Sarah Tuttle-Singer
A Mermaid in Jerusalem

A mother’s prayer on the occasion of her daughter’s first cell phone

Please God let this phone be a tool for her to do good in the world and let her never commit the sin of Duck Face
Illustration by Avi Katz

Dear God:

My daughter just got her first real phone and her whole entire world is about to blow wide open in unfathomable ways, with glitter and a zillion lights, soaring heights into The Cloud — and also with the darkest black holes imaginable, too.

In Judaism we call this a Shechiyanu Moment – it is a first, and we must mark it.

So first things first: “thank you God for granting us life, for sustaining us, and for bringing us to this moment.”

We good?


Now for the real prayer.

Dear God: watch over my baby who isn’t a baby but will always be my baby.

I am her mother and I am hopeful and terrified for her.

Let her use this phone as a tool for creating wonderful things, for nurturing friendships and real love and doing the right thing even when it’s difficult, for not cutting others down but building them up instead, and for not taking crap from those little assholes in her class that will be in every class from now through university, and then at every job because there will *always* be little assholes everywhere.

(Also, please God: Let her never be one of them — unless absolutely necessary.)

Let her use this phone to connect with friends, but please help her steer clear of those slutty Snapchat filters that make her look like a baby hooker, and only use the cute kitty faces or the silly glasses ones, and let her save these snaps with her BFF to frame one day when they’re both on different continents exploring the world in their own special way.

Let her never commit the sin of Duck Face, and let her also never discover Facebook and see that I have committed that same sin early and often.

(And if she does discover Facebook, then please God let her please accept my friend request.)

Let her know not Instagram.

Let her never feel forced to send a picture she doesn’t want to send, and if she *does* want to send *those* pictures please God just shut down her phone or something before she can. Lightning from The Cloud. You got this, Big Guy, I believe in you.

Let her never be ghosted and if she is then hold my beer, God, because I will hunt him down for hurting my baby who isn’t a baby but will always be my baby, and shit’s about to get real.

And also if it’s not too much to ask PLEASE GOD let her never find out what the eggplant emoji means.


Let her use this phone to read about pirates and buried treasure, let her research the latest medical innovations, and let her learn how to say “hello” and “how are you” and “go fuck yourself” in 100 languages.

Let her use this phone to order a taxi when she’s had too much to drink late one night in the far flung future, like in 20 years because there’s only so much I can take right now, God. You understand.

And please God let this phone be a tool for her to do good in the world, and to remember that above all she is brave and loved and kind and a beautiful light.

May she know that while her phone is a window into the whole wide world, it can never replace climbing a mountain or biking through green fields or camping out in the desert or eating a steaming bowl of pho in Manhattan on a rainy night or sitting with a good friend and laughing her ass off with the phone safely in her bag on silent.

And above all, God, Please: May she always remember to call her mother.

Thank you.


About the Author
Sarah Tuttle-Singer is the author of Jerusalem Drawn and Quartered and the New Media Editor at Times of Israel. She was raised in Venice Beach, California on Yiddish lullabies and Civil Rights anthems, and she now lives in Jerusalem with her 3 kids where she climbs roofs, explores cisterns, opens secret doors, talks to strangers, and writes stories about people — especially taxi drivers. Sarah also speaks before audiences left, right, and center through the Jewish Speakers Bureau, asking them to wrestle with important questions while celebrating their willingness to do so. She loves whisky and tacos and chocolate chip cookies and old maps and foreign coins and discovering new ideas from different perspectives. Sarah is a work in progress.
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