Saturday, September 20, 2008

One Week Post Bar Mitzvah - Floating to Earth

Okay, no excuse for not posting in the twenty days before the Bar Mitzvah. Except for Kiddush caterer, photographer, DJ, chocolatier, hotel, Rabbi, Cantor, other Rabbi, synagogue, programs, printed kippahs, getting suits hemmed, getting husband's pants let out (cruise food), floor plans, seating arrangments, centerpieces for the luncheon and the evening, and other things that I can't remember. Just that. Really, no excuse.

And this is how it was: perfection. So beautiful and so perfect that I can sit here and cry a week later. That I'm going to sit here and make my keyboard malfunction by splattering it with the maudlin tears of the Bar Mitzvah Mom a week after the event, and cruelly use you like a diary, just to write about it all.

The service. We show up at 9 AM and I find something interesting out. There's actually no one at Har Zion's services at 9 AM - good to know for the future. By 9:30 there is a semblence of a service going on; by 9:50 both Husband and I and the floor manager are in a panic waiting for the family members with aliyot to show up (we told them, "Sure, it's safe to come at 9:50!!!") and we are anxiously scanning the lobby. But at 9 AM there are a couple of old guys leaning on the bimah, chanting half to themselves, half to the empty seats of the sanctuary; there are a couple of cleaning people running around, there are two of my friends from the old job who show up promptly, and there is my little four-person family: Husband, me, Bar Mitzvahzilla, and little sister.

So, I'll just try to ignore how weird it is that one second - okay, in 1995 - I gave birth to a POUND AND A HALF PREEMIE and now, one second later - okay, 13 years - he is standing before me in a black suit, gorgeous, chanting the Torah and haftorah portions so beautifully that my husband is asking me for tissue after tissue. We are decorous; we are sitting alone in a pew, us and little sis and a pile of siddurim and torah books, some programs and Daniel's gun metal gray kippot, and he's up there and knows everything. Sometimes you go to a Bar Mitzvah and the kid stumbles, or their Hebrew is so bad that nearly the entire service is in English. Not this one. Every word a pearl.

He practically runs through the sanctuary with the Torah. I'm behind him shaking hands of all the well-wishers in the congregations and he's miles ahead of me. Husband and I are on the bimah, off the bimah, watching the aliyot, then our aliyot. We say a few words, which, darn, I should have scripted but, guess what, in all the lists and all the things everyone told me to do, I entrusted this to Howard and he didn't do it. He said his own words then left me, the flustered mom, floundering.

The Kiddush, 16 tables all set up with royal blue tablecloths packed with people. My blue and white Israeli-flag-themed centerpieces on each table. The food perfect, the four lines zooming the people through quickly. Howard and I can't get a seat almost and then we pretty much can't get a bite because of all the well-wishers, all the envelopes pressed into our hands, all the congratulations on Daniel's wonderful job done. We stumble home.

I'll leave the party recanting for a separate post.

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