Lessons Learned: Now That The Bar Mitzvah Is Over

You survived.

Yes, you. The woman with the chipped manicure, throbbing feet and aching cheeks from five hours of smiling. The B Mitzvah is over and you're done -- literally and perhaps figuratively.

After all the planning, worrying, shopping, worrying, nudging -- and did we mention worrying? -- you're alive. Mind, body and family relationships seem relatively intact. Best of all, your child is actually a B Mitzvah. So even though you're probably sick of hearing these two words, you truly deserve them: Mazel tov!

But there's one last thing to do: lend a hand to the thousands of families who're where you were last year, in the thick of all that planning, worrying and nudging. The wealth of knowledge and advice you've gained will likely save them heartache, embarassment, time and money. So why not take a minute and pass on some of the lessons you've learned, whatever they may be? Your fellow trekkers on the Torah Trail will deeply appreciate it. After all, it takes a shtetl.

Pick a place that does it all!

In retrospect, I'd say it made it incredibly easy to pick a place that did all the logistics of the party for me. I used a hotel where they helped set up the room, pick the menu, manage the evening, serve as go-between between the caterer and the DJ. This eliminated so many worries: worrying about if the evening would flow smoothly, if there were enough waiters, if I needed glasses for water -- it was all taken care of. I've been to B Mitzvahs where they didn't have enough water on the tables.

To enjoy the day, no matter what

When it came time to the party, I knew I had a choice. "Sweat the small stuff" or relax and focus on enjoying. There were several minor disasters at the service and the reception but because I had made an agreement with myself in advance to enjoy the day, no matter what, I was able to "live in the moment," focus on the positive and savor everything.

You can't overlook certain details

Believe it or not, the hotel where I'd reserved a block of rooms about 8 months in advance went ahead and cancelled ALL my guests' reservations -- and filled the hotel with other people! Even worse, I learned about this on Wednesday -- two days before the big event. I had been trying to reach the reservations manager just to confirm everything but never got a call-back. In retrospect, I should have guessed something was amiss and called the overall hotel manager but I was simply too busy with other things. The person who'd messed up ended up quitting or being fired, I'm not sure. And the hotel actually moved those guests to another place. But the lesson, I'd say, was prioritize details. ANd double check everything!