Milk and Honey

This post originally posted at writingmehome.wordpress.com.

 

I plunge my hand down into the blue plastic bathtub and pull the plug.  Tepid water drains from the tub into the sink.  Down the hall, I can hear my husband teasing my baby son about his long legs as he slips his diaper on, then his pajamas.  I bend down to mop up the water from the floor, and my husband’s voice drifts into the kitchen.

Michael, row the boat ashore, Hallelujah…
Michael, row the boat ashore, Hallelujah…

My son quiets. My husband’s voice is sweet, and gentle.

The river Jordan is chilly and wide, Hallelujah…
Milk and honey on the other side, Hallelujah…

I have never asked him how he knows this song or why he sings it every night to our son.  I was raised a Protestant, born-again Christian, and I don’t even know most of the lyrics to this song.  He’s a secular Jew who has spent the entirety of our twenty-five year friendship hovering somewhere around the “not really” category for believing in god or practicing any kind of faith tradition.

Of course, he doesn’t let himself be hemmed in by the original lyrics, making up new ones nightly to fit our son:

Baby E. is a very good boy, Hallelujah…
He likes to chew on all his toys, Hallelujah…

Baby E. likes to stand up, Hallelujah…
He drinks his water from a cup, Hallelujah…

I squeeze the water out of the baby washcloths and carry the bathtub to dry in its place on the bathroom windowsill.  I know I am privileged to share this terrifically challenging job of parenting with a man who might not “do” religion, doesn’t “believe” in god, yet spends the last few moments of each day teaching our son life’s most important lesson:  We are not owed anything. Give thanks, daily, for all of the blessings this universe brings.  Hallelujah.  Hallelujah.  Hallelujah.

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