As the saying goes, it takes a village to raise a child. Never is this more obvious than when making a simcha. Over the last 4 years, we have been blessed with one bar mitzvah and two bat mitzvahs. In each case, I have been astounded by the support and assistance of the community.
The most recent bat mitzvah, held this past Sunday, was almost entirely made possible by the generosity and kindness of those close to us. One neighbour lent me her sewing machine so that I could make the tablecloths and the dresses for my daughters. She and her family also ironed those tablecloths, made two of the dishes we served, and selected all of the p’sukim (quotes) I used on the placecards. Another neighbour made the floral napkin rings that were our centrepieces. My niece made the trivets the napkin rings sat on and folded many of the flower napkins for the guests. My eldest daughter did all of the baking, spending hours in the kitchen creating delicious works of art. She also made the seating plan. My mother-in-law made all the sandwiches as well as the vegetable and fruit platters, not to mention doing the last minute shopping and bringing the colourful plastic cutlery. My son made the Bingo game board (which was created by my niece, my two daughters and my mother-in-law). He also made all the placecards. One of my dear friends took the seats out of her van and helped me haul the rented tables and chairs back and forth to the rental company. And, of course, each and every guests helped with the set up and clean up – embarrassing as that is to admit;)
And so, thanks to every one of these special individuals, my daughter had a beautiful bat mitzvah celebration. I came up with the idea and all the details I wanted included. I really tried to get it all done without bothering too many other people. But when I really needed it, my “village” brought my vision into being. More than the myriad of flowers and food, my daughter will remember the love and effort that went into every single part of her celebration. And, in the end, that is what really matters. She needs to know how special she is to so many people and I need to realize that, try as I may, I cannot (and, indeed, should not) do it all on my own.
We all have something unique to give to those around us and it is our duty to do so lovingly. Each of us weaving our thread in the tapestry of our village.