Thursday, April 7, 2016

Bar mitzvah attitude: It'll all be good


Last week, we went to the temple to practice for Max's bar mitzvah after he got home from school. He and his music teacher sang the first song. And then, he started crying. Turns out he was tired.

I know he'll be more alert on his big day–Sunday!—but who knows what will go down. I'm betting he won't have performance anxiety, since in recent years he's become a big ham (he might very well take a bow when he's done). At recent practices, his primary focus has been on adjusting the mic, to make sure he is completely heard.

At Tuesday night's run-through, Max was cool, calm and collected. He aced it. He even added a joke. Max had made up lyrics to a song we called "Thank You God!" about stuff for which he is grateful, sung to the tune of his favorite song, Fire Truck. When he got to the line "I can play with Ben and Sabrina" he shook his head and interjected "Not Sabrina!" She's been bugging him lately.

Max had his iPad on hand because he'll be saying his speech using his Proloquo2Go app. After the practice was done, Max unexpectedly grabbed his iPad and pressed the "Does anyone have any questions?" button. I laughed. If he does that on Sunday, well, what the hey. He'll answer questions! And sign autographs!

Meanwhile, Sabrina's taken the role of stage mom. At a recent practice she sat on the bench in front of the podium and kept mouthing to him "LOOK AT THE WORDS!" I had to tell her to stop and let him do his thing. (See: "Sabrina is bugging him lately"). 

Max has made his demands clear about how his bar mitzvah will go. Specifically:

• He will require hair gel.
• He would like to be driven to the bar mitzvah in Dave's car, just with Dave.
• He is going to make his entrance into the party room alone, wearing his fire truck hat. He may or may not pretend he is driving a fire truck.
• People aren't allowed to clap. We've agreed they can fist-pump and say "Woot! Woot!" and the DJ will let them know.
• He is game to get lifted up on a chair with arms during the traditional hora dance, but not too high. (I have formed a Max Lifting Committee and let them know.)
• He must have stuffed shells. And a piƱa colada. 
• His cake will have a photo of his favorite fire engine (of course).
• Also, he would like to have two bar mitzvahs.

Thankfully, Max did not inform me that I can't cry uncontrollably. Which I most definitely will; I can't even practice his speech without welling up. This is why I crowdsourced the best waterproof mascara on Facebook the other week. (Winner: CoverGirl LashBlast Fusion Mascara.) So, my money is on Max for holding it together on Sunday as I melt into a puddle of tears.

I know from experience that, no matter what, things may not go as planned. Max could decide not to sing one of the songs. Or he might decide that he's done before the ceremony's over, even though we've kept it short at about a half hour. Whatever happens, it'll all be good.

This is not a Broadway show; Max doesn't have to perform. As always, he will do what he can do to the best of his abilities and/or his mood. We will be surrounded by family and friends, people who understand Max and accept him for who he is.

I will be so proud of him, no matter what.

I hope he'll be really proud of himself, too.

And I will most definitely be having a pina colada with my big, grown, beautiful boy.

23 comments:

  1. I want to see a copy of the speech afterward...Mazel Tov in advance!

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    1. You bet—I will share it here. Thank you, sweetie.

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  2. Best wishes and congratulations! A fabulous milestone in so many ways.

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  3. I'm getting teary already. I sure hope you've listened to the song Shine by Rachel Coleman of Signing Time. Max will shine!

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    1. Yes, great song. Our parent blessing mentions Max being a bright light!

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  4. Have a wonderful time--enjoy every minute
    Addie made her First Communion when she was 9 years old
    We had so much fun ordering a fantastic dress from Wooden Soldier
    Her cake was more reminiscent of a wedding cake than a standard First Communion cake
    She had a huge party with wonderful flowers
    I knew when I pinned her veil in place it was the only time I would get to do it and I cried buckets--so did my Mom and Addie's Godmother
    She looked like a little bride
    I hope Max's day is memorable for him and your whole family

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    1. Thank you, Mary. You know the feeling!

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  5. I'm relatively new to your blog/Max's story, but I absolutely LOVE all the stories about the bar mitzvah and cannot wait to hear all about it next week! Thank you for sharing this special time with all of us!

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    1. I will share here, both because I am so proud and because I'd love to be able to help other parents of children with special needs who want to do a bar/bat mitzvah.

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  6. Singing is hard. (I am a self-taught vocalist.)

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    1. It is hard, I can't really hit high notes but I do ok with medium/lower notes.

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    2. Hi Anna!!
      Singing is hard!! I absolutely agree!! For years, I could sing high notes.... But then I became afflicted with pneumonia at age 21.... For some reason, I have not been able to sing high notes ever since!! {I am 32!!} ;)
      Wait.... You are a self-taught vocalist?! That is so neat, so talented, so gifted, so smart!! Growing up, Ariel from The Little Mermaid and our church's Children's Pastor Dan taught me how to sing!! ;-D
      "Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive", Raelyn

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  7. Kol Hakavod ( All the honor) for reaching this amazing milestone. Cry, smile and enjoy every minute!
    --Michelle Wolf in Los Angeles

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  8. Best of luck Fireman Max! Have fun!

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  9. Oh I wish we could be there! Sounds like it will be just perfect no matter what.

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  10. Ellen....
    I wish I could read/comment on today's Blog post.... I have no time, what with watching my nieces, "Amethyst" and "Opal"!! They sure are cute, though!! ;)
    "Stay hard, stay hungry, stay alive", Raelyn

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  11. How exciting for Max and your whole family! My daughter celebrated her Bat Mitzvah a couple of years ago and it was so very special. I'm sure with a son as precious as Max, it'll be a roaring success (whether you manage to hold it together or not :-) )... I was several months pregnant during our daughter's Bat Mitzvah, so I had a good excuse to be emotional :-)

    Blessings to you all!
    Tehila

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  12. So excited for you Ellen! A bar mitzvah is a big moment for any parent and any child and you are arriving here with grace and wisdom as this will be a day to celebrate Max to the max in the ways that he can take it in best. Mazal Tov!!

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  13. Mazal tov! I'm so excited for you and Max and your whole family. And thrilled to share this Bar Mitzvah weekend with you. I, too, have been crying as I write what I want to say to my very special son, who is doing so much more than we ever imagined. But it's his comfort on the bimah they truly astounds me. I think I'm going to skip the eye makeup altogether!

    Kol hakavod to Max and I can't wait to hear more!

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  14. Wow, how time flies! Mazal Tov and Yashar Ko'ach!

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  15. Congratulations and good luck. We're currently planning to baptise Noah and Victoria at our church. I'll come back tomorrow to hear more and see photos as well.

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  16. I hope the celebration went well, it must have been a great day for you and your family xx

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Thanks for sharing!



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