Sunday, December 27, 2009

little johnny hashemi

On December 9, 2009 little John Sargent Hashemi was born. He is named after my father. My father's love of the number 9 was one of his trademarks along with bolo ties and rainbow suspenders. So I am most delighted that his little namesake was born on the 9th day of the month in the year '09. Wouldn't be surprised if he had something to do with it from the realms above. I can just hear him chuckling about it now.
Little Johnny was born in Beijing in the "Middle Kingdom". In his coming into being he unites the clashing civilizations of our times. He comes from a fine Christian heritage on the Sargent side of his family and, far more dramatic, on the Hashemi side of his family he is a descendant of the Prophet Muhammad making him a Siyyid. Little Siyyid John Sargent. I can't help but think that this would tickle my dad too.

We gave him the Chinese name 兰凯 Lan Kai. Mainly because Kai was a name I liked given its Scandinavian roots and connection to my mother's side of the family. But, the Chinese character that we chose for Kai means victorious or triumphant. May he be victorious and triumphant as a force for uniting our deeply divided world. May he be a citizen of the world in all the newest meanings of the phrase that are as yet to be understood. (Lan is the first character of Ram's Chinese name so we gave it to Johnny too like a surname.)

"These children are neither oriental nor occidental, neither Asiatic nor American, neither European nor African; but they are children of the Kingdom; their home is Heaven and their resort is the Kingdom of Abha."
(Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Vol. 3, p. 647.)

The weight of the responsibility of motherhood hangs about me as I fumble through the first few weeks of little Johnny's life with us.

"For mothers are the first educators, the first mentors; and truly it is the mothers who determine the happiness, the future greatness, the courteous ways and learning and judgement, the understanding and the faith of their little ones."

(Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, p. 125)

So so much I feel I should be doing, preparing, thinking and I feel hindered by my need to sleep and the necessary limitations imposed by the breastfeeding imperative which keeps both my hands tied. When Johnny falls asleep in my arms I can hardly bear to put him down so sweet is the warmth of his body on my lap and so I am his willing prisoner all day and all night.

"O my Lord! O my Lord! I am a child of tender years; nourish me from the breast of Thy Mercy, train me in the bosom of Thy Love. Educate me in the school of Thy Guidance and develop me under the shadow of Thy Bounty. Deliver me from darkness; make me a brilliant light. Free me from unhappiness; make me a flower of Thy Rose-Garden. Suffer me to become the servant of Thy Threshold and confer upon me the disposition and nature of the righteous ones. Make me a cause of bounty to the human world and crown my head with the diadem of Eternal Life! Verily Thou are the Powerful, the Mighty, the Seer, the Hearer!"

(Howard Colby Ives, Portals to Freedom, p. 112)