A Valentine’s Day Post

My husband walks into the room carrying an old-fashioned  sound movie projector.

“Look”, he says, “ I found this on Ebay. We can finally watch our old movies again.”

He sets up the projector, and I impatiently wait for the movie to begin. I want to revisit the past. Finally, the  projector makes a whirring sound and  I’m transported back to 1982.  My heart skips a beat when I see my little girl, Stacey. She has a headful of blonde curls, and an engaging smile. Although she is barely two, she is wearing a pink shirt that says “big sister” in bold black letters.

Her little brother, Brian, is sitting in his orange baby seat. He’s only about six months old. One day, he will travel the world, but in 1982 he is restricted to the top of a kitchen table.

The movie camera turns toward me. My appearance startles me. I didn’t know I’d aged so much. My hair is long, wavy, and dark brown, and I am surprisingly thin.

I whistle at my son, and he giggles. He turns toward his sister, and intently looks at her. It’s the start of a close relationship between the two of them; one that will last.

Turning to my daughter, I ask her to say”daddy”. She complies, then shoves the movie microphone close to her mouth. I ask her to say “nose”. It’s too much for her, and she throws down the microphone. I should have known when to stop. It’s not the last time I will conflict with my spirited daughter.

The movie gets a little shaky, and I remember taking over the movie camera. I focus it on my tall strapping young husband. He scoops both children up in his arms. My older daughter, not wanting to miss out on the fun, enters the kitchen. Before she can say anything, I hear the reels signaling the end of the movie.

The wall gets dark, and we turn on the lights. Now, there are only the two of us standing in the same kitchen where the movie was made all those years ago.

Six months go by, and now I find myself standing in the “Renaissance Hotel” in Columbus, Ohio. Stacey has grown into an independent young woman. In a few hours, she will become a wife. She is behind the door, ready to reveal herself to the female members of the wedding party.

“Are you ready to see her?” asks my oldest daughter.

“Ready,”we say in unison.

The door opens, and a beautiful bride steps forward. Her  flouncy wedding dress, without jewels or beads on it, is simple and elegant. The veil has little scattered rhinestones and a pretty pearl barrette  is holding her blonde curls in place. She is wearing the simple diamond necklace my husband and I bought her for her birthday.

Celebrating Love

“You never looked so beautiful,” I say.

“Thank you mommy,” she replies.

The rest of the day unfolds like a  Frank Capra movie.  The sunny weather and blue sky make it a perfect day to get married on the third floor terrace of the lovely hotel. There is a panoramic view of downtown Columbus, Ohio. This location is fitting because generations of my husband’s family has worked in locations within view.

We all laugh at a large image of Andy Warhol staring at us from an adjacent building. It’s almost as if he’s come to the wedding without an invitation.

The wedding guests include family members from all over the country, but most of them are their friends. I miss my mother for a moment. She lived a long life, and always liked family celebrations.  A bittersweet feeling momentarily washes over me.

As the wedding party lines up inside the hotel, we vaguely hear music coming from the terrace.  My husband, daughter and I wait for our cue. I was honored when she insisted we both walk her down the aisle.

Finally, we hear the beginning notes of the  Pachelbel’s Canon, and we start towards the chupa (altar). The look on the  handsome groom’s face is joyful and loving.  She gave her heart to him long ago, so I don’t feel any sense of loss. They are so right for each other.

Since they come from two different religions—Judaism and Catholicism—they have chosen a non-religious person to marry them. He’s a lay person who has the authority to marry couples. He is a good choice; he does an expert job leading the ceremony.

They tried to include parts of both religions in the ceremony. A chupa (altar), and a unity candle. There is a reading from the New Testament.

I reach for my husband’s hand during the ceremony. We are still each other’s best friend and we are still in love.

My little girl, now grown up, stands across from her soon-to-be husband. The tears of joy in his eyes— when he looks at her— starts her own.  Lovingly, he wipes hers away.  It speaks volumes about their love.

I listen to the wedding ceremony they’ve written themselves. They have compiled prayers and words from different traditions. The ceremony speaks of love, commitment and becoming one. I am so busy watching them that I don’t absorb every word. When it’s time to light the unity candle, the wind keeps blowing it out. Finally, their two older sisters block the wind, and the candle finally lights. Later, he breaks the glass. One final tradition from Judaism and they are married.

The musicians playing at the reception are like the groom’s family. He is the lead guitar player, and one of the singers. He brings her close to him, and surprises her by singing her some songs The guests gather around to watch. Their happiness is contagious, and everyone is smiling.

The bride and groom sit on chairs, and are lifted during the ceremony, a Jewish tradition. No one is sure how long they should be aloft, and they both look relieved when the chairs are once again on the ground.

It’s a lively wedding, and two traditional dances are introduced to the guests, the Italian tarentella, and the Israeli hora.  At first, it’s a little awkward, but most everyone ends up laughing and out of breath.

The celebration lasts until midnight. The musicians put away their instruments, and the wedding ends.

A memory of a perfect day will be stored in my heart. It will be there for me when I need it.