Life gave me something new and dear. Almost nine full months, we waited for him - for you. Towards the end, they wanted to rush you out. But you patiently waited for your father to make it in on the first flight back after the Yom Kippur airport closure. You were ripe and ready, and at that instant, you went from being a mere wonder in my stomach to a sheer wonder in my life.
Jonathan, you are incredible, and our colorful rainbow that makes everyone smile. You bring calm, serenity, and beauty into my life. My heart grows and fills with such joy from your gaze, scent, and sweet touch. Much like the array of colors in the rainbow, there are an array of emotions that flood me as a new mother. I watch you while you are awake or asleep, never missing a beat, as you smile, breastfeed, play, react, chatter, rejoice and grow.
I am currently on partial maternity leave, but with two caveats. The first is that being a new mother is anything but a break, and two, the entire journey of motherhood is in itself an ongoing learning process. For this period, I've decided to go about my routine a bit differently, where I'm trying not to run, conquer mountains, or constantly seek out new opportunities like usual. Instead, I have set aside my emails, career, perfectionism, and friends to simply just be. This is a period of self-nourishment, being able to breastfeed, getting a good night's sleep, being grateful for my baby's smile, and being there for my family. It is a period to just soak in all these changes, take in the moment, give gratitude, and be happy.
I'm a woman whose mind never stops working, and the gears keep on turning. Typically, endless streams of thought and ideas are flowing in and out of my mind. However, throughout the pregnancy and a bit after giving birth, I finally experienced slight relaxation and disconnected myself from my thoughts. I embraced this relaxation and welcomed the change of pace.
Recently, someone asked me at a museum what I do while breastfeeding. I told them that I liked to pass the time thinking, reading a book, and giving thanks to the little wonder sitting in my arms and raising love.
While I sit breastfeeding little Jonathan, my thoughts tend to take their turns, going from those that are practical to those that are deeper about life. I welcome these thoughts and perceive them as both liberating and empowering. For the first time, I am not in a rush and have the time and space to process them.
After 19 years of formal studies, from elementary to master's, I finally feel like I am learning. I am learning authentically, from choice, with love, and lived experience. Whoever said, "life itself is the best education" was right. During this maternity leave, I picked up the book 'Eshet Chayil' (A Woman of Valor) by Lihi Lapid. When I first started the book years ago, I felt the time wasn't right yet. Years later, with age, wisdom, and perspective, I found myself both smiling and crying as I flipped the pages, taking pleasure in how the insights and thoughts spoke to me directly.
I've come to learn how only when we make choices, leave jobs, experience setbacks, take a significant break from life, hug an amazing toddler, or sit in the living room with a different perspective, can then a shift in the heart and soul becomes possible. When this happens, space is created for something new to take shape, whether as a mother, friend, partner, professional, and anything else we dream of becoming.
For this, Jonathan, I say thank you.