Happy September! Happy to have the kids go back to school? I’m right there with you, however, the shift from summer to school can be tough on all of us. Especially when the summer was so much fun. I can’t speak for everyone but this summer in particular was a great one for our family. I know not everyone wants or needs insight into our personal family life. That is perfectly understandable. However, I guess when it’s all said and done, this newsletter has become a journal as much as a way to highlight new listings. I imagine I write about non-real estate related matters because at the end of the work day, (which doesn’t actually exist because those calls don’t stop coming in at 5pm), my brain needs to take a break from stats, figures, new mortgage rates, home values, disgruntled neighbors, construction projects… you get the picture. From the moment I wake up to when I go to bed, as long as my phone is functioning, I am living and breathing real estate.
So, for me, it’s nice to have an outlet to think about something else for an hour or two. I guess some might call that a hobby? In any case, thanks for indulging my need to step away from my work for 1000 words or less once a month. It’s fair to say we all could use a mental break from our day jobs once in a while.
Last month our family celebrated a special milestone, the bar mitzvah of our middle son, Spencer. We wanted to give him a special day without going too overboard or crazy. We were proud, of course, of how hard he worked to get there- those services are not easy and anyone who has either had to do it or had a child going through it can attest to the commitment, time and effort it takes to stand in front of a congregation and read/chant in a foreign, unfamiliar language. Then to go on and teach a whole roomful of people about one passage in particular, adding an interpretation thoughtfully crafted by the mind of a 13 year old, was rather remarkable. Spencer’s summer was pretty much devoted to weekly tutoring sessions, studying and practicing. Meetings with the rabbi and cantor took the place of heading to any sleep away summer camps. As an unofficial bar mitzvah project, he (with his older brother) volunteered at the senior living facility in Cheviot Hills: Terraza. They passed out popcorn and called Bingo games and every time they’d visit with these elder members of our community, they’d have terrific stories to tell. I can attest that, at least for my son Spencer, this summer was more work than relaxation, but when the big day came, he was ready. After the 5pm service at Temple Isaiah, we headed straight to the Griffin Club for a fun and uproarious celebration. Clearly, we are big fans of staying local! And in addition to the glorious proximity, both venues offered ideal backdrops for the occasion. The staff and clergy at Isaiah do such a great job of making you feel like you are part of a familial community.
Whether or not you’re a fan of organized religion, there’s something to be said about a group of people who you feel you can lean on and rely upon if you need to. Ever since my mom passed away a few years ago, I really feel like the clergy is there for my family and that is a comfort. As far as the party is concerned, we all had a blast at the Griffin Club. We hadn’t had a party there since it’s recent facelift and I don’t think we’ve attended an event since our boys were in pre/elementary school when the Beverly Hills Country Club seemed to be the only place in town to hold a school fundraiser.
This new, shinier version of the BHCC definitely made for a much swankier affair. I can confirm that the food is much better than in the past and the staff really bent over backwards to ensure a flawless event. The only restriction seemed to be that the music had to shift inside starting at 10pm so the neighbors wouldn’t be too bothered by a Saturday night shindig. But that noise limit didn’t affect the revelry of our guests and, in my opinion, that outdoor terrace with its view of the city is the best spot in our neighborhood to have a summertime evening celebration.
So, now that we can let out a sigh of relief knowing this milestone can be checked off our family to-do list, we can relax into the next chapter: conquering a successful back-to-school transition. Two out of three boys still recognize September as the start to the school year so with the three of them beginning 4th, 8th and 10th grades respectively, it’s safe to say this month will prove to be just as busy as the summer has been. But being late to day camp drop off isn’t quite as stressful as missing the morning school bus pick up. I’m not sure I’m quite ready for the early wake up calls, nor am I geared up for going back to being the bad cop when extra Ipad time is snuck in over the chance to complete homework instead. But to all of you whose children are up and out, you may think about September with a fondness and long for the days we are now experiencing. So, with every faraway track meet that runs long or science project that’s started the night before it’s due, I’ll try to embrace the school year with patience and presence, knowing that I, too, will be among those who will one day miss these back-to-school days. I hope you have a happy September!