Our eldest daughter was marrying her longtime boyfriend, Ronnie. Everyone with the exception of my husband was tense. Our son, David, suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and we all hoped that the wedding would go off without incident.
I’ve been a good mother. I’ve loved, protected helped my children, yet I was powerless to help relieve my daughter’s tension on her wedding day.
I looked at her in her white, off the shoulder wedding gown: the cool, light fabric settling over her slender body, making her look as if she were dressed in an evening breeze. I hugged her and told her how much I loved her.
The photographer called for a family snapshot. David looked good as he’d agreed to wear the new pants and shirt he’d picked out with his sisters and had sprayed on aftershave liberally. He congratulated the bridal couple but I didn’t like the way he stared at the video technician. Did all cords resemble microphone cables? Did he think that the technician was ‘planting microphones’ so that The Establishment could keep track of him no matter where he was – even at a garden wedding?
I assured myself that all brides are tense and their mothers jittery, but, who was I kidding? I fixed a smile in place and never let my son out of my line of vision.
The family gathered under the chuppah, the wedding canopy, and the Rabbi started the ceremony. Our faithful hound, Blackie, ambled over to flop down onto my feet directly under the chuppah. The Rabbi noticed and stopped his prayer for a moment saying; “This is the first time I have married someone with a dog as witness.” Laughter broke the tension.
The bridegroom broke a glass underfoot, the same way that my husband had at our wedding, so many years ago; a tradition signifying the destruction of the Temple 2,000 years ago. As he stamped on it, the guests shouted mazal tov, congratulations, and the groom kissed the bride. To me, the broken glass symbolized David’s shattered life.
The rest of the night was a blur. Our guests showed their appreciation of the food while Michael wanted to dance the night away with me and enjoy our celebration. I envied him. My eyes were on David.
When the last strains of music faded, I flopped down and sighed with relief. Not a single incident.