The new year has finally turned and while 2018 hasn't yet given us much respite from the international follies of 2017, in our little family at least, there is a great deal to look forward to. This year our nuclear unit will be expanding by at least one. (If there are others of which I am not yet aware, I prophylactically apologize.) Younger Son and His B'shert are eagerly anticipating the arrival of a tiny human sometime around the spring thaw. And while I was given leave several months ago to crow, glory in, heap praises upon, or simply kvell in bits and bytes in this space, the truth is that every single time I have sat down to put thoughts to screen, I have cried ugly and heaved sobs of joy. It seems to me that it is perfectly fine to know and understand that there are times when words alone cannot adequately convey emotion, even for the most loquacious among us.
I have deliberately sat on the public displays of written affection until I could do justice to what this little person's impending arrival means and how I am excitedly and mentally preparing for "Bubbyhood."
An aside...while we are in the know as to the gender, and others out there in the reading universe are as well, I have chosen to alternate between pronouns for the remainder of this post when describing the arriving alien. That bit of news isn't mine to share unless its creators choose to let the world know in their own public forum.
This child will be the first person in our family to have both feet firmly planted in this millennium. There will be no frame of memory or reference for her when discussing cataclysmic events like 9/11, crazy stupid elections, the move of Sesame Street from PBS to HBO, or even the demise of Sears. She will live in a world that has always known these things to have been true and she will hopefully learn the historical lessons they provide. I expect at some point in our relationship for her to hear her doddering old Bubby regale her once again with a tired old anecdote about the past, for her to roll her bored and glassy eyes at me, and then prepare to shuttle me off to the less-crooked home as I scream "Hell yes...Elmo was far more relevant on public television."
He will not know or be raised with the constraints of gender conformity. That isn't to say that he won't identify as his birth sex, (that's ok too!!) but rather that he will inherently know that every avenue is open to him regardless of being male, female, or other. He will be someone who loves musical theatre and someone who loves baseball; the two are not mutually exclusive. He will be encouraged to study STEM with the same verve and vigour as he will the arts. He can act strong and feminine or soft and masculine. The world is a roadmap open to him and the path is his to choose. It is all there for him, free from the obstructions of our gendered past.
She will always be blessed with tech support, know the release dates for the latest Star Wars/Trek movies, understand the differences between Nintendo and PlayStation, be a suffering Maple Leafs fan, and inherently comprehend what the fuck a Pokemon is. She will also be into chick-flicks, shopping excursions to Ulta, love to dress up, be a gloating Buckeye's fan, and inherently understand the colour palettes of OPI. Apparently purple is never just purple. These wondrous things will be bequeathed to her by her extraordinary parents. I choke up at the thought of my children becoming parents, but despite their nerves and concerns, I have no doubt they will be incredible. They both have all those skills inside of them just waiting to be exercised. Their child can be a geeky Scifi lover AND a frilly-laced princess all at the same time. Isn't that amazing? I am left staggered and breathless by the breadth and depth of her eclectic future home-life.
He will be raised with dignity and respect. He will be taught that while he may be at the centre of our universe, he lives in a global society. He will be taught that there are many less fortunate and less privileged than he and that he owes a debt to give back whenever he can. Service and mitzvot will be a part of his world. As Reb Nachman from Bratislav said:
Kol ha-o-lam ku-lo gesher tzar me'od
V'ha-i-kar lo l'fached klal
The whole world is a very narrow bridge;
the important thing is not to be afraid.
She will be blessed with music. Lots of it. Constantly. I will sing to her until I am hoarse or until she tells me to shut up. I plan on introducing her to Broadway on day one so if anyone has a problem with that, too fucking bad. I also plan on passing on my hatred of all things opera, so if somebody else wants to take up the cause of Rigoletto and Figaro, I won't argue. It is my determined mission to help this child sing and dance her way through life. All the rest is commentary.
He will know his heritage, but it will be up to him to define it. Judaism matters in this family, but how to express it is for the individual to decide. He will be taught to never forget how difficult it was for his ancestors and how he now stands on the shoulders of every single family member who came before him.
She will call me Bubby. I choose the name to honour some very fierce and very formidable women whom I called Bubby and others whom I knew as Bubby. It isn't an old-lady name. It is a name imbued with dignity and respect.
I hope to follow in their footsteps. I hope to be the doting Bubby, the feminist Bubby, the vegetarian Bubby, the Canadian Bubby, the rabid Toronto sports fan Bubby, the theatre-loving Bubby, the left-leaning Bubby, the trivia-spewing Bubby, the singing Bubby, the guitar-playing Bubby, the sometimes wacky Bubby, the often uptight Bubby, the hopefully fun-loving Bubby, the chocolate-laden Bubby, the flip-flop wearing and toe-ringed Bubby, the cookie-baking Bubby, the can't sew for shit Bubby, "the hates winter with a passion" Bubby, "the come and visit me in Florida" Bubby, the Diet Coke drinking Bubby, "the don't tell mom I gave you chocolate chip cookies for breakfast" Bubby, "the gets carsick on a subway" Bubby, the cursing Bubby, and most of all the Bubby who will treasure him/her for forever and a day.
All my life's a circle;
Sunrise and sundown;
Moon rolls through the nighttime;
'Til the daybreak comes around.
All my life's a circle;
But I can't tell you why;
Season's spinning round again;
The years keep rollin' by.