A poem for today
Revisiting Tazria-Metzorah, after death and after birth

Counting the Omer in the Toddler House


The year I was pregnant
I counted the weeks
until I could reveal your presence.
With each turned page

you were the size of an aspirin,
a raisin, a grape.
Your tiny heart fluttered.
You grew fingernails and kidneys.

Who could focus on the journey
through God's qualities?
I was a kaleidoscope
for splendor.

Now that you're two
I know what the kabbalists
hid in plain sight:
to God, we're all toddlers

pushing boundaries, sulking
exaggerated on the floor, then
beaming, earnest and sweet
and our Parent meets us

with lovingkindness
with boundaried strength
with perfect balance
which endures forever...

Sometimes She lays down the law
but Her arms are always open
when we run too fast in new sandals
and skin our tender knees.

I think I'm really getting into the groove of this toddler house series. This poem riffs on the practice of counting the Omer, the weeks between Pesach and Shavuot. (Here are my previous years' posts about the Omer; this year I'm posting daily Omer reflections at my congregational blog.)

In the kabbalistic understanding, each day of the 49 represents a different combination of divine qualities: chesed (lovingkindness), gevurah (boundaried strength), tiferet (harmony / balance), netzach (endurance), hod (humility / splendor), yesod (foundation), malchut (nobility / sovereignty.)

This year I can't seem to help relating to each of these divine qualities as a quality necessary in parenting. As I take note of each day, I think: how do I experience these qualities in my relationship with God? And how can I manifest them in my relationship with my son?