So here we are, right smack in the middle of the yomim tovim, and while in theory the point of this column is to find new ways to get the most bang for your buck, chances are that you, like me, are all shopped out. So this month, instead of talking dollars and cents, I am going with a little light reading on a subject that, Baruch Hashem, took over my life this past summer: weddings.
Much has been written about how amazing it is to marry off a child, including articles by moi on the topic. But having been blessed with the privilege of escorting all but one of my children to the chuppah so far, I can tell you that among the roller coaster of emotions that you can expect to experience when making a wedding, there is one that isn’t discussed all that often: humor. Let’s face it – unexpected situations do arise and while they may not seem funny when they happen, in retrospect they can be excellent reminders that whether you are busy sending one of your chickies out of the nest or are dealing with the challenges of a three-day Yom Tov, having a sense of humor is a great way to keep everything in perspective.
You might not think that response cards could be all that funny, but, then again, you probably haven’t seen the ones that showed up in my mailbox this summer. Going back nearly a decade to daughter number one’s wedding, we received an RSVP from one of her friends who cut out her response card in the shape of the words “mazel tov.” It was such a sweet idea that I did it once or twice myself when my siblings made weddings, not even signing my name to the card because it was obvious that no one but me was crazy enough to do something like that. Little did I know that I had unintentionally started a trend in my family, one that would come back to haunt me a few years later in the best possible way.
Fast forward to my son’s wedding this summer. My now adult nieces and nephews outdid themselves sending anonymous RSVPs with funny thoughts, leaving me to enjoy guessing who had sent which response. Interestingly enough, the originality wasn’t limited to just the family – friends were responsible for other responses that made me smile including one that was literally covered with cheerful yellow and orange polka dots, another doused in cologne and a third filled with little plastic hearts that spilled out all over my countertop. But without a doubt, it was the response card cut up into jigsaw puzzle shaped pieces and sprinkled with bits of purple and lime green confetti that was the grand prize winner. Once I taped that one together, it didn’t take me more than a minute to use the postmark and a few spelling mistakes to identify the mystery sender, whom I have since congratulated heartily for the creative ingenuity.
Another memorable moment took place the day my son got engaged. My married daughters were traveling from their various home bases to the vort in New Jersey when a panicky message went out on our family chat from one daughter who had just discovered that the shorts she was planning on putting on her soon to be two-year old-when they got to the shul had accidentally not made it into the car. While she worked the phone, calling every kids clothing store in the area that she could think of for white spandex shorts in his size, my husband and I managed to track a down a pair so that our little cutie didn’t have to spend the whole night rocking the diaper and Armani blazer look.
How about the time that we took my son’s new suit in for tailoring before daughter number three’s wedding? The big day finally arrived and my son went to put on his suit only to discover that instead of letting the pants out an inch, they had been taken in. Thankfully, it was early enough in the day that we were able to get them fixed, picking them up on our way from Monsey to the wedding in Brooklyn. Everything seemed fine until we got to the hall and my son went to put on his jacket, only to watch the buttons literally come off in his hands as he tried to close them. G-d bless my sister-in-law who came to the wedding with a needle and thread and sewed them back on.
And then there was that unforgettable moment that took place when we married off daughter number two. It was a beautiful wedding followed by Shabbos sheva brachos with meals in our newly-expanded dining room. Everyone had just finished enjoying a large plate of chopped liver, eggs and salads when the waiter tiptoed discreetly into the room asking to speak to my husband about a minor problem. Apparently, the waiters had accidently served the appetizers on dinner plates, leaving us with only small plates to use for the main course. My husband and I brainstormed quickly and came up with plan B: pulling out whatever disposable plates we had in the house. Unfortunately, having just completed a nine-month-long renovation, we were low on supplies, which meant we had just a small stash of semi-appropriate looking paper goods and, for some reason, a nice stock of disposables that were covered in…. clowns. Since our new in-laws and the chosson and kallah were seated in the middle of the room, we asked the wait staff to give the nicer looking plates to the machatanim and the surrounding tables, hoping that they wouldn’t notice that the tables on the perimeter of the room were getting plates that looked like they came from a six-year-old’s birthday party. Our efforts to keep things quiet were less than successful, prompting our new in-laws to let us know that they wanted clown plates also.
One final oops moment also took place that weekend. Waking up, I threw my fuzzy bathrobe over my sheep jammies and went out to the kitchen to see if everything was under control. One of my daughters suggested I go change into attire that was more suited for company before any guests arrived for breakfast and I remember thinking to myself, “Don’t be silly. No one is coming till lunch time.” At exactly that moment there was a knock at my side door and there stood my brand new machatanista, all dressed up in an elegant suit and beautiful jewelry while I answered the door in my fuchsia, polka dotted, hooded robe atop my pink sheep pajamas. Let’s just say that since then I have always made sure to get dressed super early whenever we have hosted a simcha.
So there you have it. It may be an extended Yom Tov when your oven is beeping every three minutes for a full 72 hours because you had it on timed bake instead of Shabbos mode, or you may have gotten to a relative’s house for Sukkos only to discover that the only shoes you brought were the bright blue Crocs you wore on the way over. Whatever it is, go with the flow and smile. I promise you, you’ll be glad you did.