My kids don’t see things the way I do, and that’s ok. At half my age, perhaps they’re not supposed to.

“You don’t really believe in miracles?” one asked last week.
“Of course I do.”
“Name one,” he urged with polite incredulity, his mind clearly closed.
“The ’69 Mets!” I shot out. (Why waste my breath?).

It could have ended there — he thinking I’m a dreamer … me wishing he was — but we  were both quite serious.

“You don’t think there are miracles?”
“No, I believe in reality.”
“I’m sorry you feel that way.”
“Then name one.”

“OK,” I said. It wasn’t really the time or place, but he sat tight on my elbow so I figured “Why not?”

“There was a time,” I reminded him, “When I had spiraled so low I was drinking in the john stall at Burger King. Eighteen years ago. I was slowly killing myself but there was nothing I could do.  I was able to stop — you don’t think my recovery is a God-given miracle?”

“No, I think you just decided—“

Cutting him off in frustration, I knew inwardly it was not his fault. Our differences, frankly, were matters of perception. To him, seeing is believing; to me, believing is seeing.

Yet I couldn’t let go. Not so much because I thought I’d convince him. Hardly! My goal, rather, was to plant a seed.

“Do you believe George Washington really chopped down the cherry tree and then told his father he couldn’t tell a lie?”

(His eyes rolled).

“Do you think he really threw a dollar across the Potomac?”

(I nodded).

My son, startled — frustrated clearly by what he must have perceived as my sustained naiveté — stopped on a dime.

I couldn’t, however, let the gentle impasse go. Not at this Seder. Not on this night, which was “different from all other nights”.

“So let me ask you,” I pushed forward: “Do you believe the Red Sea parted so the Israelites could flee Egypt?”

“No Dad, I don’t.  No one does.”

Time, thought I, to teach the young dog new tricks. Seated near the end of the table, surrounded by his wife, my wife, an ex-wife and grandkids, the first fresh, objective face to my left was Arlene’s. Jason’s aunt, she is objective and open.

“Arlene,” I asked on the second night of Passover, “Do you believe God parted the Red Sea?”

“Of course I do,” she exclaimed, sans hesitation. “Certainly.”

I felt validated and Michael’s eyes rolled, yet debate had ended in triumph. No coincidence, sensed I, that Aunt Arlene was seated right there. Nor was it luck.  No, it was, rather, just God doing his thing.

(Or perhaps a miracle).

   “So, I’ll continue to continue to pretend
       That my life will never end,
       And flowers never bend with the rainfall….”

Paul Simon

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