(That almost rhymes).
Won't make excuses, except for this: Took a year off.
Literally. Took the year off work, off blogging. Returned to the student life and studied something entirely different. No education, no therapy. No hospital.
Turns out, studying midlife is not studying at 19. No night-after-night-awake-until-2am. No running to the library whenever I darn feel like it. Elder Princeski, Always the Imp and
Blondini Boy (who, incidentally, has grown out of those blond curls) need me to look up from those books once in awhile. They can't be expected to understand what's so exciting about all the fine print piling up on the dining table. Even if colorful maps are sometimes involved.
And then, there was the recent Coming of Age Celebration, aka the Bat Mitzvah. (Because we all know how a twelve-year-old is, um, practically an adult. Never mind).
By now a majority of the neighbors have hosted one or more of these events, and this
is what stands out: The child's parents stand up and -- along with happily fawning over their child, and thanking everybody for coming -- praise the community at great lengths, for making the event a reality. It always sounded kind of exaggerated, and I couldn't understand what the big deal was.
Now I really do get it. Elder P & I had this vision, to celebrate at home with a kind of garden-block-party, and my neighbors did every imaginable task to make this thing a reality. An abridged list:
Helping Elder P plan a special Bat Mitzvah tefilla. Sitting with me to plan out the menu, the shopping list, the time table, the program. Hosting our family for a relaxing Shabbat lunch the week before the event. Lending hotplates and water kettles, projector lights and electricity cables. Lending two hours at night, and again the next day -- in the blazing sun --to help That Guy install those lights and electricity cables.
(Pause for breath). Approaching neighbors and asking them to lend all the above (& more), then delivering it to our doorstep. Permitting us to close off the street for the evening. Making salads and fruit plates. Translating and printing Elder P's talk into English so our family could enjoy it. Going out -- at the last minute -- to pick up the food. Taking down the signs after the event (thank you, whoever you are!). Moral support. I know there's more, but I've already forgotten.
One of my neighbors has actually opened a Gama"ch in memory of her father z"l, lending out serving dishes, tablecloths, candlesticks and more so that her neighbors can hold events at home. She came two hours beforehand and set up all the tables, too. What a huge help.
What goes around also comes around. By purchasing our drinks at the makolet (local grocery store) instead of the [less expensive] chain supermarket, we received an offer to store the drinks in his jumbo-fridge until right before the party.
We hired one neighbor to make high-end
desserts, giving her much-needed publicity (and the desserts were fantastic! If you want her number, drop me a line). Another neighbor, all of fifteen years old, is a professional-grade hair stylist who, as you can see, turned Elder P into a true Princess.
E, the son-in-law of friends and a young father raising two young kids while growing his new photography business, was hired to take pictures. We employed yet a fourth friend to provide the entertainment, including individually tailored instruction for the kids and a funny & original juggling performance for all our guests. (Elder P loves juggling, and this was a special surprise in her honor). Three neighborhood teens were hired as kitchen managers and waitresses, and they worked.
We love having such talented friends, and being able to give them our business at such a happy occasion.
And then, there were my parents. The morning of, I sent them a fourteen-item list, Which of these could you help with?, expecting them to chose two or three. They choose ten, and then ran around schlepping stuff from late afternoon until early evening when the party began.
And yes, it was worth it! Elder P had the time of her life, so did the neighbors, and I'm thankful. בשמחות!
Keep the balance,