My three-letter tradition

You’ve probably heard of many traditions over the years. Some are religious in nature, some have to do with family, but I doubt any involve peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Well, my friends, that is all about to change. Tomorrow marks a very significant day for me, as I will be getting the key to my next home. My actual move-in date is Friday, but tomorrow evening I will be dining on PB&J’s as I start the process of creating new memories in a new place.

I didn’t just choose this childhood delicacy randomly, but rather I specifically chose to eat peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to continue my tradition of celebrating my independence. This all stemmed from the fantastic 80’s movie, St. Elmo’s Fire.

Many of you may be unfamiliar with this movie, but it is one I highly recommend. It features the brat pack – Judd Nelson, Ally Sheedy, Andrew McCarthy, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Demi Moore, & Mare Winningham. It was a scene with Mare Winningham, who played Wendy, which started this whole thing back in 2012. Wendy was the daughter of rich parents. Her problem was that they wanted to run her life. When she finally stood up to them, they cut her off financially. This meant she had to learn to fend for herself for the first time ever. She managed to get herself her own apartment without the aid of her family. One night Billy, played by Rob Lowe, came by to see her. As they’re talking, Wendy says,

“Yeah…ya wanna know what’s great? Last night I woke up in the middle of the night to make myself a peanut butter and jelly sandwich…and ya know, it was my kitchen, it was my refrigerator, it was my apartment…and it was the BEST peanut butter and jelly sandwich that I have had in my entire life.”

This scene was burned into my brain. When I finally moved into my very own place for the first time ever back in 2012, something about this quote came to the forefront of my mind. After all, I had gone from living with my parents, to college roommates, to being married, but never during that time did I live alone for a significant amount of time. That all changed once I got divorced and moved out on my own.

When that happened, I had to find a way to support myself. I had to learn that, despite the fact that I had (and still have) an INCREDIBLE family, I needed to be able to stand on my own two feet. There was a lot of fear that came with that discovery, but there was also an immense sense of accomplishment with every milestone I reached. THAT is why peanut butter and jelly sandwiches serve as a powerful symbol of strength and a reminder of what I’ve accomplished on my own. This is one tradition I’m proud to continue and will do so with each bite.

Advertisements
Posted in Divorce, Life Lessons, Random Thoughts, Starting Anew | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Celebrity Sightings

I recently went out to dinner with some girlfriends. As two of us we were walking towards our dining destination, we passed by the window of another restaurant. Sitting there at a table was someone I immediately recognized. It wasn’t a friend or someone famous, but I do consider these encounters “celebrity sightings.” The man I saw was someone I had chatted very briefly with after receiving a message from him years ago online. The reason he stood out to me was the nature of what he was looking for in a relationship.

Now…to each his own. I get that. I guess though, if I’m being honest, I’m just more of a traditional girl. It turned out that I got a message from him and started chatting with him before first reading his profile. BIG MISTAKE!! I quickly discovered that the guy is married, but they have an understanding, as he is a dominant and is looking for a submissive. Upon learning this, I immediately wished him luck on his search, but withdrew my application to further the conversation.

These types of sightings happen to me all the time. What’s funny is that despite the fact that I live in Austin, TX, I have only had one real celebrity sighting since I moved here back in 2000…and it took me until a whole day later and a lot of internet searches before I realized who the actor even was. The majority of the time, my encounters have included running into someone who I’ve either gone out with, chatted with, or avoided like the plague.

A few years ago, I was at one of my favorite karaoke spots having a fabulous time. I was there with a large group, mostly people I didn’t know. If you know me, you know that I rarely meet a stranger, so it definitely made for a fun night. It wasn’t until I got home that I noticed I had a message waiting for me from another potential suitor. When I opened it, I had to laugh. The message was from one of the guys I’d been hanging out with that evening. He told me that he’d been staring at me all night trying to figure out how he knew me. The minute he logged onto the dating app, it hit him. He just wanted to say hi and that it was nice meeting me in person. Well…whaddaya know?!?! I was the celebrity this time!!

I guess when you’ve spent years perusing dating profiles from various sites that this is bound to happen. Some encounters bring back funny memories, while others make me glad I dodged that bullet. There have been times that I see a guy and initially think, “Wow! He’s attractive!” Then my mental Rolodex reminds me that I actually went out on a date with him several years ago, and I remember why it didn’t go anywhere.

