SHACHARIT IN THE TODDLER HOUSE
I peek as you pretend to sleep
one eye open, watching me watching.
Dry diaper, blue striped shirt.
A cup of milk, toasted bread, jam.
Does God feel this satisfaction
providing for all our needs?
You won't let me sing blessings
or psalms of praise, preferring
your Thomas & Friends cd.
You tell me to go away, testing
the limits of what tethers us, but
you know I'm right outside the door
occluded but present, loving you
even when you turn away.
This is the latest poem in a budding series. Previous poems in the series are: Early ma'ariv in the toddler house, Havdalah in the toddler house, Shabbat in the toddler house. Shacharit means morning prayer. (And ma'ariv is evening prayer, and havdalah is the brief ritual which brings Shabbat to a close.) These are poems about parenting and prayer life. About how I'm trying to maintain an awareness of Jewish sacred time, even when I'm still not able to pray substantive liturgy most of the time.
There's much more spaciousness in my life for prayer now than there was when Drew was an infant...though now there are different challenges. Now he notices when I sing, and usually demands that I stop! He pushes boundaries and tests limits all the time, in a perfectly age-appropriate way. My challenge continues to be living with what my teachers would call "prayerful consciousness" -- can I embody the prayers even when I'm not saying them? What would that look like, what would it mean?
Becoming a parent continues to impact the way I think about God. I often think about the idea of hester panim -- that God's face may be hidden from us but is always present, always (in the theology to which I ascribe) loving us. Maybe God feels about us as I feel about Drew: sometimes exasperated, but always connected; I may be hidden, but my love for him is always there.