La La How The Life Goes On

Happy Early Anniversary, BabyDaddy.

Posted on: June 30, 2014

“Esther! Come see this!” beckoned my dad from the living room. I reluctantly left my in-progress game of PayDay to see what was up. Rather than the earth-shattering feature promised by the timbre of my father’s voice, I found myself viewing an Art Garfunkel-looking TV host intoning about The Majesty of Masada. A towering symbol of blah blah where this young man’s family chose to hold his bar mitzvah. Cue the classic local news man-on-the-street B-roll of mom, dad, bar mitzvah son looking eager, and wee fat kid brother looking some combination of bored and irritated that he’s missing new episodes of the A-Team and Knight Rider for this trip. It was a feeling that I, as a wee fat kid sister could totally understand. “Uh, that’s cool, Dad. Interesting place!” I fake-thanked him, just trying to get back to my game to see if I had won the lottery yet.

*****************

“Oh, crap. It’s Jewish kid day,” I lamented to a coworker at the local amusement park. Every summer I worked at this destination location for many school and religious group camps. Each group had its own peculiar calling card. We always knew it was Christian Vacation Bible School day because we would find friendship beads in every corner of the park, as if the kids were popping open those Jesus Loves Me safety pins and freeing the beads into the wild. Run little beads! Run! There was also more surreptitious teenage kissing per capita than even the private school kids. We knew it was Family Reunion Days because the park would be inexplicably overrun by litter. Food wrappers and soda cans everywhere. Not little wrappers either. Garbage-sized litter. Everywhere. And then there was Jewish Camp Day. Everything I “knew” about Jews overturned in 6 short hours. Dorky. Studious. Well-behaved. Ha! Try “roving bands of yahoos, all in their respective camp’s signature t-shirt, some wearing what those of us in the know called a Ya-ma-kah. All in full pre-adolescent blitzorama, like fizzy bubbles propelled from a shaken bottle, laying waste to the park in a “no listening skills” summer bender. The Jews, more than even the Mennonites, wore us out. Especially one group from a particular camp in [town redacted], the name of which was surprisingly (to me) not Jewish-sounding and therefore not memorable.

**************

“Esther! Come sit here!” summoned my friend Nicole. I plopped my lunch tray down next to her and a kid I’d seen around campus. She introduced us. Hi there, Jon. Aaah. So that’s his name. The guy with the orange flannel shirt who wore shorts in freaking November. I recall telling a friend my theory that he obviously had some kind of lower-trunk nerve damage to be walking around out at Thanksgiving with bare legs. Which is how, before our introduction, he was known to me only as Nerve Damage Guy. At the lunch I assessed him on the positive side as cute, funny and nice-body having. On the negative (and deal breaking) side, he played rugby and I was not in the market for a boyfriend with leg troubles.

*************

“If you like the photos you’ll love the videotape,” promised Jon’s brother. It was getting late after our first dinner at his parents’ house, but we decided to look through his Embarrassing Family Photos anyway. They did not disappoint. Wide lapels, tube socks pulled up to the knees, and more people sporting Isros (the Jewish Afro, AKA the Jewfro) than you could shake a challah at. So much retro Semitic goodness for me, so much eye-rolling cringeyness for my boyfriend. As I was quietly reveling in the comfortable, feels like-I-belongness of the moment, his brother sank the VHS tape into the cavernous VCR. As the tape began to roll I was still feeling the warm contentment from the laughter, the joking, the ease with which it all felt somehow meant to be. Then I looked up at the TV to see a recording of a local news program.
Featuring a family at Masada for their son’s Bar Mitzvah.
I was so taken aback that I halted flipping through the Camp Yahoo Jewish Kid yearbook pics.
I realized in rat-a-tat, dominoes-falling, out-of-body amazement, that the fat kid brother in the video being bored is the athletic kid in the camp amusement park photos being an ass on the roller coaster is the guy I’m dating is my future husband.

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“‘B’shert’ is Yiddish for Meant-To-Be,” I told my daughters. Destiny. Predestined. Foreordained. Our family, our lives, our world. All of it b’shert. We were all meant to be together, even before you were born. Before I liked boys. Before I ever thought twice about getting married. Before your birthmothers carried you. Your father is my b’shert and I am his. You girls are our b’shert. There could have been no other outcome than the 4 of us together. Today, tomorrow, forever. Powers we don’t understand joined forces to create us. Your grandfather set it in motion. Our unconscious choices kept it alive. Our gratitude and love for each other sustains it. 16 years and counting.

How do I know it’s b’shert? How do I know it’s forever? They want to know. Easy; I saw it on the TV.

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2 Responses to "Happy Early Anniversary, BabyDaddy."

Thanks for your awesomeness. I actually found some pictures from your wedding in Athens recently!!! Good times!!!

All good stories involve Canobie, am I right?

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