It is amazing how fast time moves. Two years ago today, Josh and I left the four boys at home for Shabbat with our dear friends and dashed off to the hospital to have our fifth child. We had been worried, for the weeks leading up to his birth, about when he would be born. The 9th of Av is one of the most significant fast days of the year, and we wondered if we’d end up having a brit on that day – or delivering a baby in the middle of the fast. Obviously, neither of those events occurred, and Zeli was born on the 8th of Av, in delivery room 8, on 08/08/08. Clearly the kid is destined for great things that surround the number 8.
During this time period, we are in a three week period of reflection and mourning, leading up to the 9th of Av and the commemoration of the destruction of both the First and Second Temples in Jerusalem. Zeli’s birth, and his birthday so close to Tisha b’Av, has turned this time period into one that is both reflective, pensive and sad for the Jewish people…and one that is full of incredible joy for us.
And certainly, Zeli, or Azriel as he’s actually been named…although rarely referred to, is a bundle of joy. Azriel’s name is incredibly significant to us. He came to us when Josh and I were both unemployed during a very difficult summer. Azriel means “with Gd’s help” and we definitely felt that we got through the summer only with Gd’s help at that time. His middle name, Dor, means “generation” and we feel that he is connected to his people and to the generations before him in so many ways. The most obvious of these is that he was named Dor for his great-grandmother, Dorothy, carrying on the generational connection to his family and his people.
When we are younger, most of us assume that we will be able to get pregnant and have children quite easily. Everyone around us has them so why shouldn’t we? As I’ve aged, and watched some of my friends struggle to get pregnant, to keep a pregnancy, or to deliver a healthy child, I’ve become acutely aware of how full the path to childbirth can be of pain, heartache, sorrow and despair. I’m continually amazed every time that I look at Zeli, and at his brothers, that I’ve been so blessed to have these incredible children. Having children is certainly an act of faith and hope. Raising them is a continual process of hoping that all will go well and that each child will continue developing in healthy, beautiful ways.
Happy Birthday to my beautiful little boy – may we be privileged to share another 118 with you!