My close friend has been busy planning her youngest daughter's Bat Mitzvah. She has gone out of her way to accommodate her family by scheduling the event to take place during the week, so that her religious relatives wouldn't have to drive on Shabbat. She's also been busy running back and forth from the hospital taking her ailing father-in-law for treatments. Instead of being able to enjoy the anticipation of the upcoming event, she has been inundated with response cards that go above and beyond the intended guest list.
A divorced friend who was not invited with a guest, admitted that he was torn between bringing a date or his two teenage daughters. He was kind enough to agree to let them know when he knows. I told my friend that she and her husband were being too nice, but at the time she thought that it would be an isolated incident.
Though the lovely invitations were clearly addressed, one close relative didn't indicate whether her daughter would be attending. When my friend mentioned that the envelope said, "and family," she told her that she lost it, and wasn't sure who was invited. Strangely, this was her sister.
It seems that she wasn't the only one to misplace her envelope. Another relative requested that a man named "George" come as her guest. My friend didn't know this man, and asked if he was her new boyfriend. She responded, "George is not my boyfriend, he's my bodyguard. I want to bring him and my son with me."
Aghast, my friend asked why she needed a bodyguard, and she went on about how they were having trouble with another family member. Then she was instructed to notify her as soon as she finds out if this deranged cousin is attending, because if he comes then her son is out. This will bring her down to a plus one. In the event that he's not coming, then her son, and her bodyguard will both be attending changing it to a plus two. Fortunately, the bodyguard wouldn't miss it for the world.
As my friend was relaying this to me, I recalled how this woman took her elderly father to a small family luncheon hosted by my friend's parents. With him, were his caregiver and his personal bodyguard. I didn't understand why he didn't travel lighter by firing the bodyguard and hiring a tougher caregiver. My mother-in-law has a strong as an ox caregiver and bodyguard in one, and she's a seventy year old woman.
Now, I'm looking forward to the Bat Mitzvah more than ever. I've known her daughter, and her older siblings since they were babies, and have taken great pride in watching them grow into caring and considerate young adults. Though there's another part of me that can't wait to be thrown in the middle of a spy thriller. Did I mention that her relative carries two cell phones with her at all times? I assure you that this is a wonderful family, and they are not related to the Sopranos. However, it might be a good idea to take our bullet proof vests out of the cleaners just in case.