Isaac arrives. again.


My sister and her son, Isaac. August 2011

There is a special feeling, a special kind of excitement that goes with a new relationship.  I don’t mean a romantic relationship, I mean any/every new relationship that is deep, alive, genuine and that offers the promise of a certain kind of real-ness, depth and permanence.  It’s an alive feeling and it permeates everything.  It makes things interesting, colorful, energetic.  My daughter still has that sound when she comes and tells me– full of excitement– that she made a new friend !

I remember this feeling– hope and excitement– when each of my sister’s two sons were born.  And I remember the feeling even before I met my daughter– but as soon as I knew about her, my soon-to-be-daughter.  I still feel this way about all three of them.

Each of my sister’s two sons is wonderful and exceptional.  Each in his own way and each in his own relationship to me (and to my partner and to my daughter but those relationships aren’t what I’m talking about here).

Going back many, many years now, my oldest nephew arrived well after his due date.  Although the plan had been for me to visit several weeks after we assumed he would have arrived, my travel day came before he did.  And so I had the good fortune to have actually been present for his birth — as in, in the delivery room with his mother, father and the many attending medical people.  He was born at 1 a.m. in the winter of 1993 on a very cold night in Chicago.  Later, maybe 2:00 or 3:00 a.m.– I went home with my mother and father who had been in the waiting room of the hospital awaiting their first grandchild.  My sister and brother-in-law and new baby Isaac, stayed the night in the hospital.

Whoever makes these decisions in a hospital wanted my sister and her newborn son to stay one more night in the hospital.  My brother-in-law came down, over the course of Isaac’s first day of life, with a terrible cold.  He called me at about 2:00 or 3:00 in the afternoon, saying that my sister needed someone there in the hospital with her but they didn’t want the new baby to get sick and could I come and stay the night.  Which I did.

I remember many things– odd details as well as enormous profound feelings–about that night in the hospital.  Most of all, I remember the excitement as I slept and woke throughout the night, about this new person, and the realization that I would be close to him forever– for the rest of my life.  This was not only a hope but proved, over time, to be true.

18 years and a month or two later, Isaac decided to come to college– about 800 miles from his home and about two miles from mine.  He is now 6 feet tall and we have been close since that first night together.  It’s a different kind of arrival–but here he is again.  We are navigating– all four of us– me with him and my partner and daughter with him, and he with us– new relationships.  This is the first time ever that we have had him so close, but here for reasons other than to be with us.  I have new things to learn about him and he about us.  His first year of a very demanding college life means, among other things, that he comes over from time to time and sleeps for about 9-12 of however many hours he is with us.  Sometimes I run my errands in the part of town where he is in school– just for the feeling of knowing he is nearby.

This year, he was with us for Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services.  Another arrival.  Walking out into the sunny parking lot with Isaac on a break between services, I went to say hello and to wish a good year to a woman who is a friend of mine– the wife of our rabbi.  Without quite knowing what was happening–I watched her eyes get big and saw her focus on us as we approached her.  I greeted her, wished her a Shana Tova and then introduced– “this is Isaac, my nephew”.  I guess there must be a family resemblance– or the closeness we have with each other is obvious.  Or both.  She visibly regrouped and said, “Oh, I see.  I was thinking ‘ here you are with your second child you never told us about'”.  And so I mark his arrival in different ways.  Again.

One response to “Isaac arrives. again.

  1. What a CUTIE PIE. And such a sweet story of your connection.

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