B agels and eggs... Hash browns if I’m feeling flush…

Forgive my husband as he rambles. He’s planning aloud as he takes in the intoxicating sight of the biggest, fattest infant in the neonatal ICU. True, the baby is just a day old. But what better time to plan the menu for his son’s bar mitzvah? Because if you’re a Grossman, it’s never too early for anything. (And if you’re a Censor — that’s me — it’s never too late.)

“It’ll be perfect!” he enthuses. “I looked up the date and it comes out on a Sunday. Rosh Chodesh!”

He can’t believe his luck.

“So, he’ll lein Sunday morning, and then we’ll have a nice breakfast. Just us and 300 of our closest friends. And we won’t have to make a whole to-do with Shabbos hosts and lots of meals and boring speeches and stuff.”

“Breakfast?! Oooh! Can we have Cocoa Pebbles too?” I inquire gaily.

But he’s serious. Truth is, the breakfast bar mitzvah has been done, and quite elegantly, too. But my immediate goal is to get my baby home and plan … his bris.


When it comes to raising children, the years are short and the days are long. But the nights are even longer.

This infant inherited my night owl genes, so I’m not getting much sleep. Even once he dozes off, I keep jumping up to check that he’s still breathing. No, I’m not insane. It’s sleep apnea for him, and sleep deprivation for me.

Years pass; twelve and a half, to be precise. He’s over his sleep apnea, but I still don’t get enough shut-eye. And now I have something new to keep me awake: a bar mitzvah to plan. This is my first boy, and I have no idea what I am doing.

Not to worry; my husband is in control, and he’s just as exhilarated about his bar mitzvah idea now as he was all those years ago. He sits at our kitchen table rehashing his plans between mouthfuls of popcorn.

“It’s gonna be great! [Munch, munch, munch.] We won’t have to put anyone up for Shabbos. Everyone can just drive up! [Munch, munch, munch.] We’ll be back home by 11 a.m., noon the latest! [Munch, munch, munch.] But, Perel, you’re going to have to wake up early,” he warns.

I have absolutely no intention of waking up early. I am constitutionally unable to. Even Hashem can testify to it. That’s why He scheduled my son’s bris for late afternoon. (It was Asarah B’Teves.)

But I needn’t have worried about the eggs and Cocoa Pebbles.

“Um, hi … Remember me? The bar mitzvah guy?” interjects my long-suffering son. “What’s this about breakfast?!”

My husband restates his Grand Plan for a Sunday morning bagels-and-eggs celebration.

“No way. We are not having Breakfast Specials at my bar mitzvah. It doesn’t even qualify as a seudah!” The budding talmid chacham starts pulling seforim off the seforim shrank, desperate to annul this sunny-side-up insanity. “Maybe we could just mail the guests gift certificates to Eli’s Bagels and save them the trip?!”

And before you could say “Tefillin costs how much?!” the Grand Plan was thrown asunder, replaced with a typical celebration: The full Shabbos hoopla, complete with hostess gifts and guest bags, three meals, a Friday arrival spread, and Shabbos party nosh. (Excerpted from Family First, Issue 578)