And A Wonderful Time Was Had By All

nsshere’s Bat Mitzvah was yesterday.

She did wonderfully, and she pwned it. It was her Bat Mitzvah, and it reflected her completely. She led the service perfectly, read Torah and Haftorah perfect, and just took charge of it. After a hesitant first prayer, you could just see her confidence grow and grow and grow.

Her speeches were delightful, and perhaps I can persuade her to post them here. In her D’var Torah (interpretation of the Torah), she talked about why she chose the verses about Jacob’s death and his burial back in Caanan. Her theme was “respect”, and how one of the hallmarks of being an adult is learning to show respect. Her actual speech was uniquely her, and went into why she did her Bat Mitzvah (as opposed to what I did, as I didn’t want to learn Hebrew). She indicated that she didn’t do it for the religious aspects, nor for us, but for herself. She did it to show herself that she could do it.

At this point, I should note that not once during the process did I have to remind her to study her prayers or portions, nor to write her speeches. We didn’t have to nag her once about studying with the rabbi or cantor. She did it all on her own initiative.

The reception went beautifully (I’ll share some pictures once I get them back). Although she was initially hesitant to use the social hall, it worked out wonderfully. We had spectacular centerpieces and posters on the wall (the decision to use a decorator [Ramon at Linen Lenders] was well worth it — and cheaper than flowers would have been, I later learned). The entertainment [Dan T. from The Party Zone] was directed by nsshere: instead of the continuous loud dancing, the focus was more on drama. We had loads of improvization games, a bit of singing, a few dances. The music was kept toned down, and no one complained. The food [from Scott T. at Silver Spoons] was wonderful and enjoyed by all. It was the first time I’ve thrown a big party, and we received lots of compliments from our guests for it.

After the party, we had some select friends back to the house, where we had some additional food catered by Brents. This too was wonderful (although my headache was building — not a surprise). But it was a fun evening.

After the after-party, I collapsed. I took some meds for my headache, and went to bed… and didn’t get up until the next day.

At this point, we have leftover food (quite a bit), a bunch of centerpieces in the living room, and nsshere has loads of thank you notes to write.

Looking back, I have complained about the cost of this event. I won’t give specific numbers, but it was expensive. It wasn’t one of the big big shindigs you hear about that run more than $25,000 (yes, folks do spend that much, and even more), but it was a good chunk of change. Catered parties do add up (in addition to the Temple fees for the education). Was it worth it? I think so. I think that doing this process was one of the big things that changed our little girl into the remarkable and mature young woman she is. It taught her about responsibility, how to be her own person and how important that is. It taught her that she doesn’t have to necessarily follow the glitz and the trends to have a good time.

I am so proud of my daughter.


And It Gets Closer

As we inch closer to the Bat Mitzvah, we’re also getting closer to being ready for it and for the reception afterwards:

  • Name cards are done, with their charms tied on and hot-glued.
  • Goodie Bags are filled.
  • Cards, Bags, Candles and Posters go to the decorator tomorrow.
  • A crew is coming in to clean the house tomorrow.
  • We have the last missing song for the DJ in.
  • We have the Kaddish list in.

So, at this point, there’s not that much left to do… we need to pickup the handouts [done 12/19], and pick up the stuff for the after-party [they will deliver].

In other news, I got a Chanukah surprise. My father-in-law got me a beautiful wind-up, see-through pocket watch. Totally unexpected. After 23 years, I feel like Sally Field.


B-4 Days

Yup, the Bat Mitzvah is Saturday. Some observations on the process, as I took today off to do Bat Mitzvah stuff:

  • The most common response, when calling someone up to ask their Hebrew name for an Aliyah, is “Uhhhhh…..”
  • I’ve now written the final check to the decorator. He’ll take care of putting up the posters in the hall, as well as setting up the candle-lighting table.
  • We’ve dropped off music for the candle-lighting with the DJ.
  • We’re picking up the GF-challahs for the ceremony today (they’re frozen).
  • This afternoon will be the Bat Mitzvah rehearsal. Should be interesting. We’ll likely work on the table-cards during the rehearsal.
  • After the rehearsal, we will meet with the photographer to preview the “videolog”.
  • All that is left to do this week is finishing the table cards and dropping stuff off with the decorator, and doing the “goodie” bags.

Now I Know My Family Is Warped

Tonight, we were sitting around the dining room table, plotting out table allocations and selecting the songs for the candle lighting (the part of the reception where you call up various groups to honor them). We were attempting to come up with the song for the candle honoring deceased relatives.

My daughter suggested “Where Do The Elephants Go?” (from “70 Girls 70”). But the DJ didn’t have that and I had already burned the CD.

Then my eyes hit upon the perfect song…

“Another One Bites The Dust”

After the laughter subsided, we settled on something more suitable (“It Was A Very Good Year”, Sinatra, although I suggested “Try to Remember” from The Fantasticks).


Look In The Closet. Junk. Junk. Junk.

Last night and today, it’s been a cleanup day in the cahwyguy household:

  • nsshere has completed cleaning and reorganized her closet, all on her own (!), throwing lots of stuff away, donating other stuff, and setting aside some toys for when her younger cousins come to visit. We got some additional shelving for her, and she even helped assemble it. She has done a beautiful job in there, and I really believe her deciding to do this on her own, with such focus and drive, is yet another sign that she is maturing into a remarkable young woman. I’ll note this is on top of her cleaning her computer desk and her bathroom, again all on her own.
  • gf_guruilla has tackled her desk (and those who have seen it know what a job that is). In one evening (because she was out today), she made a significant dent. We can now even see the top of the desk in places. I’m sure she’ll make even more headway tomorrow.
  • As for me, my job today was to organize the pictures for the photographer to build a photo montage. This involved my going through all 130-or-so of my dad’s photo albums, and sorting them into numerical order, in order to find what we needed. That involved reorganizing the guest bedroom, where they were stored in boxes. I also rearranged the toys nsshere was saving for her cousins in the closet, for when they visit. We also went through all of our photos, and now have a large number of photos to present as a first pass for the photographer. It has been a full day job, filled with lots of memories, discoveries, and re-discoveries.

I hope this trend continues. It’s been quite remarkable. Tomorrow is doing the normal house cleaning.