A happy busy time just now as my 12-year old granddaughter Tatiana prepares her rite of passage from girlhood to womanhood. The ceremony followed by the inevitable Big Bash has been the sole topic of conversation for the past six months.
In the Jewish religion, a barmitzvah is when a boy turns 13, comes of age and becomes a man. The girls have jumped the gun, got on the bandwagon and are having theirs a year early at the age of 12.
Crumbling under the weight of filial pressure, my daughter and son-in-law have been mugged into having the most expensive party they can afford. I disapprove totally but cannot voice it. It's tradition, they say, like Christmas. It's commercial, I reply. Like Christmas.
Having already been invited to many other such parties, Tatiana returns home each time with fresh and ever more costly ideas:
"They had a tattoo artist! A belly dancing teacher! Goodie bags containing Gucci keyrings! A herd of performing elephants for each child to take home!"
And so the buzz words are: caterers, marquee, red carpet, dance floor, balloons, canapés, food stations, sushi chefs, mirror balls, microphones, cocktails, bouncers, dresses, shoes, hats, tights, hair and make-up.
And thousands and thousands of pounds being blown away on people who won't appreciate it nor even remember it the following day.
She's 12 for God's sake! When I was 12 I probably had 3 schoolfriends over for a peanut butter sandwich and a bowl of jelly. And then maybe we played a game of Ludo.
Do I sound like a grumpy old woman? Possibly, but my poor daughter would rather have spent the money on a fabulous holiday that at least she too could have enjoyed.
Now don't get me wrong. I am looking forward to it. And I've bought myself a whole wardrobe full of new outfits. And I'm sure we'll all have a fantastic time. But all that money...it makes me want to weep.
I just hope Tatiana appreciates it. She has 2 younger sisters so we have to go through this whole thing again. Twice.
And then if we're lucky, there'll be 3 weddings hopefully before my funeral!
I refuse to be 'one of the grandmas' next weekend. I'm determined to get up to mischief of some sort. What do you reckon? One of the neighbour's sons? They're 26 and 28. And both cute. I'll keep you posted.