There are times that a celebrity sighting happens, and I can see the guy staring at me trying to figure out why I look so familiar. That happened one time while shopping in HEB. As I walked past the poor pensive person, I start giggling to myself because I immediately recognized him as the 24-year-old who made a pass at me after I’d met his girlfriend the weekend prior.

I will admit, there are some men I’d like never to see again and others I’d enjoy bumping into from time to time. I guess that is one good thing about online dating. It gives you the opportunity to meet people you wouldn’t otherwise run into during the course of your day. Maybe these are just a way of keeping my mind sharp as I get older. After all, I definitely don’t want to make the same mistakes twice.

Posted in Dating, Life Lessons, Random Thoughts, Starting Anew | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ummm…you’re not all that!

I’ve gone on my share of dates over the years. Sometimes you have an amazing connection, while other times you may not feel that spark, but the person you’re with is just fun to be around. With the latter, you may become friends, otherwise you both cut your losses and move on. There are instances, however, when you meet someone and begin trying to figure out how quickly the date can end. That was the case this time.

It had been a long week at work, and I was looking forward to the weekend. I had started talking with a new guy online and we decided to meet up Friday night for one of my favorite pastimes – shooting pool. I wouldn’t say I’m an expert, but I can definitely hold my own. During our conversation, he mentioned that he had his own pool cue. I was excited at the thought because it made me think that if he owns his own cue, he must play often. If he plays often, he’s probably pretty good, and I’m the type who would prefer to play with someone better than me in the hopes that I might up my game.

We both arrived at the pool hall at the same time and ended up greeting each other in the parking lot. Upon meeting him, I realized that while you can find someone’s pictures attractive, they don’t always seem the same in person. Maybe it’s how they carry themselves. Maybe it’s seeing them at a different angle. Maybe it’s their personality. Most of the time it’s the whole package that just tells you it’s not a fit. What’s weird is that I know from experience that you can have great chemistry with someone online, via text, and over the phone, but it just doesn’t translate in person. I’ve been on both sides of this coin, so I know what it feels like. It’s not something I can really explain, but when the mutual connection is there, it’s obvious. When it’s not, you know it pretty quickly. It became very apparent in this situation that the attraction was one-sided…and I was on the wrong side.

We walked into the pool hall, him with his case in hand, and we quickly found a table towards the middle of the room. We talked for a few minutes and decided to start our first game. It didn’t take long for me to realize that owning a pool cue does not automatically mean you are skilled in the ways of billiards. I’ve been playing on occasion for several years now, so I typically study the table, think about how one shot will set up the next, carefully aim, and hope for the best outcome.

My date couldn’t have been more the opposite. He awkwardly walked up to the table and, without much aim or planning, quickly made each shot. He fumbled with the cue a few times, almost dropping it. He missed the cue ball a few times and just didn’t seem to be very confident in his playing. All this came as a surprise given he had his own billiards equipment with him. Part of the way through the second game, his cue tip broke, which got him pretty flustered. He took the cue and just threw it in the garbage.

What made this encounter more awkward was the fact that after his shots, he would come up to me and put his arm around me in an affectionate manner. I really couldn’t have been more obvious with my body language that I didn’t reciprocate his advances, but he didn’t seem to be paying attention. Each time he’d attempt to be close, I would conveniently find an amazing shot to take from the other side of the table. I didn’t do this in a rude manner, but I was very surprised he wasn’t reading my stiff, closed off stature. I guess I was doing my best to be perfectly clear that I didn’t feel the same. The conversation was a bit awkward as well. Maybe it was his nerves, which I get, but, again, lack of confidence in a man is something I have a hard time with on a date.

We played a few games, and then he suggested we switch to darts. I was ready to go home, and had been for a while. In all honesty, I was actually pretty tired, but I wanted to be nice, so I agreed. He seemed like a decent guy, but unfortunately that extra something just wasn’t there for me. After a few games, I told him that I was really getting tired, as it was approaching midnight, and was ready to head home. If the night wasn’t awkward at that point, it was about to take a nosedive into the land of awkwardness.

Despite the fact that we’d been chatting, sort of, all night, he said he’d like to just talk for a few minutes. Ugh! I just wanted to go home already! They have several couches all around the pool hall, so we headed towards the ones near the bar. I was hoping this would be short-lived, as I was pretty exhausted, but I was willing to give him a few more minutes of my time.

We sat down on the love seat, him to my left. Before I could say anything, he grabbed my legs and laid them across his knees. He then took my hand to hold it, but did the “interlocking finger” manner, which seriously caught me off guard. Then to top it off, he laid his head on my shoulder. He was all cozy and comfy, and I could not have had stiffer posture unless I was petrified. I felt a bit bad for the guy, as he obviously was looking for a connection with me. The problem was, it just wasn’t there…AT ALL!!

