During my daughter-in-law’s pregnancy, a lot of my friends told me that being a grandparent was the icing on the cake, the interest on the principal, the absolute best.
It sounded wonderful.
But in the last few weeks before the birth of my first grandchild, I began to think beyond the pure excitement of becoming a grandmother. I thought about the miracle of birth itself. I remembered how, so many years ago, my body had given birth to the boy who was about to become a father. And I thought about my daughter-in-law, about to join the endless chain of women who know this amazing experience.
On the snowy night my granddaughter was born, I was there to see her as she was wheeled out of the labor room — healthy and beautiful and perfect. I was filled with a sense of pure love and I knew I would remember that moment forever.
I wanted to express my feelings, all the hopes and dreams within me, and somehow proclaim this special and wondrous transition. I decided the way for me to do this was by immersing in the mikveh.
I asked my daughter-in-law to witness my immersion at Mayyim Hayyim and six weeks later she was there, standing on the pool deck with Lucy in her arms.
I immersed to acknowledge the blessing of being part of the marvel of l’dor v’dor, generation to generation, the ongoing cycle of life. I prayed to be fully present for Lucy; to give her what was best and pure in me, to teach her Jewish values, and to open my heart so that I could learn from her.
Gazing upward, I saw sweet baby Lucy looking back at me, her loving mother’s eyes filled with tears.
I felt soothed and calm as I emerged from the water, filled with joy at becoming a grandmother and feeling connected to those who came before me and those who would follow.
Immersing allowed me to express everything that was in my heart and an ancient ritual had become my own very personal prayer.
Carol Targum is a trained mikveh guide and educator and a member of the Mayyim Hayyim Board of Directors.