Before all that came my quick little solo trip to Brooklyn to meet my new nephew at the end of July. He was only a week old and cuter than a bug's ear.
And... poof! Just like that, I was born.
Baby jazz hands!
Bris day: Father-son bonding.
My job was to assist the mohle (person who performs the circumcision) during the preparation for the actual ceremony. It was super cool to meet mohle Emily who happens to be a retired OB-GYM and patiently answered all my lame bris related questions.
As for the actual JOB, let me just say that if you are lucky enough to be part of this amazing ritual, make sure there is either strong coffee or liberal amounts of alcohol available to you. There is blood and there are tears. And the baby doesn't really have a good time either. (Ha ha! Kidding!)
No, seriously, not for the faint of heart.
Once we were done, this is what he looked like. Zonked right out. Why? Because he gets as much wine and sugar as he wants! You heard me, I said WINE. Mohle Emily assured me that it's mostly the sugar that puts them to sleep. Whatever, it worked. Can babies have hangovers?
My job as the kvatterin was to bring him out when everyone said "May he who comes be blessed." My job was also to make sure he didn't get jostled or anything on the long trip to the table. His junk was all trussed up under those blankets so if I, you know, bumped into that lamp, it would be a very bad thing. Hence the pained expression on my face.
That's Bari's Dad Paul sitting beside Asher. He is the sandak (sorry, couldn't find it on the almighty Wikipedia) and he says: "This is the throne of Elijah."
The actual snip. Mr. Cool slept through it all.
Matthew and Bari held up well but they were pretty glad to get their little bundle back. Mohle Emily made a toast: "May he bring much joy to his parents in the months and years to come."
This is when we got to crack open the Manischewitz! L'Chaim!
Matthew explained the significance of his son's name. Asher William is named for my grandparents, Alice and Wilbur and my brother wrote a surprisingly beautiful text filled with such sentiment, so many lovely memories. Surprising only because he tends to be the strong silent type and I didn't realize he was such a good writer. What up with all that hidden talent, bro?
Luckily he let me read it the night before so I could keep the waterworks under control the next day. I cried anyway but so did he so I think that's fair.
Then Mohle Emily spoke about the history and significance of the bris and the blessings continued. You know what's really cool? A baptism/christening has a lot in common with a bris! Coming together with friends and family, presenting your new baby to God and sharing your hopes for his future, and sealing the deal with food!
Here is part of what Emily said:
"God and Creator, happy parents have come into Your presence to voice the longings of their hearts. Give them the wisdom to teach their child to be faithful to You and Your teachings. That he may grow up with the knowledge that God’s presence is shining upon him. Keep open the eyes of his spirit, that he may ever be conscious of the beauty and wonder of this world. And let him learn to love the goodness that is within him. Though none can escape sorrow and pain, we humbly ask for him courage, faith, and strength. Grant him health of mind and strength of body, that he may enjoy a long life of learning, giving, and loving. Amen."
I mean, isn't that what everyone wants for their kids? Gives me goosebumps to read it even now.
And then it was time to eat! No pictures of the food table I'm afraid, but it was laden with bagels, lox, whitefish, cream cheese, herring, mandel bread, marble cake, and the list goes on. Delish.
There's mohle Emily with the happy family. Yep, Asher is still asleep.
After it was all over, Matthew and I broke out the Wii.
Multi-tasking super Dad - holding sleeping baby and attempting to kick my butt at Wii bowling. I won.
Matthew took these before I left the next day.
I think he's forgiven me.
And that was my bris experience! Altogether super cool. Thanks Asher! (And your parents were great, too :)
OK now it's midnight and I am finally finished the bris post. Wow, TV is sucky at this hour. Reality show about Hugh Hefner? Help.
Back soon with vacation photos!