I'm sitting on Max's bed with the music therapist, going over plans for his bar mitzvah in April. Max is in another room, their session done. Jill will be playing guitar at the ceremony as Max sings a few songs, including one they make up.
She asks if it's OK to use the lyric "Thank you, God, for creating torah" and I say maybe but that I want the song to be both spiritual and meaningful to Max, and he doesn't yet get the meaning of torah.
I figured that fire trucks would somehow play into the song, but I had no idea. Because the next thing I know, she pulls out a list of items Max has told her he wants to include. There are fire trucks, to be sure And Firefighter Angelo, his friend. And bowling, his favorite sport. And the color red.
Oh, and stuffed shells.
Yep, Max would like to sing about stuffed shells at his bar mitzvah ceremony. As in, pasta stuffed with ricotta and other cheese.
I start giggling at the thought of Max standing in the sanctuary in front of our friends and family and singing about stuffed shells, and suddenly I am laughing so hard tears are coming out of my eyes. The therapist is cracking up too. The responsibility of overseeing Max's bar mitzvah and coming up with a ceremony that engages him and embraces religion has weighed on me, and it feels so, so good to laugh.
I have faith, we'll figure it out. We discuss how Max will sing about how firefighters help people, and that helping people is an important good deed. Perhaps stuffed shells can figure into the song if, say, Max talks about being grateful for the good stuff God gives us, including good family, good friends, a good house, a good teacher and good food. (Cue: "Stuffed shells!")
Really, though: If it were me, I would have chosen to praise baked ziti.
Image source: Flickr/Johnny Stiletto