What does a man think about his 48th anniversary?
This man woke up thinking about his wedding day. Lots of little details. Superbowl IX—Steelers vs. Vikings. Asking the guests not to smoke at the dinner reception (for family and out of towners). Being fascinated by the temple sound system behind the bima, and my brother pushing me past that as we walked out to the chuppah. Deciding not to have a receiving line, and people lining up to congratulate us anyhow when we were momentarily talking to each other at the champagne reception (right after the chuppah). My unforgivably brusque response when someone complained that they couldn’t quite hear me when we traded vows (I wasn’t talking to you). My bride being walked down the aisle to the chuppah by her beaming parents.
But most of all, I was thinking about two twenty one year old kids with delusions of adulthood getting married. What were we thinking. Well, we were in love; we had good role models in the marriages both sets of parents; we weren’t looking elsewhere; we would figure it out or make it up as we went along.
We have been very lucky and blessed. We started out without much of a plan and ended up with fairly successful careers, three lovely menschlic children with equally fine upstanding spouses, and five grandchildren who melt our hearts. As my father z”l said to my mother when he first held Sarah (his first grandchild), “Ah Carol, having Aaron’s finally begun to pay off.”,
As I look behind me I see 48 years of marriage rolled up by my heels. Gazing forward, and we must always continue to keep our eyes looking forward, I see a path that, while necessarily shorter, still holds many potential and tantalizing possibilities.
While I suffer the depredations of advancing age and chronic disease, I bask in the love of my family and Laura’s ferocious support. I keep moving forward one step at a time. We all have our could haves and should haves, but they are only distractions from the past—certainly to be learned from, but not dwelled upon. I may fret sometimes about myself with introspection of dubious value, but I truly believe that the only healthy course is to constantly evaluate where I am, where I want to be, and how can I plan to move in that direction. As we learn in Pirkei Avot 2:16 “He [Rabbi Tarfon] used to say: It is not your duty to finish the work, but neither are you free to desist from it.” Equally, I will try to keep in mind Psalm 118:24 “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
As I begin my 49th year of marriage (and roughly 56th year of knowing Laura), I will continue to treasure her as a true partner, trusting her judgement, relishing her love, and endeavoring to treat her as the true goddess she is. I will enjoy to the extent possible the exploits of my six children and their families and enjoy more than they can imagine watching them wrestling with their careers and joy and angst of being parents. As for my grandchildren, like my father (my personal source of Pirkei Avot) I see them as my immortality and revel in their every achievement.
“A good woman, who can find?” Well, I seem to have stumbled into it and have had the rare good sense to hang on for a joyous and blessed ride.
12 January 2023