These are a few thoughts fresh off the very first simcha for one of my children.
Nothing really prepares one for the experience.
You begin to get a sense of the emotion when the kippot arrive and you realize the event is just around the corner.
The synagogue looked beautiful, part of the visual memory of the occasion.
The special רוח from the synagogue being packed with friends and community. Our few guests from out-of-town all remarked on how welcomed they felt and what a friendly community this is. Everybody truly celebrated with us.
And most important, we are so incredibly fortunate to have a Rabbi who takes the time to get to know each child on the cusp of his/her adulthood. Our Rabbi shepherds them gently with authority not just from his status as Rabbi but from the warm and trusting relationship he has developed with each student. Thinking about the twin concepts of power and influence really brings to mind how very appropriate was the Parshat Korach.
A couple of days out and I also sense the family dynamics are subtly changing, my child has a new-found confidence from the experience, entirely appropriate for the formal transition to Jewish adulthood.