September 23, 2015

Meeting my Granddaughter for the First Time.

Author's Own

The Days of Awe.

In the Jewish faith, some of the highest of holy days are the 10 days that begin with Rosh Hashanah and conclude with Yom Kippur. The Jewish people take this time as a deep period of introspection.

It was during these 10 days that I truly experienced my “awe” moment.

It began with Rosh Hashanah at Temple Isaiah in Palm Springs, which set the tone for my introspection as we chanted together as a temple family and listened to the words of our Rabbi.

The next day my best friend and I began our road trip north from Palm Springs to San Jose to Oregon, and finally to Washington. It was there that I experienced my heart opening and filling with pure joy and love.

I have had many moments of awe in my lifetime. I was filled with those moments of wonderment the first time I walked through Yosemite, held my children, had an aliyah, carried the Torah and marveled at the sunrises and sunsets on the Sea of Cortez.

There is something so beautiful about what I am about to tell you. As I writer, I love words, yet I am at a loss for what I am trying to put onto paper here. As I stepped out of the car and saw my first grandbaby in the arms of her mother, my heart began to beat so loudly.

As she was handed to me, already a month old, I looked into her perfect face and saw what every Bubbe (or Grandmother) sees: perfection.

Her sweet cheeks, hair, fingers and toes so soft. I wanted to hold her close to my heart and let her know that I would always love and protect her. I wanted to share everything I am with her, and it was at that moment that the “days of awe” came into significant meaning for me.

You see, during these 10 days of introspection, the Jewish people spend time making amends and righting any wrongs they may have done during the past year. As I held Harmony in my arms, I wanted to be someone she would be proud of as her Bubbe. I wanted to work harder, love more and be kinder. I wanted to be an example of all that is good in the world.

As her eyes focused on mine I prayed that she would grow up to be all that she can be and that her pain would be less in this world and her joy great.

As I rocked her that evening I whispered a prayer in her ear:

Sweet gift of God, my sweet little Harmony. As you lay your head on my shoulder may you always know that you are a miracle. As I look at your precious little face, I see so much of your father in you, and it seems like just yesterday I was rocking him in my arms. You are such a gift, a miracle to all of us. Welcome to this magnificent life. I want you to know how very much wanted you are by your whole family.

I ended the prayer with the Hashkivenu (a Jewish bedtime prayer asking for a peaceful night’s sleep and for God’s angels to watch over us during our slumber):

„הַשְׁכִּיבֵנוּ יְיָ אֱלֹהֵינוּ לְשָׁלוֹם וְהַעֲמִידֵנוּ מַלְכֵּנוּ לְחַיִּים. וּפְרוֹשׂ עָלֵינוּ סֻכַּת שְׁלוֹמֶךָ וְתַקְּנֵנוּ בְּעֵצָה טוֹבָה מִלְּפָנֶיךָ וְהוֹשִׁיעֵנוּ לְמַעַן שְׁמֶךָ וְהָגֵן בַּעֲדֵנוּ. וְהָסֵר מֵעָלֵינוּ אוֹיֵב דֶּבֶר וְחֶרֶב וְרָעָב וְיָגוֹן וְהָסֵר שָׂטָן מִלְּפָנֵינוּ וּמֵאַחֲרֵינוּ וּבְצֵל כְּנָפֶיךָ תַּסְתִּירֵנוּ כִּי אֵל שׁוֹמְרֵנוּ וּלְשָׁלוֹם מֵעַתָּה וְעַד עוֹלָם. בָּרוּךְ אַתָּה יְיָ הַפּוֹרֵשׂ סֻכַּת שָׁלוֹם עָלֵינוּ וְעַל כָּל עַמּוֹ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְעַל יְרוּשָׁלָיִם.“

(Hashkiveinu ADONAI eloheinu l’shalom, v’ha-amideinu malkeinu l’chayim;
Ufros aleinu sukat sh’lomecha,
V’tak’neinu b’eitza tova mil’fanecha,
V’hoshieinu l’ma-an sh’mecha.)

The beauty of my granddaughter Harmony is that she will have a Christian Nana and a Jewish Bubbe, but the love is all the same. She will be surrounded by a family who adores her, and isn’t that what life is all about?


Author: Tammy Coia

Editor: Toby Israel

Photo: Author’s Own


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