By Angie JACOBS, Two Kids One Bathroom.
I recently got an email from the Prime Minister’s office requesting Ethan Frazer’s presence at a Chanukah reception at Number 10.
Who was this Ethan Frazer? I do have an Ethan, my 13-year-old son – Ethan Jacobs. Surely if this really was from Downing Street they would have had the correct name.
On the other hand, what if it were for him?
Earlier this year he had completed a barmitzvah project of volunteering for 13 different charities. He’d schmoozed his way through the challenges and even managed to raise £1,000 for Tikva Orphanage in the Ukraine. If Mr Cameron wanted to hang out with him, it would have been for this achievement, not for having a tidy room (he doesn’t.)
Just in case, I replied to the email asking if it were intended for my son and who had put his name forward. I also sent a Facebook message to the guy from the Jewish Volunteering Network, who co-ordinated the project, asking if he knew about it.
The next day I went to work with the email on my mind. It was probably spam but I’d find my two street savviest colleagues, Jude and Carla, the ones with their fingers on the pulses of digital networking and ask them what they thought.
They thought it was hilarious. A kidder had been kidded.
I never heard back from Number 10 or JVN, so the gloating girls were probably right. Ethan has been growing like a, well, like a teenager, and has been harping on about having a new school blazer for ages. He lifted his arms to show me the extent of the embarrassingness of it. I brushed him off. School uniforms don’t come cheap: “Will you be playing netball in it?” “Erm, nooooo.” “Well then it’s fine. Just don’t lift up your arms. And you’ve only got another two years until you don’t have to wear uniform any more.”
Two thirty this afternoon and I get a Facebook message from the guy at JVN. Ethan had been nominated to meet the PM and he was due there in two hours. I was at work and Ethan was at school. What a shame, we’d just have to miss it.
This time a truly wise colleague, Avital, had her say: “GO! It’s an opportunity of a lifetime.”
I rang the school with a “you’ll never believe what’s happened” story and they agreed to let him out. He was excited, but slightly disappointed that he would be “chillaxing” with the premier in his miniscule blazer. We caught the train and miraculously arrived in Whitehall only a few minutes late. The policemen outside needed his name. There was no Ethan Jacobs, but there was an Ethan Frazer.
“Can I accompany him, I asked, “he’s only 13 and very shy.” (He’s not.) “Is your name on the list?” “Um, no.” “Well you’re not coming in.” It is not a 13-year-old boy’s natural habitat to be in a grand, high-ceilinged room with community leaders and politicians. He’s a smooth operator, but on this occasion he was a tad overwhelmed.
He resisted the fantastic spread of kosher food, having enough to manage with one arm hiding a particularly worn patch on the blazer. He did use the toilet there though – something to tell his grandchildren. Alas, he did not speak to the great man himself (both of their losses), but he did have quite a day.
And as for Jude and Carla…