Hasn’t time has been a slippery thing to measure these past 13 months? At some point 2020 ended, then we lurched into 2021, and suddenly we were in the second year of observing various holidays COVID-style—meaning, as best we could, missing much of the human contact with friends and family that is most of the point of these occasions anyway.
Last week marked Julie and Gil’s six month wedding anniversary. Their entire marriage has been spent in the shadow of isolation and restriction. I have yet to kiss the bride OR the groom, and the big celebration and reception are still months in the future. But on October 7th, they decided to exchange their vows with one another anyway, a profound statement of love and commitment, during a major worldwide crisis.
I remember sitting in our dining room that day, watching the Zoom video of the brief nuptials taking place in Brooklyn. Nothing about it resembled my wedding day, or indeed the wedding of anyone I’ve ever known. The couple was in their apartment, the jovial officiant was in his, and the sole witness (Rose) was in hers. The service itself was “blink and you’d miss it” quick—largely because Jules and Gil wanted to wait for the bells and whistles until we could all be together for a future Major Ceremony. So in this condensed version they said “I do,” and not much else. But it was enough to make it official. I found myself in tears, but not tears of regret that I couldn’t physically be present—rather, tears of happiness as I watched my now-wedded daughter and my brand new son-in-law join hands and lives. The officiant remarked that it was probably not the wedding of their dreams, but he echoed my feeling of hope, that life and love and promises endure, even in the most unsettled of times.
We saw Julie and hubby several weeks later in our backyard, on a warm autumn afternoon. Chef Patrick handled grill duties, and we had a lovely meal. We cheered for the newly-minted Mr. and Mrs. Gavish, as well as Rose’s impending birthday. We knew it would be a while before our next reunion--and indeed it would be another two months, and we haven’t been together since. We will gather next for Steve’s birthday April 26th.
There was a moment at that October gathering, luckily captured in a photo, that I will treasure always. There are Julie and Gil, smiling broadly. Julie is wearing her bridal veil--along with a pair of shorts and a T shirt. What might have seemed incongruous, was instead an adorable combination that summed up my Julie--sporty and casual, yet sweetly romantic too. She’ll wear that veil again when the Big Do finally happens, I’m sure, but I can’t imagine her looking lovelier—or happier--than she did that day.
Some things the pandemic could not ruin for us. The unexpected joy of my daughter’s unconventional wedding is one of those things.