Wednesday, June 10, 2009
Around here, today was a day like any other day. Well, not exactly, as it wandered a bit into both the wow (Monkey's class project presentation fair-- damn, but those first graders are impressive; and major credit to the teachers-- DUH!) and the absurd (office move at work going not entirely smoothly). But what of it wasn't either good or usual was all manageable, and we managed. It was just a day.
My thoughts wandered today, more than a few times and clear across the continent, to where I knew the day was anything but ordinary. And from there to a year ago, and also to 28 months ago.
After A died, JD spent some time at Monkey's piano, learning to play Hatikva, the national anthem of Israel. He doesn't usually play the piano-- he's a guitar man. Plus, the left hand part on that is not at all easy. So he learned the right hand part, slowly and deliberately, repetitively, filling the house with melancholy sounds of the notes, one at a time, twisting together, falling in place to make the familiar melody.
Ha in Hebrew is the definite article, which makes the title be The Hope, meaning not exactly congruous with the melody. The melody is plaintive, sorrowful even, moving into something like defiant. Not exactly your standard issue triumphant or even assertive, it's really yearning mixed with determination, made manifest in notes. It takes a particular type of life experience, or a particular type of historical identity, to call that hope.
I didn't really understand why JD was so thoroughly stuck on Hatikva then. It seemed to me that the words (the meaning of which I learned many years before, and which are about the longing of a people for the land of its long-ago history) were not relevant. In fact, I rather thought they made it an odd choice of a song to be stuck on just then. I think I get it now. I think the common thread connecting the words of the song and our life in the immediate aftermath is the yearning for a way of life, geopolitical or personal, whatever the case may be.
A year ago it was T-12 days to my sister's wedding. I was happy to have the AC in the house working again, allowing me to institute the sub-polar temperatures regime that kept me just this side of human for the rest of the summer. I was also talking about how emotionally taxing the subsequent pregnancy gig had turned out to be.
Across the country, that same day saw the birth of a beautiful baby girl. Tikva, whose name, of course, means hope, entered the world already loved beyond measure, and was welcomed by her family, and by the doctors who were waiting to try to help her. Today Tikva would've been one. Sadly, she is not here today to smear cake and make faces. Instead, today her family marks her birthday, and begins to walk through the days and weeks of Tikva's life, one year on. They could likely use support along the way, so please stop by and listen.