A Tree in the Forest and a Girl in the Mikveh

by Carrie Bornstein

It’s been just over a year since I brought my 5-year old to the mikveh to prepare for becoming a double big sister.  Three weeks after that immersion, Jonah was born and our family adjusted to its new addition.

E&J

The experience Ellie and I shared was powerful and I am grateful that we carved out the time and space for the visit.

In considering my topic for today’s blog post, I thought I’d ask her to share a little about how she looks back on that day, or even what she thinks about Mayyim Hayyim. Maybe she’d tell a story. Or, I’d share a verbatim interview with you.

After all, this is the child who remembers everything. She has my cell phone number memorized.  When I’ve misplaced my keys, a magazine, a birthday party invitation – I just ask Eliana – she’ll tell me exactly where I can find what I need.  She recounts the story of the man on our flight to Israel who gave her his extra bag of chocolate chip cookies – three years later.

I was excited to see how the memory of her immersion would change over time.  Would she look back fondly?  Will the details have been embellished?  Would she recount the day as a simple matter-of-fact?

As it turns out… she seems to remember absolutely nothing. I’ve tried to jog her memory with some of the details, but the reality is that I’m not sure there’s anything left.

How can this be?  She was so happy that day.  I have the photos to prove it –and she even said immediately after she got out of the water that she wanted to do it again.

Honestly, I’m not entirely sure what to make of it.  Like the tree that falls in the forest with no one there to hear it, did this experience really even happen? Did it matter that she did it at all if she doesn’t take any of it with her?  Or maybe her little brain was flooded with the intensity of newborn-hospital-grandparents-bris-gifts-crying-snuggles that there just wasn’t room left for any more memories.

Of course, I have the memory. And I got to share it with all of you.  And maybe, though she doesn’t realize it now, she’s got it buried way down in there next to some other important thought that will make its way to the surface someday.

Regardless, I’m glad that my daughter is growing up in a world where Mayyim Hayyim is a reality.  Where even though she doesn’t seem to remember one blessed detail about a day so meaningful, that the day could exist in the first place.

Our community mikveh has been here for almost ten years now. Nearly a decade, and I don’t take it for granted for an instant. I hope you don’t either.  For whatever way you contribute to Mayyim Hayyim’s existence, whether by volunteering your time or expertise, by supporting our work financially, by subscribing to our blog, I thank you.  And even though Eliana doesn’t realize it yet, I know she thanks you too.

Carrie Bornstein is Mayyim Hayyim’s Executive Director. She and her husband, Jamie, are proud parents of Ellie (6), Dovi (4), and Jonah (11 months). As mom to three young children, Carrie likes to engage in a bit of selective memory at times herself. 

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