We had my younger son's Bar Mitzvah last weekend. It was wonderful. My sweet yummy boy blew us all away.
He amazes us every day – with his wit, intelligence, compassion, courage -- and his panache. I am so explodingly proud of him – of all that he has accomplished, and the fine young man he is becoming in front of my eyes.
When he was a little guy, he was, as he remains, a very intense person. "Formidable" is how I described him in my journal when he was only 6 weeks old. Hadn't known the kid 2 full months but already I could tell -- I knew from the first moments he breathed air and looked into my eyes -- it was inescapably clear that this was a lot of person I'd be contending with. This is a kid who can smell the electric stove warming a tea kettle from across a house and up a flight of stairs (and yells to see if the house is on fire); he could hear the math in a Mozart piece when I took him to a Carnegie Hall concert at age 5 -- and was frustrated with me that I didn't know what he meant when he said "that one had so much math in it! You know what I mean, Mommy! Come on! Stop kidding." But I wasn't.
When he was four, I went into his room to kiss him goodnight one night. He was lying there grinning. What, I asked him. His eyes twinkling, he said, "I wish I could be pizza dough, so you would knead me. Get it Mommy? Knead, need? I want you to need me, both ways! It can mean two things! You know what I mean?" That time I did know.
But he was also the one nursery school kid who could not let go of his mommy’s leg. The one kindergartner who could not stand up in front of the multi-purpose room at school to sing jingle bells at the Winter Concert – he was turning blue, shaking, beyond my reassurances that he didn’t have to do it. Because he felt that he did have to do it. I watched him as he mustered his courage, his little fists balled up – and willed himself toward the front of that room for the final song, which he sang with grim serious determination: This little light of mine, he promised, frowning – I’m gonna let it shine. This little light of mine, I’m gonna let it shine.
And holey moley – what a light it is. A glorious light. He stood up there on the bimah last weekend chanting Torah, singing songs, giving a thought-provoking sermon -- and he ROCKED. He danced, he smiled, he brought the blazing light of his intelligence and the glittering dazzle of his ebullient personality to shine over all of us.
And hallelujah for that.