Monday, September 26, 2011
Reflections on Rosh Hashanah - Firsts and Lasts
My son was a very sick baby and was not allowed to eat raw honey until age 6 or 7 because his intestines were a wreck. (So were his lungs and his heart.) So we started a family tradition of dipping our apple slices into chocolate sauce for a sweet new year.
He was 18 months old the first time he ate a brownie, at a Rosh Hashanah meal with me, his dad, both sets of grandparents, a few aunts and uncles, and two cousins. After the first bite of brownie, he exclaimed "Mowa Cake!" His first two word phrase, and a great occasion for it.
Two years later, when he was 3½, my son said motzi for us all at our Rosh Hashanah dinner. Almost as proud moment as hearing him say "More Cake!"
At six he wanted me to make him a kittel just Daddy's. I said no but let him buy a white tie and white pants to go with his white shirt.
At nine, he mastered the notes of the shofar.
At age 13, he chanted the 5th aliyah from the Torah using the high holiday melody. On the same day, He saw me cry for the first time in public on the second day of Rosh Hashanah. A difficult story, for another day.
Last year, after he became vegetarian, I brought him to a friend's house for Rosh Hashanah dinner, and made a vegan casserole as part of our contribution to the potluck meal. My friend served chicken, turkey meatballs, and beef, and we passed the dishes around the table. As he held the tray the family grandmother to serve herself meat, I remember saying a silent plea, "Please, just don't say anything about dead animals. Please just let her take the food without you commenting." And he did. A sign of great maturity. At home, I would have gotten a lecture on the benefits of a vegetarian lifestyle.
This year, my son and his girlfriend are both vegan, and I am preparing a vegan family feast to rival no other. I anticipate that we will also have other things to celebrate on Wenesday, but for now I am content to still have my son at home, even if we are back to dipping our apples in chocolate sauce instead of honey.
May you all have a very sweet new year!