by Debbie Carini
A picture of me and my husband and myself sits on the landing of our staircase. The photographer at our wedding caught us just as we turned to walk back down the aisle after taking our vows. We are both smiling. In fact, I am laughing—or more accurately—am giddy with relief that I did not have to speak a word of Hebrew in a Jewish ceremony conducted under a “chuppah.”
Earlier, I had explained to the cantor who married us, “My 80-year-old, Italian Catholic grandmother will be sitting in the front row, and I am not going to be the one who kills her by repeating after you (in Hebrew transliteration), ‘Ani leh-dodee veh-dodee lee’ (which means, ‘I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine’) even though that is a lovely sentiment!”
I pass by that picture at least 10 times a day. And it still makes me smile. Right next to it is a black-and-white photograph of my husband at the Vatican, looking out a window at St. Peter’s Basilica. For our honeymoon, we traveled to Italy, visiting Rome, Florence, Venice and the Amalfi Coast.
“I’ll always remember this,” I told my husband at each amazing location. And, many years later, during a particularly virulent flu episode as we tag-teamed the bedsides of two volcanically-sick children, I passed him in the hallway and said, “Remember our hotel room in Amalfi, with the floor-to-ceiling curved glass window overlooking the red-roofed houses of town, and the rocky shoreline of the Mediterranean?” The thought of it actually, albeit briefly, ameliorated the situation.
On July 9, my husband and I celebrated 25 years of wedded bliss. We said the words, and so far, we’ve meant them.
“For richer, for poorer…” Five years into the marriage, a family business closed and we moved across the country with two toddlers, no jobs and a truck full of furniture. Together, we reinvented ourselves, found new careers, made new friends and found that, although we loved the weather, we were probably not going to excel at other California pastimes, such as camping or surfing. But that has not stopped us from calling relatives on the east coast in January and gleefully gloating, “It’s 85 degrees today!”
“In sickness and in health …” A year before the “china” anniversary—20 years—an aneurysm burst in my brain, leaving me sillier than Dory, the blue tang fish with short-term memory loss from the Disney movie Finding Nemo. If patience is a virtue, my husband is going straight to heaven, no questions asked, no interview necessary—he has easily set new records for answering the same question upwards of 20 times in one day and for patiently trying to show me how to “stream” programs on TV.
“To love and to cherish …” What’s not to love about a guy who will drive 30 minutes for a soft-serve ice cream cone? For two-and-a-half decades now, we’ve cherished our family, our friends and our mutual love of Thai food, foreign films, thin crust pizza, junktiquing, restaurants with a grade of B, and the color green.
A quarter-century ago, we made it official. And the Italian grandmother? She joyously danced during the Hora!