The Picture above my Sofa

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.
lila copeland
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.


  1. Daughter, Different

    by Bracha Goetz

    She wouldn’t listen.
    I explained it to her.
    Again and again.
    Put things away.
    Before you start.
    Each new project.
    Clean up first.
    So everything stays.
    Neat and orderly.
    But she didn’t listen.

    She succeeded
    In doing things
    Her way –
    Unafraid of messing up,
    Leaving traces all about,
    As she went along
    Creating stuff,
    Like her own way
    Of explaining life,
    And I finally listened.

    Bracha Goetz is the author of 30 Jewish children’s books, including Let’s Stay Safe, Hashem’s Candy Store, and The Invisible Book that can be found here:

    • JewishMom

      thank you bracha, I miss your poems! this poem sounds like it was written about MY daughter (actually two of them)

  2. I tried sending you an e-mail with a photo of a similar picture that I own but it came back to me. Did you change your personal e-mail? I am not sure how to send a picture via this response form.

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