Well. It’s over.
The Torah portion was chanted, the bagels were snarfed, the chairs were raised. For the blessing of a boy becoming a man, tears were shed. For the joy of a family surrounded by loved ones, hugs and handshakes and happiness abounded.
The nachas I am shepping cannot be contained. I have much more to write and reflect on about this weekend, bookended by rain but stupendous and sunny on the days that mattered and accompanied by spring’s first blooms. I’m still decompressing, but I am so full of gratitude for everyone who came from near and far to witness our blue-haired boy on the bima. (Yes, he specifically requested a black tallis.)
The stress and confusion leading up to it all had me worried that the meaning would get lost in the last-minute menu planning and finding a minute to paint my sad smashed fingers and their bruised nailbeds. And El Yenta Man’s home improvement tear that was well worth the effort but had me in gastric distress when he suggested we retile the bathroom three days before everyone arrived (he settled for new hand towels.) Oh, and the bar mitzvah boy’s refusal to put on the black dress pants bought for the Friday night service because they were too “blousy.”
But the moment I stood with my mother, my new sister-in-law and my daughter to light the Shabbat candles, I felt deeply connected with our Jewish faith, heritage and family. I think everyone there would agree that it was a holy event, especially when the kid accidentally skipped a stair while carrying the Torah down from the bima but magically missed falling on his face. If that’s not a testament that God was on the guest list I don’t know what is.
The rest of the guests have gone home now, and the bar mitzvah boy and his sister are back at school (both with newly-pierced ears, could be a new neo-Judaic tribal tradition, nu?) and my work week is in full swing. But looking out into the pews into the faces of our community this past Shabbat, I understood more than ever before what it means to be a very lucky and blessed person.
Being a Jewish mother is the best thing I’ve ever done, and I don’t take a minute of it for granted.