My son may be five now but he is still young enough that it is not unusual for me to have to carry the sleeping boy from the car to his bed. Actually if I am not driving it is not all that unusual for me to sleep in the car, but then again I can sleep anytime, in any position and anywhere.
This evening reminded me of an experience that he and I shared a number of years ago. He might have been just short of two or maybe he was slightly older, I am not really sure. It was one of those powerful moments that imprint themselves on your brain in such a way that you remember them as if they happened in a different lifetime that took place yesterday.
Yes, that is an awkward way of phrasing it but I am not really sure of what words to use to describe it and surreal isn’t quite descriptive enough.
If I close my eyes I can see myself. I am wearing a doublebreasted black suit and a big black and white tallis. My tallis is quite large, actually it is a little bit too big for me but that is a separate story. My father is seated next to me and he is holding my son on his lap. The proud grandfather is beaming. His smile is as large as I have ever seen. He is playing peek-a-boo with his grandson, who is only too happy to use my tallis as the place in which he hides his face.
The time comes to say the Shmoneh Esreh and so we stand. Davening is often difficult for me so I often pull my tallis over my head and close my eyes so that I can really focus. As we rise my son reaches out for me and without thinking I take him into my arms and wrap my tallis around the two of us.
Now both of our heads are covered and we make eye contact. He smiles at me and I smile back. He is so very little and I see so much potential in him. For a moment I am choked up. I remember looking at that little face and blessing him. How could I not, it is one of the ways I have of trying to really express my love and appreciation for him and his sister.
When I finished he pulled me close and kissed my cheek. I remember that little body hugging me and within a moment or two he was asleep on my shoulder. I can remember shockeling to the tiny snores in my ear and really feeling my tefillah. It was one of those moments in time in which my own kavanah was exceptional and I really felt the connection to something greater than myself.
These are the moments that I treasure because I really do feel like I am getting a glimpse of a special place. It is a sneak preview of a world that I want to live in but I wonder if it really exists. I suppose that in time I may find out, until then I’ll continue my journey down the paths I discover and explore them to see what lies beyond the bend.