My oldest son just had his barmitzvah celebration last weekend. Oy. Months of work on his part, on my part, on his mother's part...all for one weekend. But what a weekend!
First of all, Buck (not his real name, but I am going to maintain the illusion of his privacy and anonymity) did a wonderful job. He chanted his Torah and Haftarah portion beautifully, led the prayers in the service jes' fine, and delivered a d'var torah that has had us rethinking our understanding of the story of Exodus. My wife, my father, and I also chanted Torah, partly out of a sense of duty, partly out of solidarity with my son, and partly because we can't help that we are bigshot showoffs. We made one of the mothers in the congregation a little nervous. Her son will be barmitzvah in a couple of years, and after the service, she asked me skittishly, "They don't make all the parents chant Torah as well, do they?"
However, on top of everything else, I decided to cater the barmitzvah myself. It seemed like a brilliant idea a year ago; a great way to cut costs. We originally planned for over 100 people, about 80 people showed up, and I made enough food to feed at least 120. So, we have been eating leftovers all week. And we probably will next week as well.
The lunch was Mexican-themed. Originally, I had planned to do a congregational lunch at our synagogue, and I convinced Buck that a Mediterranean-themed lunch that would work best as a cold (or room temperature) lunch, seeing as we could not use the ovens on Shabbat. But due to various twists, turns, and decisions, the lunch was moved to a different location with a kitchen, and Buck convinced me to create a Mexican lunch with hot dishes: black bean soup, tamale pie, and fiesta rice. I even developed a new recipe for the occasion; a gluten-free tamale pie that should be suitable for those with gluten or wheat intolerance. Oh, and my mother and her friends pitched in to bake about 350 cookies. So, we're eating leftover cookies now with our leftover tamale pie.
Now the weekend is over, and I am left with nothing but bills, thank you letters, and leftovers. I can not help but feel the post-barmitzvah malaise, a sense of loss as I try to fill in the massive vacancy in my schedule. I have this urge to tell my son to go practice his Torah portion. I am doing my best to stifle this urge. Besides...he has his science fair project to work on now. Maybe I'll do my own science fair project as well; just to lend him moral support. And then I can cater the science fair. I wonder if the judges will like tamale pie?