our lives--or, rather, creating a new sense of balance--that will allow us to be better parents and better people. Teshuva is not a one-week project.

May we all take our first steps toward discovering, or rediscovering, the wonder in our own worlds. Shanah tova and g'mar chatimah tova.

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