Last night I had my first conversation with my father in many months. We chatted about a lot of things. Although recently estranged, the Pops and I have always had the ability to talk frankly, honestly and somewhat intellectually about things. Having nothing to lose, I came out of left field and blankly told him:
"Yo', Dad. Here's some hot news for you. I'm a Jew in Progress. Yeah. I'm...um...converting to Judaism..."
I was pretty sure that he would be as supportive as always about my life decisions, but one never knows. Spiritual issues can be tricky. The Pops is a lapsed Catholic who despised his own upbringing the Church and refused to raise his own breed of precocious children to be "punished, indoctrinated plebes, unable to think for themselves." To this day, he still can't bring himself to enter any house of God, and prefers to express his spiritual side in his gardening, ritual libations, and creative work. But, to his credit, the Pops has always been a bombastic comic and a strong supporter of my life choices, so the conversation that ensued was delightfully odd (as always), but at least upbeat:
"So, does this mean that if you get married, you're going to have a big Jewish wedding? I love Jewish weddings. You know, the Jews know how to throw a good party..."
"Yeah, Dad. I actually have this on-going fantasy about getting married on a beach somewhere by an old hippie rabbi with a long white beard, who sings the Torah like Mozart and wears sandals. After that, we'll have hell-ton of dancing and partying as the sun sets and a cool evening kicks in. You dig?"
"Yeah, that's really cool. Only, I get to wear sandals, too, and the rabbi and I get drunk on Jewish wine together. Maybe we'll even smoke a little sheeshah in the back together. That'll really piss your mother off..."
"Oh, absolutely, Dad. I would expect nothing less from you."
"And your kids? Are you going to raise your kids Jewish?"
"Well, yes, but they'll get a strong dose of everything. I want my household traditions to be observantly Jewish but respectful of all traditions."
"You know what, Namaste?"
"I think that you are absolutely the most kick ass kid in the world. I couldn't be more proud of you. You just let me know when the wedding is, and I'm there. How do you say "that's awesome" in Jewish?"
"Hebrew, Dad. And just say Mazel Tov."
"Mazel Tov! My daughter is Jewish and my grandchildren are going to be smart!"
"Todah, Dad. Let's hope so."
"Todah? What does that mean?"
"It means thanks."
"One summer in Israel and you're already fluent in Jewish?"
"Hebrew, Dad. Hebrew..."
"Whatever! Same thing! You have my full support. I LOVE the Jews and I think you're making a good choice."
"Ok Dad, thanks."
"Say thank you again in Jewish so that I can write it down..."
So, tonight is my first Passover Seder. Tonight is my first Passover Seder. Tonight is my first Passover Seder. (I'm pretty psyched.)
I'm joining some friends for dinner, and obsessing like the little version of myself in the 5th grade over what to wear to Suzie Kleiman's bat mitzvah. Will it be the darling white patton leather little shoes that my mom just bought me at JC Penney with the overtly cute Easter Egg print dress that my grandmother is forcing me to wear to Mass next Sunday? Is it sacrilegious to wear the same dress to both places?
I wonder what ever happened to that Easter Egg dress...
I have decided that I'm going to go with cute pink dress pants with sexy, strappy black heels and a darling white light cotton little button down top. Nude on the lips and the eyes, with two flicks of the mascara, a little bit of blush and shiny lip gloss. Done.
It so very nice to have something to look forward to. But most of all, I can't wait to see my father subversively dance to Hava Nagila on my wedding one day. It's going to be so fun.