|11 years earlier at Elyahu's Bar Mitzvah|
|Yesterday at his Hanachat Tefilin|
hen kids are little, they think their parents are the bee’s knees. Mom and Dad can do no wrong. But the adulation gives way all too soon. When adolescence comes, the tables are turned and it often seems that Mom and Dad can do no RIGHT.
|Left to right: Simcha, Ayala, Natan,Gedalia, Dov, Akiva, Shua, Moshe, Levi, Aharon, Eli, Yitzchak, Me, Aharon, Malka, Yocheved, Shmuel.|
|Brother in-Law Simcha offers the benefit of his experience in all matters phylactery to Yitzchak.|
|Little brother Asher looks on in anticipation of his own special day two years hence.|
|Left to right: Simcha, Levi, Gedalia, and Akiva.|
|Yitzchak is honored with "glila" which involves rolling the Torah scroll and replacing the decorative cover.|
|Lots of brothers and a brother in-law to help.|
|Me and Shua.|
IDEAL. The link here takes you to an (unattributed) article of mine that describes these stages. The acronym stands for Idolization, Discordance, Evolution, Acceptance, and Legacy.
But the acronym also somewhat fits the picture of the general relationship of child to parent, without taking gender into account. The idolization phase fits what my eight sons seemed to feel for me in their early years. With all of them, adoration for me just shone from their eyes and that, more than anything, was the hardest thing for me to give up when I closed the gates and said no more children.
Yitzchak epstein's "hanachat tfilin" from IFL network on Vimeo.
By that time, I knew all too well the rocky road between adolescence and full adulthood when a son’s expressions of love for me became too few to count. Still there is a period of time before acne and rebellion when a son will still deign to know my opinion—still dare and care to seek my approval—and that is at their bar mitzvahs. At every one of my son’s bar mitzvahs, there would come a time when said son would glance beyond the dividing wall that separates men and women at prayer, look to catch my eye, and offer up a shy smile.
|Left to right: Shua, Asher, Elyahu, Yitzchak, Natan, Me, Aharon|
|Left to right: Eli, Aharon, Yitzchak|
|Left to right: Aharon, SIL Simcha Samuels, Yitzchak, Moshe.|
After the ritual repeated itself for the third time, at Elyahu’s bar mitzvah, I wised up and noticed the pattern. I learned to watch out for the silent gift offered up by each son and to hold on to that gift through those rough years ahead, until full manhood would arrive and they would somehow relearn their appreciation of me. Of course, the adoration would be gone and have been replaced by plain old respect and love, but at least things would normalize: another pattern I noticed.
|Dov calls this shot: Dark Alley Frummies. From left to right: Aharon, Asher, Natan, Shua, Elyahu|
|Shua shows Yitzchak how it's done.|
|The deed is done|
Film credit: My son Natan Epstein :-) Israeltech Productions