In like a lamb

Welcome to March—a great time for new beginnings, new thinking and renewed hope.

March is the third month of the Gregorian Calendar, but it was the first month of the ancient Roman Calendar, named after the god of war—a great time to start a military campaign… because spring was in the air.

England considered March to be the first month of the year all the way up until 1752 when they switched to our current Gregorian way.

While December and June mark the solstices, the high and low points of the sun, September and March mark the equinoxes—the times of perfect balance and subtle transition.

Growing up in Chicago, March was a time of blackened snow and the first hints of warmth in the air—moody and nascently sensual dusk creeping later bit by bit toward summer; afternoons giving way to evening when Lake Michigan would swell grey and white and fog might shroud the old-style lamp-posts standing somberly along Evanston streets.

Age-old traditions like Passover and Easter cluster around the even older, even pre-historical, event of the Spring Equinox.  It is this month that will bring Persephone back from the underworld, liberate the Jews from Egypt and both kill and resurrect Jesus; archetypally, March is a time of both birth and death, liberation escaping the dark depths of winter.

In terms of child-development, March feels like a time ripe for firsts… first steps, first crushes and kisses, letters of acceptances (and rejection) to things like college or private schools.

The calendar in parenting is, to some extent, both a marathon of endurance and a melancholy passing of milestones.  I can hardly believe that my kids are both teenagers now, that an Easter Egg hunt becomes more and more a nod to nostalgia… a basket of sugar, but no notes to the Easter Bunny, no uses for enchantment.

It’s also hard to believe that it’s been more than two decades since my Bubby died, and more like four decades since she was folding Kreplach, or making chopped liver in an old metal grinder in my mom’s kitchen.

It’s also hard to conceive that I’m now older than my dad was when we’d celebrate his birthday each Saint Patrick’s Day, a green-iced cake to match the Chicago River also running green under Mayor (Boss) Richard Joseph Daley’s Irish iron rule.  Sadly not that hard to imagine three and a half decades hence when I’ll be 84, as my dad will turn this month.

Living in LA, I think more of Nathanial West’s Day of the Locust when it comes to plagues than I do of Passover; as a Chicago guy, Los Angeles remains shrouded in melancholy and mystery.  The fog may hang heavy in the canyons, but the air becomes perfumed with night-blooming jasmine at this time of year and the ghost of Raymond Chandler haunts the sound of rain-slick tires on winding roads.

So, as we find our balance points between the dark adult mysteries of our individuation journeys and the sun-drenched smiles of our children’s awakenings; between sunny love-filled stolen moments of adult pleasures and angst-filled brooding of kids in mid-struggle… let’s dedicate our rich, varied, tear-streaked and laughter resounding lives to the well being of all our collective children.

Namaste, Bruce

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2 Responses to “In like a lamb”

  1. Linda Pressman Says:

    My bubby died two decades ago this year and she was born on St. Patricks Day, not that she would have noticed that, being an Orthodox Jew! Around here Passover’s big – the kids forced my husband and I to have a second night seder last year. That’s what happens when you send them to Jewish Day school… And yes on Chicago and Mayor Daley. What are we, twins, Bruce?

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