Imagining my Baby’s Bashert

On Toddlers and Soul-mates

Do you ever wonder about your baby’s bashert? Jewish tradition teaches that each of us has a bashert, the one we are fated to be with. G-d chooses that other person before we are born, and it is our job to find our other half here on Earth. On most days I’m too busy to wonder about it, but occasionally I find a moment to reflect.

This happened to me the other day as I watched my husband help our daughter Lila practice walking. The visual struck me. I commented, “The next time she’ll need your help walking, it’ll be down the aisle.”

Granted, that’s a long way away. We only just celebrated Lila’s big Zero-One. One day Lila will (hopefully) find someone who makes her incredibly happy as an adult. But along the way, there will be others.

I expect Lila will play the field some. I just didn’t expect it to start so soon.

Lila loves watching big kids. She loves when they interact with her, and one of her new favorite things to do is tilt her head sideways while smiling. I don’t know what inspired that playful look, but it’s hard to ignore.

When Lila and I are out and about, I think I spend more time pointing out the “big girls” of the preschool set. I assumed that Lila would be interested in seeing her own not-so-distant future. And Lila is interested in the big girls, especially when they dote on, and play with, her.

But Lila interacts differently with boys already. My husband and I first noticed baby boys gazing at, and intensely observing, her when she was about four months old. One was a little boy about Lila’s age, and he spent much of an outing gazing adoringly at Lila. The second was an older baby at the pediatrician’s office. He fussed in his father’s arms until he was suddenly stilled at the sight of Lila.

At that stage, Lila disregarded both boys. She wasn’t interested. We joked about her being a heartbreaker, ignoring boys who were so clearly smitten with her.

A few months—and the right international boy of mystery—really made a difference. It’s possible that younger boys are captivated by Lila, but only the two-year-olds seem capable of responding to her friendly overtures.

Flying to Geneva in May, The Braunstein Three sat in the plane’s middle section. Over my husband’s right shoulder sat a little boy and his mother. Two-year-old Diego spoke no English, yet he quickly became Lila’s first crush. Lila was miserable for much of our nine-hour red-eye flight; the one thing that reliably cheered her was peeking, and grinning, at Diego. Diego reciprocated Lila’s interest, and while he seemed less troubled by the flight and how different it was from home, she kept his spirits high as well.

At Sunday brunch recently, Lila captured the heart of another two-year-old. This boy impressed in a T-shirt decorated with a red, white, and blue tie.

Big-boy Reese was at the restaurant with his family. Seated in the back room, he kept peering around the door, even walking out into the main dining room to wave at Lila, who waved back. Lila became distracted by our brunch food, but Reese continued to visit, waving and smiling at her. My husband and I waved back. Reese’s mother eventually emerged, steering him back to their table and commenting about his new “girlfriend.” Lila periodically looked toward the door, but her new friend stopped appearing. His food must have arrived.

When we finished brunch, my husband and I agreed we should stop by Reese’s table to say goodbye. We had the benefit of a proper introduction to Reese’s family, but neither he nor Lila seemed quite as interested in each other as they had 30 minutes earlier.

Lila may be curious about boys, but at this age, she’s not looking for a long-term (a.k.a., day-long) commitment. And as cute as it is to see my daughter develop her first crushes, there will be plenty of time later for broken hearts and complicated relationships. For now, I’m content to let Lila just be a toddler. Her bashert can wait.

This article appeared in Altcatholicah.

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