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Archive for March, 2009

Bat Mitzvah countdown

I’m not quite sure how this happened, but my kid’s bat mitzvah is in one month. One month! Erk. I still haven’t gotten my Torah portion memorized, but progress is being made. For a while, progress was not, in fact, being made and I began to worry that my brain was no long capable of such feats. But it finally began to sink in again and I am holding on to the belief that I will get it stuffed into my brain in time. My MIL announced that she had hers done, but when she gave Maya a preview, Maya announced she was “too singy” and not fast enough, and has sent her back to the drawing board.

Maya doesn’t seem to have similar problems with her parts, thankfully. She is not remotely concerned about how that is all going. In fact, a couple of days ago, she updated her facebook page to say that she was ready for her bat mitzvah. I asked her what happened that now made her feel that she was ready – thinking, of course, that perhaps she’d gone through her Torah reading without a mistake or something like that – and she told me, in a tone of voice that suggest I’m a bit slow, that she’d gotten shoes that day to match the dress. Shoes! Of course! Now she is all set.

We have different priorities. I’m not sure what they were thinking, putting teenagers through this. They all seem much more concerned with the party than the actual bat or bar mitzvah and resist being required to consider the deeper meaning behind any of it. We force them to go through that in order to get to the celebration.

Maya’s day will go like this: shul in the morning, which will be the serious part. I have been to some synagogues where the bar or bat mitzvah kind of takes over, and parents make little speeches up there, and they decorate the sanctuary, and go kind of nuts. But at our place, the bar or bat mitzvah just fits right into the service, which mirrors their philosophy that the kid is joining a community. It’s not all about them. It is about them, but not all about them. I confess, I quite like that.

Then we have a kiddush lunch with tout la gang. It is in a room at the synagogue – a big room – and will be where J and I give the little speeches about how happy we are to have survived the process and made it to that point.

Many people then have a big evening event, much like a wedding, with dinner and then dancing and everyone is invited. We went the cheapie route and are just having a party for the kids. We’ll have a DJ – J didn’t want one, so Maya saved her money from her paper route for over a year to pay for it herself and earned the right to have one. Kid food, horrible throw-away crap flung out into the crowd by the DJ, and lots of dancing.

We bought the throw-away crap – glow sticks, fuzzy hats, flashing things – at the dollar store. Then we were in a store after Valentine’s Day and they had some HUGE stuffed animals on sale in the clearance that had no visible connection to Valentine’s, so Maya begged for one as the big final give-away (I’ve never lasted long enough at one of these events to even know there was such a thing). The thing is several feet high, reaching past my waist, and we needed a separate cart for it. Originally $30, now half  price, so I agreed. When we reached the cash, it rang in at $7.44. And that is the highlight of the bat mitzvah process for me, so far.

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Yesterday was my second birthday! As in, July 23rd is my first birthday, upon which my mother gave birth to me and February 29th (or March 1st the other 3 years) is my second birthday, the one upon which I woke up from the Big Nap. Yay me!

A year ago today, I was coming to terms with the fact that I’d been gone for 18 days, shit in a bag taped to my belly, had a tube draining yuck from my abdomen and another draing more yuck from my left lung, couldn’t take a deep breath, couldn’t eat, couldn’t move, felt like I was suffocating without a fan blowing in my face all the time, and was in the room reserved for the sickest person in the hospital.

Today, I am embroiled in my school’s decision to require uniforms next year, am really, really sick of the snow, and have just finalized plans to go to Israel in June. That’s a heck of a lot better, isn’t it? Really puts thing in perspective.

This trip I’m going on is just me. Well, me and a bunch of other women. No J. The other two times I’ve gone, it has been with J and he’s been in charge of the whole trip, which made for a pretty big safety net. This time, it is a trip for just women and run by an organization not run by the hubby. But it was a great price and it sounds like we’ll do some really cool stuff and did I mention it’s in Israel? I love Israel. It goes beyond the Jew thing, which is a pretty big thing. It’s the history. You are surrounded by living, breathing history every minute.

Here’s a photo from our last trip. This boy is hanging out on a beach in Tiberius. I know, boy on beach: big deal. But this beach is on Lake Kinneret, otherwise known as the Sea of Galilee (it’s very Middle East of them, to name this small (by Canadian standards) body of water a “sea.” Half the rocks on this beach are bits of pottery, thousands of years old, washed down from the ruins across the road. See, everything is history.

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