Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My Machatainisteh

If Gummi had been a girl, he was going to be named Golda. I had been wanting to name one of our children Golda since I had my first son. Four sons later, I'm still waiting.

Why Golda? Let me tell you.

They say when you marry someone, you marry their family, for better or for worse. I do believe I got the 'for better' part. I couldn't ask for nicer relatives than Bo's family; funny, kind, generous folks. My mother-in-law, Barbara, for example, never fails to arrive for a visit without first asking if she can bring me some dark chocolate. And then there's her extended family, or my machatainisteh (isn't Yiddish a great language?).

I first met Barbara's cousin Golda about three years into our marriage when we were visiting my parents in Long Island. Barbara was with us and we all decided to get together with Golda and her husband in New York City. The one thing I remember from that day is how Golda and her husband related to each other. They had been married a while, with kids in their 20's and yet you could see the genuine affection between them. And they were funny too. The comments that flew back and forth between them could keep you chuckling all day.

A few years later after I had my first child, it was Golda who told my mother-in-law that it was important to have a cool house for the new baby and mother. So Barbara bought us an air conditioner. In passing conversation, Barbara told Golda that my rice cooker died. Soon after, we received a brand new 12 cup rice cooker from Golda. She once called from Toys R Us to make sure she was getting the just right gift for the newest baby. The few times we've gotten together, she's treated us like we have always been friends.

But this is not why I'd name my child Golda.

Once at their house, I noticed a picture of a young child. In one of those moments where you blurt out something before you think about it, I asked Golda, "Who's this? I thought you only had two children." Golda explained that it was her eldest daughter who died of cancer at the age of 11. Later that day, I was relating some trivial little problem that, in the end, had worked out well for us. Golda looked at me with a smile and said, "Isn't God good?" This has stuck with me to this very day. How could she say that? How could she experience the most devastating event as a mother and still say God is good?

So that is why I have wanted to name one of my kids Golda; as a reminder that God is good. But I haven't had another girl. Maybe I don't need another girl. Maybe it's enough to tell this story.

God is good.


Becky said...

Wow, what an awesome story!

Maria said...


JT said...

Thanks for that.