The Picture above my Sofa
On Shabbat, Josh and I went to my daughter’s high school for her final Shabbat along with all the other parents of graduating girls. At each meal, we sat with the parents of our daughter’s closest friends, including Mr. and Mrs. C., parents of 11 children and far more granchildren.
Mr. C, a businessman, shared some thoughts with us on raising children.
He told us, “When I became a father, I thought I knew everything I needed to know about being a parent. But looking back I realize that, in truth, I knew nothing.
“What have I learned over the last 35 years raising my children, and watching them grow up?
“I’ll tell you… My children have all chosen very different paths religiously. One is way to the right of me, one is far to the left. One follows this rabbi, another that rebbe. And me? My job, I have learned, is to listen to each child and to learn to speak his or her personal language.”
Just last week, 10 months after moving into our new home, we finally got around to putting up a bunch of pictures. Including this one, an artist’s proof of a sketch entitled “Yvonne and Nono” by Lila Copeland, which (I just found out) hangs in the Smithsonian as well as above our living room sofa.
Each morning, when the house is finally quiet, and I lay down to rest up on the sofa after the morning rush hour, I have been contemplating this sketch. The mother’s intense loving concentration, bordering on wonder, as she sits with her child, and completely enters his world.
And I yearn for some of that Yvonne and Nono, some of that Mr. C, to rub off on me as well.