The rambling thoughts of a Modern Orthodox Chassid (whatever that means). Contact me at emansouth @

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

The Baby, Part III

Once, when I was president of my shul, one of the members complimented me on something or another that we did. I responded with something like, "oh, it was no big deal". The member, an older and wiser man, took me aside and said, "you need to learn to accept a compliment more graciously". I have taken that advice to heart. I understand that as uncomfortable as I am being on the receiving end of compliments, it is indeed something that I need to do graciously so as not to hurt the compliment-giver's feelings.

The reason I bring up this story now is because of a compliment my family and I received yesterday from Tamara regarding our caring for The Baby (and the many we get just walking down the street with the Baby). I graciously accept the compliments. Thank you.

But they still make me very uncomfortable. They are nice to hear but so unwarranted.

I do not have the words adequate to describe the joy that The Baby has brought to our home in the last 5 months. How do you explain your feelings when a baby smiles for the first time. Or when you get her to laugh by making goofy faces. Or when she wakes up in the morning and coos for 15 or 20 minutes before she realizes she's hungry. Or when she clutches your finger when you feed her? How do you explain what it means when your kids fight over who gets to hold or feed her (last Shabbos as we were sitting down for Kiddush, my younger daughter said, "I call her for after washing!"), how they fawn over her and love her. Who could ever have imagined that at age 50 I get to help raise the cutest little neshama that you can imagine. I get to see her every development. And, with age, I appreciate each and every step, perhaps more than I did with my own kids when I was younger and more foolish.

And what are the costs? So we wake up once or twice in the middle of the night. Big deal. I get right back to sleep. So we don't go out as frequently? We were never big out-goers. There is no sacrifice at all. We are the beneficiaries. That is the truth.



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