Posts for Tag : weddings

Is Truth Stranger than Fiction in Marriage? I’m About to Find Out…  0

Marriage is on my mind.

IMG_5102Our oldest son and his wife recently celebrated their third anniversary in their new home. Our middle daughter and her husband are looking forward to celebrating their second anniversary somewhere not impacted by the Zika virus. And our youngest daughter got engaged in July to a wonderful young man we’ve known since they were in high school.

A few weeks after Taryn said yes, my husband and I celebrated the 40th anniversary of our first date by going to dinner at a French restaurant owned by the family whose restaurant we went to that steamy MaIMG_2067nhattan night in late July, 1976. The next morning we rode over to the apartment building on the upper east side where we first met. And now we are preparing for 2017 when our baby will become a bride exactly one week after we celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary.

IMG_5336So many memories and milestones. It’s making me weepy.

But while all of this good stuff is happening in my personal life, my writing life is taking me in a different direction. I am at work on a novel about two troubled marriages in the same family and the role karma plays in choosing our mates. Here is a peek at the premise of WHEN WE COME BACK.

If we return from a past life is it for love or redemption?

Two roommates at Syracuse feel an inexplicable attachment to an entitled frat boy with whom they have little in common. Years later, one marries him and the other moves across the country to forget him. But when an unplanned reunion reveals that their shared history may not have ended with graduation, destiny is blamed for their imperfect souls and the shocking fallout. Oh, that crazy karma.

It is an odd confluence of emotions to be reflecting on the joys of wedded life when I am immersed in the worlds of a bored newlywed couple and the bride’s parents, who will not be buying anniversary cards this year unless Hallmark has a line that says things like, I fucking hate you. Please die. There is so much tension, drama and secrets that even though according to my outline I know how the story ends, my characters are in full bloom and could shock me.

I like to say, no surprise for the writer than none for the reader, either.

But how does my personal life mesh with my writing life? Sometime not well. Recently, my husband asked what was up with my attitude. “Are you mad at me?” Of course, after four decades there’s a good chance he’d done something to piss me off. But this time he was innocent. Turns out that I was so riled at my fictional husband I couldn’t turn off my anger. I went back to my manuscript and unleashed a torrent of blistering words. Then I felt much, much better.

Back to the Beginning at 250 E. 87th St., NYC

Back to the Beginning at 250 E. 87th St., NYC

One day I’ll close the chapter on these deeply flawed characters (and miss them as I do all of my characters), but it will be best as living with them is like living with Liz, Dick and they’re messed up kids. Then I’ll return to dealing with normal-people marital problems, like who is making the holidays this year and must we invite the other side of the family.

 

 

 

 

 

Sunrise, Sunset…  0

Escorting1601395_10100112559925831_2536479223188349791_n your baby girl down the aisle to meet her husband is both the shortest and longest walk of a mother’s life. I didn’t know that until last Sunday when it was my moment to clutch my daughter’s arm and take those milestone steps.

I’m sure there was music playing but I couldn’t tell you what the band played. I’m sure there were dozens of pictures taken but I didn’t notice the cameras. I’m sure there were smiles and tears but I was only mindful of my own.

Alex and I did chuckle at the colored leaves strategically strewn down the aisle. Only we knew what a pain it had been to gather enough bags in time or how we cursed the person who thought they would be a nice touch. But then as we neared the Chuppah (wedding canopy) my heart stopped.

Forget the stupid leaves. I needed a time out. Had I remembered to tell her how much I loved her? How proud I was? How stunning she looked? How much we loved Barry? Had I told her all that she needed to know about marriage? Her father and I had just celebrated our thirty-seventh anniversary so surely I could share something wise and witty about patience, compassion, forgiveness and honesty. Did she know the rule about not going to bed angry?1621834_10202797567364439_2731242780183314308_n

Too late. We were being prompted to stop so that her handsome prince could walk her the rest of the way. We gently kissed her cheeks but her gaze told the whole story. She couldn’t wait another second to marry the man who stole her heart. The man who would love, protect and nurture her forever. The man who could make her think, laugh and love beyond her dreams.mr and mrs. gilbert

And so we let go and took our place beside her, happy but wistful. If you spend a lifetime raising a child, why are the years so fleeting? Then I remembered my father’s sage advice. He said it was a parent’s job to give their children roots and wings, but after that the journey was up to them.

I know for sure that I remembered to do that. Sunrise, sunset indeed.

 

 

 

Think Disney Is the Happiest Place on Earth? Wait Until You Arrive at Kleinfeld!  2

10646805_10202574647631585_3096669570620921465_nWithin days of my daughter getting engaged, the application to appear on Say Yes to the Dress was filled out and submitted… but not by the bride. Not even with her knowledge. It was all handled by her younger sister who saw this as the chance for them to experience the excitement that has no equal- a visit to Kleinfeld.

