“Thank You, Hashem, thank You, Hashem, thank You, Hashem for making beautiful bugs”
My son scooped Joey Newcomb five years ago.
He was in the yard on his knees, peering at the ground intently. I watched from the screen door, grateful that the soil and ants and beetles and earthworms and whatever else was in that patch on the lawn kept him captivated for so long.
Then I heard him singing to himself, “Thank you Hashem, thank you Hashem, thank you Hashem for making beautiful bugs.”
I quickly grabbed the camera to video it for posterity, and we all still get a kick out of it. While he may not be a musical prodigy, the tune is pretty basic, and catchy, and oddly enough I still sometimes find myself humming the song.
My son’s “Thank you Hashem” composition didn’t go viral, but I was—and still am—moved by what it implied. I appreciate the hakaras hatov, the fact that my son recognizes the good in even the seemingly small things. I marvel at his simple connection to Hashem, that even at age five, he recognizes Who provides us with everything we need (creepy crawlies included). I love that he enjoys nature, a healthy outlet for his insatiable curiosity (this is the same kid who later that day studied an earthworm to death, and then came to ask me to help revive it with water. Hrm).
Four years later, my son is still inquisitive and curious and fascinated by the outdoors. He’s also older, and more mature in some ways and more complex in others. And of course, as our children get older and more mature and more complex, their developing personalities seem to overwhelm the sweeter, simpler times. Which is why we treasure the times when their more innocent selves resurface, and we see them picking up on messages dear to us.
I try to express gratitude to our family and friends and teachers and neighbors and all the wonderful people who help us. My kids know every year come Rosh Hashanah, and Chanukah, and Purim, and end of the year, and end of summer, and whenever we think it’s appropriate to drop off a challah or plate of cookies or a small gift, they’ll be drawing thank you cards for their teachers and instructors and coaches and counselors. They also know I talk to Hashem directly, and often, because they overhear it.
The other night, my son nonchalantly said, “Thank you Ima for supper, it was delicious.” Then he stood up, took his plate, and pushed in his chair.
Who are you and what you have done to my son? I yelled. In my head, of course. In reality, I just gaped at him. Until I noticed my husband staring at me and eye-signaling meaningfully. “Oh, of course, you’re welcome,” I said.
And then, to myself, Thank you, Hashem.
Rachel Bachrach is a deputy editor at Mishpacha.
(Originally featured in A Gift Passed Along, Pesach 5780)
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