By now, you’ve likely read the story of Moshe Holtzberg…
“The cries of Moshe Holtzberg wounded hearts Monday at a tearful memorial for his parents in India. “Mommy!” he wailed, clutching a toy basketball while in the arms of mourners at the Mumbai synagogue.”
Last week, the day before Thanksgiving, a friend of mine from college came to visit with her husband and their two daughters, both older than 3B. The three of them played well together and by the end of their visit they had formed a band called The Barkys and were trooping in and out of 3B’s room carrying various musical instruments. They would parade into the living room, play a short concert, bow to raucous applause, then return to 3B’s room for a minute to practice, regroup, mill about, whatever marching bands do on breaks. After the brief interlude, one would return to the living room to announce, “There will be a concert in about one minute.” Wash, rinse, repeat.
3B carries on this new tradition by himself to this day, announcing himself to be the lead drummer of The Barkys and parading back and forth between his room and his stage on the living room carpet.
As we watched the full band last week, talk turned to the changes that have come to us as a result of parenting, particularly the ones we have no control over. As our children marched back and forth, banging and strumming and bowing, we all revealed that we could no longer bear certain news stories about children. The pain is too intimate, too close to our hearts, too close to our fears, too close to our love, so we pass over them in the evening news, the newspaper, or websites.
The story of Moshe Holtzberg is exactly that kind of story, but I turned the page and I saw that photo and my first thought was that I’ve seen 3B crying like that over much lesser pains and it broke my heart. Then I saw the basketball, and I thought of 3B clutching at his lovie. And I read how Moshe was calling out for his mommy, and I thought of 3B’s loneliness while Mama was in Ghana. I thought of Moshe, alone with the bodies of his parents in the synagogue. I thought of 3B in school at the JCC today. I thought of Moshe, flying to Israel with the remains of his parents, forever now a family of one.
I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I still can’t stop thinking about it. I can’t stop seeing Moshe’s face.
It reminds me, though, that even after he bites my head and socks me in the eye, to hold 3B close and tell him that I love him. It reminds me that nothing at work is so important that I should take a later bus home. It reminds me that when I get up, I need to get going so that when 3B wakes, I’m not running out the door to walk Barky or into the shower to get ready to leave.
It reminds me that love, no matter how deep, is always passing.