After about five minutes of this insanity, I mentioned again that I was really tired and should be heading home. In a very disappointed manner, he sat up and removed my legs from his lap. We gathered our things and headed out the door. He walked me to my car, and I managed to dodge a kiss goodnight. Again, the guy was nice, but I just wasn’t feelin’ it.

I got home a little after midnight and sent him a text to let him know I made it. I said, “Thank you for a fun night. You’re a fierce competitor.” I figured that was my way of saying thank you, but not giving the hint of another date. I crawled into bed and zonked out.

Twenty minutes later, I was startled awake when I got a text from him that said, “That’s good to know.” I briefly looked at it and put my phone back down. I was out again in about 30 seconds.

Twenty minutes after that, I was startled awake again when I got a text from him that said, “I’m free Saturday afternoon or Sunday evening if you’d like to get together again.” I honestly didn’t read the text then because I was just too tired and figured he’d fall asleep soon too.

Wrong!

TWENTY MINUTES LATER – it is now after 1:00 am – I was startled awake for the last time by him with a text that said, “But I don’t know if you want to see me.” It was then that I realized that I was unfortunately going to have to let him down easy or he was not going to stop. Through sleepy eyes, I texted him back to tell him that I really appreciated the offer, but I just didn’t feel the same connection that he obviously did. I said that didn’t mean we couldn’t hang out again, but I just wanted to be clear of my feelings. I was hoping that would be the end of it.

NOPE!

THE DUDE BLEW UP MY PHONE!!!

I got text after text from him.

“What do you mean you don’t feel the same connection?”

“What’s wrong?”

“There’s got to be something wrong!”

They kept coming. I replied back and said that there was nothing wrong. Sometimes it just doesn’t translate in person.

He insisted, “What’s wrong?! There’s got to be something wrong! I was married for eight years. I don’t understand.”

OY VEY!!

I very calmly replied back and said again that there was nothing wrong. I told him that I just didn’t feel the same attraction for him that he felt for me.

His response floored me!

He said, “No attraction?! Good luck finding better!”

I replied and asked him what he meant.

He said, “Ummm…you’re not all that! Good luck!”

I stared at my phone like Ferris Bueller would stare right into the camera.

REALLY?!?!

If I’m being honest, I had a bit of a chuckle at this one, but I was so beyond tired at that point that I put my phone down, turned it to silent, and zonked out.

I guess I can now rest assured that I don’t have to put too much pressure on myself moving forward since I’m not all that. Whew!

 

Posted in Dating, Life Lessons, Random Thoughts, Starting Anew | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Do I Need To Be Here For This?

Someone once asked me what’s worse on a first date – no attraction or nothing to talk about. In my opinion it would be the latter. To me, there’s nothing worse than an attractive man who has nothing to say. There is one exception to that – when my date is doing all the talking and the conversation is completely one-sided.

A few years ago, I began chatting online with a very attractive man who fortunately didn’t live too far from me. It wasn’t long after that before we scheduled our first date. We met at a sports bar to have a drink and visit for a while. I liked the atmosphere of the place and had been there before. It had a good energy yet wasn’t too loud for good conversation.

I met him just inside and was very pleased, as he looked just like his pictures. We found a table inside close to the door for the outside patio. We each ordered a beer and he ordered a burger and fries, as it was closer to dinner time. We continued our conversation that had started that afternoon, and it all seemed to be going well…

Very quickly, the conversation took a turn, and it began to revolve around my date’s ex. Let’s just say he did NOT have nice things to say about her. This continued for a good 15 minutes before I tried to steer the conversation in another direction by asking about his family.  He followed my detour, but apparently the conversation cruise control clicked on and we were back to talking about his ex again.

My interest in this conversation was so over. At no time was I asked about myself, my interests, my work, how my beer was, or anything remotely off topic. He seemed very angry, and I began to wonder if I even needed to be there. After all, he could have the same conversation with himself, and I could go do something else like bang my head against the wall or play in traffic.

The painful visit finally came to an end. Any attraction I felt for him upon meeting was long gone. In fact, I found him rather ugly at this point. Personality really does make a difference. We said our goodbyes, and I breathed a sigh of relief that the date was finally over. The best part about that night was that I knew I would never have to see him again.

