Those of you that have been following since I first talked about becoming a mom, or those of you that read back to past entries, will remember that one of my initial hesitations was what the community might think of my choice. It wasn’t going to sway me enough to change my decision, but I was concerned as to how it would be received in my “small” Jewish Hispanic community.
It has been truly overwhelming at how much I have been embraced and how sincerely happy people are for me and my family. I am pleasantly surprised. From the moment I announced I was pregnant, it has been nothing but an outpouring of love and support. Some have joked that I have a fan club. I know there are plenty of people who are disapproving and are keeping quiet (for the most part), but that is fine with me.
The only negative reaction has been somewhat an anonymous one. As is Jewish tradition, when a girl is born, she receives her name officially when someone (usually the father) goes up to the Torah. As soon as I gave birth to the girls, my father reached out to the Rabbi so that he and my brothers could go to one of the services and make Elena and Yael “official.” At first it seemed like the Rabbi was stalling and that he was the one disapproving, even though he had initially reached out with congratulations. When he finally spoke to my father, he advised that he was in full support, but he was hesitant to make a big deal of their birth as some others in the community may not feel as comfortable with my choice. In the end they were named and no big deal, whatever that is, was made. It wasn’t like we were planning a huge event. At the time this was happening, I was consumed with new motherhood and gall bladder surgery, so I did not let it get to me. I am OK with people not approving. I am not OK with people denying my girls the opportunity to be welcomed into the Jewish community like any other child.
Anyway, back to the positive. Last my mother held a tea for all the ladies to come and meet my girls. It was like their introduction into society without all the debutante stuff! Again, I was overwhelmed by how happy people are for me and my daughters. I know that the majority of the community has embraced our little family and that makes me happy. I am well aware that as they grow up, there will be questions from them, from their friends and others about our non-conventional family. I’ll be as prepared as I can to deal with that and make Elena and Yael feel appreciative of the unit that the three of us are. For now, I am extremely grateful for the warm embrace we have received from those near and far!