Pomegranates and More Pomegranates

Ronit Sherwin

Ronit Sherwin

(This piece was originally written in March of 2009 and it dedicated to my friend Jen.)

My friend Jen has made it her hobby or perhaps her mission to find all things pomegranate. Jen does not personally collect these varietal pomegranate items, but she gifts them to me as fertility symbols and hopeful triggers in my quest to become a mom. Jewish tradition holds that one of symbols of the pomegranate is that of fruitfulness, otherwise known as fertility. The multitude of seeds contained in one pomegranate is also believed to be 613, the number of mitzvot (commandments) that incumbent upon Jews. For those of us who are struggling to conceive, a “multitude” of seeds would be a good thing – hey, one good seed would be great!

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The very first pomegranate Jen gave me was a beautiful ceramic pomegranate made by an artist in Israel, which sits adjacent to my bed. And then the madness began! And for over a year now, Jen has brought me more things pomegranate than I knew existed. I have eaten pomegranate granola, pomegranate gummy bears, pomegranate fruit leather, pomegranate ice cream (with chocolate chips), pomegranate cookies, pomegranate applesauce and even pomegranate syrup. I have also drunk pomegranate Italian soda and pomegranate green tea. But wait – there’s more! I have also used pomegranate hand soap, pomegranate body wash, pomegranate linen spray, and my favorite, pomegranate lip balm. And each time Jen finds something pomegranate, she calls me in excitement with such joy and hope in her voice. Jen’s enthusiasm and persistence are infinite and I am certain her quest is still yet to be completed. And each pomegranate gift from Jen continues to show me the endless love she has for me.

I may not have a partner to share in my future joys of parenting and my many struggles to achieve motherhood, but I have been blessed with the best friends anyone could ask for. These many friends share my tears and my laughs and they serve as the mightiest squad of my personal cheerleaders. My friends have accompanied me to the doctor, have left ice cream at my back door, have taken me to dinner and the movies, allow my mother to call them on their cell phones, and on one occasion, my friend Dana allowed me to use her office so that my doctor could administer an injection during a meeting at which we were both attending. When I lost my first pregnancy at eight weeks, two girlfriends stayed with me at the hospital and made calls to my mother and other friends when I could not talk. These women sustain me and inspire me to be a better friend and a better human being.

Choosing to be a single mother is a very intentional process. While I hope that all parents consciously “choose” to bring children into their lives and this world, there are no “accidents” in single motherhood by choice. Friendship is similar. Yes, there are some friendships that seem to have developed in an accidental manner, such as being in the wrong class at college that led to sitting next to your soon-to-be lifelong friend. But by the time we are adults and life is full of responsibilities and obligations, the friends we maintain in our lives are clearly by choice. Who has time or space for a friend who does not bring positive energy, ideas and love into our lives? I certainly do not. I am blessed with a loving family, but I am equally proud of the friends I have chosen. And I look forward to the love I know they will shower upon my child. May my child have as many friends and cheerleaders as there are seeds in a pomegranate. Amen.

 Ronit Sherwin is  a Jewish educator and the Executive Director of Nishmah: The St. Louis Jewish Women’s Project, as well as the mother of boy-girl twins Natan and Batya.