I should be used to it by now, that so many experiences in my life feel so poignant and important. That these feelings then mix and swirl and tumble through my inner narrative until they are combined into a beautiful new shade of life, like paint ever changing with every new drop of color.
The bat mitzvah was like that... an infusion of a brand new hue or like seeing things for the first time through a familiar, but different filter. I saw my oldest son dance for the pure joy of it, in a crush of tweens and teens all blissed out on life and happiness and togetherness, and the powerful memory of what that felt like came rushing back at me. As a mom, it felt like excitement for all the possibility that these kids have in front of them, and such admiration for the individual people that each of them is becoming. Teenagers are inspiring. True story.
And then I also remembered how as a teenager it felt scary and seductive and so so BIG, the world opening up wildly and with such intensity with every passing day and every seemingly epic drama du jour. During the teen years, it felt like drinking the most potent elixirs of life, one right after the other, and when you finally make it through and come out the other side the lessons aren't over but you have this huge jumble of experiences and perspectives to help you assimilate and and begin making sense of your own story - which takes the rest of your life as I'm finding out. It's, I'm sure, what they eventually call wisdom.
So as a mother of a boy who is edging closer to his teenage years, it was like watching a complex collision of innocence and angst and desire and possibility exploding to the beat of happy dance tunes. Maybe that's part of why it felt so reminiscent too - the soundtrack of life unfolding is always set to the same playlist.
Milestones like these, wedding, anniversaries, graduations and the like, are all celebrations that remind me of the basic tenets of life - love, faith, gratitude and hope. This will never change, and I know at the next checkpoint the reminder will be equally as necessary and perfectly timed.
I remember attending a bat mitzvah when I was thirteen, the pink dress and matching shoes I chose to wear to the fancy event where I didn't know any of the other kids accept the guest of honor and her family, and I remember how that night felt so magical in spite of the awkwardness. It tasted of freedom and passion and bliss within the safe container of a function hall brimming with effervescence, and freeze dancing, and family and friends wearing sparkly outfits.
This kind of thing will never get old even as my perspective changes, and I will count my blessings in those moments and give thanks to how something as simple and seemingly silly as doing the YMCA can feel like both a bridge and a life raft carrying us all, ready or not, into the next phase of life.