I am sitting here at the computer, the day after Squiggy’s barmitzvah, the house is quiet for the first time in a while.
How does one encapsulate 25 hours of awesomeness into a few lines of prose? No clue, but I will try.
Before Shabbat we got all dressed up, I had my makeup professionally done, and we trooped out to pose for professional pictures at Pratt Park. Perfect! The boys had a blast while I worried about them ruining their spiffy new suits and shoes. We have worked with this photographer before – which added a level of comfort to the whole proceedings, Usually Squiggy gives me a hard time with photographs, so I gave him a choice this time, whether to do professional ones or not. His barmitzvah, his choice. Initially he said no. then he changed his mind – Ok, Ima, I know it will make you happy, so let’s do them. It was great doing family shots – with the KoD!! What a difference a year can make….
We came home, relaxed for a little bit, and then headed out for the barmitzvah Shabbat. We dropped the boys off at their father’s house and headed close by to where we were staying, the Green Hotel (lol).
We got to the shul and greeted our guests and family, introduced the KoD to everyone (gosh, I was so proud to do this) and us womenfolk went to light Shabbat candles. I love it when a whole bunch of women get together and light Shabbat candles. The glow seems to be extra special.
Looking out over the shul at Kaballat Shabbat services, my heart swelled with pride. This shul was a modern shul, which had separate ladies seating, but with no curtains or view obstructions. This I liked. I got to observe my boys davening alongside their father and stepfather, cousins and friends, and it was very touching indeed.
After services we adjourned to the hall for Friday night dinner. This was a small family affair, low key – just perfect. Squiggy made kiddush for the first time ever, and did a phenomenal job, and I must admit to wiping a tear or two from my eye. The food was good, the wine was flowing, conversation was animated – everyone had a good time. For my boys, they were so surrounded with love – what a bracha for a child to feel so much love from so many people.
We went back to our lodgings to have a peaceful sleep…well, that was the intent. I couldn’t sleep a wink. I was nervous for my boy. Wondering how he was sleeping. Wondering if he might have an attack of the nerves. Hoping he was fine and snoring away.
Morning came, and it was time to get back to the shul. (yes, I did have my coffee before I left for shul, priorities you know!!) By this time the butterflies in my tummy had multiplied and I just needed to see Squiggy to make sure he was ok. I saw him sitting next to his father in the front row, with his brothers and step brothers and step father all sitting together in the same row. Squiggy was told I had arrived so he turned around, and walked up to the ladies section to say hello. He shook my hand, I blew him a kiss, caressed his face, and let him go. As the service progressed he got paler and paler, and my hands shook more and more.
Soon it was time for the Torah reading and the shul had filled up considerably. By this time, my mouth was dry and my girlfriend was sitting next to me holding my hand. On the other side was my aunt being equally encouraging. Squiggy appeared outwardly calm, but a mother knows when her child is nervous.
Torah reading started – he was to read the maftir and the haftarah. His stepfather and his father were both called up to the Torah – a big honour. Then it was time. Just prior to this little Prince ChatterBox had been going around the shul with a huge basket full of candy handing a couple out to everyone, to throw at the barmitzvah boy at the appropriate time. 7 lbs of candy! The chazzan called Squiggy up with such wonderful pomp and circumstance. His father had already helped him put on his tallit, and he mounted the stairs to the Bima with confidence. At this point for me the tears started to flow and didn’t stop for a while.
He made the requisite brachot, his sweet clear voice filling all corners of the shul. The rabbi asked for quiet so that the barmitzvah boy could read the maftir without disruption. He read it perfectly. His voice strong and sure, his pace steady. He did a couple more brachot, and then the men started to sing “Siman Tov uMazel Tov” – our cue to throw candies (so he should enjoy the sweetness of Torah). The little kids ran around collecting the sweets, stuffing pockets and mouths. All the men tried to squeeze up on the Bima to dance with Squiggy – they couldn’t move there were so many people up there. It was so heart warming.
Eventually the dancing stopped and the men returned to their places. Squiggy made the brachot for the Haftara, and read it out loud, clear as a bell. He has been blessed with such a beautiful voice BH! When he made the final bracha, his voice was so musical, his concentration so strong – it was the most awesome thing I have ever heard.
He finished and I was surrounded by family and friends wishing me mazel tov, he was surrounded too. There was so much love and affection for us in that shul. It was truly touching. I got to glance at his face right after he was done reading and the relief on it was huge!!
The rabbi gave a speech, and presented the barmitzvah boy with a lovely siddur, and a bracha that he should grow up to be a fine man, a mensch, who will have an honourable place amongst the Children of Israel.
After services we adjourned to the hall for a kiddush – there was cholent and cookies and all of that kind of stuff. Lots of socializing and mazel tovs. My face started to hurt from the smiling.
Soon it was the celebratory lunch for close friends and family. Some of Squiggy’s friends had walked in from our area – a walk of an hour and a quarter. We were so touched that they made the effort.
I gave a short speech – nothing fancy. Welcoming everyone and just telling everyone what an awesome kid Squiggy is, that I hope he grows up well, and uses his awesome talents, that he can be anything he wants to be. I tried not to embarrass him too much. His father spoke, remembering that when I was pregnant with Squiggy so soon after Lenny was born (they are 13 months apart) we wondered how we would ever love another child, as we loved Lenny so much. He spoke about how awesome it was that our love for Squiggy was immediately there, was just as huge as our love for all the kids. He also extolled Squiggy’s virtues. Squiggy’s paternal grandmother spoke too, briefly, but touchingly. Squiggy chose not to speak which was fine with us – he did an awesome job in shul that morning – that was enough in my book.
We got to make a few l’chaims – on single malt too!! After much eating and drinking and celebrating, it was time to bensch and conclude the meal. Lots of “we’ll see you at the next barmitzvah” – only 17 months, not that we are counting!!
This was a lovely barmitzvah Shabbat. It couldn’t have been better. When you consider the whole familial situation – divorced parents, adding in two step parents and various other additions etc there was the potential for interesting happenings. But everyone was welcoming and friendly to all – it was truly about giving our son the best barmitzvah he could possibly have had. That we did.
May we all merit to celebrate many many simchas with each other. Amen.