]Thank You for Being a Friend | MitzvahMarket | MitzvahMarket

]Thank You for Being a Friend

]Thank You for Being a Friend

We are very lucky to be able to throw our children beautiful mitzvahs. 

We are very lucky to be able to bring our children to the bema at our synagogue – the actual crux of a mitzvah – and then celebrate their hard work with a gorgeous party. 

We are incredibly lucky to have children able to do these things as well as the means to do them. 

Furthermore, much like the dozens of friends our children will have in their mitzvah mosh pit, we are very lucky to have friends surrounding us as our support system through the mayhem of mitzvah planning.

As I age, I have clarity on who is a real friend, who shows up, and who does not. This has become very clear this year as I plan my daughter’s Bat Mitzvah. Many of these women have been my good friends since my daughter was in nursery school or kindergarten. But regardless of how and when we met, since moving to the suburbs, these women have been my rocks. 

Whether we’re taking Mah Jong lessons, volunteering for the PTA, celebrating our 40th birthdays, going to the beach on a summer night, or eating carrot or cheesecake on the lanai, these are my golden girls.

It has been the same group of us – a strong, practical, smart, funny, creative group of women, for a decade. These are women who are both bosses by day, and ready to meet for tacos and margaritas at night. These women do not waste time. They get stuff done. They are my lobsters.

Throughout the years, we’ve helped with each other’s kids, aired our spousal complaints, laughed until we cried, and gossiped non-stop. We’ve shared in our children’s birthday parties, cheered on at our kid’s performances, celebrated each other’s big achievements, and provided shoulders for devastations.

As we approach mitzvah season, we are now there for each other to celebrate this beautiful milestone. But also to create a village where we can lean on each other for all the invisible things that go into mitzvah planning while planning them together.

Much like I spoke about how beautiful it is for “new mom friends” to now dance at each other’s mitzvahs, I equally want to honor my current cohort. I am so grateful to have this group to lean on for all the mitzvah minutiae.

There are texts about candle lighting vases, photographer comparisons, invitations, and swag. About DJs, giveaways, signature drinks, and jerseys. We ask – did you fill out this form? You already bought X, can I just borrow yours? Did you reach out to this vendor? When do you order the yarmulkes? Everything and anything as if we were in a texting red tent together.

I cannot measure the importance of these friends. Even more valuable – the friends with older kids who can give perspective and help check things off your list having been through this before.

With mitzvah planning, there are so many little details. We can outsource things or we can figure out how to do them ourselves. Often, we need help. When you put out the call and your friends come running, that is a strong message. It deserves so much respect and appreciation. It is something I am so grateful for this last year and hope I am giving back as much as I am receiving.

Many years ago, I was at a friend’s out-of-town wedding. On the dance floor was a circle of people dancing with their arms around each other. It was the groom’s parents and their friends. Since I grew up with him, I knew these people had all flown to middle America to celebrate the simcha which was their friend’s son’s wedding. Similarly, this group of friends started when their children were in nursery school, stayed close over the years, and were now dancing together wedding by wedding as their children paired off around the country.

This was such a profound and beautiful vision. Even more special, I recently saw the same group – now grandparents – dancing together at their grandson’s bar mitzvah. I turned to my husband with tears in my eyes and he just started laughing. He said, “You’re thinking about their wedding, right? I know you”. It was true.

What a beautiful gift to have the same group of “family” friends for not only thirteen years but thirty or forty. What a beautiful gift to celebrate together from our four-year-olds singing “You Are My Sunshine” to lifting them in a chair.

Of course, it is expected that as years pass, so do friendships. As children grow up and their interests change, so do their “friend groups” as my daughter would say. But hopefully, if you really connect with another parent, you can both overlook this and stay close. However, it’s ok too if you learn a friendship was more situational, and both of you move on. But I’m a firm believer that those who show up for you are the ones who matter, and actions speak louder than words.

I’m having so much fun with all of my “mitzvah wives” right now. Not only are they providing the mental support that I need – as I feel like my head is spinning out of control – but the physical act of getting stuff done as well. Again, actions speak louder than words.

I cannot wait to dance at their children’s mitzvahs. I cannot wait to be the “parent circle” dancing at ours. But even more – I hope these are the people who dance in a circle at my daughter’s wedding one day and then years later stand in the same circle as they raise my grandchildren in a chair.

Stacey Wallenstein is the founder of the parenting & lifestyle blog The Mint Chip Mama. Visit her website at themintchipmama.com and find her across all socials at @themintchipmama

Posted in Editorial, Mitzvah Advice