Turning 40 is a milestone. Granted, it isn't as exciting as turning 100, but if you still haven't entered menopause and men still look at you when you pass them on the street, you are in pretty good shape. Or course I am not speaking of myself..men only look at me on the street after I have bumped into them because I take up too much room, but enough of the self-deprecating humor. I am proud to be 40. With age is supposed to come maturity. Kids, that is crap. If you were immature in your 30s, there is little hope for you in your 40s. Dealing with people never gets easier, especially when they are related to you. And that is where in laws come in. If you don't have them yet, try to marry an orphan. Morbid, but good advice. Trust me. I am 40.
My father in law is editing a bar mitzvah book. This means he is compiling a book of Jewish thoughts about the "coming of age" experience for a thirteen-year-old boy, written by esteemed rabbis and relatives alike, putting them together into a book, which people can then buy, and use those words of wisdom at their bar mitzvah celebrations. So you would think that having a daughter-in-law who is as talented as I am in the writing department (oh wait, I don't think he has ever read anything that I have written over the years) and the fact that I only have sons, he would have asked me to write something for the book... Ahh, that wasn't to be. So, this is what I would have written, had he asked me, as sort of a humorous take on being a mother of the bar mitzvah boy... well, not exactly, but the rejection is what has prompted this piece...
Those Darn Kids Grown Up So Fast
I love my sons. When they were born I thought their bar mitzvahs were millenniums away, but that was not the case. They went from breast feeding, to practicing their speeches in less time than it takes to say, "Why can't you pee in the toilet instead of on the toilet." In the eyes of God, they are supposed to be men, but they look so freaking adorable in their suits, totally not like men, more like handsome older versions of their infant selves. Lately, while in the privacy of my car, the tears can't stop flowing when I think about how fast it's going. Wasn't it just yesterday that I said to the father of these boys, "Uh, honey, I'm pregnant..." and he said, "But our oldest is only 7 months old..." Side point, that is what happens when you don't read the instructions on the box of spermicide. Also side point, that doesn't happen to women in the 40s.
Wasn't it just yesterday?!?!?!? You know what they say, that if women remembered how awful childbirth is, they would never have any more children. It's the same thing with everything in the world of child rearing. You forget the no-sleep, constant screaming, poopy diapers that take on a life of their own, security blankets that have gone missing... it all disappears when you look at the miracle that is standing before you.
Hope My Daughter-in-Laws Like Me
Older friends of mine, who only have sons, have expressed how they feel about the non-existent roles that they played at their son's weddings (except for that of the evil mother-in-law). In gearing up for that, I am taking full and complete advantage of the very important role I have at their bar mitzvahs. I am making sure they practice their speeches so often, that even the spiders in our house know the speech by heart. I am constantly reminding them to practice their Torah portion, so they don't have 200 men correcting their mistakes. I am taking them for suits, picking out the menus, picking out clothes for me that I like, not some ridiculous color that my future daughter-in-law, (that I will love even if she has three heads and a tattoo), has picked out for me. Doing place cards, fielding responses, willing those relatives and out-of-towners that haven't responded to respond without my having to make threatening phone calls, making gift bags, picking out hostess gifts, boring my friends, who I love, with all of the inane details and breakdowns. But, the bottom line is that I have enjoyed every minute of it...every single second, because THEY STILL NEED ME!!!!!!! My boys still need me. And one of the things you learn at 40 is that being needed is so important, especially by your children.
But since I am still human after all and truthfully, after all of that planning, I need a drink! Cheers!