I'm sitting in the Mikvah waiting room. For the first time in almost a year and a half. Perhaps the longest amount of time I've gone between Mikvah visits since I was married almost a decade ago. Let's blame it or give thanks to - depending on how you look at it - on babies, nursing, hormones.
But here I am. The sounds of the baalaniyot flow just outside of the room where I wait. The last time I wrote about Mikvah it was filled with waves of sadness. Mikvah after miscarriage, and Mikvah during a long wait for a future child, and Mikvah in the community where I learned to dip was a painful and hateful experience.
The ironic thing though, my wait for the Mikvah over the past year and a half, has made me long for those warm waters. Something about the Jewish women's routine was lacking from my own and it was a joyful experience when I was able to declare myself niddah. The waiting was finally coming to an end. In this waiting room, I am surrounded by blessings and prayers for children, marriage, prosperity and life. In the plainly decorated, musty room, I am aware that there is a beautiful simplicity to this waiting space. No frills, just a place to wait. And it's okay to wait it out. And in my life I have waited out difficult times, the pains of child rearing, and the inevitable growth that takes place over a year and a half.
I think in some ways, this wait has been so anticipated because the part of the routine that I have learned to embrace is the constant rebirth of myself as a mother and a wife. In the depths of motherhood in these early years I am constantly being pulled by the tide of my family, my community and myself. I am, time and time again reaping the fruits of my labor and coming out new and slightly more whole. No longer submerged by every crash of every wave. And so, I've waited for the moment where I can celebrate the constant immersive experience that is my life.
When I step in to the mikvah, I no longer feel the undertow of pain. I hold my breath, the baalanit holds my towel, I do not hold back my tears. These salty drops mix with the fresh ones of the Mikvah.
The sun has set. I am wrapped in new beginnings. One day ends and a new one will begin. I wait, I wade I wonder what coming to the shore this time will bring.