“There is a time for every experience under the sun….” As the month of Elul plugs along and we are busy reflecting on what we have done right and wrong in the past year, my thoughts always turn to past High Holy Day seasons. I do not necessarily think about participating in services, but rather where was I in relation to my friendships and where we are now. Over the years I have been very lucky to create lasting and ever-changing friendships wherever I go. I have vibrant and funny friends from childhood, college, rabbinical school, Israel trips and summer camp staffing. Whenever we get together it is as if we have been transported back in time, either as silly high school students, studious college students and newbie rabbis. We talk about things we used to love to do and try to re-live those moments.
Over time we have seen each other through graduations, new jobs, love life changes, and weddings. Now some of them are on to having babies, three of them within a month of each other. Having children seems like the next logical step. But with that step it seems like everything is changing. It is exciting to see how their bodies have changed to accommodate a moving fetus inside of them, how their romantic relationships have grown stronger over the 40 weeks and how their priorities in life have shifted. All of these changes are positive and life affirming but at the same time a bit challenging for the friend who has yet to experience it. Yes, these friends will always be my friends, but they are becoming something different and new, they are becoming mothers. They are now women nurturing, breast-feeding, and diaper changing. Instead of only worrying about what we are doing to do for lunch that day they will also be thinking about picking up diapers and nap schedules. They are still the same women I have always known them to be plus something else. We have gone through life changes together so many times but it seems that this time is different. This time it is for real. This really marks the end of our lives as children, teenagers and young adults and moves into something unknown to me. I know that we will always have our reminiscent moments but soon I will have three “near” nieces and nephews. Time flows by with the years and the seasons. “To everything there is a season turn, turn, turn.”
Rabbi Lisa Delson serves as Assistant Rabbi and Program Director at Temple Beth Emeth in Ann Arbor, Michigan.