I am nothing if not an attention hound, and I just lapped up all y'all high-fivin' me and patting me on the back for getting Fred and Ethel Backfat into the pool for something more than floating in a lounge chair with a mojito.
And after my swim, I felt so incredibly great that I can't even believe I took all those months off to laze and lollygag.
So I'm doing it again. Yay me!
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Jenni from Prairie Air left this comment as a side note to Tuesday's exercise orgy:
Now I'm curious about this bat mitzvah stuff. You said you got a part time job to help pay for it, so I'm thinking these things are pretty huge. I'd love to hear more about this tradition since I just know the very basics of it.
Some of you, I know, are Jewish (or know other Jewish families) and already understand what this was about, but for those of you who aren't/don't, here is the reader's digest (and HIGHLY simplified) version:
The Jewish community considers the age of 13 to be the dividing line between childhood and adulthood, and the expression of that leap from one side to another is the bar (for a boy) or bat (for a girl) mitzvah. Literally this means "son (or daughter) of the commandment" and, also, literally, just means that your child will stand in front of the congregation on a Saturday morning and read from the Torah, marking that entrance to Jewish adulthood.
Of course, in our society, 13 is hardly the harbinger of maturity and good sense, so this "adulthood" thing is purely symbolic in many ways.
There is an old joke that goes like this: "Today I am a man ... tomorrow I go back to the eighth grade."
And that, my friends, is the essence of it.
The date is selected three years (or more) in advance; the preparation for learning the prayers actually started in kindergarten, with tutoring to learn the chanted reading of the particular Torah portion for that week beginning about six months prior to the date.
The child's participation in the religious service can be just the Torah reading, or it can include more prayers and other religious moments.
There are trappings that go with. A party, mainly. And a lot of presents (mostly cash these days).
And in my humble opinion, that party has gotten waaaaaaay out of hand and can cost more than the gross national product of some small nations. This bothers me at its core, since truly the purpose of the synagogue ceremony is religious and symbolic, not materialistic.
Drummer Man had a respectably sized party. The Drama King's was way out of my comfort zone, but it was during bad marital times when the use of my money by my then-husband spiraled out of my control (a topic for another day).
Z-man opted for no party, but just an expanded version of the luncheon put on at the synagogue every week by the sisterhood, with the promise of something more "out of the box," like a trip to Las Vegas. At this point, if the boy ever learns to drive, the promise has morphed into a serviceable (and used) car.
When it came to the Roo-girl, however, she had ideas of her own. The "no-party" option was not in her vocabulary, and I started squirreling away nickels and dimes in anticipation.
Please do not get the impression that Roo was not completely involved in the spirit of this event. It's just that she wanted a party, and I wanted to give it to her -- within reason.
The second job idea kinda came out of nowhere. I was a dedicated Curves member, and it occurred to me that maybe I could make a few bucks by working the 4-hour Saturday shift. The owner of my location was amenable to this, even though it meant fully training an employee for limited gain on her part. The "opening shift" came as a fluke, when my boss mistakenly put out a flyer about changing the opening time about a month before she was really prepared for it.
So I volunteered to come in at 7 a.m. (30 minutes earlier than the previous opening time) and stay till 8 a couple days a week, when I would leave to drive the Roo-girl to school. That way, we both reasoned, I could get in my workout and make a few bucks. Since I was driving Z-man and J-bear to high school before 7 every morning anyway, it was no big deal.
Ultimately, it morphed into a six-day-a-week gig. Weekdays ended up being about an hour and half; Saturdays were four hours plus, including cleanup time.
I had my paycheck direct-deposited into a separate account that I never touched. And there it sat ... and grew.
It wasn't a ginormous amount. I made $8 an hour (which was, like, $12 a day for those weekdays, ya know?).
And I let Roo-girl know every step of the way that the Curves job was for her bat mitzvah. When the time came to plan the party, I spelled out the expenses. Some of those expenses were for the synagogue and non-negotiable. And some she got to choose.
This was not an unlimited budget, and I frequently told her things like: "If you pick the more expensive invitation, then there will be less for (whatever)."
In the end, we had about 50 or 60 people at a local rec center, with a kick-ass deejay (that's one place she and I opted to spend the bucks since the deejay will make or break the good time had by all).
She had a blast, even thought it wasn't the social event of the century. Even though we cut many corners. Even though we prevailed upon a party-planner friend, who gave us discount, and the photographer daughter of a Curves colleague, who ALSO gave us a discount.
All in all, the ceremony and the party together were an incredible experience that, although I had gone through it with my three boys before, was made sweeter by her dedication to her faith and her joy as she danced herself silly and her understanding of how this party came to be.
Whew. That went REALLY far afield from where I started. Ever had a post that wrote itself ... in a completely different direction than you intended?
Yeah, well, you just read one!