A Grandmother's Dream

A Grandmother's Dream

I am just coming back to earth after a wonderful long weekend of celebrating the Bar Mitzvah of my oldest grandchild. Of course, he was remarkable, poised, and beautifully prepared. Seeing him on the Bimah in his blue blazer, rep tie and button-down collar had an air of unreality. It was just “five minutes ago” that he and I were introduced, as he was being wheeled out of the delivery room by his Dad. That night, our eyes met, the newborn’s and the new Grandma’s. It seemed to me that he looked around eagerly, a little Columbus who had just happened upon this new world. I imagined that I heard him say, “Oh, so you are the Grandma, huh? That’s cool!” or as he would put it today, “Sweet!”

The Bar Mitzvah was special because it was his, my first grandchild’s, and also because he did so beautifully. Then too, there was the icing on this delectable cake. The synagogue was peopled with family who had come from far and wide. There were crawling babies, vocal toddlers, and little cousins in party outfits. My almost 4-year-old grandson was all decked out in a striped shirt, tie and jacket; other young cousins from across the country were scrubbed for the occasion. The Bar Mitzvah boy’s 2nd-grade sister was a stunning sight in pink and white. She had prepared me in advance. “You know, Grandma, there will be lots of 7th graders (i.e., big kids) at the party.” Smiles spread across all adults’ faces as we found each other a row or two or more away, smiling eye contacts, throughout the service. What a happy day! Everyone there wanted to be there. How rare!

Then came the party, which had been so thoughtfully planned with the comfort of all in mind by my daughter. Speaking of pride, she and my son-in-law filled me with an abundance of it. They arranged the rooms so adults could sit away from the break-dancing 13 year olds and ear-piercing disc jockeys with screaming mikes. We ventured in and out of the kids’ room where hot pretzels, little pizzas, little hot dogs and big hamburgers beckoned. I had to watch my almost 4-year-old grandson doing his moves without even sending his striped tie askew. So cool, as if he always dressed this way. His baby brother watched wide-eyed, from his stroller, bouncing his approval to the relentless beat. Then back to the relative calm of the adult tables in time to greet a 6-year-old cousin excited to show his parents his prize--a 7-foot-long pretend snake. Talk turned to the challenge of getting this creature onto the plane heading back to Seattle.

At 5 PM, several who didn’t want the party to end accepted an invitation to stop by the Bar Mitzvah family’s home. After pizza and more laughs there and some hoops over the garage for the boys, the party moved to our house. We lingered a while longer. Several people said, “What a lovely day!” It was not easy to let it end.

April 15, 2008

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MAZEL TOV! Much Nachas!

Mazel Tov indeed! That's great news. It sounds like it was a lot of fun.

Thank you, Els and Beth. It sure was; and I have been thinking about why it was pure fun in contrast to the complex emotions experienced during my own children's Bat and Bar Mitzvahs, not to mention their weddings. There was much joy and "nachas" at those events too, of course. But this is very different, as is the entire experience of grandparenting vs. parenting. For the parent of the star of the day, the buck stops with you. Witness the audible sigh of relief from my daughter when her son had completed his masterful job. On this occasion, however, I had no responsiblity (beyond stumbling through an Aleia along with my husband--to the delight of all the grandkids, nieces and nephews). Our achievement was simply making it to the big day, relatively unscathed by life's wear and tear. The meaning of it all became crystal clear, for the first time. I had known the words, of course, but now I experienced the meaning---the powerful and comforting message of continuity---from my grandparents to my parents to me, to my kids and now this adorable grandson; We are connected. How great is that for a devotee of "emotional attachment?"

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