Sunday, March 24, 2013

A Bar Mitzvah to Remember.....

Leaving Childhood
March 16, 2013
Well, I told you we had a special day coming up last posting. I also said you'd hear more about it.....but between tax season, Purim 10 days before the Bar Mitzvah and now Pesach 10 days after I've been up to my ears in cooking.....and taxes. Grin.

But here was a huge love letter Papa sent see 13 years ago I got the best birthday present I've ever had....the birth of my Little Critter. (Our birthdays are 3 days apart) Mine was the first face he saw, mine the first voice he heard, and mine the first arms he felt...I caught him as he was being birthed. Which was a great thing since the doctor missed! He just leaped from that birth canal straight into my arms! Dodi and I had spent 8 years praying for a child of our own. We'd been chosen multiple times (about 7 to be exact) to be adoptive parents. But each time at the last minute the birth mothers would change their minds.By the time the last rejection came, I was completely and totally devastated. We went to a Y2K celebration and while there I told Papa that if He didn't want us to have our own kids, I was fine with that. That I left it all in His Hands. The following week we got a phone call from someone we'd never met who asked if we'd be interested in adopting her child. We were a bit hesitant, but agreed to meet her and talk. After that first meeting, we prayed (a lot) and in 3 days she called and told us to draw up the adoption papers....she'd sign them and give us her child. We had no idea whether he would be boy or girl, healthy or ill, normal or retarded. But we didn't really care....he'd be ours! And 2 1/2 months later, I was in the delivery room, catching my darling son.

From the beginning he was ours....he looked exactly like Dodi, was the same length and weight as Dodi had been,  had my hearing problems even in the same ears!( and as he grew he had my allergies) Now 13 years later, he still looks like Dodi, is tall like Dodi, built more like me which makes him slender but 5'9", sharp witted (got that from me I'm afraid....) with a slightly warped sense of humor (again from me....) intelligent (had to be from Dodi) head strong, determined, with a tender heart and a gentle spirit. I've been his Ima, his teacher, his confidant, his boo-boo kisser, food provider, discipler, disciplinarian, his sounding block, his protector and his prodder. But last Sabbath, I got to fulfill the vow I made at his birth. And like Hannah of old, I gave him back to Papa.

As I stood before him, Hashem (and the whole congregation) I held up the cap I'd put on his head 13 years ago. I told him "Thirteen years ago, I put this cap on your head to keep you warm, and protect your soft spot. Today I put this new cap on your head (a new kippa I'd made him) to remind you Hashem protects you. I then held up the blanket I'd swaddled him in and said " Thirteen years ago, I swaddled you in this blanket to keep your little arms and legs from flaying around and help you feel safe. Then I wrapped you in this blanket (a warmer one) I made before you were born to protect you from the cold winds and keep you warm. Then I held you in my arms so you'd hear my heart and know how dearly you were loved. Today I wrap you in a new wrap (his new tallit) so you'll always know Hashem will hold you. I love you more than you know....but He loves you more. Papa will now teach you how to be the man He's called you to be. Everywhere I didn't teach you correctly, He'll teach you better. I look forward to seeing the man Papa told your Dad and me that you'd be. A G-dly man who will stand firmly in his faith and not hesitate to tell others about our Heavenly Father. A man who will lead many others to know Papa intimately. A man who will be in Israel, a shining man....a Tzadik. I love you, and I'm proud of you sweetheart."

Of course, there were no dry eyes in the place by then. Even Little Critter had tears in his eyes. Then Dodi said " Well, that's gonna be a hard one to follow!"He gave his gift after the service. But then he gave Little Critter the traditional gift of his family and his heritage as an American Indian. He gave him a weapon (a pocket knife) and assisted Rabbi as he and the congregation gave Little Critter a bigger and more powerful weapon....his own Torah. (it's a practice Torah....but a Torah all the same!) And of course after the gifts, we had food overflowing. I'd spent all week cooking food...I saw it as my final gift to my little boy. (Of course I'll still be cooking for him, he's reached the bottomless pit stage of life!!!!! But he's no longer my little he's a mensch. A man in training.) It was a bittersweet day. My little mommy heart was full to bursting with pride in my son who did SUCH a marvelous job chanting his Torah portion in Hebrew (with only 3 assists from Rabbi!) had a truly adult homily about the portion (and he did it on his own with only 2 suggestions from Dodi and I) and was incredibly humble and grownup thru the whole thing. But at the same time, I realized my time as primary instructor, teacher and confidant was ending....sigh. I know I'll always hold his heart, he'll always have a place for Momma that no one else can fill. And I saw glimpses of the man he's becoming which was really cool.....but my little boy is just about no more. And that's tough. But I rejoice. Papa gave me such a wonderful Love Letter in this squirmy, wiggly, wormy little being who now is reflecting back the love I've given him all these years and now is beginning to attempt to 'take care of' Ima. I know I've made plenty of mistakes with this precious child.....but it would appear I've done plenty right also. And on this most memorable of days, Papa's Love Letter told me I'd done a good job....and He'd correct any mistakes. What more could I ask for???

So dear friends, as we prepare for Pesach tomorrow, I'll say an extra prayer for each of you. That Papa will send you a Love Letter telling you how proud He is of you....and what a great job you've done being the best you you can be. May you be blessed with life, and health, with shalom, and understanding and may all evil passover your household and may Abba lead you thru the storms of life, keep you safe and make His face to shine upon you. Chag Sameck! Spitfire