celebrations · slice of life

Where WAS I before I was born?

Isabelle watches the B'deken on our wedding DVD on Sunday evening.
Isabelle watches the B’deken on our wedding DVD on Sunday evening.

I didn’t leave the house all weekend.  That wasn’t the plan. I was getting ready to go to synagogue for Shabbat morning services on Saturday when we received the call that Mini Congregation was canceled due to the wintry mix falling from the sky. Seeing as I had a sinus infection, I figured it was the perfect opportunity to stay in bed and rest.  And rest I did.

And so did Isabelle.  In fact, when Marc went out to pick up dinner and my prescription, she stayed in bed with me and I read Clever Jack Takes the Cake to her over and over again. But once we ate dinner downstairs, Isabelle wanted to party.  Yes, party.  Maybe it was because she had just had her birthday party earlier in the week or maybe it was because she was tired of being cooped-up inside, but she wanted to party.  We offered her two options:

  1. Turn on the TV to one of the cable TV music stations and have a dance party.
  2. Watch our wedding video.

She choose the second option, which was my preferred option since I hadn’t watched my wedding DVD in almost two years.  The three of us sat on the couch and watched together, but Isabelle quickly got weepy.  “Where was I?” she inquired.

“You weren’t born yet,” I said.

“Was I in your belly?” she inquired.

“No, you weren’t in my belly,” I replied.

“But where was I before I was born?” she cried.

I gave her a variety of answers, none of which placated her. Finally, the Hora came on and the three of us danced around our great room for 20 minutes, which was long enough for her to forget about her question.

Yesterday evening, Isabelle wasn’t feeling 100%. After she ate her dinner, she requested to watch our wedding video again.  Again? Really?!!? Was this going to become a nightly thing? I was making dinner, but promised her Marc would put it on as soon as he came downstairs.  (TRUTH: I don’t know how to operate our DVD player!  I’m sure I could learn, but I rarely use it so…)

Once he arrived downstairs, he put the DVD on for her.  She sat on the couch, wrapped in two blankets, and said, “Why I was not there?”

Where was I?” I corrected — as a way to delay the tears.

“Where was I?” Isabelle said, slowly.

“You weren’t born yet,” I replied.

“I was in your belly?” she asked.

“Nope, you weren’t in my belly,” I replied as “I could not ask for more” by Edwin McCain played in the background.

“Where was I before I was born?” she wondered.

“You were in my heart,” I blurted out.

“I was in your heart?” she asked, perplexed.

“Yes, you were in my heart. Right here.” I pointed towards my chest.

“Oh,” she paused. “I was in your heart.”

“Is that nice?” I asked.

“Yes. I was in mommy’s heart.”

Isabelle seemed pleased. And I was pleased that I didn’t tell a lie, nor did I upset her.  She continued to watch the video (i.e., the Ketubah signing, B’deken, and entire ceremony, which was NOT short since we had two WONDERFUL rabbis officiating) with rapt attention.  Every now and then I heard, “I was in mommy’s heart.”

Yes, sweet girl.  Yes you were.


Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com on Tuesday for more slices of life.
Head over to http://twowritingteachers.wordpress.com on Tuesday for more slices of life.

29 thoughts on “Where WAS I before I was born?

  1. Stacey, this is the sweetest Slice. That ending – oh, it’s perfect.

    I couldn’t believe I was reading this story because yesterday Katie asked me this same exact question almost! She wanted to know how old she was when Maddie was 2, and I told her we didn’t have her when Maddie was 2. “Where was I?” she wanted to know. She wouldn’t accept any of my answers either, and she finally decided she was “at a different house.” If only I would have thought as quickly as you!

  2. I’ve often wondered that too…leave it to your sweetie to ask out loud. And…you absolutely had the best possible loving answer. Okay and I also think that is a line for the picture book that you should write about that very question. xo PS I could imagine the whole scene.

  3. Such a smart girl that Isabelle, always wondering. I felt like she wanted to watch that video again to look harder for herself. Such a smart, satisfying and true answer you found for her too. Lovely post.

  4. Wow! This is so sweet! I don’t know if the day comes when Braeden will ask me this question, but I do know my answer. “In my heart” Just beautiful. Beautiful.

  5. Aww, what an amazing answer, Stacey! You are such a wonderful mom — I am always in awe of your posts about how you talk to Isabelle. I will definitely be reading even more closely now that the baby that was in our hearts is in my belly! 🙂 I have so much to learn!

  6. Beautiful story, Stacey. And, you know what, she WAS in your heart…and will always be in your heart. And, whenever she thinks of your wedding, or looks at pictures of your special day, she will think of that.

  7. This made me tear up. What a great response you gave Isabelle! My kids tend to accept the scientific answer I give them and don’t press the issue but I’ll prepared if they ever do, thanks to you!

  8. I know I’m a year late to this but I LOVE your answer. Our family’s response was always “You were in God’s pocket.” I think I’m going to add “and in our heart” if/when my little grandchild asks. Thank you for sharing!

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