“Hi, Mommy,” I said as I picked up the phone. “Can I call you back later? I’m not home right now.”
“I just wanted to tell you that the bris is called for eight,” my mother replied. “Don’t be late. They said it’s going to start on time.”
“Bris?” I asked. “What bris?”
“You know, Miriam’s daughter. Don’t tell me you forgot about it.”
“Oh, now I remember. But I wasn’t planning on going.”
“You’re kidding me,” she said in disbelief. “You’re not going to your cousin’s bris? My sister’s oldest daughter is making her very first bris and you’re not planning to attend?”
“It’s only a cousin,” I replied. “If I went to every cousin’s bris, I’d have one practically every morning.”
“She’s not just a cousin,” my mother pointed out. “Miriam and I are very close, and this is going to be the first boy to be named after my father. You have to come. Bubby will be very hurt if you don’t show up.”
“Do I really have to?” I sighed. “Eight o’clock in the morning is way too early.”
“Miriam,” my mother warned me, “you and your husband had better be there on the dot. I will take it very personally if you’re not there. Besides, with Hashem’s help you’ll soon be making your own simchahs, and you’ll want everyone to attend yours.”
“Okay, okay,” I said with a reluctant sigh. “We’ll be there.”
My husband wasn’t very happy when I informed him that we had to attend a bris in another neighborhood at eight o’clock in the morning. “Are you sure we have to go? I don’t even know these people.”
“Trust me, I don’t want to go either,” I replied. “But you know how my mother gets about these things, and so does my grandmother. If we don’t show up, they might disown us.”
“Sounds like a dream,” my husband quipped.
“Just kidding,” he assured me. “If it’s so important to you, I’ll go. I’ll daven with an earlier minyan near our house. We’ll be there rain or shine.”
My mother called me later that night to remind me. “Would you like a wake-up call in the morning?” she offered.
“No need. I’ll set my alarm clock,” I assured her. “Don’t worry about it.”
I set my alarm for seven. My mother called at 6:55. “Just making sure you’re up.”
“I’m up,” I croaked into the phone—and then promptly fell asleep again. I awoke to the sound of someone shutting the front door.