By Brian Zimbler
“I feel like you’re doing everything in your power, verbally and non-verbally, to tell me not to say anything negative,” I say to Randy, my therapist.
We’re doing a phone session. I’m propped up on Nora’s side of the bed against an ornamental IKEA pillow. Nora and Myla are downstairs, watching Elliot. It’s his 12th day. It’s a snow day. I have my jeans on, which is a total Nora no-no (no outdoor clothes can touch the duvet) but I am being passive aggressive because I want her to love me more than the baby.
“I’m not forcing you to be positive,” Randy parries, “If anything, I’m asking you to stay in — “
“I know, I know, stay in the good feelings. I am. I’m trying. You gotta admit, I could’ve spun into the real dark telling you the parents-at-the-bris story just now, but I stayed good.”
Elliot’s bris was last week. My parents came down. The mohel, in the prep documents she sent us, let us know she would need an assistant to stay by her side throughout the process. Nora and I decided this would either be my father the doctor or my mother the therapist, we would decide day of; however, day of, I decided – though I can’t really call it a decision, more a clear loud message from inside – that I would never ever let either of my parents be with my son at his most vulnerable, ever, and that I would be the one to usher him through.
“It’s never the dad,” said the mohel.
“This time it’s the dad,” I said.
And I did it. I stayed with my beautiful new son even through the part upstairs where she pulled my beautiful new son’s foreskin back and clamped it, to prepare him to be cut. Even through the part where he was brought downstairs covered in a tallis on a sick infant’s gurney. Even through the part where all the sugar water in the world could not put my strong son to sleep. Continue Reading…