Dear Wendy
Dear Wendy

A Blessing For My Joanie May

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This weekend is Joanie’s baby naming ceremony, a Jewish tradition in which a baby girl (usually newborn, but obviously not always) is given her Hebrew name along with blessings by a rabbi and her loved ones. We chose a Hebrew name, Hephzibah, that honors her Grandpa Herb, Drew’s dad, who died six months ago, and that means “our delight is in her.” And it is!

This morning, I was walking Jackson to his spring break camp, a trial run before we commit to summer enrollment, carrying Joanie in the ergo, when a white-haired woman walking a white dog struck up a conversation with us.

“I have two boys,” she said after Jackson introduced himself and Joanie flashed a smile, “But they’re grown and have kids of their own now.”

We chatted a little more before we went our separate ways, and, as we parted, she said, “Enjoy them. It goes too fast!”

Of course, that isn’t the first time I’ve heard that sentiment. When you have young children — and especially a baby — you hear it all the time. When Jackson was much younger, long before Joanie came along, I used to get mildly upset when someone would tell me to “enjoy every moment.” Didn’t they realize that so many of those moments included cleaning up multiple body fluids, dealing with endless screaming fits, being told I’m mean, and doing it all on little to no sleep?

And then Joanie came and Jackson matured and a lightness enveloped our family. Joanie has a buoyant spirit that has acted as a salve on the postpartum blues and tribulations I carried from my earliest years of motherhood. She has helped to soften me and helped me to love more patiently in a way I wish I’d been doing all along. She is making me a better mother to her brother, whose spirit, if not as buoyant as hers, is wonderfully complex and deeply kind.

The rabbi has asked Drew and me to write our wishes and blessings for Joanie that we’ll share at her baby naming this weekend. My ultimate wish for her is that she will continue to shine and carry her lightness with her everywhere she goes for the rest of her life. It will illuminate the shadows that give home to fears, protect her from darkness that looms in unexplored corners, and, I hope, attract the light in others.

My wish for her is that she will balance her lightness with a strong sense of self, fierce independence, and a fine-tuned bullshit detector that saves her, not from a broken heart or a bruised ego, but from ever losing faith in herself, the power of compassion and forgiveness, or the belief that good can prevail.

As the white-haired woman with the little white dog told me to enjoy every moment, I looked at my kids and then said to her something I never say because it sounds so cheesy. But I’ve realized, cheesy or not, it’s true, and maybe, contrary to what I’ve thought in the past, it’s even cordial to acknowledge sometimes.

“I’m blessed.”

23 comments… add one
  • MaterialsGirl

    MaterialsGirl April 27, 2016, 3:17 pm

    This is so sweet, Wendy. Congrats!

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    Stillrunning April 27, 2016, 3:24 pm

    Beautiful.

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    Stillrunning April 27, 2016, 3:25 pm

    I’m blessed, too. Being mindful of my blessings brings me peace.

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  • FireStar

    Firestar April 27, 2016, 3:39 pm

    Awwwww.

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    keyblade April 27, 2016, 3:59 pm

    Hephzibah is beautiful.

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  • honeybeenicki

    honeybeenicki April 27, 2016, 4:19 pm

    This is so sweet. And I often need a reminder to enjoy today. I wanted to poke people in the eyes who told me that when I had a colicky newborn, but now I wish I had treasured those snuggles a bit more because my independent baby has no interest in being snuggled. I find myself looking toward the next milestone and try to step back and enjoy today. The name you chose is beautiful and your wishes and blessings are perfect.

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    • Dear Wendy

      Dear Wendy April 27, 2016, 4:55 pm

      Yes, try to enjoy the moment (or some of them, anyway). Soon, he will be a toddler and then things get *really* crazy.

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  • Dear Wendy

    Dear Wendy April 27, 2016, 4:55 pm

    Thanks, everyone!

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    Sue Jones April 27, 2016, 5:01 pm

    Awesome hat!

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    • Portia

      Portia April 27, 2016, 5:17 pm

      Totally agree, Sue, that’s one stylish kid!

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    MissDre April 27, 2016, 5:20 pm

    She’s precious 🙂 You’re so so lucky. Hope one day I’ll have a family as precious as yours!

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    Jane63 April 27, 2016, 6:36 pm

    You are blessed! Beautiful.

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    Anonymousse April 27, 2016, 7:07 pm

    She is so cute! I love the hat, too. You should do a Wendy’s picks for kid/baby stuff.

    Thanks for the Catastrophe endorsement! I love it. Seeing her deal with all the tests at the OB reminds me of how lucky we are in having a healthy family.

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  • Lianne

    Lianne April 27, 2016, 7:52 pm

    Super sweet post. Thank you for sharing your wishes for your sweet baby girl 🙂

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    d2 April 27, 2016, 9:26 pm

    Look at that face! And what a beautiful wish.

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  • Addie Pray

    Addie Pray April 27, 2016, 10:44 pm

    Very sweet. I like her hat and that wisp of hair sticking out on her forehead, and I like her wittle fingers grasping the swing. Aww babies, they’re the best!

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    LisforLeslie April 28, 2016, 6:47 am

    Mazel tov. It’s amazing how fast it goes – I ask my 4 year old nephew (he was born about 2 weeks apart from Jackson) how it is possible that he’s so big and yet so small. He responded “I guess I’m medium.”

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  • Raccoon eyes

    Raccoon eyes April 28, 2016, 7:59 am

    Such stunning and beautiful sentiments, Wendy.
    *
    It is also a great reminder to “stop and smell the flowers” and the like. We all need more of that in our lives. Thank you.

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    sararosie43 April 28, 2016, 8:12 am

    I love this so much, it made me tear up! I especially love the part about never losing faith in herself, something i am working very hard on right now.

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    Taylor April 28, 2016, 11:04 am

    Oh Wendy, I should know better than to browse your personal articles in a meeting. I’m all choked up with no place to go!

    Blessings indeed, thanks for the sharing, the reminder, and the smile.

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    jilliebean April 28, 2016, 12:07 pm

    Mazel tov Wendy!! Enjoy the ceremony!!

    This is beautiful. I have a 17 and 19 year old and I feel like I’ve blinked and they’ve grown up. I like this saying about raising children: “The days are long but the years are short”. Definitely what it feels like to me!

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