Tag Archives: hebrew name

tradition!

14 Dec

Welcome to the December Carnival of Natural Parenting: Let’s Talk Traditions

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama.

Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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A certain newborn may be faulted for our procurement of a 2009 holiday tree at what some might call the last possible second — Christmas Eve — but in actuality I think we could’ve managed a trip to the tree lot if there’d been some kind of pre-set plan. A presumed time with corresponding stop at cute cafe and a swing by the most festive neighborhood lights display before heading home to drink cocoa in our matching Hanna Andersson jammies. Also, you know, two-thirds of us are Jewish, so this may not have been a realistic scenario. But you get the idea.

Since George has been alive, I’ve put my holiday planning into overdrive which, to me, is really intense but, to you, might look significantly…um, less so. Not impressed by that L’Shana Tovah banner I hung in the front window for Rosh Hashanah, eh? Well, I tried.

This year, we’ve persevered despite having a two week-old sapping our energy as one of our thirtieth birthdays passed by and realizing the night before Thanksgiving that we may not have money to buy the makings for the standard Macy’s Parade-watching quiche (we scraped it together). But, do I want George to be a part of a make-it-work-with-a-little-felt-and-a-WIC-check kind of family? Little by little, we’re getting it in gear and I’m pleased to report that Hanukkah has been our best showing yet. Homemade food, homemade gifts, thoughtfulness in the place/face of blatant consumerism and as much family time as we could muster with a papa who works two jobs. That said, our biggest, most tradition-y effort still lies ahead.

I’ve talked a little bit about George’s naming ceremony, or brit shalom, in the past, but it, like his first birthday, always seemed a loooooong ways off. We chose a name to honor a very special lady, picked a date for the party and made the invitations, and even THEN its imminence didn’t sink in. We’re now at T minus about two weeks, and I am staring down the barrel of the first culturally significant milestone of my baby’s life. An event steeped in tradition. And meaning. And I’m a floppy felt banner in the window sort of mom.

This was all giving me a serious case of the worries until one of our dear friends said something that I know resonated with, well… everyone in the room at the time, because it applied to all of us in different ways. Your children won’t remember that you’re poor; they’ll remember that you loved them. Will George look back on photos of his naming ceremony and birthday party and think, “Wow! What a tiny, crappy house! And you couldn’t spring for a real mohel?”? Or will he see all the friends and family? Will he see the homemade food and decorations for the loving contributions they were? I needed to check myself and stop reading so many design blogs.

The facts are these: We aren’t wealthy. We aren’t organized. We aren’t a traditional family. But we’re creative, and as I assembled and addressed the invitations to George’s naming ceremony and birthday party this evening, I took heart in that. Because some years, we might not get a tree until Christmas Eve. We might have fettuccine alfredo for Thanksgiving dinner and make Purim costumes out of the Goodwill bag. But I’d bet money that in the pictures, we’ll be smiling. And that’s a tradition I can get behind.

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Code Name: Mama and Hobo Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

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george lejeunesse, freaking out squares since 2009

25 Aug

I should start by saying that it was gut-wrenching just now to look at what search terms brought people to my blog in the past three days, #1 being “jane schaffer died.” Because she did. And so it goes.

I’ve been working on a post about naming and names, unsuccessfully. It’s languishing in my drafts now, having been deleted and rewritten and deleted again, then mumbled out through my fingers, still unsatisfactory for public consumption. The time is coming — has come and gone, some would argue — to give George a Hebrew name. There was no recently deceased person to honor, but now there is, and that’s kind of that. We’ve already discussed the other part of the naming ceremony that we won’t be inflicting (that’s right, inflicting) on our boy and when the whole thing is said and done I’ll be glad to have it over with.
Naming, which I’ve always taken a special delight in, has been an unforeseen area of conflict where George is concerned. While I know I’m not the only one who gets grilled about her kid’s name(s), it seems that people who would otherwise just smile politely at what they consider a stodgy moniker see an open door for debate when it comes to George’s last name. Which is my last name. Which is not his father’s last name. GASP, CHOKE, how could you immasculate your husband — WAIT HE’S NOT EVEN YOUR HUSBAND?!?!?!? that way?
If you only knew, stranger in the grocery line, what other misdeeds I’m capable of.
There are lots of reasons we chose George. My abiding love of George Balanchine, of George Fayne, of Georgia Hubley. The two real, quality people in my life named George and the fact that they are entirely different people with vastly different interests, personalities and body types but both are unmistakably George. Singer as a middle name followed easily, for, dear reader, when you birth this:

It can only be seen as a sign to name him after your favorite writer, your favorite Pole, your favorite Yid and Pulitzer Prize-winning, superstitious, rice pudding-loving sometimes-curmudgeon:

These names are acceptable for most people, charming for some and stodgy for others, but the most common response is “I have a great-uncle named George!” Familiar but not common. Comfortable, I hope.
Sometimes, though. Sometimes people want to hear the whole shebang, to see if it has that certain ring. Does it rival the ring of Kaydynze Austyn Danger (haha; get it?!) Johnson? So I accomodate them. “Your husband must be French!” They say. And then, oh then.
Well, actually, it’s MY last name. (And here, for your reading enjoyment, a conversation that took place at Target, potentially in the same line where a woman who’d just given her toddler a swig of soda asked me Is that one of those slings that kills babies?)
Stranger: Oh, God bless you. Being a single mother must be so hard at your young age (…thanks?)
Me: I’m not a single mother. I have a partner. We just chose to give George my last name.
Stranger: …And your…PARTNER? He didn’t mind?
Me: No more than I’d have minded.
Stranger: Are there lots of boys in his family?
Me: Nope!
Stranger: Why didn’t you hyphenate it? Lots of people are doing that now.
Me: Um, it’s kind of cumbersome…
Stranger: Well, good luck to you! (Shakes head)

And you, I said, though I wanted so badly to throw that three-pack of wipes at her head as she lumbered away.