Home May 2013 A Jewish Mother’s Prayer

A Jewish Mother’s Prayer

Tina Fey wrote a witty, wise and warm “prayer” after her first daughter was born that has made the rounds on the Internet (and can be found in full in her book, Bossypants – highly recommended).
In the first trimester of my current girl-flavored pregnancy, I found myself reading The Mother’s Prayer for Its Daughter nearly every morning.  Each reading made me teary eyed with hormones and joy (but probably mostly hormones).  Fey’s prayer had so moved me that I was convinced we’d include it in any Simchat Bat ceremony we might have for Baby Sister, profanity and mentions of crystal meth, included.
But as my due date draws near, I’m having second thoughts about the prayer’s appropriateness for the ceremony.  It’s because of the first line.  The one that reads: “First, Lord: No tattoos.”
This obviously was not written by a Jewish woman for a Jewish daughter, because had it been, that line would have been a given.  After mulling it over, I wrote a Yiddishe version that I hope will resonate more with MOT (members of the tribe), an abbreviated version of which appears below.
My apologies to Ms. Fey.  And to her daughter.  And to my daughter.  And maybe to women everywhere.
First, Lord: Thank you for the Blessing that is a Daughter.  Open my heart that I may Rejoice in this blessing always.  Even when she’s 13 and a pain in the butt.
Make her neither Haughty nor Timid, that she treats herself and others with Compassion and Respect.  Grant her, too, a Healthy Ego that she frets not in front of the bathroom mirror and actually gets to school on Time.
Deliver Hair Product unto her.  May it be Her balm during awkward pre-teen years and her redemption when dating, attending formal events, going on job interviews, after wearing hats, when leaving the house without showering and when doing anything, at all, even in the state of Florida.
May the recent trend away from circumcising every male child in America help guide her toward dating nice Jewish boys, Lord.
Fill her with the Conviction that I will be proud of her no matter what Path she chooses in Life.  Conceal from her the Knowledge that I will actually be crushingly disappointed should she not live up to my high Expectations, what with all the money spent on private schools and dance lessons and whatnot.  While we’re at it, Lord, don’t let my Sons in on that Knowledge, either. It’ll be Our Little Secret.
When she is ready, Open her womb as you did for Leah. (Biblical Leah.  Not the Leah from MTV’s “Teen Mom 2.”  I want to be a grandmother, but not for a while.)
And when she is a Mother herself, Lord, Grant me the Strength to keep my opinions about her parenting choices to myself that we may maintain a healthy relationship.  And, when I inevitably falter and blurt out a recrimination against supplementing breast milk with Wheat Grass or whatever weird thing will be in vogue at the time, Grant her the Sense of Humor to shut me up without shutting me out.  For I will love her, Lord.  If nothing else, Help her always to know that.

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