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Mama Deb
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Mama Deb [userpic]

Ezri just turned three, and like many other little boys, he just had his hair cut for the very first time at a big party.

It's a milestone, after all - it's the age of "chinuch", where it's possible to start actually educating a child, to introduce them to the sweetness of Torah and mitzvot. But this was different for Ezri and for his parents and all the many friends and loving relatives celebrating this day.

He was a little overwhelmed, or maybe a lot overwhelmed. He was used to a house filled with people - his parents, his sisters, nannies and therapists, his grandparents and aunt and uncles and all of his parents' many, many friends and their kids, because his parents are generous and hospitable and their family is very close. But this was more than usual - the house overflowing with people, many of whom he'd never met, and filled with noise and shouting. But there were familiar people and there were people singing to him, and Ezri loves music. Ezri was named for a psalm his parents loved to sing, and parents do have the spirit of prophecy when they name their children.

But there was something else filling that house. Normally, a upshersin is a happy event, with a cute child getting his hair snipped so long as he has patience for it (one little cousin of mine actually snipped his own, with his father's help) and with the promise of a future of torah, chuppah and massim tovim (learning, marriage and good deeds) ahead of him. But mostly, it's just an oversized birthday party with a hair cut involved, and possibly a bit of a ceremony, as he's given an aleph-beis, a beginning Hebrew alphabet book, with honey smeared on the letters so he should know learning is sweet. (Usually, that happens after the little boy is carried to his school while wrapped in his father's tallis (prayer shawl).)

Of course, Ezri didn't know that. He probably sensed the feeling through the house - not just celebration, but a fierce joy. Because, you see, two weeks after he was born, he became extremely ill. In fact, it was a miracle he survived at all. And he did not survive unscathed - he is developementally delayed. He doesn't speak, his vision is very impaired and his motor skills are poor. Even his head is out of proportion small, although that's not visible under his golden curls.

All Ezri knows is that his father spoke for a long time while holding him in his arms, and then his mother spoke and cried a little, and then there was singing and dancing - and all those strange people sang his favorite song (Ring a round a rosy) and then they sang the song with his name in it. He didn't know that all the children came in to sing a song about the aleph beis, or that the book he was given with the honey, the book with large print and braille, was the aleph beis (but he wasn't all *that* fond of the honey), but he knew that he was dancing in Daddy's arms and then when people snipped at his hair (not too short at his mother's request), he was being held by a grandpa.

But this little boy who could have died at two weeks was here with us. And so everything he does, every milestone he hits, is a blessing and a miracle and that's how his parents see it. They love him for who he is, and rejoice at whatever progress he makes - and that he is already doing good deeds just by existing. And so they were celebrating him - as he is.


I have a huge lump in my throat right now. That's a little boy who deserves to be celebrated.

Yes. He does.

That's lovely. I attended my nephew's upsherin, and by then they knew he was autistic, and as it turned out he will never speak. But he put money in the tzedaka box and was happy, all the same.

That's about the age - and that's heartbreaking in it's own way. My parents learned that lesson.

But he was happy and that's what counts.

I think Ezri will grow to amaze everyone. Blessings to him and his family.


I think he has already.

And here's hoping he has many, many birthdays to come, and a lifetime of happiness and health.

but he knew that he was dancing in Daddy's arms and then when people snipped at his hair (not too short at his mother's request), he was being held by a grandpa.


he's given an aleph-beis, a beginning Hebrew alphabet book, with honey smeared on the letters so he should know learning is sweet

I would argue that he's already learned the sweetest thing there is to know -- that he is loved.

This is true. And if that's all this child ever learns, it's more than many.

But there is a need to know that Torah, too, is sweet. (He actually didn't like the honey. There were many jokes that his perferred letter would be further back in the alephbet at the ayin, which begins his name.)

Thanks for telling that; it's a very sweet story, and he sounds like a very sweet little boy.

But I can't help but wonder how the heck kids (and parents) survive till the third birthday without a haircut. My daughter is two and a half, and if she doesn't get her hair cut every three months or so it gets so much in her eyes that she trips over her feet, and so much in her mouth that she can't eat anything without hair all over it. My son, at not quite eight months, hasn't yet had a haircut because little babies don't have much hair, but if he follows his sister's example, he'll need one by the time he's 18 months to avoid safety hazards!

Barrettes. Scrunchies. Pony-tail holders. Usually, they take the front hair and pull it into a high and sloppy pony tail, so it doesn't look entirely girl-like.

If the boy is especially cute, that doesn't work. :)

As someone who is in special education, simchot such as this always touches me at its core.
Thank you for sharing this.

They're very special people.