A small crowd and begun to assemble downstairs. We dispatched my father and husband to mingle and settle, while my mother and I stayed safely secluded upstairs in my bedroom, little N lying contently between us on the bed. Nicole, the mohel’s assistant, had begun dosing him with Tylenol and sugar water, and he was feelin’ good. She was dosing us with anecdote, calming our nerves as we prepared for the bris. 

Dr. Witz jogged up the stairs and told us we were just about ready to start. Nicole scooped up little N, and she and Dr. N began their preparations in earnest.

“So, do you want to keep the foreskin?” she asked. In all my mental preparations for this event, this was one eventuality I’d not contemplated. In fact, when my darling husband, had first asked me about what a bris entailed, I may have joked that we would make the foreskin into a stew that we would all share. The thought that I’d actually keep the foreskin, tick-tacking it into my son’s scrapbook, had never crossed my mind.

 “Uh, no thanks?” I asked.

“Do people really do that??” My mom asked, as we both giggled nervously.

“Oh, sure, well some people keep it and plant it under a tree. Then, when their son gets married, they use the limbs of that tree to construct a chuppah.”

Oh. My heart flipped as I pictured that beautiful symmetry. We were holding the bris to connect him to all the generations and traditions of our family, and now it might also connect him to his future family and descendants as well.

“Oh.” My eyes sparkled with tears. “Oh, then. Yes. Yes, please.”

The next day, we buried this little piece of our son, wrapped in gauze, underneath a bamboo at our home. We had no space to plant a tree in our tiny townhome’s yard, but figured bamboo was close enough, and at least likely to survive.

Next week, nearly 4 years later, we’ll sell that house. We’ll take out our shovel, uproot our precious bamboo, and replant it in our new home, where we hope it will set roots and flourish.





4 thoughts on “Bamboo

  1. Family, generations, traditions, and hope for roots – all the things that really matter. I liked your line, “She was dosing us with anecdote, calming our nerves as we prepared for the bris.”

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