My Tallis isn’t like the one your father has. It’s silk, woven intricately with purple and pink flowers on a pale green vine. The atara is rose gold and succinctly reminds the wearer that we’re sanctified with Hashem’s commandments. The matching kapel hides, unworn by me, in the matching bag.
My Tallis wrapped around me and my daughter today, a protective blanket worn over her shoulders as well as mine. Fingers twisting and turning the tzitzis, I hope she remembers these times when it was just the two of us under a silk Tallis at the shul where she learns about being a Zionist and tikkun olam. I hope she doesn’t see the sadness in my shoulders, the breaking in my voice when I say shehecheyanu… I hope she makes room for the baby in coming years, when they’re both bored to tears and squabble over who gets more of the Tallis to hide under.
Last erev Rosh Hashanah, I was fresh off a c-section and marvelling at a tiny little creature that had my dark hair and rosebud lips. Now, my scar is a faint silver; it matches the hair I’ve finally stopped coloring to hide the onward march of time. I wasn’t thinking about work, I was loving that I got to walk my daughter to school every morning and keep her home if it was just too cold outside or I wanted a movie day with her. As I approach my final twenty four hours of maternity leave, I am desperately searching for some way to stop the time. To be able to have those morning teas without rushing off. To call the school because my daughter had a late night and wouldn’t make it to class.
I am returning again. I like to work, but not here. Not so far from my babies. My prayers – if you can call desperate pleas from an all-but-atheist prayers – weren’t of parnassah or gezunt or even happiness. I prayed I would find some strength to return again, and that my babies would somehow find happiness in the small amount of time we would spend together. One can hope, right?