Monday, June 30, 2008

A short and belated observation about people who have no shame

People who are about to get married by a rabbi, especially if it is by their own rabbi, in their own synagogue (as was the case for my sister and my now brother-in-law), often present themselves on Shabbat previous to the nuptuals (which generally works out to be Saturday morning before their Sunday ceremony) for an aufruf-- being called up to the Torah to recite the blessings before and after reading of the same, and/or, for the more adventurous, to actually read a Torah portion.

After that is accomplished, congregation sings congratulatory songs, and everyone pelts the happy couple with (soft) candy, thoughtfully provided either by the synagogue or by the family. Children then race up to collect the bounty, and a rabbi says some nice things and blesses the couple. Most Saturday mornings, especially if it is a largish congregation, there is also a Bar or Bat Mitzva happening. Which means that the teenager at the center of it also eventually gets pelted with candy and then, surrounded by his or her family, blessed.

Here's what I noticed on the morning of my sister's aufruf-- the rabbi, in blessing the couple, wished them many a good thing, including all sorts of signifiers of a long happily married life, but did not in any way mention children. The same rabbi, however, when blessing the Bat Mitzva girl, mentioned the "may you one day stand with your beloved under a wedding canopy" thing. So it's not that they are opposed to mentioning that next life stage. Is it, then, that they feel that getting married is a less iffy proposition than having children is? Or that they don't want to imply that children should necessarily be on the agenda? Or that they don't have to be on the agenda right away? Whatever it was, I appreciated that. I am pretty sure the young couple did too.

To be fair, the rabbi who officiated at the wedding the next day did mention children ("when you are ready"), but I felt that was ok since she spent the previous many minutes talking about the many things that make the newlyweds good together and for each other, knows them very well, and, it could be deduced, knows that they do, some day, want children.

The subject of this post, though? People who have no shame? That, my dears, would, somewhat predictably, be both sets of parents and, maybe less predictably, one other person. The parents, in their toasts. Our parents (mom, to be more precise) wished them children, though almost as an afterthought at the end of their toast, and his parents (mom, again) wished them many children, much more prominently in the toast. It's ok-- you can let out your collective groan now. Some of us did, in real time.

Care to guess who that one other person is? Ok, how about this-- I will tell you, only a few lines down. And then I will rely on the honor system for you to tell me in the comments whether you guessed it. Ok? ok.

Ready?

It was Monkey. She found a couple of our friends signing the guest book, and wanted to know what they were up to, and whether she was allowed to do that too. Here for your weekday amusement is her note, taking off the idiosyncratic family salutation and fixing her guess-and-go spelling, though it wasn't too bad:

Good luck with your happy life and your children.

Like I said, no shame.

22 comments:

Lori said...

No shame, and nothing but unadulterated optimism, hope and faith. She's perfect.

janis said...

That cracked me up, somehow.
I'm starting to think I need therapy. Becoming warped, me.

niobe said...

It's actually the almost-inevitable wishes at a wedding for a happy marriage that make me cringe. After all, there's a pretty good chance that the couple will end up divorced or, if they stay married, not be particularly happy about it.

Catherine said...

That is priceless! But I can think of no better way to say it...good luck to them!

Tash said...

I guessed!

Lucky for us heathens, we wrote our own vows. They were short, the officiator said almost everything barring "I do," and there was certainly no mention of children.

christina(apronstrings) said...

ahhhhhh. well, she surely can't imagine a life without children in it. she is one after all.

thrice said...

If I were to be honest, I would say that Monkey was not an option for me in the collective gasp choice.

Since the mitvah of getting married and having children is only for men, I sometimes think about it. Before someone reads this and doesn't quite understand, the mitvah is not forced on women, because most women have a natural inclination to wanting marriage and children, but more interestingly there can't be a mitvah that threatens someone's life, the way that some pregnancies do.

Lollipop Goldstein said...

Aaah, they start so young.

I was guessing it was you--that you lost your mind for a moment and began to babble: "babies, babies, when will you give us baaaaaaaaaaaaaaaabies."

c. said...

I'm slow. Although I did not get it right, I am SO not surprised. What a girl that Monkey is.

Is the soft candy being thrown at the couple for good luck? Maybe I could use that for my pregnancy???

Magpie said...

No, I didn't guess. But I'm not surprised. It seems hard wired into my girl that she'll have babes of her own (girl babes, to be precise).

Amy said...

Oh, Monkey, sweet, sweet Monkey! I guess that is what comes from the thoughts of children...yet more children.

No, I didn't guess, but you know, kids do think and say the darndest things!

Nicole said...

No shame! Beautiful.

My Reality said...

Perhaps Monkey hadn't lost all of her innocence!

wannabe mom said...

i just want to give her a big hug!!

mama o' the matrices said...

*grin*

Nope, didn't guess Monkey. But should have...after all, in her world, what's a family without children? And a couple who are married without kids are just playing around, the Eldest tells me.

It's almost painfully precise, the way the kids see our world, isn't it? I think about what came before the Eldest and the minor medica that it took to produce the Eldest (and the major therapy that it took to hold things together afterwards), and I suppose that I take his innocence as a triumph.

It's hard-won to produce a kid that normal, who really could know better.

Bon said...

i didn't guess...but i think children have every right to wish other people children. adults who insist on treating the subject of future children as if it's a given, in spite of the couple's wishes and the vagaries of fate, irk me as to me they seem like children. (with apologies to your mohter).

Amelie said...

I'd make an exception for Monkey. Didn't guess that, though. I agree with my reality, it sounds innocent.

luna said...

your sweet monkey seems to have a deep respect and love for children (wonder where she got that?). and hey, it means more cousins to play with!

charmedgirl said...

well, it IS what happens to most people...

Lori said...

I didn't guess.

But I went back and looked at the lovely wedding photos. Beautiful!

Karen said...

she is full of surprises, that girl.

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