That's Younger Son.
This is the child who always made me feel as though my youth was a foregone conclusion.
A mendacity for certain, but one with which I felt I could easily live.
My youngest child is getting married.
I keep repeating it over and over to myself in the hope that the reality will sink in, but instead I find that it is the source of my latest bout with insomnia.
Now, don't misunderstand me. I am thrilled and excited for Younger Son and His Beshert; for all of us actually. Simchas are this family's lifeblood. I adore my boy and the sublime young woman who is now my daughter. These two wonderful people have found each other amidst the flotsam and jetsam of the relationship sea. Their future is before them and I couldn't be happier.
Still....it's 3:00am....and I am staring at the ceiling hoping that I might be granted an epiphany to explain how I feel. But.....I've got nothing of substance, nothing that can be easily articulated.
Instead I offer knowledge. Mine to be certain and perhaps more that just a wee bit self-important and pontificating, but it comes from a virtuous place and more than thirty years of being with the same person. That....and really....what's the use of having a blog if you can't utilize it as a vanity space. Maybe just chalk all of this up to the rantings of an overly emotive MOG (Mother of the Groom) a week before her son's marriage. Since I won't be speaking on the day of....a choice well made I might add....here are a few things for my son and new daughter-in-law to ponder.
The wedding will be beautiful even if a few details get missed in the mayhem. I don't say that because I am planning for mayhem or even to suggest that details will be shirked, but rather to remind us all that the most important detail will be witnessing and celebrating the union of these two loving souls. Everything else is gravy. The rabbis attach great importance to the mitzvah of Simchat Chatan v'Kalah, rejoicing with the groom and the bride. Rabbi Eli Mansour elucidates:
The Rambam (Maimonides) comments (Hilchot Avel 14:1) that although the Torah makes no specific reference to this Mitzvah, it is included under the general category of "Ve'ahavta Le'rei'acha Kamocha" ("Love your fellow as yourself" – Lev 19:18). Thus, one who helps bring joy to a bride and groom fulfills a "Mitzvat Asei Min Ha'Torah" – the Biblical command to "love your fellow as yourself."Weddings matter. A lot. But marriages matter more.
Marriage is hard work. Every single day. It never stops being hard work. It is about making a conscious decision to accept the fact that maybe he doesn't make the bed in the mornings or that maybe she needs to talk to family every day. It is about mortgage payments, and in-laws, and children, and pets, and religious practices, and priorities, and career choices, and who controls the TV remote or the thermostat, and division of household labour, and nursing care, and worry, and panic, and........
It is about not always winning and about not caring about winning. It is about screaming and slamming doors, but never walking away no matter how tempted you may be. It is about having the fortitude to work through the shit because that's what you promised each other, even though the shit is knee-deep. It is about asking for help when needed and about making lasting decisions together. Marriage isn't for everybody and it certainly isn't for the feint of heart.
It does have its moments. Like when he touches your arm for no reason while you are at a restaurant, or when she shoots you a knowing glance during a movie that only the two of you understand. Like when the two of you share inside jokes, intimate history, family, friends, or maybe when you someday stand together with your children under the chuppah. Those are the connections that matter. They are amongst the gifts that your life together will keep on giving to you and they are amongst the most precious.
Years ago I read somewhere that saying "I Love You" during sex is too easy and shouldn't count. Saying it at other times demands more thought and care. Be thoughtful and caring of each other. Be demonstrative in public and say "I Love You" out loud when it is least expected but it might matter most. Flirt and play with each other. Be each other's spouse, partner, person, lover, and friend. Be each other's cheering section and most constructive critic. Understand your differences but accentuate your similarities. Know your weaknesses and catch each other when needed.
No parent could ask for more than to see their children happy. My wish for you both is that you take the joy you feel today and build on it for a lifetime. I know that I am truly blessed....
even if I can't sleep.