Posted in Dating, Life Lessons, Random Thoughts, Starting Anew | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ken Without A Barbie

I don’t know why I do, but I remember the first four men I met online. After that, I’ll be honest…it’s a blur, but the first four are still very vivid in my mind. Of them, the one that stands out the most was Ken aka “#3.” This is not because of an amazing connection we had or how he swept me off my feet but rather because my date with him was the worst date I’ve ever had.

Shortly after we started talking, Ken told me that his best friend and his best friend’s wife were going to be in town and asked if I’d like to join them Saturday night on a double date. The plan was to go to dinner and then dancing downtown. In an effort to be adventurous and to meet new people, I said sure!

The afternoon before the date, he texted me while he and his friends were at lunch and said, “Missing you!” I thought, “Ummmm…dude…we haven’t even met yet.” I let it go, as I was doing my best to keep an open mind. The plan was for us to meet up at his apartment and then we would ride together to dinner and then downtown. Ken didn’t live too far away, so I had no trouble making it to his apartment in plenty of time.

Now, before you say anything, I know that going to his place was not the smartest idea, but I am still here to tell this harrowing story, so let us move past that snafu.

At the beginning of the night, I had high hopes for the date given that he was two years older than I was. I figured it might be nice to go out with someone older and more mature than the previous guys I had met prior to online dating. I knocked on his door, and when he opened it and greeted me I realized he didn’t quite look like his pictures. He was quite a bit heavier and shorter than his pics made him out to be. Now, I have no height requirement when it comes to dating, but I do ask that your pictures are current and your profile is accurate. It turned out that Ken was shorter than me which caught me off guard. Again…this fact was not what was listed on his profile. After all, I’m only 5’4 ½” and was wearing a slight heel. What made it even more awkward was the fact that his buddy was at least 6’4”. Talk about the odd couple.

The other thing that set off a red flag was the fact that his best friend and his wife who were joining us were in their early 20’s. They were a very sweet couple, but I thought it was odd that someone who was 40 was best friends with someone who was barely legal to drink. Two things popped into my head upon meeting the other couple – 1. They were very mature for their age, or 2. My date wasn’t. Take a guess which is the right answer.

We all headed to a Japanese restaurant for some sushi before heading downtown. I enjoy sushi, so again, I was giving him the benefit of the doubt that I’d be proven wrong with my hypothesis. We ordered a couple rolls and Ken decided to partake of some sake. I felt trapped, as I was at the mercy of this man who was our driver for the night, and I quickly realized that he was drinking a little much that soon. I’m not much of a drinker, so going out with someone who feels they need to drown their feelings is not my idea of a good time.

The food really was good but we ordered a bit much, so a to-go box was filled with the leftovers. Ken paid the check and we all headed back to his truck for phase two of our evening. Now I need to give you an idea of the area where this restaurant was located, as the reason for this will quickly be revealed. We were in a very highly developed shopping area. There were stores all around us like a Bed Bath & Beyond, Barnes & Noble, Old Navy, etc. You know, your typical suburbia. The reason I say this is because after I had climbed into the truck (thank goodness!!) and despite this being a paved, somewhat busy area, my “date” decided it would be appropriate to pee next to his truck. Yes ladies…this was my date!

We all headed downtown and parked in a lot that was a bit out of the way. Fortunately, being in a truck made parking easy since it was almost like off-roading. We proceeded to walk to our first bar and in the process, Ken’s belt broke. He had a huge belt buckle (it is Texas after all) and it apparently pissed him off. He pulled off his belt removed the buckle and threw both of them into the shrubs. His buddy, who had given him the buckle dug through the greenery to retrieve it as he figured his buddy would want it the next day when he was sober.

We made our way into the first bar and ordered drinks. We didn’t stay long and soon made our way to a country bar complete with a raised dance floor and mechanical bull. For whatever reason, Ken felt it would be appropriate to try to shove ice down my shirt. Yeah…he’s a classy guy! He also made a rude comment to a woman walking by. Upon hearing his remark, the woman stopped and turned to give him a very deserving look to which he replied, “What are you looking at, bitch?” I. Was. MORTIFIED!!

Ken’s buddy was nice enough to ask me to dance, but being that he was a foot taller than me, it proved to be a bit challenging. We took a few turns around the dance floor, as I tried to avoid my date as much as possible. It was finally time to call it a night, and I was breathing a sigh of relief. Ken was in no shape to drive, but thankfully his buddy was sober. The three of us walked back to the truck while Ken staggered as best he could. I got into the truck and buckled up and then it happened again. Yep…that’s right…Ken peed next to his truck yet again. He finally climbed into the cab, unfortunately next to me, and his buddy and his wife got in the front seat. I was glad to be in good hands as far as driving goes, but Ken was trying to be affectionate in the back seat. I was having NONE of that! He figured since he had a snack sitting there that he’d finish the rest of the leftovers from dinner. The thought of him eating after not washing his hands made me a bit nauseated.

