I could not put off the inevitable any more. It was time to plan a Bat Mitzvah….
At first it wasn’t too bad. The first thing we needed to do was book a place. We had already looked at a few with Howie, and Amanda said there was one that she really liked. So we went back together and they had our date available – so we booked it.
I was working on somewhat of a budget but I found you didn’t have to go too crazy with spending to make a very nice affair. My friend Randi helped me book a DJ. My friend Amy recommended an invitation lady who was a little less expensive than some of the others. Another friend helped with favors.
I needed a party planner – there was no way I would be able to do this all on my own. I hired someone recommended by my friend Caryn who she had used for her daughter Rylee’s, which was a beautiful party (this is my shout out to you Rylee!). The party planner was so easy to work with and was able to work within my budget and still make everything stunning. Amanda’s theme was Tiffany & Co. and the room was all a beautiful turquoise.
It wasn’t as difficult to plan a Bat Mitzvah as I thought. But while I was doing this, I was going to Bar/Bat Mitzvahs practically every weekend. I admit that I did have fun at a lot of them. But even when I did, I always had this uneasy feeling. There were a few reasons for this:
- Obviously I always thought Howie should be there. I felt terrible that he was missing out on what would have been such a fun and happy time in our lives.
- It is very hard for a single woman (or probably man) to attend these events. It is mostly married couples and it could be very awkward. Everyone always included me in dancing etc. but it’s just not the same.
- If it was a Bat Mitzvah girl, there was always a father/daughter dance. Those were unbearable for me. I would spend that time in the Ladies Room. I had a couple of friends who didn’t enjoy them for their own reasons, so they would sometimes meet me in there.
- The service made me sad. It was difficult to watch two happy parents being there for their child. It killed me that my girls wouldn’t have that.
- Every party had a montage – a video of pictures of their child growing up set to music (some are waaaaay crazier than just that – but that’s idea). I was dreading having to make one. It was so soon to have to go through all of our old pictures like that.
As it was getting closer, I started to get a little panicky about it the bat mitzvah. I remember once being on the beach with some friends and I had so much anxiety that I couldn’t sit it my chair. I jumped up without telling anyone and just walked on the beach by myself for a while until I calmed down (my favorite place on earth is the beach – but that’s another story!).
Finally the day had arrived.
We spent most of the day doing hair and makeup which was fun. I loved our dresses, and still do.
The service was perfect. We only invited close friends and family and Amanda did an unbelievable job, especially considering her situation.
The party was great. Amanda had the best time, which was most important to me – it was her day. But I know that Lily loved it as well. And I actually was able to have a lot of fun. Everything went so well. There were sad moments of course, but we all just really tried to enjoy it. I was very proud of all three of us when it was over.
I breathed a sigh of relief that it was done and had gone so well.
NowI had only 22 months to plan a bat mitzvah for Lily. Doing a lot of Lily’s was easier. A little more time had gone by. And she basically wanted the same party as Amanda so I just went back and used the same people since I was so happy the first time. We just changed Lily’s theme to PINK and the party planner again created a beautiful room.
The only major difference was Lily’s service. Since it was a couple of years later, she did a regular, full service. She did an incredible job. And when she spoke about her dad, I don’t think there was a dry eye in the house. The party was again incredible. And Lily had the time of her life – this one was her night.
So when Lily’s was over I really was so relieved. I was happy with the job we all did. I was also so glad that I had made the decision to do both of their Bat Mitzvahs and tried my best to make sure they each had their very own special nights.
I’m not going to lie – I am glad that I don’t have to do it again!!!
Stacy was a stay-at-home mom/part-time preschool teacher whose life was turned upside down in 2011 when her husband passed away suddenly of a heart attack. She is raising her two fabulous daughters, now ages 18 and 20, who are turning into wonderful young women. In 2016, she started a blog about her experience as a young widow, The Widow Wears Pink. This led her to write for other publications including Huffington Post, Today.com, Scary Mommy, Grown & Flown, Kveller, Modern Loss, Thought Catalog, and many more. In 2018 she started Living the Second Act with fellow writer Mimi Golub. Today, Stacy and her daughters are happily living their “new normal” while always keeping her husband’s spirit alive.