Today I'm grateful for a lot of things: That Hurricane Sandy is slowing down. That everyone I know in it's path is safe and sound.
But today I'm especially thankful for my Nachman. In the past, I've shied away from giving my kids' names, but here it's fitting to mention him and his name.
My husband has Breslov roots. Back before it was a fad, or the thing to do, him and his father and brothers made the yearly trip to Uman in the Ukraine for Rosh Hashana to pray at the grave of Rabbi Nachman of Breslov. Recently, it's been harder for him to get there every year and harder for me to send him every year, but our strong Breslov connection remains.
Nachman is our youngest of six, and he has 4 older brothers. Every time I was expecting (and I usually knew what I was having in advance), TPH would gently put in a vote for the name "Nachman". Almost always I veto'ed it immediately. Too Talmudic. Too outdated. Too 'Jewish' (Awkward in an American Park Setting). Too much of a mouthful. It never appealed to me, and being the smart man that he is, TPH did not push it.
Cut to: Time #6 in the labor and delivery room. Unlike with our other children, this time we really did not have a name picked out. We spent most of the hours in the hospital discussing possible names, not coming to any that we could agree on. I knew it was a boy, but TPH wanted to be kept in suspense (yes, that is hard, but that's for another time). He kept saying throughout the pregnancy, "All we need now is a red headed boy or a blond girl."
And a red headed boy it was. A perfect, beautiful red-fuzzed baby boy -- with seemingly no name in the near future. We were stumped. TPH went home, took care of the other kids, brought them to ooh and ahh over our newest addition, and then left me and the Little Guy alone for the night. How I stared at him wondering what we could call him.
That night, our dog (a puppy actually, he was only a few months old) ran away. I still like to tell myself he was looking for me, his favorite owner whom he last saw in much distress. TPH was besides himself with exhaustion (physical and emotional) after spending all day with me in the hospital, then all night juggling the kids and looking for the dog. Around midnight he gave up. We cried to each other on the phone in the hospital, both feeling terribly guilty that we let such a thing happen, and helpless that there was nothing else we could do but hope that he was safe and call the pound in the morning. I hung up with TPH and lifted that perfect little sleeping baby out of his bassinet to hug. To comfort me.
And holding him and smelling that sweet newborn smell, suddenly all my troubles seemed to leave me. All my worries were gone. It was ok here and now because I had this little guy. And like a bolt of lightening, it hit me. He was going to be my Nachman, my "comforter". I called TPH first thing the next morning (woke him up actually!) to tell him my decision and make sure he was ok with it. The rest is history.
A story about a lost dog (who was brought to the local pound after being spotted a block away from our house, and returned to us early the next morning) may seem silly. But as always, Hashem knows what He's doing, and when they say there's Ruach Hakodesh (a Divine Inspiration) that comes along with the naming of a Jewish baby, it's not just some goose bump hokey pokey.
Hashem knew that in a few short years I'd be miles away from my family, a community that I love, and that in the midst of some pretty rough stuff, I'd need a comfort. And here he is. Oh boy, here he is! Always there with a hug or a smile, a joke or a very, very large temper tantrum, he's there. He seems to know innately when I could really use that extra hug, and lately he's reverted a bit to sleeping in my bed every night. I don't move him. He comforts me like no one else. True to his name, he is my real Nachman, and I am grateful for him.