We got back to his place finally. I thanked his buddy for driving and said it was nice meeting him and his wife. I waved goodbye to Ken from afar and quickly got into my car before I became the third location of him relieving himself. I had never been so happy to be home in my entire life!

The next day I was going about my day and got a text from Mr. Pee-body. He said, “Hi there. How are you feeling today?” It was as if he thought I might have had too much to drink or something the night before when in fact I was STONE SOBER when I left his company. In fact, after the first bar I had nothing to drink but water in case I needed to drive us back. I didn’t dignify it with a remark and quickly deleted his texts. I could not believe I actually thought that with age comes maturity. The sad part of all this is that I discovered a year later that he got married. I can’t imagine what kind of woman would marry someone like him, but I guess I figured if even HE could find someone then there has to be hope for me.

Posted in Dating, Life Lessons, Starting Anew | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Swiping Catfish

Let me paint you a picture. You swipe through a plethora of pictures on an online dating site. Every so often, you come across one that you find attractive. You view all his pictures, read his profile, and then, and only then, do you swipe right. This is to indicate that you are interested in this person. You continue on most of the time, going through pictures of a myriad of men. Every so often, when you finally swipe right, you are instantly notified that it’s a mutual match. Sometimes you’ll find out later that’s the case. Either way, this is typically when the conversation between two people begins.

You go through the typical questions – What do you do for a living? How long have you lived in the area? Where in the area are you located? (Most of the time it is RARE to meet someone who lives anywhere close to you.) How is the site treating you? What do you do for fun? The list goes on and on. It usually feels like you’re at a job interview, but, this time, the job you’re applying for is girlfriend.

If things go well, you eventually exchange numbers because it’s a pain in the ass to keep logging into an app to communicate with someone. Texting is soon initiated, however there are times you go “old school” and end up actually talking on the phone. I know…crazy! In my opinion, you definitely don’t want to date someone whose voice annoys the hell outta you, so a phone call is warranted.

As things develop, you both decide you’re comfortable enough to meet. In my case, you make sure you look and smell nice. You arrive on time and have one thought running through your head as you are about to meet this person – “Please, for the love of G-d, let him look like his pics!!” You’d think this wouldn’t be an issue. After all, you’ve viewed his profile, talked to him, and now will actually meet in person to confirm everything is as it should be. Here is where the EPIC FAIL occurs. This might shock you, but PEOPLE ARE DISHONEST ABOUT WHO THEY ARE AND WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE IN THEIR ONLINE DATING PROFILES!!!

When your date doesn’t look like their pictures, this is referred to as “catfishing.” It’s that old bait and switch trick. They lure you in with pictures that depict them at their prime. In some cases this can be 20+ years ago. The problem is, you have no way to know until you arrive. What fascinates me is that when you match up with someone and things go well, you will eventually MEET THEM IN PERSON. Do these idiotic people (both men and women) not think you’ll notice?! Do these idiotic people not think you’ll mind being lied to & deceived before you’ve even met?

I have always been honest about who I am and what I look like in my profile pictures. I’ve been told many times that I either look just like my pictures or better than them in person. Well DUH! The reason is because my pictures are current. They were not taken by the Bigfoot photographer. I do not have five people in my pictures causing them to guess which one is me. I’m not wearing sunglasses to hide my weird-looking eyes. (That’s happened too many times to count!!) I’m not wearing hats in all my pictures to hide my hair, or lack thereof. (..and to clarify, I find bald men very attractive, but don’t get me started on the fantastic mullets I’ve seen.) The list of picture “don’ts” could go on and on. The point is, be the person you represent yourself to be online and this process would be a whole lot easier.

