I'm wiped out.
This weekend was the Bar Mitzvah of one of the kids in my neighborhood. He's a great kid and one of the best friends of my older kids. (As an aside, one of the (many) reasons that I love this neighborhood would be the kids. There are a ton in almost all of the ages of my kids. Whenever I can't find my big kids, I know that they are out with their friends.)
So, the temple service was on Saturday. I really didn't know what to expect, having never been to a Jewish, well, anything, really. We live in an area with a high concentration of Jewish families. As an aside, we also live in an area with a high concentration of Orientals. The Hubster and I joke that we are a minority, being Irish/German white Catholics. The service was amazing. Probably one of the most prayerful, reverent experiences of my life. It was looong, too, almost 3 hours. It was nice that they offered babysitting, and doubly nice that Emma and Riley actually stayed there. After, the was a luncheon, and then later that night, there was a dinner party scheduled. An entire day, devoted to a boy who was now considered a man. Most of my neighbors came out.
Having never been to a Bar Mitzvah, I had no idea that it was such a ginormous event. Really, I have only been to one other Jewish ceremony, and that was a bris. We have First Communions, and the way our church does it is nice, but not a huge party. Correction: there are people who do have big parties, we just aren't one of them, I guess. But, we have FC, and that's it. We go home. This event went on all weekend; it resembled a wedding in that there was an event for every day.
Let me back up here for a second. Friday, I had watched Oprah. It was the episode where she visited Auschwitz with Elie Wiesel. I remember my mother reading one of his books and crying, and I could never understand why. Now, as an adult, I do. I was *consumed* by Friday's episode. I have always been interested in the Holocaust, and it was the era that I did most of my research on in school. Oprah was walking through the museums with him, and they came to the shoe display. The stack of shoes was mindboggling. And then they came to the hair. At which point I began to cry, and then quietly lost it. There was a room full of hair from corspes, and it was one of the biggest rooms I have ever seen. I couldn't even stand it. But I forced myself to watch it, and my big kids as well.
So, Saturday night, we got dressed up and went to the hotel. I, of COURSE, was dressed incorrectly. One of my neighbors told me that she was just wearing a simple little sundress. Yeah, if you can say that. It was fancy and she looked amazing. I, on the other hand, was working my fancy gold cork wedges, thanks to Kalisa. Anyway, I was at the table with my neighborhood. It was tons of fun; I was sitting with two other couples who live across from me and two college boys who used to live down the street, before they went to school. There was a DJ, an open bar, and a huge buffet line, after the appetizers that were offered by walking waitstaff. It was akin to a wedding; at least, most of the weddings I've been to. I LOVE open bars, let's just say that.
I went through the buffet line, gathering my salad and steak, fruit, green beans and broccoli. Hey, I was trying to be good! I sat down with my meal and my mixed drink, and dug in. About half way through the meal, I looked up and dropped my fork in shock.
I had just connected the dots between the Oprah show and the day I had just spent. An entire day, full of life and laughter, love and excitment, celebrated by a group of people who almost didn't exist. I looked around, the steak in my mouth as dry as toast. I was one of the only non Jewish persons in the room. The people who were in the room were my friends, and we were having a complete and total ball. The music was pumping, the drinks were flowing, and yet, it almost didn't happen. It was a party that almost wasn't. The shoes in the musuem had owners. The hair belonged on the heads of people who were seated at Table 10 with me. The suitcases of toys that were brought in anticipation of a fun time would have been used by little kids just like the ones running wild through the party, and by teens just like those asking for drinks at the bar.
I pushed my plate away, unable to eat anymore. It took me a good ten minutes before I was able to think about anything else. But then, the DJ played the Hava Nagila, and the entire room exploded into dance. I was even up there, this Irish Catholic. After that, there was no holding the party back, and we danced most of the night. I do LOVE to dance in a group of people.
Another thought that was so interesting to me was the juxtaposition of the college students with the married couples at the table. You have neighbors, people you hang with, and you never really know them. And then you go to a wedding, or a Bar Mitzvah, and people are able to relax. The hair comes down, the shoes come off, and the real person comes out. When you are in college, partying is all you think about. It defines you; how much you can drink, when can you drink, who is going to which party when. As an adult, the parties are farther between, so when you go to parties, you really get to see what people are made of; you get to see the real person inside.
Gah. We had a neighborhood party today, in the street, after we had a brunch together yesterday - so what I'm saying is that after three days, the neighbors are still talking to me, so I must have done something right. I had FOUR glasses of the best sangria EVAH, so I'm not sure that I said what I wanted to here.
What a great, eye opening, interesting weekend. Back to reality, but this time with a new vision. Hopefully it's not derived from all the alcohol I've had..........