When my son had his bar mitzvah two years ago, I patted myself on the back. Easy, peasy, lemon squeezy, I thought to myself. What’s the fuss? We had a large mitzvah project, threw a small celebration, and were surrounded by loving friends and family. This boy couldn’t have cared less if we had a theme, decorations, or, as it turned out, his classmates. It was a glorious evening and the perfect ending to a long preparatory process by my son.
Enter: twelve-year-old girl. You think you got this, mom? You think it’s easy? Challenge, accepted.
I’m not saying my daughter, apple of my eye, was difficult. But I’m also not NOT saying it. In her honor, I’ve coined a new word. You’ll find it below.
A is for acrylic invitations. Those things I swore I’d never waste money on. Because, you know, they still end up in the garbage at the end of the process, whether you spent $1 or $16 on each. Well, guess who has two thumbs and ate her words?
B is for Batzilla. And no, that’s not a Purim costume hybrid of a bat and Godzilla. It is the 12-year-old equivalent of a bridezilla. I’m starting a fund now to bribe my angel to elope when the time comes.
C is for candle lighting, which batzilla PROMISED she didn’t want. Until two weeks before the bat mitzvah.
D is for dress. And the girl who changed her mind about the one she was going to wear, three weeks before the event. New dress purchased and tailored with time to spare. I do NOT recommend trying to replicate.
E is for elopement. Destination bat mitzvah, ideally without the batzilla…Calgon, TAKE ME AWAY.
F is for friends. Or acquaintances. Or friends of friends that batzilla made eye contact with once. All of whom absolutely MUST be present at the bat mitzvah or I might as well cancel it. I should have taken her up on that option.
G is for grand entrance. Ella insisted she didn’t want one. I fully expect her to change her mind five minutes before the party begins, and insist that Drake carry her in on his shoulders.
H is for HELP. For mom. In the form of wine. See M below.
I is for Israel. Where we should have gone instead of this.
J is for Judaism. Just because. This is the reason for the season.
K is for kids. Anywhere from 75-80. Which is approximately 70 more than my son invited to his bar mitzvah. K is also for kippot, which have been at my house for the better part of a year.
L is for laughter. And love. Because if you can’t laugh about it and remember that you’re doing this for the love of your child, you may strangle someone. A 12-year-old someone. L is also for logo, my only win for the bat mitzvah, in that we didn’t have one.
M is for Manischewitz. Momma’s favorite form of help. And wine. Highbrow. I know. M can also be for montage, which sounds like a great project to try on your own, until you start hating every song recorded and feel badly about every picture and video you’re excluding from the 10-minute depiction of your child’s life to-date.
N is for never again. Did I mention the elopement fund I’ve started?
O is for Ouch. What my husband says every time he sees a cost associated with the bat mitzvah. In batzilla’s defense, this reaction hasn’t changed from the one he had for our son’s Simcha.
P is for place cards. Who remembers how fun seating arrangements were for weddings? Yeah, that’s absolutely oozing with sarcasm.
Q is for queen. Because princess simply doesn’t seem appropriate anymore. There is no one above her. We are all her subjects.
R is for remembering the fun and the love. The rest will pass. Cherish the love in that room, engulfing your child and your family. Bask in it.
S is for Simcha. That’s one of the guests we invited. I kid, I kid. S is also for swag. So. Much. Swag.
T is for Torah. What a joy to hear my daughter chant this ancient text, in her grandfather’s Iraqi trope, after being tutored by her brother for months.
U is for U R CRAZY. If I were a 12-year-old texting. But I’m not. So U is for updo. Because I’m Israeli and sweat a lot, and a wet neck is not a cute look paired with haute couture.
V is for Venus. Women may be from Venus, but this process has proven that 12-year-old daughters must start out on a different planet than the one where their moms reside. Uranus? Maybe that’s my U.
W is for wet. Tears will be shed throughout the process, and not all from joy. And not all from the child. Also, that whole Israeli family thing I mentioned before may attribute to some sweaty wetness.
X is for Xanax, because Calgon won’t do.
Y is for YOLO. You only live once. So spend the money to give her what she wants and make it a night she’ll never forget. And then remind her of that when she asks why she has to pay for college.
Z is for Zazzle, for personalized napkins, cups, bags, shirts…Ze End.