Thursday, July 16, 2009
Favorite moments (in no particular order) from the wedding weekend. There are many:
Taking Dad's arm right before we were to walk down the aisle. He murmured, "Sweetie you're beautiful," and his eyes filled with tears. He grabbed my hand and kissed it. The first time I got married, I didn't ask either of my parents to walk me down the aisle. I was a feminist and no one was going to give me away. Twenty-two years later, I am still a feminist, but happy and proud to make the walk arm in arm with him.
C playing the processional music for my Dad and stepmother on Thursday night before the wedding when they came over for dinner, along with my sister Emily and her two youngest, Eli and Lucy. Their faces when they heard the song, joyous and reverent.
Telling Eli, age 9, to go pick some ripe figs from the tree outside for Papa.
Lucy, age five, making silly fake glasses for herself out of the pipe cleaners I had put in the goody bags for the flower girls (thank you Carla for giving me the idea to go to Long's Drugs and buy a bunch of activity items to keep young children entertained during a ceremony: crayons, paper, pipe cleaners, stickers, blow-bubbles, etc.)
C and his brothers, three midwestern Protestants, who didn't know from chuppahs having a conference in the backyard about how best to put the thing together, carry it, mount it, etc. Putting their own practical craftsmanship on it.
C sitting with his brothers at the dining room table reminiscing about some of the houses they had lived in--their dad was in the Army, they moved around a fair amount. Jon's face all lit up.
Asking my new brother-in-law Heston to pick me a bouquet to carry down the aisle and expecting a modest little nosegay--he picked an extravagant huge bunch of orange and pink and peach and coral roses.
Flower girl Lucy arriving at the synagogue and announcing she wasn't going to do it. (Actually, this was not my favorite moment, but then she turned it around, nd I love her spirit.)
Seeing my other little niece holding hands with my Little Sister.
Sitting on the closed toilet lid while Nadya, the "beautification lady" curled my hair with a curling iron and pinned it up, and did my make-up, and Angela, looking delicious in a red dress and gold sandals and a gold clutch, took pictures.
Angela, Angela, Angela. Both of C's brothers fell in love with her as everyone always does. The night before the wedding after a massive Chinese banquet, sitting around the kitchen table with her, C, and his brothers, drinking wine and eating chocolate, and she told the joke, "Why don't Southern women go to orgies?" "Too many thank-you notes." (She is Southern.)
Walking down the aisle in my fancy silver-gold shoes from Target and being so overwhelmed I completely forgot to circle C until he reminded me in a whisper. (I was the one who insisted on the circling thing and told him a million times I was going to do it, until I forgot.) I was going to circle him 7 times, as per ritual, but I realized midway through the third or fourth round that I was never going to make it in those shoes, which were stuffed with orthotics, so I stopped.
Carla in the front row: her face.
The faces of everyone in the synagogue and how they rose as I walked down the aisle (I wasn't expecting that,) beaming so much love it brought tears to my eyes. I thought how can I ever take this all in?
Our sweet rabbi. He had asked C and I to prepare words of love for each other and keep them secret, so that when we read them to each other at the ceremony it would be for the first time. C read "You write poems for me and I feel like all I can do for you is keep your floors clean and your windows opening and closing." (He has rehung almost all my old windows.) Rabbi David murmured "That's no small thing."
Looking at the front row to the left and seeing all five flower girls sitting together, passing my bouquet up and down, taking turns holding it.
The kids, the kids, the kids. In many ways, we designed this wedding around the children. There were so many of them, and I wanted it to be fun for them. At the reception afterwards, they grabbed my hands and C's hands, demanded that we dance with them, climbed into our laps, found their way into every photo. They assumed ownership over the beautiful afternoon and I ceded it to them happily. They are love, they are the future, and I remembered from my own childhood how good it felt when all the aunts and uncles and grandparents and everyone got together, how secure I felt, knowing there were many laps to hold me, many hands to steady me or open a juice bottle, cut a piece of cake, stroke my back when I got tired. I know it is a fantasy about extended family and tribe and village; I know the reality is that when we are together for too long the cracks start to show, and there are cracks, every family has them, but I can't help feeling like this is how it's supposed to be, a village.
A lot of the marrying that took place on Sunday was between C and my family (and in another subtler way, perhaps between me and his brothers.) The marriage between C and I is already there, it's intimate, it's been in process for a while. Planning the wedding and carrying it off has quickened and deepened that process; the truth is we will be marrying each other for years and years to come, please God. My Dad said at the toasts that the more he gets to know C the more he loves them, and that alone was worth all the work and money and stress of putting the wedding together.
The beautiful tables, decorated so simply and elegantly by Beth and Leo with a single orchi8d as the centerpiece. They did that completely free of my input and at the last minute--Leo called me just two days before the wedding asking, "What can I do?" and I asked, "Could you dress up the space a little?" He went down to the synagogue on his own initiative and then went to town with Beth. We just walked down and saw everything laid out and perfect.
C wearing the tallis and yarmulke I gave him the first Chanukah we were together along with a homemade card that said "Welcome to my tribe."
My Little Sister, with her beautiful soft black curly hair, holding me by the hand and asking me to introduce her to my nieces and my cousin's kids. I asked if she would go with my cousin Lizzie and she could sense how good Liz is with kids, how kind and creative and she took her hand. Later, the five flower girls played together as if they had known each other for years.
C dancing with me in public, and having fun. At the end I whispered "Dip me," and he did. Then he danced with my stepmother, with various friends, with flower girls, and with me again. I think he danced even more than I did.
There's more and more and more, but this is a good starter list. Here are a couple of photos two taken by Edith and some others by Angela. Unfortunately, we have yet to get a good full-frontal of C, man of mystery, because he was always in motion.