Author''s note: This post was supposed to go up last week. Given technical difficulties, though, this account of pre-engagement party jitters is actually being posted after Missy Older''s eirusin.
Two weeks after making aliyah, my husband and I merited, BH, to attend a wedding in the Old City. A Bat Bayit, from France, who had been working on a postdoc at the university closest to our former home in Hutz l’Aretz, had urged us to attend her celebration. We did, and, as is our norm, we cried; the two of us take important transitions very seriously.
A new wife is a new life. A new life is a Yom Kippur, a time of freshness and of aspirations for one’s future. The moment of marriage is not only a clean slate, per se, but is also vital to living fully. We bless each other that our children should grow to Torah, to chuppah, and to ma''asim Tovim. When kids are small, they can begin with Torah and with ma’asim Tovim. Only when they are older ought they to approach the chuppah.
Computer Cowboy and I are grateful when we get to participate in others’ weddings.
Joyously, we run around with those of our friends whose kids are making a new home. We try to help those close ones with their simcha chores, we try to provide hospitality to their extended families, and we try to host Sheva Brachot. We hold that getting married is a big deal.
Today, it is our turn to celebrate. Mazel Tov!
B’ayin tova, Missy Older, our oldest child, is engaged. Her chatan is a brucha. His family is made up ofrefined people. There is, as well, a regular and elevated love for Torah in our machuten’s home. My new family configuration is slowly sinking in.
Birthing children pulled me over physical and spiritual thresholds. Birthing a kallah lifts me that much higher. My partner and I never before had a child grow, b’ayin tova, to the chuppah. My new family configuration is slowly sinking in.
I am ecstatic. I am happy. I am grateful to Hashem.
I am, as well, having trouble sleeping. My writing spirals in confusing and confounding curlicues, as evidenced by this posting. My thoughts start and stop and go neither here nor there. Please bear with me; I’m a little excited. Middle Eastern Musings might sound tangled for a few weeks.
More broadly, professionally, too, at this moment, I’m guilty of skipping and of begging leave from optional assignments and of getting uncomfortably close to publication deadlines for fixed commitments. I’m additionally culpable of approaching writing and editing tasks with a muddled head. My daughter might have taken up temporary residency in Kallah Land, but I pitched my tent in La La Land. My new family configuration is slowly sinking in.
The kids formally announced their intentions Thursday night/Friday morning and then, Bless them, drove off to the Kotel to daven as an official kallah v’chatan. Concurrently, though, my family and my husband’s family were completing a multi week trip to Jerusalem, on the occasion of my husband and my 30th anniversary. The last of the three visiting grandparent flew back to the States mere hours before the chatan’s family met with us to drink l’chaim and to work out “business arrangements.” My new family configuration is slowly sinking in.
Older Dude went back to yeshiva the same day as the L’Chaim. He is not thrilled about having to travel ten hours, round trip, less than half of a week after settling back into his learning schedule, to attend his sister’s party. Nonetheless, he plans to be here.
Initially, Missy Younger was excited about fashion options, tableware colors, and other celebration-related details. A few days into this intense period, all the same, she began to bemoan the creative projects she had not been able to complete or to start to actualize given local time constraints. More poignantly, she began to grieve her shifting relationship with her only sister.
Younger Dude, ever level-headed, BH, has directed his resources toward pointing out that we don’t need more posies for our mirpesset, that shoes ought to remain practical, and that if someone is needed to taste various caterers’ fare, he is willing to offer himself up for such service. He authentically likes his big sister’s chatan, but wonders, at the same time, a loud, when his mom is going to return to cooking him hot meals and when his father to taking evening walks with him. My new family configuration is slowly sinking in.
With Hashem’s help, the eirusin will be tomorrow. Invitations for giving Dvrai Torah have been issued. Friends have been invited. Someone, yet to be determined, will be in charge of supplying suitable music.
I’m midway through buying paper goods, food, and drink. In stages, I’m also tidying the house.
Yet, I’m torn. While it’s important to share sma’achot, I cherish the moments when my husband, myself, or both of us will again be alone with the new zug. Whereas this week, our corner of the world can have dibs on those kids, next week, I am hoping for exchanges that are quieter and more private. My new family configuration is slowly sinking in.
In Jerusalem, where Olam Hazeh touches Olam Haba, just like they do anywhere else, families seek halls, apartments, florists, bands, photographers, and the like. Couples pick out furniture, send each other gifts of significance, and fret over towel patterns. Ruchnious, even so, remains supreme over gushnius in this Holy City, especially during happy occasions.
Being mindful of friends’ feelings, trying to accommodate the needs of elderly guests, and always, always, always reminding ourselves and our couple-of-the-hour that their wedding is the springboard to THEIR life, it behooves us to stay focused on what really is important. No one will remember whether or not we had fish or quiche at the celebrations. The kallah’s flowers will fade. The chatan will smile as warmly at the 20th guest as at the 200th. A song more or less will not make or break any of the associated parties. On the other hand, remembering where we begin and end, i.e. remembering to give honor to the Aibishter, must continue on as quintessential. My new family configuration is slowly sinking in.
The sun has not yet stopped shining in concert with the stars. The air still holds a summer’s warmth. Nothing makes sense and, simultaneously, the perfection of all of creation has been, for my family, newly revealed. My new family configuration is slowly sinking in.
Stay tuned! There will be much more about the highs of parenting newly engaged kids to follow in the weeks to come.