Royal visit provides entertainment, new friends
Royal visit provides entertainment, new friends
The theme of my daughter’s bat mitzvah was royalty. We chose this theme for a couple of reasons. First, my daughter wanted to learn about tznius; and second, with the Royal Wedding and the Royal Tour, it just seemed to fit. Many of the details of the bas mitzvah celebration brought out this theme. We focussed on the idea that each and every one of us is a bas melech (daughter of the King). That means we are princesses. Aren’t you excited?
A princess has many privileges, and many responsibilities. One of her responsibilities is to do good in the world. She has a duty to make the world a better place. She needs to use her uniqueness, her talents and her skills to change the world for the better. My daughter is very artistic and enjoys working with her hands. We decided to have her use her skills to make the world a greener and more beautiful place.
I had read somewhere, sometime, that you could use old t-shirts in weaving. We did some research and learned an easy way to do this. Using t-shirt material I had lying around the house, we created trivets. These trivets were used as centrepieces at the bas mitzvah and one person from each table took one home. The benefits of our little adventure were great. We were able to use something (well, if we really used old t-shirts, it would have been a bit better) that would have otherwise been thrown out and filled our landfills. We created beautiful centrepieces that were also useful items that we hope will go on to happy lives in their new homes.
The original plan was that my daughter would make 8 of these trivets, one for each table at the tea party. However, as the date of the celebration got closer and the trivets were not yet completed, we needed to rethink our plan. By motzei Shabbos (the tea was Sunday, remember?), we had completed 3 trivets. My niece was visiting and had volunteered her time for the night shift (some of the kids chose to stay up at night to help, others to get up early in the morning). I showed my niece how to make the trivets and she set to work. By the time she went to bed, all 8 were made! The best part is that she learned a new skill and had fun making them.
So, if anyone has any t-shirts that are headed for the trash, drop them off and we will upcycle them into something new, beautiful and useful.
As we go into Shabbos, let’s keep in mind that we are here to improve the world, not just to reap its bounty. Have a wonderful Shabbos!
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.
This past Sunday, we hosted a garden tea in honour of my daughter’s bas mitzvah. It was a beautiful, and I hope meaningful, afternoon for everyone. I am going to indulge and blog about it for a few days. I learned so much and am grateful for so much. I don’t want it all to end too quickly.
When I sent out the invitations and started planning this royal garden tea party about a month ago, the weather didn’t even cross my mind. I was planning an outdoor tea party at the end of June. No big deal. I was thinking about the guest list, the layout, the food, the outfits, the entertainment. The weather (bright and sunny but not too hot with a gentle breeze, of course) was a given.
My in-laws and niece arrived on Friday in pouring rain. It rained off and on all day Shabbos and was cloudy when I picked up my mother from the airport Sunday morning. On the way home, she mentioned that it looked like rain. Throughout the day, my mother-in-law intermittently asked me what my “rain-plan” was. Each time I replied that there was absolutely nothing to worry about. It was going to be perfect – and sunny. At one point, she actually told me that I had to just face the facts and come up with an alternate plan! I told her not to worry, it would all be fine and I would decide on a plan when I started setting up at 2pm (2 hours before the guests were due to arrive).
At 2pm, the sun pushed its way through the clouds. We began to set up the tables and chairs outside. By the time the guests arrived, the tables were almost set and the sun was shining. The grass was dry and a gentle breeze kept us cool. As planned.
Thank you Hashem for this beautiful and treasured gift – and for reminding us how very much You love us 🙂
Why can’t I get it right?
Yes, I do realize that it is SUNDAY! I have spent a large part of the day debating over posting this. I have decided to post it, with a qualification. I am generally an upbeat and optimistic person, but every once in a while I experience a twinge of discontent.
This feeling, while uncomfortable, is essential in stimulating growth. If I was constantly and consistently content, I would never feel the need to make any changes in my life. That niggling feeling that something isn’t quite right provides a crucial impetus to personal development.
That being said, it still boggles my mind that 17 years of marriage and 5 kids later, we still do not know how to create a beautiful, uplifting and inspirational Friday night. Despite my best efforts, we all arrive at the Shabbat table Friday night in complete disarray. We are clean and well dressed but it is just a show. Inside, we are hungry and tired and often feel like we have run a marathon, without the adreneline buzz!
Granted once we eat, we all become mostly human again. Until we get too tired for coherent conversation… When we wake up in the morning, rested and recharged, we forget all about our Friday night troubles and wholeheartedly enter the realm of Shabbat. And it is wonderful!
And so, as we frantically, or maybe calmly, prepare for Shabbat this week, it is appropriate to reflect on the myriad other gifts we have been given. Whatever our personal or national gifts are, large or small, let’s take a moment over the next week or so to say thank you. We often overlook the everyday blessings that surround us. For this one week, let’s open our eyes and really see the bounty G-d has given us.
And now to the Shabbat preparations – I am so grateful for the precious gift of Shabbat, and for the ability to help usher it in with grace and abundance, and just a touch of frenzy 🙂 .
Shabbat shalom and chodesh tov – to a happy and a mindful month!
A few weeks ago, I decided that Wednesday was the perfect day to clean my house. By Wednesday, it usually really needs a clean, and Wednesday is still far enough away from Friday that I have time to do it.
Now, moving from decision to action can take some time. And so, yesterday, I planned to stay home and clean my house. It was pretty much my only goal for the day. In fact, when my friend called and asked if she could use my driveway, I said, “sure. Come anytime. I am home all day.” As the saying goes, man plans, G-d laughs.
This morning, as I sit here in my still messy house, I wonder what happened. Just what did I do yesterday? I sorted the clean laundry, so that was a start, and I ran the dishwasher. I nursed my baby. I went to the mechanic to get a quote on summer tires for our van, came back and took the van in at the end of the day so that the tires could be changed today. I made lunch for my daughter and brought it to school because the lunch program suddenly ended and she was left with nothing to eat. Just as well I went, as I needed to tell her to walk home as I would be taking the van in at that time. I nursed my baby. I found my son’s soccer clothes and prepared his water bottle. I went to the bank. I went to the depanneur to buy popsicles for the kids to have after school. I drove my carpool. I sent my older boys off for dinner and soccer. We ate the posicles. I took the van in. I made supper. I nursed my baby. We ate supper. I learned with my daughter and my niece for their bas mitzvahs. I took my daughter to the grocery store at 10:30 at night to get snacks for a project at school, and some fruit for the kids’ lunches today. I helped my son prepare his Shakespeare monologue and read some of Huckleberry Finn with him, while nursing the baby, of course. When I finally fell into bed at 12:30, I had had a full, productive and happy day – but I wasn’t able to cross a single thing off my to-do list!
I realized today that there are two parts of me that often come into conflict. On one hand, I am a slow moving, savour-the moment person. I like to do things well and in-depth. On the other hand, there are so very many things I feel I need and want to do and so very few hours in which to do them. I try to pack as much as possible into every minute and often end up rushing around as a result.
Every minute is a precious gift and a beautiful opportunity. As mothers, there are many unplanned for disruptions in our days – like my daughter’s ended lunch program, or my baby’s incessant need to nurse all day long. These are the essence, though, not the annoyances, of our parenting days. What good is it to have well fed, well dressed, well slept children if we are not there for them when they need us?
So, in the important ways, I went way beyond my list yesterday. Yes, my house is still a mess, but my children are richer. They know they are loved and cherished – and they don’t see the mess!