On Your Twelfth Birthday

by Rebecca Einstein Schorr on 26 June 2012 @ 11:49 am

Image(s): FreeDigitalPhotos.net


Dear Ben,

Twelve. How is it possible that you are twelve?

So cliched, I know. But it does seem strange that I am the mother of a son who is taller than I and with bigger feet and hands.

Your life is filled with more challenges that I would have ever anticipated when you made your entrance. Although…now that I think back to your birth, I do not know why I am in the least bit surprised. Being aware of those early labour pangs while leading the Amidah during services should have tipped us off that things would not never go quite as planned. It was, however, particularly thoughtful of you to wait until after we had MOVED into our townhouse before letting me know that it was time to call the doctor. You even gave me enough time to have deli with Bubbe and Zayde, a nice shower, and even a few hours of sleep. We often joked that you and I spent our respective first nights at home at the same time.

This is not going to be a gushy letter. Because my experience as a mother has not been gush-worthy. It has been challenging, gut-wrenching, and most definitely the hardest thing that I have ever done in my life. I’ve been required to “rise to the occasion” and I’ve even managed to do that on a semi-regular basis. I am imperfect and flawed. And could be more patient. I am not the mother that I had hoped I would be, but I am the mother you need. Most of the time.

And you, my son, are not the child I had imagined all those years ago. Your limitations and frustrations bring with them a tornado of chaos that at times threatens to sweep us all away with you. But your compassion and powerful love is equally as compelling. You feel things passionately. Which is good. Some of the time. Other times, your emotions force you places that bring you such sadness. But you are the child of my right hand, my Benjamin. And I fiercely love you.

I love you even though I don’t give you everything you want. But please remember that I give you everything you need. Including the ability to go through life learning about disappointments. And how to find satisfaction when things don’t go your way. Oh, and food, housing, clothes, Jewish education, etc.

I wish us you much luck at you enter your final year before teenage-hood and am so happy that you ranked this birthday the second-best ever.

Much love,
Your imperfect mother

PS — For future generations, I was present at most of your birthday celebrations but, as usual, was the one taking the photos rather than appearing in any of them.
PPS — This year’s celebration was stretched over two days for reasons that remain a mystery. That explains why you and Daddy appear in different shirts.


read to be read at yeahwrite.me

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

1 JanetheWriter 26 June 2012 @ 11:59 am at 11:59 am

Happy birthday to Ben (who I still think of as Beernut) and congrats to you, my friend, on a lovely post.


2 Irene 26 June 2012 @ 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm

I hope this last year before the dreaded teen age is even better for Ben, and the rest of the family, than all the ones before.


3 Steve 26 June 2012 @ 1:57 pm at 1:57 pm

I cannot imagine that any of your followers will complete reading this post without shedding a tear. It is so moving.

There is no such thing as a perfect parent. But, you are the RIGHT mother for your son (as, indeed, you are for all of your children). Can you think that God didn’t know which mother Ben should pick?

With great love,
Your imperfect father


4 JanetheWriter 26 June 2012 @ 7:45 pm at 7:45 pm

Not only did I shed a few tears when I read Rebecca’s post, I shed a few more — just now — when I read your comment.

I hope that you are enjoying your retirement!


5 Steve 27 June 2012 @ 1:24 am at 1:24 am

I am enjoying my final week before retirement. This has been a beautiful month.

I loved the message I received from Rabbi Jacobs. It captured so much of my rabbinate in a very moving way.

Todah rabbah!


6 Debbie Garcia 26 June 2012 @ 3:32 pm at 3:32 pm

Happy Birthday Ben. And, yes, most definitely, YOU are the mother he needs. Miss him!


7 Hannah 26 June 2012 @ 3:49 pm at 3:49 pm

Great moving birthday post! Happy birthday to Ben too.


8 Stripeyhorse 26 June 2012 @ 9:45 pm at 9:45 pm

So gut wrenchingly honest. And beautiful. Any kid would be incredibly lucky to have you as a mother.


9 Robbie 26 June 2012 @ 11:21 pm at 11:21 pm

This is my first time to read you thanks to yeahwrite and I LOVE this. The line about not being the mother you had hoped to be but being the mother he needs….perfection.


10 Nina 27 June 2012 @ 10:37 am at 10:37 am

Oh this need/want thing is hard to teach, isn’t it? Even as adults we don’t always know how to tell the difference, or how to live with the difference I guess.

Love the collage! Looks like someone else has discovered the joy of pic monkey!


11 Dawn Beronilla 27 June 2012 @ 11:11 am at 11:11 am

12! What an important age!
Your letter was so incredibly sweet and honest. I think you have the luckiest son around, because it will no doubt serve him well to have you as a role model.
I wish that more parents (and people in general) could say what you have. I’m imperfect, but I’m here, and I love you.
Because that’s what it really boils down to, isn’t it?
Great job!


12 Sisterhood of the Sensible Moms 28 June 2012 @ 9:01 am at 9:01 am

I love birthday letters to kids. This is lovely. Erin


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