Love and Marriage: Ringing Out the Year with Love and Traditions

Tevye: “Is this the little girl I carried? Is this the little boy at play?”

Golde: “I don’t remember growing older. When did they?”

In August, my older daughter got married. It was a wonderful celebration of love and joy as family and friends enveloped the two glowing brides in a bubble of warm wishes, while sharks and other aquatic life looked on–since the ceremony and reception took place at an aquarium. In October, my sister and her long-time partner married. It was also a love-filled, joyous event. The brides barely managed to get through their vows without crying as family and friends encircled them on the ballroom floor. The reception included some wild and crazy dancing. Yes, some of it was mine.

A few years ago, I never would have thought my older daughter or my younger sister would be able to marry. That they can is wonderful, and yet, completely natural—because why shouldn’t they be able to legally marry the people they love?

Amidst the grays of December and the brightness of seasonal festivities, our family experienced another outpouring of love marked with tears, laughter, and a sparkling token of promise and affection.

On Christmas Eve, my younger daughter’s boyfriend proposed to her. She struggled to say “yes” through her tears of joy. As we later heard about and saw in a video, these two trained actors could barely form words. My husband and I and a few other family members knew the proposal was coming that day, but my daughter did not. After the proposal, which took place in a favorite restaurant, the happy couple returned to my niece’s house, where they had had brunch with our family earlier in the day. My daughter didn’t know all of us would still be there. (We watched Fiddler on the Roof, the obvious choice for a Christmas Eve movie, while we waited for them to return.) When she and her now fiancé walked in the door, we yelled “surprise,” –my mother still not realizing what had happened–and there were many tears of joy shed—followed by a smiles, laughter, and a toast to the newly engaged couple.

In the weeks leading up to the proposal, I had been referring to my niece, other daughter, her wife, and I as “the yentas,” as we struggled not to ask details or give advice to my daughter’s boyfriend. So, of course, I had to write a silly parody skit of Fiddler on the Roof as an engagement gift. It was titled, “A Kitten on the Roof.” (I mean, of course it was, what else would I call it?)

I won’t share it here, since it is filled with family jokes that would not make much sense to people outside of our family, but here is the beginning:

“A kitten on the roof. Sounds crazy, no? But you might say that we’re all kittens on the roof, trying to keep our balance with a bit of hissing and clawing. Sometimes life is crazy weird, but at other times it’s all cuddles and purrs.”

My younger daughter and her fiancé were both theatre majors in college, and they performed in some plays together there. With their theatre backgrounds in mind, this is the coda to my silly skit:

This is the end of Part I. This play runs in many acts over many, many years. Be prepared. There will be laughter and tears. Props will appear and disappear. Settings and lighting will change. Cues will be missed. Actors will come and go, but the characters, Sheryl and Eric, remain constant—at least to each other.

So, as you can tell, my holiday season was wonderful! I am so happy for my daughter and her fiancé. I know 2014 was not a good year for many people. I have friends who have lost loved ones. I know horrible things have happened in the world. But for me, 2014 is the year of love and marriage. And there will be another wedding soon.

* * * * *

Wishing all of you a very happy new year filled with cuddles and purrs and very few occasions for hisses and claws. I wish you long life and happiness. I wish all of you the ability to take joy in old traditions and/or the ability to create new ones. I wish for you to receive at least one good surprise in 2015. I wish all of you the presence of people who love you. Wishing all good things for all of us in 2015!

To us and our good fortune

Be happy be healthy, long life!
And if our good fortune never comes

Here’s to whatever comes,
Drink l’chaim, to life!

–“To Life” From Fiddler on the Roof


My husband and I at our older daughter’s wedding at Adventure Aquarium, Camden, NJ.


16 thoughts on “Love and Marriage: Ringing Out the Year with Love and Traditions

  1. Your cup of joy is full and running over and this post is brim full. Yes, I can hear Tevye ask, “Is this the little girl I carried?” And like Golde, I don’t remember growing older.

    Thank you for all the good wishes to your readers. My wish for you comes from Browning: “. . . the best is yet to be!” Like you, I hope it includes one good surprise.

  2. Thank you so much, Marian, for your remarks and kind wishes. I’m sure we both have grown better as we’ve somehow grown older. 😉
    Thank you, too, for the Browning quote. How fitting, given my mention of Fiddler on the Roof, that it comes from “Rabbi Ben Ezra!”

  3. Hello Merril,
    You have so beautifully encapsulated the ups and downs of life and expressed your joy while acknowledging the suffering or difficulties of others so graciously. It has been something I have been grappling with a lot over the past few weeks. Sydney has been so full of grief for the two lives lost in the Lindt Cafe Siege and this connected us up with even worse things in Pakistan and I didn’t know how I was going to brush all that off before Christmas and then got sick and broke my foot. But while I am resting a fair bit, I’m still getting out there and tonight was at a party and wrapped a yellow streamer round the boot and kicked a soccor goal with the broken foot. That boot is a miracle worker. Seeing the good things while going through difficulties is so important because the good and the bad will always be there and we need to juggle them somehow and not drop all our balls all at once. Keep going. I am looking forward to reading more of your posts and ditto your wishes for the New Year xx Rowena

    • Hi Rowena,
      Thank you so much for taking the time to comment and for your kind words. I just read your post on the new year in which you beautifully articulated similar thoughts to the ones you expressed in your comment. I wish you a speedy recovery for your broken foot (perhaps not too much soccer ball kicking with it :). Wishing you a wonderful new year.

  4. What a beautiful way to wrap up your 2014! I hope your daughters know just how lucky they are that you’re their mom. I love how your love for your family emanates through your writing and makes others smile. ❤ Happy New Year, my friend! xoxo

    • Rachel, you are so kind! Your comment made me a little teary-eyed! Thank you.
      I had SUCH a hard time keeping this news a secret. 🙂
      I hope you are feeling better now.
      All best and happy new year to you! ❤

      • Thank you… I’m almost there. At least no fever and sore throat anymore, just sinus woes. I can imagine you had a hard time with that secret. I wish I lived close to NJ so I could come photograph that wedding for you! I’d love to meet you and your awesome family. 🙂

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