To My Twins,
I walked into your room this morning and saw your bar mitzvah corner – your tefillin bags, your new shirts and cufflinks. Everything all piled up waiting for the big day. I found myself smiling as I opened up the curtains to let in the sunshine that entered my heart and to keep the smile on my face as I walked out of the room.
I can’t understand how thirteen years have flown by. I remember staring in awe at two of the exact same babies lying side by side. I just looked at you and couldn’t believe you were mine. I felt your soft skin, smelled your baby smell, and I was in baby-bliss land. I thought I wanted you to stay newborns forever. But as you developed and became these cute infants I was certain that that was the perfect stage. Then you turned into toddlers who were always on the run with identical curls bouncing up and down, and I was sure that there was nothing cuter in this world.
After your upsherins, you continued to bring me such joy. When the older boys became bar mitzvah, I knew that yours weren’t too far off. But somehow, I couldn’t imagine that it was really going to happen.
I feel grateful. Because I know that B’ezras Hashem you are growing up and reaching milestones that all parents want for their children. And no, I can’t go back in time to those newborn days, and I couldn’t bottle up your cute giggles and creative ideas. But I can look ahead to a bright future that, with Hashem’s help, you will have. As you reach this milestone, it should be the first of many until 120.
My Bubby (your Great-Bubby)’s family was blessed with arichas yamim. I remember when Bubby’s mother was niftar. I couldn’t understand why it was so sad. She was well into her nineties. And she left behind nine children whom I thought were already all so old. As the years went by, Bubby’s siblings did start to reach old age, and they began to pass away. Each time a void was felt. The age didn’t matter.
Now Bubby is sitting shivah two weeks in a row. She lost one brother, and as soon as shivah was over, another brother passed away. That means that now six of her siblings have been niftar. I know that that each one was a marvelous person who lived a long life and left behind families of children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.I feel Bubby’s pain at the loss of six siblings.
And then I started thinking. I thought about those two brothers who were niftar. And I realize that once upon a time, a very long time ago, these were young boys standing at the cusp of their bar mitzvahs. I don’t know how big their celebrations were. But I am sure the simchah was huge. I know that as they entered into adulthood, their parents davened to Hashem that these boys should grow up to be ehrliche Yidden and go b’derech haTorah. And although these young children were raised in America during the early 1900s, the prayers of their parents were answered. They married frum girls and raised wonderful families.
Their progeny certainly testifies to their gadlus.
So Moishy and Dovi, as you stand at the cusp of your bar mitzvah, I am thinking of Bubby’s family. I know that your kiddush will be bigger and fancier than a 1920’s celebration. But a mother’s tefillos remain the same. You should grow up B’ezras Hashem to go b’derech haTorah. There will be good times amidst the challenges life sends our way. There will be trying times interwoven with happy times. But I hope that my tefillos will reach Hashem, and you will be zoche to continue on a Torah path until 120.
To My Twins,