15 February 2006

Bar Mitzvah blues

Recently, Hubby and I went to a family Bar Mitzvah. We debated about going, but since a) it was family we hadn't seen in quite a while, and b) all the kids are mostly grown up, mostly teenagers, and c) there are no babies in the family, we decided it would be safe and worth going.

We were wrong.


There was a baby there. One little baby who cried throughout Friday dinner. But, surprise, surprise - it wasn't the baby that got to us. It wasn't watching the mom cuddle and soothe the baby that made me have to excuse myself and pop into the washroom for a quick cry.

It was the Bar Mitzvah. The event and the child. It was watching the parents talking about how proud they are of their child, and their child's accomplishments, and how wonderful it's been watching their child grow up. It was the siblings talking about how great it was to be this child's sibling. It was the cousins putting together a little show for the child. It was the community all talking about what a wonderful job this child did on the Torah and Haftorah. It was the Rabbi talking about what meaningful d'var Torah this child gave.

It was recognizing that we will, in all likelihood, never, ever have this experience of our own. We will never shep nachas (receive joy) from our child reading Torah. We will never share the experience of practicing the Torah portion with our child, being so very proud of our child, pulling our hair out planning the dinner and the luncheon for our child, smiling until our cheeks hurt, getting hugged until our shoulders ache, having our hearts brimming so full that it feels like it might burst.

It wasn't the baby that got us. It was what that baby can become.


At 16/2/06 2:02 a.m., Blogger persephone said...

Oh, Projgen. I know I can have all the faith in the world that this is not true, but it won't help you a bit.

I can't make your cheeks hurt from smiling but I would gladly hug you till your shoulders ache.

At 16/2/06 8:45 a.m., Anonymous wessel said...

Now why are you saying this will likely never happen for you? Many, many couples have success with infertility treatments. Only a few (like yours truly here) are continual failures. I think there is every reason to believe that you WILL have children.

I hate to say it and sound even more like a bitter crone, but I really dislike all the adulation of the boy that goes on at some Bar Mitzvah celebrations. A little bit is totally appropriate, but what I have seen in some schuls is the parents droning on and on and on and on, and then the grandparents get up and drone on and on and on and one and then the uncles and then the aunts and then the third cousin who is a famous Rabbi in Tinbucktoo, and they go on and on and on, not just about the boy, but about every member of the family -- how wonderful the father is, how tireless and devoted the mother is, how of course they would have a boy like this . . . Until I want to go SHRIEKING from the room!! I have seen too many of these displays than I care to admit. There are other families, on the other hand, who really keep a lid on that sort of Mutual Admiration Society excess with the poor captive audience in tow, and they focus on the spiritual aspect of being called to the Torah and that's that. I love those families.

Anyway, not sure why I shared that, except to say that Bar Mitzvahs just make me tired, usually.

At 16/2/06 10:13 p.m., Blogger projgen said...

Thanks, Persephone! I can feel the ache now ;)

Wessel, the likelihood at this point is it will never happen for us - we see absolutely no way to come up with the money for another cycle in the near future, and seeing as I'm now in my 40s, time is running out for us.

As for the Bar Mitzvah, you don't sound like a bitter crone - I've been to some like you first describe and yeah, te-di-ous. You're so wonderful and we all suck; we know, we know already. We're pretty fortunate that in our families, they recognize that
being Bar Mitzvah is about Torah. If I gave the impression that the speakers droned on and on about the kid's accomplishments, then that was my bad. They all kept it short, pertinent and meaningful, and most even included a very short d'var. I think I was more focusing on the idea that I'd never have anyone to talk about like that, and relayed that part, and ignored the rest.

At least there was no $10 million party! ;)

At 17/2/06 1:00 a.m., Blogger Just another Jenny said...

I want to come over and give you a hug. I wish I could do something to help. We have discussed doing a donor sperm IUI if IVF doesn't work or becomes financially impossible but I know that certianly doesn't work for everybody, neither does adoption (which is more expensive than IVF).
Whatever your journey is, I hope you get to feel that joy someday.

I have never been to a Bar Mitzvah but it sounds pretty interesting (I have only seen them on tv and I know that probably isn't a true example).

At 17/2/06 8:12 a.m., Anonymous wessel said...

Oh Projgen, I'm sorry. Somehow I missed the advanced maternal age diagnosis, though I see you mention age in your profile. I guess my blog isn't very encouraging for you either when it comes to alternatives, seeing as how that modern medical miracle hasn't worked for me. Sigh.

Can you drop me an email? I don't have your address.


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