Thursday, January 8, 2009

THE Bat Mitzvah

My niece is 13.

This is a big enough deal for any girl - you know the whole teenage entry and stuff. But MK? she's been a teenager for years...all about the fashion, the boys, the phone calls, the texting and god knows, she has the teenage drama thing down cold.

Don't get me wrong. I love the girl dearly, but holy cats can she put on a show.

So here she is in her ideal place - the middle of the spotlight, in the starring role of her own life. Her Bat Mitzvah. THE Bat Mitzvah. And apparently, this is bigger than super sweet sixteen and a wedding all wrapped into one (at least for now).

When I turned 13? I had a slumber party. A few girlfriends arrived at my house at 6PM. We played games, watched tv, giggled incessantly, ate junk food - all in our comfy and somewhat ratty pj's. We were asleep by midnight. There was, of course, a breakfast the next day ( as I recall it was Apple Jacks and toast) and then they were gone, by 10AM.

Considering my inexperience in understanding the scale of THE Bat Mitzvah, can you blame me for thinking we should write a really big check? Turns out, that is not expected, which is good, cuz you know, there's a recession and all, but what IS expected is participation - major participation.

We will fly out for a week in San Francisco, a week full of events. We will stay in a local hotel and rent our own car. I have been informed that we must present ourselves in full dress on Thursday afternoon for formal family photography session. I have further been informed that we are to participate in the Thursday night dinner, the Friday night dinner, and Friday night temple. Then we are to present ourselves again at the temple at 8AM Saturday for more family pictures and then the actual Bat Mitzvah ceremony. Saturday night is the BIG party (and probably more photography)...think wedding reception style event - which has a Broadway Theater theme (drama, right?). Sunday AM? is the grandparent hosted brunch.

So last night I struggled with the question all cool protestant-reared Aunts of young Jewish women must contend with: What the hell is a Bat Mitzvah, and more importantly, what the hell do I wear? AND do I have shoes to go with it?

Last week I spoke with the birthday girl herself and she was on her way to get her "gown" fitted. It seems this is one of several special outfits she will have for the various activities around this weekend. Apparently it is strapless, shimmery, and quite the fashion statement. MK then asked if I had purchased my dress yet? "No," I informed her, "I'm not buying a new dress."

MK: "Oh." (read the disappointment and disapproval dripping from that one syllable.)

Wenderina: "I have a dress already I think will be fine."

MK: "Oh," as she tries to be supportive, "well what does it look like?"

Wenderina: "It's just a basic black dress."

no response

Wenderina: "Sleeveless."

no response

Wenderina: "Scoop neck."

no response

Wenderina: "Knee length."

no response

Wenderina; "It's a classic little black dress."

no response

Wenderina: "I really like it and it was such a great deal. It's Calvin Klein."

MK: "Oh! Sounds great!"

...yeah, it's like that with MK.

So needless to say, when I saw Coldwater Creek had a super sale going on, I scrolled through the catalog to see if there was something that might better meet MK's expectations. I ordered a blue velvet "gown" with a pleated back vent and a little rhinestone pin, etc. etc. etc. Much more "special" than the Calvin Klein, despite the lesser label. It arrived yesterday and I found myself trying this new dress on, then the little black dress, then a gold dress I had worn ONCE to a friends wedding...parading them all in front of Hubby with various pashminas, jewelry choices, and shoes...

I don't know why I'm kidding myself...or Hubby, for that matter.
The answer is right in front of me.

Of course I will take them ALL.

And seek MK's approval of the right one. Because you see, MK at 13 has more fashion sense and girl genes and proper sense of drama than this 40+ year old will ever have.


KiKi said...

LOL! Have you read Certain Girls by Jennifer Weiner? If you haven't, you must, your situation is NOT unique.

Also, was hubby helpful or did he offer responses like my hubby does: "I like that one. I like that one too. I like that one too. Yup, they all look nice." Big help.

Rhea said...

Being Jewish I've attended a boatload of Bar and Bat Mitzvahs. Sure, dress up, but it's not like dinner with a head of state or something.

Pat said...

Hi! I'm in the same boat. How many bags can we take (and pay for). I haven't even thought about accessories yet. Nobody mentioned Friday night to me. I'm exhausted already.
Part of the problem is the distance. If we made the right choices can we wear the same things in two years for sister? I hate packing under the best of circumstances. Maybe I'll do a Hillary and wear my plain black pants suit (different blouses of course) all week.
MK's Grandma

A's Mom said...

Smart move by bringing them all. Sounds like you'll need more than one to dress up in anyway.

Have fun!

Erin Alberty said...

HOWL! I cry when I have to dress up. Actual tears. I don't know what I'd do if I had to impress a 13-year-old with my gowns.

Stephanie said...

Holy buckets! I can't even imagine a party that big. My wedding wasn't that much of an event. :) And ALL of my birthday parties, right on through my sweet 16, were quite similar to yours--sleepovers, ratty pj's, asleep my midnight... the whole tamale.

I am looking forward to the pics, though. You WILL be posting some, won't you? For those of us who need to experience these things vicariously?

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

Holey Moley--now way could I afford to be Jewish.