february 17, 2022

posted in: photography | 2

“When you get to a place where you understand that love and belonging, your worthiness, is a birthright and not something you have to earn, anything is possible.” ~ Brene Brown

new life

This morning I had the great privilege of attending a beautiful ceremony: Simchat Bat, or baby naming. The baby naming part I’ve done before, but not in the Jewish Tradition to which parents Jim Ridolfo and Jan Fernheimer belong. I’ve worked closely with Jan over the years, and we’ve shared many wonderful moments, but nothing as special as today. I was very honoured to have been invited to such an intimate affair. Even the disconnected cold that is Zoom couldn’t dim the glow of this utterly beautiful experience. Through the screen, I could feel the joy emanating from the entire family. Baby’s older brother was involved in the ceremony, too, and that’s when I knew this was no ordinary moment. Though he may be older, Brother is still a young boy, yet his eyes radiated love for his baby sister unlike any I’ve seen. It was palpable despite our screens. But when Jan started explaining that baby girl is named after her grandmother, and she began to cry, my eyes got wet, too, because I’d always said if I bore a daughter she would also carry my grandmother’s name. It was endearing. I’ve never met a capable woman who didn’t have an equally capable grandmother behind her. Jan continues to prove me right.

old friend

Coincidentally – or not because if you’ve followed the outhouse for any appreciable time you know I don’t really believe in coincidences – just as the ceremony started I got a text that my childhood friend Michael Ann “Tike” Franklin Carpenter had died after suffering a heart attack several days ago. I was, and am, heartbroken about her way-too-young passing, but when I looked at Jim and Jan’s beautiful baby with parents and grandparents and a big brother so in love with her, and a community of people from around the world joining in to celebrate her, I could not be wholly sad. The universe will always remind you that life is cyclical. As Ram Dass said and I have come to believe truly, we are just walking each other home. From day one with our families, and friends along the way who weave on and off and sometimes back on to our paths, sharing ups and downs, tragedy and triumph. From the very beginning, we create and share together. No one lives in a bubble. I was thrilled to have been part of the baby’s welcoming committee and it helped wipe the sadness from my heart and renew my faith once more. I am surrounded by blessings.

2 Responses

  1. MOM

    So beautifully worded baby girl. Dad and I are so proud of you and cherish you forever.

  2. Laura Hall

    Beautiful essay! I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your friend, though. I’ve never heard the Ram Dass quote you mentioned, but it’s a lovely way to envision our life’s journey.

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