The bar mitzvah, again

21 Feb

So my wife and I went to the Bar Mitzvah, which was split between a morning service and an evening reception. This left a number of hours (maybe five or six) between gigs. We spent the time at the hotel where the reception would be held, and where my eldest brother and his wife had a room. The plan was to meet him (let’s call him the Incredible Hulk, because you don’t like him when he’s angry), his wife, and their 7-year-old son, all at the hotel.

We’re sitting in the hotel bar, eating lunch, of course discussing the World Champion Green Bay Packers. Because I couldn’t remember the Hulk’s room number, and the nice people at the front desk couldn’t help me. 4 people with my last name were checked in – because it was a family event. But whatevs. We ran into friends of my parents, who immediately took Baby off our hands and sent us off to enjoy our nice lunch.

Hulk comes by, with wife and 7-year-old. 7-year-old (Junior Hulk?) had been given a hotel room key, as a mark of independence. He proceeded to wander around in circles in the lobby, unsuccessfully locating the hotel room while desperately needing to go to the bathroom. Once he was pointed in the right direction, Hulk and Hulk’s wife had a couple of drinks and sat with us to chat.

In the meantime, I get a call from a second brother, who was meeting us at the hotel. He was standing in front of Hulk’s hotel room, where no one was there, but the door was propped wide open by a suspiciously 7-year-old looking shoe. ‘Um, I’m in the hotel room but no one is here. And the door is open. And all your stuff is just sitting here.’ Yep, right room. We’re down at the bar eating lunch. ‘Oh, ok. Oh, here comes Junior Hulk. Never mind.’

Hulk had finished his drink and moved on to another, when he announced that he had decided to finally have a one-to-one, heartfelt discussion with my estranged sister, who had been invited to the event at the urgings of my mother and father, and whose presence at the family event was more or less the biggest deal aside from the actual Bar Mitzvah. There is, suffice it to say, considerable resistance to having the prodigal daughter returned to the fold by other members of the family. Despite gentle suggestions that a few drinks in, perhaps this was not the best, clear-eyed plan ever conceived, Drinking Hulk nevertheless was adamant that he was going to have his say.

When long-lost sister arrived, she and Drinking Hulk retired to the other end of the bar. Wife and I finished our lunch, reclaimed our kid, and headed off with Hulk Wife to their hotel room (and where second brother and Junior Hulk were hanging out). Two hours of chatting and playing, a diaper change, and an awkwardly screaming Brooklyn Baby, and now-Drunk Hulk arrived. Apparently his heartfelt talk went…well, it went. Hulk proceeded to rile up Junior Hulk, annoy Hulk Wife, then scamper down to the Bar Mitzvah cocktail hour. Junior Hulk and Hulk Wife joined them. Baby mama fed the baby, second brother eventually headed down to cocktails.

Things actually got ugly from there. The party was waaaayyy too loud for Baby (good idea to bring him to the party, bad in practice). So Baby Mama sat in the hotel lobby with the baby, away from the actual party. Hulk passed out, after further antagonizing others. Second brother went out of his way to make the night about the Bar Mitzvah boy. Prodigal daughter and family were thick as thieves with my mother. I eventually headed home with Baby Mama after deciding that it wasn’t working very well. Parents ended up coming out to say goodbye to Baby, who at the end of the day spent more time with my parents friends than with my parents. Next morning’s brunch, and our lack of attendance, turned out to be another finger in the eye of my parents and their Mother-Daughter-Family Reunification Plan. And that was the last I saw of my family during the trip. And the last I’ve heard from, or really much expect to hear from, my parents.

So, let’s call it a mixed-bag of family meet and greet. On the upside, I’m closer to some of my dearest friends (with whom we stayed) than I’ve ever been. On the downside, well, right.

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One Response to “The bar mitzvah, again”

  1. Davin February 21, 2011 at 9:15 pm #

    On the one hand, family stuff is the stickiest, most complicated stuff there is. Ouch.

    On the other hand, the Green Bay Packers are indeed World Champions.

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