There are many more dating shenanigans that I’ll be posting soon, but I wanted to give you some insight into the world of single life today. It is NOT an easy thing. It gets exhausting being rejected over and over. It’s sad how many times you are completely disrespected on a regular basis. I don’t date a lot. When I am told that I’m trying too hard, I want to slap someone. One date in two months is not trying hard. I don’t date just to get a meal. I am one of the few actually looking for something worthwhile. To be told that the right one will come along when I least expect it may seem like good advice, but it trivializes the effort I put in each time I meet someone. Again, I’m honest about who I am and what I look like. I’m an open book and am happy to discuss any topic as long as the person is talking with me and not at me. What you must realize is that most people aren’t like that. In addition, I am never approached in public by any men, which means that the only way, most of the time, to even meet a guy is online. Do I like it? HELL NO! In today’s world, however, there is no online dating…there is just dating. The online portion of it is just the reality that allows two people who would not have otherwise crossed paths to get to know one another.

My advice is be kind to the single population. It takes a great deal of strength to put yourself out there time and time again. I, for one, am taking a break for a bit. If someone comes into my life and dazzles me, then I’d be open to it, but I’d rather be single and happy than dating and frustrated.

 

Posted in Dating, Starting Anew | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Wisdom Beyond Their Years

As adults, we tend to rely on our elders for advice and knowledge. We know that with age comes wisdom, as people are the sum of their experiences. This isn’t always the case, but I’ve found that it’s true more often than not. It never ceases to amaze me when I encounter someone with wisdom far beyond their years, especially when that person is a young child or teenager. I was lucky enough to be surrounded by not one, but many young people this last weekend, and it reminded me why it’s important to let those voices be heard.

For those of you not familiar with a Bar Mitzvah, this is a Jewish rite of passage as one goes from being a boy to being considered an adult in the Jewish community. For a girl, it is known as a Bat Mitzvah, but it is the same transition as it is for males. Typically, they are 13 years old when this happens. For those going through this process, it can include a year’s worth of studying and preparation as many prayers are learned as well as blessings and passages in Hebrew.

The Bar or Bat Mitzvah leads the congregation during the service and gets to read from the Torah, the first five books of the Bible. The portion that they read and study is based on that week’s lesson, as the entire Torah is read during the Jewish year. There is a different lesson to be learned with each portion, so depending on when it will occur during the year will determine what is studied. It is a huge undertaking and even bigger celebration. I celebrated mine…way back when. To this day, I can still remember the passages I had chanted and prayers I had sung.

The one I attended last weekend was a bit different, as it was two young men going through it together. In this case, it is referred to a B’nai Mitzvah. They both took turns leading the service and doing their readings. Each was extremely poised and confident as they went along. I watched each of them and thought how at ease they both seemed as if they spoke and sang in front of large crowds regularly.

Despite the fact that they each studied the same Torah portion, their interpretation of how it related to their lives was as unique as they were. I listened as they spoke from their hearts. Their thoughts were quite profound, and I had to remind myself several times that these young men were only 13 years old. You could tell they’d spent time putting their thoughts into words. It made me realize that wisdom comes from all ages, and we should always open our ears and minds when speaking with others, both young and old.

A tradition following their speeches is for each Bar/Bat Mitzvah to have a private conversation with the rabbi (or rabbis in this case) followed by a blessing from him or her. As I watched the conversation unfold, I listened to the beautiful song being sung by several congregants. I could only see the interaction between the young men and their religious leaders, however I felt touched as I thought back to my own conversation with my rabbi, whom I still hold very dear. I could see the attentiveness with which each Bar Mitzvah showed throughout the discussion, and it was that – a discussion. Each young man took turns responding in unison and individually as they were addressed. I could tell they had something to say, and I knew they were being heard by each other as well as their elders. I sat thinking how I hope they remember this moment just as I have all these years later.

That evening, both families celebrated together with an incredibly fun party complete with a fantastic DJ who had us all dancing and participating in some hilarious games, a casino night complete with roulette, blackjack, and craps tables, a photo booth, cupcake & candy bar, and amazing food and drinks. This was the time for everyone to cut loose and celebrate all the hard work that finally paid off for these young men. This was the first time in a very long time that I had been surrounded by this many young adults and kids. It was so much fun to watch their interaction with family, friends, and even complete strangers. It was a very joy-filled night and one I’m sure we’ll remember for a very long time.

In this day and age, we all forget sometimes that our differences are a good thing. We even overlook a child’s thoughts and ideas simply because of their youth. Many of the most amazing, thought-provoking ideas have come to me from people in their early stages of life. Some have overcome things I hope never to have to experience, while others see things more clearly simply because the burdens of life have yet to influence their outlook on it. I encourage you to stop and take some time to listen, truly listen, to what others have to say. We can all lose our sense of wonder, but a reminder is always out there if we are open to receive it.

Posted in Celebrations, Life Lessons, Random Thoughts | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment