Friday, May 13, 2011

Z's Bat Mitzvah

Some of the people who read this blog really like the fanfare posts. This one's for you gals!

As I mentioned a few weeks back, Eldest Daughter's sleep-away-camp friend became Bat Mitzvah. The big to do took place in a local suburb in the synagogue of my childhood, which barely resembles the synagogue I remember of the 1970s.

This was a B'nai Mitzvah - two Bat Mitzvah's at one time. Each young woman chanted from the Torah and Haftorah, and gave her interpretation of the portion. The sanctuary is large and it was perhaps 90% filled, testament to the strength of these girls' community.

I'd never been to a B'nai Mitzvah before and did not realize that one set of family and friends generally sits to one side and the other set sits to the other. Oops. Ditto for the luncheon afterwards. It's a good thing that we're friendly folks. We stopped at Border's on the way to the service and our purchases kept The Youngest Pinks from squirming too much in their seats. Eldest Daughter sat with her friends, not surprisingly, while we sat next to a group of middle schoolers, friends of the other B'nai Mitzvah. The boy next to me, looking uncomfortable in his pressed khakis, starched oxford shirt and stiff shoes, asked a lot of questions. "Can I go to the bathroom in the middle of the service? Do you know where the bathroom is? We really can't text in here?"

Z looked like a little girl that morning -- flats, minimal makeup, a floral dress. This was in huge contrast to how she looked that evening -- absolutely sunning with big makeup and hair and wearing a gorgeous, backless pink and black dress. I really like Z; she doesn't much filter and is fun and funny. Last summer I took her and Eldest Daughter into the city for the SF Pride Parade. The picture here is of Z and her mom.

The luncheon wrapped about 1p to give the decorator and caterer time to prep for the evening celebration, held in the synagogue's social hall. My Bat Mitzvah and luncheon were in that very same location in that very same month 31 years prior. I remember the pale yellow and green tablecloths. This evening everything was hot pink, black and white.

Z's family is very close and Z is very clear that her 15-year-old brother is her bestie. The very first picture is of the two of them. A has Asperger's and their inner circle includes other families with children on the spectrum. It was such a blast seeing the stereotypical young teens, the non-stereotypical young teens and the extended family and friends celebrating Z's
simcha by getting down on the dance floor, laughing, eating and drinking. There was no us and them this evening, and likely for any other event for this group. I'm in the green screen adult group photo wearing a classic Armani little black dress and my current favorite Jim Thompson silk scarf.

The food was tasty and abundant of course: Mexican and an ice cream bar for the kids and salad, steak, roasted potatoes, Mediterranean veggies and chocolate cake for the adults. No one went home hungry, that's for sure!

Dave was out of town at a golf tournament so it was just me and The Pinks. Thing 1, who is nine, wore a fair bit of makeup. Thing 2 went to town on the dance floor. One of the party motivators
was Ben, who we know because he used to date our friend Melissa. He told me that he loves dancing with Thing 2 because she has so much energy and he was excited when he realized we were there. You can see from this picture how much she enjoyed herself.

As time goes by I enjoy these more and more, regardless of how many people I know there. I find happiness in the ritual and in the celebration itself. And of course it's an honor to be included.

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