Dear “Lovebug” (Beernut),
It seems hard to believe that I have been a mother for an entire decade. Well-meaning people told me that I had no idea how my life would change once you were in it. I accepted the fact that only experience would allow me to measure those changes. And, indeed, my life did change. Little did I know how much my life would be enriched, challenged, and blessed by your very presence. Little did I know that the best feeling in the world was a child’s hand slipped into mine.
Your daily life is fraught with frustration, hurdles, and disappointments. There are times that your ability to face them is astonishing. There are times that your inability to handle them is heartbreaking. Your days, too, frequently see victories. Victories, no matter how small, that are still victories.
You have been looking forward to being “double-digits” and now you are. One decade. Ten years old.
“What will change now that I’m double-digits?” you may wonder.
Not much. Same bedtime because whatever time we choose, you always wander off to bed when you are tired. Same rules about the Wii because you are not yet ready to make wise choices regarding your play time. Same sweet neshama because God was so wise in leaving behind the best Divine parts in you.
Today is a special day. You have pushed yourself so hard this week, tackling tasks you were convinced were beyond your ability, and culminating with a daytrip to the beach. Which you recently swore you would never do. It will conclude with a celebratory Shabbos dinner at BubbeGiraffe’s (she’s making your favourite Teriyaki chicken!) where we will share some exciting news about school for next year (Hint: no changes here…). We will remember, as we have sadly done for the past four years, Gilad Shalit, whose life is intertwined with yours. As you celebrate your birth each June 25th, his family marks the anniversary of his capture on June 25th, 2006. The love I feel for you differs in only one way from the love Aviva Shalit feels for her son; I can express mine freely to you, whenever and wherever I choose. Aviva has had that right stripped away by Hamas, who continue to hold her son without permitting members of the ICRC to visit him and confirm his well-being. A denial that is in violation of international humanitarian law. I pray for the birthday that will not be tinged with the sadness we feel for the Shalit family.
And so on this bittersweet day, son of my right hand, Daddy and I wish you a year of continued growth as you conclude the first decade of your life.