Bar mitzvah photos are worth a thousand words

I don’t consider myself a procrastinator, unless, of course, the chore has something to do with cleaning out the freezer. When I have a job to do, I get it done. Usually.

For example, my son asks me to find him a girdle to wear at football practice. Done. Sari requests a kosher salami sandwich with mayonnaise in her school lunch. Done. My husband’s trousers are ready for pickup at the dry cleaners. Done. The dog needs a haircut. Done. I have to write a story on the benefits of Torah yoga. Done.

One thing I can’t seem to get done is my son’s bar mitzvah photo album. For some reason, the final selection of which pictures go on which page, not to mention the sizes and quantities, eludes me. Even though Jack’s bar mitzvah was in March, almost a half year ago, I have yet to make any final decisions. Besides, I can’t find enough space to hang a 20 x 24 wall portrait of Jack wearing a tallis, unless I remove my favorite oil painting over the mantle. The other option is to build an addition to my home so that I can display as many framed memories as I want over the years. I will call it the “simcha room.”

So much time has passed that relatives no longer ask for their reprints anymore. I rationalize to the grandparents that their 13-year-old grandson doesn’t look the same anymore anyway. Besides, they can enjoy the larger-than-life photo statue of Jack, which is leftover from his bar miztvah party and still proudly stands in my foyer. The enormous foam board cutout of Jack outfitted in his baseball uniform scares everyone who enters through the front door, but it’s a great conversation piece nonetheless.

Perhaps one reason that I struggle with the bar mitzvah album, which is now upgraded to a stylish coffee table book, is because my husband’s eyes are closed in practically every pose. In fact, Scott’s eyelids are either shut completely or hang droopy as if he just awoke up from a nap and wears a handsome tailored suit instead of boxer shorts. He explains to me that his natural reflex causes him to blink his eyes whenever he sees a flashbulb. So explain to me why the rabbis never seem to have that problem, and they’re in front of the cameras all the time.

Fortunately, our professional photographer can fix these common goof ups. With the latest digital technology, Scott’s eyes can magically open. Then again, his hazel eyes now appear with a tiny black dot that resembles a pencil doodle in a high school yearbook. Lucky for me, the same camera wizardry also can erase double chins.

Bottom line, nothing tells a story better than a photograph, including the annual picture of Jack and Sari standing next to our willow tree on their first day of school. With their backpacks strapped over their shoulders, they usually complain, “Why are you taking our picture again? You did the same thing last year.”

Exactly. Maybe my children don’t appreciate it now, but I’m always trying to capture time. I can’t help but notice how the weeping branches in our backyard grow bigger every year, just like Jack and Sari. Indeed, a picture says a thousand words, even when my husband’s eyes are closed.

“Mishegas of Motherhood” is the creation of Ellie S. Grossman, a St. Louis freelance writer and stay-at-home-mom who never stays home. Currently, she is patiently waiting for apple picking season to start. Feel free to send any comments to: [email protected] or visit her website at