To Sasha On Her Batmitzvah

For reasons beyond my own control, I will not be able to stand up at your batmitzvah party and deliver the words I would like the whole world to hear, I will not be able to present you with a video story we have talked about for so many years. Here are those words, the things I would like to shout from the rooftops and as for the video, you know I will build it and you know I will share it with you (and everyone else).

Thank you Sashki Lashki!

When you came into my life 12 years ago, I was filled with such lofty ambitions and high ideals, I was going to teach you right from wrong, and I was going to teach you to be a good person, to show kindness, to give charity, to care for others and to put them first. I was going to teach you to live your life to the fullest, to see the fun in all you do, to suck the marrow from the bones of life and to never waste a single second.

Little did I know that Hashem had in fact sent you to teach ME those very lessons and for that I am eternally grateful to BOTH of you. You have both taught me so much.

What could I possible teach someone with such wisdom beyond her years, with such a deep understanding of emotions, with such a contagious love for life, with such a grasp of what is right and what is wrong and with such kindness for her fellow human beings? Perhaps I am here to keep you grounded, to feed you lamb ribs, to clean up after you, to allow you space to explore, to do crazy stuff with you, encourage your sense of adventure while still keeping you safe, to be your father and at times your friend. I am not exactly sure what role Hashem wants me to play but I know I love them all.Bati07

Rewind twelve years to the moment I held you in my arms, tears flowing down my cheeks, unable to talk… that was the moment I knew that you would change lives, not just mine but in sometimes tiny and sometimes huge ways, the lives of all those you came into contact with. My eyes still get misty when I remember that moment.

Fast forward a few years to leotards, ballet outfits, torn jeans, beautiful dresses, bare feet, old dirty ugs, flip flops, shorts, gym clothes, onesies, denim shorts, point shoes, school uniform, your batmitzvah dress, in fact anything! You just look so comfortable, so at home and so beautiful.

You often ask me if I miss my mom and of course the answer is yes. I miss having her here to share my life with me, to talk to and to guide me. I am really sad that she never had the chance to meet her beautiful granddaughter but I see so much of her amazing spirit in you, her wisdom, and her genuine love for the people around her, her ability to see the good in everyone and how she would talk to everyone with real interest. Thank you for helping keep that memory alive for me.

Bati06To quote one of my favourite bands Queen “And bad mistakes ‒ I’ve made a few.”, but then who hasn’t? I know that some of the mistakes I have made may impacted on you but when I look at you, I see I must have done at least a few things right too. Learn from my mistakes by not repeating them and I promise to do the same.

People tell me that I am making it really hard for some guy to win you over one day that I am setting the bar too high. That is not the way I see it, I hope you will never settle for less than you deserve and always continue to give so much of yourself. Remember the rules… he has to support Liverpool, love camping and be able to make a decent braai, the rest he can learn as he goes along, or you can teach him too.

There is nothing you do in half measures! From your love for acrobatics and dance, your friendships, your Instagram account or trying to get in an extra five minutes of sleep in the morning when I am trying to get you ready for school… as you say “anything worth doing is worth doing properly”. That is just another of those wonderful qualities I am trying to learn from you.Bati03

To arrive somewhere and have people walk up to you and say “Ah so you are the famous Sasha, your love of life is legendary and your smile unmistakable” just leaves me beaming with pride, I am just so proud to be known as “Sasha’s Dad” There are million stories I would like to share with the world, but chances are if they have seen my Facebook page, I have shared them already!

People are drawn to your smile and your warmth, they are taken with your humour and your charm, no matter what crosses your path, it will be those character traits that see you emerge smiling and beaming on the other side. I feel a little like Polonius as he dispensed the advice to his son Laertes (don’t worry if you don’t know who they are just yet, there is plenty of time and Google to learn) some of those words are now legendary and offer such a good guide to life…

This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

Bati02May you continue to shine light on everything, may you continue to inspire those around you, may you know the kind of joy you give so freely and may you always be happy and healthy.

Waldo Emmerson once wrote

To leave the world a better place, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; To know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived. This is to have succeeded.

Now believe me young lady, I have no intention of leaving this world anytime soon, but you, Sashki Lashki are my success.

As strange as this may seem, sometimes even I can’t find the words to tell you how I feel. Perhaps you will forgive me if I turn from my own feelings to the words of another unusual chap: Bob Dylan. This is actually what I wanted to say

May God bless and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young

May you grow up to be righteous
May you grow up to be true
May you always know the truth
And see the lights surrounding you
May you always be courageous
Stand upright and be strong
May you stay forever young

May your hands always be busy
May your feet always be swift
May you have a strong foundation
When the winds of changes shift
May your heart always be joyful
And may your song always be sung
May you stay forever young

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  1. This beautiful young lady will have no choice but to shine her light with a good Father like yourself by her side.

  2. Great to “meet” you. Love your letter to your Princess and adore the photo of you two with her in her ballet tutu. I also have a 10 year old ballerina.

  3. Nothing radiates beauty more than words shared from the heart. Your daughter sounds awesome! You are setting the bar for fathers!

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