An Open Letter to My Daughter, Shiraz Adamah.
You were born so peacfully, with a rich purple color, on September 8th. Your mother, like a boss, told me to go to sleep when she went into labor. I knew you were a girl before you were born but your mother did not. It was something that I held deep in my heart inside our home, a special secret to adorn in love.
Shortly before I knew your gender, your name came to me. I told your mom, who brushed it off, but I continued to bounce it around my mind, without letting it pass through my lips. Your name has been humming in my heart.
My father’s older sister, my Aunt Sharon, passed away earlier this year. Though her passing was unexpected, the legacy of both her personality and her personability were not. Her life is still celebrated through the deep relationships she built. Aunt Sharon really grew to know people in whatever way she met them.
Aunt Sharon said to me once that the simple existence of the world is the proof of God. Well, she said, “Of course I believe in God, how else would the world work, Penis fits in Vagina, food grows from the earth, words give us meaning.”
From this frank personality, Aunt Sharon deeply rooted relationships with the people who came into her life, even if it had only been seasonal over a couple years, many decades ago. Time and Distance made no difference, but when you were nearby it was even sweeter. She would spend time individually with everyone, even her many grandchildren of various ages.
She always wanted to know what or who was in your heart, because she knew how to share in your love and she could help you recognize it, and watch it grow.
We wanted to name you in her blessed memory, to be rooted in relationship and blossoming in personality.
So you are Shiraz Adamah. Shiraz, a kind of wine, means a Secret Song. Just as your name was a secret song for me, may your presence invoke the secret song of life in everyone who meets you.
Adamah is Hebrew for the earth, The ground, the planet, this blue marble floating through space. Aunt Sharon in all her meshugas was genuinely connected with so many people. So too, life, for people at least, only thrives in relationship with others on this earth.
When your brother and I go for a walk around the court yard, we count flowers and as best as Daddy can remember, we name plants. And as we pass your mother’s garden, with it’s budding melons and elephant-eye-high okra, I hope that our family will grow to a develop and sustain the earth around us.
Like your older brother Remez, the english spelling of your first name ends with Z, the last letter of the alphabet. When your mother and I met, at the end of 2011, many felt the world was going to end. It still echoes in society and in art. The strongest adaptation of that idea, is that there’s no place on this earth for any of us.
Love and Life have taught your mother and I that endings belong to words and to seasons, never to life or to meaning. V’az, we end your both of your names with Zs, that the endings you know begin something deeper.
May you and your brother grow together, in loving adventures.
As you’ve come into the world over this week, you respond to music, bob your head when you are alone, and bring out silly and sweet songs from those who hold you in their arms.
We name you Shiraz Adamah so that you may bring out the secret song in every person and grow roots with them, wherever you may be.
I LOVE YOU.
We love you.
Cry, wiggle, and make us sing.
I look forward to hearing your thoughts on all this.