Mind you I enjoy watching the show and have gotten sucked in like everyone else when the family’s story is touching, or they have terrible taste, or especially when the MOB (mother-of-the-bride) isn’t as nurturing and supportive as surely I would be.

But actually shop there for my daughter’s wedding gown? No thanks. Why put up with pushy bridal consultants, not to mention price tags that rival tuition payments? The girls could go have their fun and report back like they had watched a movie that didn’t interest me.

kleinfeld dressing roomHa! If you have daughters then you know where this story is going. I got dragged to the showroom as punishment for all the years I preached that they must be open-minded. “How do you know you won’t like it unless you try it???” So off we went to the Shrine of Chiffon with me muttering that we would not be saying yes to anything other than champagne if they offered.

Now here is where the story gets really predictable (especially if you have daughters). From the moment the bride and her entourage start snapping selfies at the front door, our collective hearts raced. The cavernous lobby beckoned with its stone pillars and sumptuous couches. Then the receptionists greeted us warmly and we could feel the buzz of the brides.

But that didn’t compare to the joy of discovering what was happening in the showroom. “Mom! They’re taping an episode.” And off they raced. Maybe they would get lucky and be seen in the background, or hold your breath, meet one of the stars. That’s when I texted my husband and said, Heads up, Honey. The Festival of Checkbook has begun.   

"Oh please, Mom? It'll be fun!"

An hour later the bridal consultant pulled back the curtain and my daughter twirled in a stunning,  Romona Ceveza gown. There were tears and they were mine. Then we were ushered into the showroom with its jeweled showcases and multi-level platforms for the “jacking up”. From out of nowhere the staff appeared like Cinderella’s mice to add the finishing touches.

“Are you saying yes to the dress?” the consultant asked. My daughter looked at me, her sister, her sister-in-law and her future mother-in-law and our smiles said it all. Are you kidding me? Of course she is! And after the call to Daddy to say thank you, thank you, thank you, my baby girl was officially a Kleinfeld bride.after kleinfelds

Now here is the truth. The Kleinfeld experience was as perfect as the gown. Not once were we pushed into buying or doing anything that didn’t work for us. We spent what we budgeted (well maybe a tad more), our fitter was a lovely woman whose expert eye resulted in the most beautiful alterations and between the numerous phone calls and emails, we were never disappointed in their customer service.

As for my starry-eyed daughter getting her fifteen-minutes of fame on the show? Didn’t happen. But after a fitting, Randy Fenoli, the famed Fashion Director, happened to be chatting with customers. In two seconds my girls raced off to ask him to pose for a photo. Thankfully, he could not have been more gracious.

This morning I drove into Manhattan to pick up the dress and with military precision it was brought to my car. Now it hangs in kleinfelds3my daughter’s room, awaiting her grand entrance at the ceremony when for a brief instant she can recall the moment she said yes to the dress… and her wonderful groom.

Disney claims to be the happiest place on earth but only until those little princesses grow up. Once they’ve found their princes, get real, Mickey. Kleinfeld is their new magic kingdom.

 

Here Comes the Bride…  0

… No, not me. That ship sailed many years ago (37 to be exact). It is my older daughter, Alex, that is weeks away from walking down the aisle with her beloved fiance, Barry.

Up until now the preparation for the big day has been all about the small details. What to wear, what to serve, what to say. And, of course, there have been the many celebrations and parties as the happy couple locks arms en route to the Chuppah.

But in the midst of the to-do lists that won’t die, it is finally dawning on me that this momentous day is not only Alex’s big turning point, but mine.

Summer 2014 collage-005A mother dreams of many things for a daughter. Certainly good health and happiness, talent and passion, inner beauty and confidence, friendship and success… a generous heart. A mother also holds the greatest hope that her daughter will find a loving partner, someone who cares for and understands the deepest parts of her soul. A partner that will know when to sit down and when to speak up. A partner that treasures honesty and will cherish and respect her.

It is a tall order but a critical one, for I’m beginning to realize that Alex’s soon-to-be husband belongs not only to her but to me. He is my new son. Fortunately not one I will have to teach to drive or to stay up until 3 AM waiting for. Instead, he will be the young man whose hopes and dreams I will nurture and support. The young man whose personal challenges may challenge me as well. The young man who may question values I hold dear yet still need my patience and respect.

In this regard I count myself among the lucky. My daughter, Alex, is an extraordinary young woman who is beautiful, resilient, courageous and kind. No matter the obstacle in her way, and there have been many, she doesn’t relent until the situation is made right. And in Barry, she has found her soul mate. Together they laugh, plan, walk, talk, kiss and share. They work hard, root for the same teams and live for travel and adventure. Their gaze is not only for each other but those who are fortunate enough to be in their inner circle.

No one can possibly know the journey that lies ahead but of this I am sure. This union is blessed and it is with that spirit of gratitude that I welcome my new son into my heart. He is the man of my daughter’s dreams and therefore of mine as well.