Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Mom can't sleep and I've had a headache for the past two days. Hmmm. Wonder what that could mean. Oh, it's your birthday this weekend, of course. Nothing gets us feeling as down-low, low down as your birthday and your deathday.

I don't know what I can do to make Mom feel any better. I actually bought her a couple of things that I plan to give her on Saturday. Everyone likes to get presents, but I wonder if this will just bum her out more. It's your birthday and Mom is getting the gifts, while you are getting rocks (see below) which reminds me of Charlie Brown. He got rocks on Halloween. 

This birthday is pretty significant. You'd be 13 on Saturday. It would be your Bar Mitzvah. So instead of spending the morning in synagogue with our family and friends celebrating you becoming a man, we'll be spending the morning in synagogue with family and friends celebrating Jake becoming a man. It is a really nice coincidence that Jake's Bar Mitzvah is this Saturday. Ari can't be there, but Simon will. Nana and Papa Sy are coming.

I found this picture f you guys from what looks like the start of school a bunch of years back. Check out Helaine and a very young Abby in the background.

If I were to generalize, Jake is the cut-up athlete, Ari is the stylish sweet one and Simon is the handsome rogue who will break a lot of hearts when he get older. I wonder how I'd characterize you in 3 words or less if you were still around. Here's how it would go for your brothers: Jack is the brain and Joe is the athlete. Who knows if that'll still be the case years from now. They're still "forming."

Let's talk about Jake for a second. He has turned into quite the young "man." I really like him, and like spending time with him. What strikes me first is his energy. He is wired in a good way. And he has Richard's affable charm, and Helaine's wicked sense of humor. You cannot overlook that he is a tremendous athlete. One day he may have to choose between the Astros (his favorite team) and singing his song parodies on Saturday Night Live.

Jake is also a leader. He was just elected co-president of his class or the middle school or something. He told us that he was running against the "Gross/Weiner" ticket. Only in a Jewish school!

Mom and I bought him a New York Jets Brett Farve jersey for his Bar Mitzvah present. His liking teams way outside this market, the Astros and the Jets, is part of his goofy charm. He is also a very good friend to Jack and treats Joe really well - I know he would still be one of your closest friends.

I am going to read Torah at the Bar Mitzvah. I am first at bat with the recitation of the story of creation. It goes through all of the days and it is soooo looooooong. A whole lotta Torah goin' on. Not sure if you are supposed to reprint the Torah just anywhere, but this is it.

See what I mean. It has taken me forever to learn and practice, but I've been driven to do it to honor you, Jake and Helaine and Richard, who have been such good friends to us. Aunt Jen helped me with it. She could chant this with both arms tied behind her back. Me, a different story.

Mom noted that I haven't read or listened to music or anything for weeks and weeks. To me, and to oversimplify it a lot, this is the Bar Mitzvah you'll never have, and I want to do a good job.

We'll head over to the cemetery after the lunch. I have this idea about imprinting a message like "We love you Henry" on the rocks we leave on your headstone. There is a Jewish custom of leaving pebbles on graves to show they've been visited. I was thinking there might be a business in etching pebbles for people to use. I bet there is a Jewish Mortuary Association, and you could market through. Whatever.

I'd love to have a bunch of different messages that we could leave through the years. We can leave them in a bag tied to the tree so others can grab a nice rock when they visit you. I'm working on it.

And if it isn't squeezing too much in, maybe we'll get Joe to his Yankees game before going to the party that night. Both Jack and Joe are invited to the party, and Joe promises to show off his dance moves.  I should probably bring the movie camera.

Hey, before I go and talking of "squeezing," Joe keeps setting up lemonade stands out front. It seems like every day he is rushing out to sell his wares on the street.

Maybe he'll make the move from Joe the athlete to Joe the entrepreneur someday. You gotta love the way he spells cookies.

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