Thursday, September 8, 2011

Life, Strength, and Help

My children have names in English and names in Hebrew. Each of them was named, both in English and in Hebrew, in memory of a departed relative. The older two were given the Hebrew names of my grandmother's older brothers--The Boy is Chayim Dovid and Meatball is Yehuda Aryeh. Ender's Hebrew name is Ezra Ovadiah, with Ovadiah being my great-grandfather's Hebrew name and Ezra being for my uncle Eddie even though his actual Hebrew name is Yehuda.

It should be noted that many Jewish people only have one name and it's a Hebrew or Yiddish one. Others have a name that can be translated easily but they go by the Hebrew version or a nickname derived from it. We're not Hebrew speakers (well, I am, but it's not my first language and no one else really speaks it so I'd be talking to the wall until I start teaching it to the kids beyond the letters that they already know) and we're not very religiously observant, so my children have secular American names.

Anyhow, I thought about my children's Hebrew names and their meanings and how much each child embodies his name. The Boy's Hebrew name Chayim means "life." Many Jewish people add the name "Chayim" (for a boy/man) or "Chaya" (for a girl/woman) to their Hebrew name if they get sick, and it is supposed to bring them extra healing. The Boy needed extra healing in his life but was already named Chayim. Everyone prayed for him; the name "Chayim Dovid ben Miriam" (Chayim Dovid the son of Miriam, which is my Hebrew name) was well-known in the community in New Jersey and in Pittsburgh as well, not to mention in Harrisburg and many other places. But more than The Boy getting his life back, he showed us exactly what was important in life, and what was not. His struggles, and our struggles, made us better people.

Meatball's first Hebrew name, "Yehuda," is the Hebrew version of Judah (or rather, that's the translation of "Yehuda"). His middle name is "Aryeh" which means "Lion." He happens to like lions, but I prefer to focus on the strength of the lion for Meatball. He's a strong kid, sure, but he gave us a lot of strength at a time when we really needed it, and having him gave us the strength to make many hard decisions.

As for Ender, we really hit a positive turning point during the time following his birth. His first Hebrew name, "Ezra," means "help." And his middle name, "Ovadiah" (pronounced o VAHD ya; in English it is "Obadiah"), means "work." Since his birth, my sister, her boyfriend, my husband, and hopefully I as well, have gotten jobs. I have a meeting tomorrow with someone about a part-time position that is very compatible with having children. Although we thought that adding a third child would make life more difficult, in fact, he has helped us without knowing it.

Friday, September 2, 2011

An odd form of negligence

My last post, while very thoughtful, was actually published after midnight on August 30th. I didn't realize that until just now when I looked at my blog entries, but rather than being published the day before, it was published on August 30th.

And that day just happened to be The Boy's 4th birthday. Although there was no bloggy celebration, the information showed up on Facebook and, of course, we had some cake.

This is, of course, a big deal. Every birthday for The Boy is a slightly bigger deal, because he had to fight harder just to see any birthdays at all. He was diagnosed with cancer before he'd even had a birthday, being 10 months at the time. He had disease progression, which is a relapse while on treatment, that was discovered when he was about 14 months old, and he fought those nasty port infections at 22 months old, not to mention the declining kidney function that caused all the blood pressure issues. We addressed those right before his 2nd birthday. Once we moved, we were greeted with the news that he had that lesion on his liver that looked suspicious. But then it was scar tissue, basically nothing. So that was a bit before age 2.5, and by age 3 he was off treatment.

So I guess this is the first birthday that we're a little further removed from cancer world. Only one ER visit this year for The Boy, and this one was a low-priority type of visit. No hospitalizations, no major health issues...just the hearing aids, and I remember saying that if our biggest concern is how this kid will handle hearing aids, then we're doing just fine.

This was the first week with Musical Daddy back at work. A few bumps in the road as we have been trying to settle in, and we'll still need some time to get used to things as preschool starts next week, but overall, we're fine. I'm just thrilled that he's got work. I'm looking forward to having a bit of time to get chores done and to exercise. And practice.