Wow, how different from our experience! back in the day – 1970 that is – when babies were ‘delivered’ the husband paced the floor in the waiting room. Now a big room with space for everyone who wanted to – or were invited – to be there. We were thrilled with it all – first time grandparents and going to be at the hospital for the big event!
It only takes about 30 minutes. From home to the time we are buzzed into what are now secure maternity wards. My first distinct memory is of disorientation. It is what happens when things don’t go as planned in unfamiliar situations. Nothing seems to be where it is supposed to be and the words don’t make sense. You learn more from the looks on people’s face than anything else.
I can see the door to the birthing room where Rachel is supposed to be behind me, but we are being directed to the waiting room. I try to argue but we are told in a stern face and harsher voice to go wait. Clearly, something is wrong. We don’t know what it is, we are not told anything but to “wait.” The waiting room is empty – just Susan and I. It’s quiet. We wait.
It was a moment when time stood still, when love was pure, and the three of us were one. An “actual dance moment” before I understood what that meant.
Perhaps Emily’s non-traditional entry into this world was also a part of my journey to The Actual Dance.
Today that beautiful baby girl turns 13 years old -- Emily Faith Simon. A week from today she will be Bat Mitzvah. Today is her birthday.
An amazing young woman. She has always had a special ear for what is being said around her. She has enjoyed listening to the adults talk and periodically amazes me with her insights and understanding of some of life’s most complex questions. She has a bit of her grandpa’s theatrical flair. A real thrill for me when she and I performed together in our synagogue's Purim Spiel.
Emily also loves music. She sings in the Temple choir and plays a wonderful Bass. The Bass used to be taller than her, but she is growing an inch a minute, so it seems, and her parents had to trade in her grade-school instrument and get a middle-school, larger bass!
When The Actual Dance is presented I am often asked if there are any age restrictions. I always mark “adult” because the play acknowledges the existence of death. It happens that Emily this past year has herself had a “dance” experience with the loss of her other grandfather, David Goldstein, her mother’s father. I look forward to the time when Emily will see the show and perhaps share her perspective.
Today though is a day to celebrate her life: all that she has been and all the wonderful things she will be. Happy Birthday Emily!