Tuesday, August 18, 2009

My Friend’s Wedding

I've been to friends' weddings many times by now. I've watched kallahs of all types walk down the aisle as single girls and emerge from under the chuppah as married women. But the wedding I went to last night was different.

The Kallah was my really close friend. This was one wedding where I felt a chiyuv (obligation) to be there. I felt the need to put myself in that inner circle to dance with my friend on the happiest day of her life. Never have I been to the wedding of so close a friend. (I do have a few more weddings of friends of this caliber coming up, but this was the first.)

The strangest thing happened though. Almost every time I go to a wedding (although this has happened less and less frequently as weddings become more commonplace), I half believe that it's not really happening. Call it denial, but I can't get over the fact that my friend that I shared snack with in nursery or walked to school with in elementary school or took to the bus with to high school or copied notes from in seminary is really all grown up and getting married. I watch my friends walk down the aisle to start their new lives, their faces covered by their veils, and tell myself it's not really happening. It's some other girl, one I don't know, who's making such a change in her life, and my friend and I can just go on as we were.

In my heart, I know it's not true.

I know that times are changing and we're growing up. I watched my friend walk down the aisle last night, saw them pick up the veil to make sure it was her. I saw her face under the chuppah, and it was really her face. She was the one getting married, not some faceless girl in white. Her life, and my relationship with her, will never be the same. There's someone else occupying the space in her heart labeled "best friend" and all former occupants are pushed down a little. She can no longer think only in terms of herself because now she is half of a greater whole.

She, like all kallahs, is facing a new beginning, one that should be filled with brocha and hatlocha, simcha and shalom, and most of all, ahava and avodas Hashem.


Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

I know exactly what you mean, I can relate 100%, I felt the same by my best friend's weddings.

I also went to a wedding last night...where was your wedding?

itsagift said...

Her life, and my relationship with her, will never be the same.
Yes, that is true, but here is something you can do to make sure you don't lose touch. (This is what I did when my best friend got married and it really made a difference in our relationship.)
What I did was, I would call her house every erev shabbos, just to wish her a "good shabbos." There were many times that I did not get to speak to her in person, either I got her voicemail or her husband picked up (and I felt very awkward), but I knew that this is what I had to do, this is what I wanted to do so that we don't lose each other!
And now...we are best friends! I think this simple gesture on my part showed her that she is still very important to me and even though she is about to start a brand new life, I don't want to forget her and I don't want to lose touch!
It took a while until we got back in touch (I wont tell you how long because I don't want to scare you!) but let me tell you one thing - those erev shabbos phone calls is what made all the difference in our relationship today!

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

itsagift: sounds like a good idea, I should really keep in touch with my married friends more. One is having a baby soon, I should take that opportunity to stay in touch with her more.

itsagift said...

Babysitter - you'll be happy if you did! It may be akward in the beginning but it's well worth it!! It takes time, patience and you have to really want to keep up otherwise it's easy to just give up!! And the sooner you start, the better it will be because the longer you go without making any contact, the harder it is to get back in touch.
(6 months later...the phone rings...)
PS I'm not saying I did it every single week, but I called often enough to touch base and let my friend know I was thinking of her. Now, we have both moved on in life and I don't call her every week at all, but we are still super close despite our busy and hectic schedules...

Anonymous said...

great post! know exactly how you feel being that most of my good friends are married...the fact that they have a new best friend- but here's some reassurment- in a certain sense HE doesn't replace you, or your friendship... HE is just a different type of best friend...you will always remain her best friend...he's her husband and bestest friend ;-) but whats hard at this point is that a special effort has to be put in at this time on your part to maintain your friendship and its hard since HE comes over you but know that shes still your best friend but she just has another permanent one...
not to scare you or anything but i found that my conversations with my married friends changed now that they are married- im not sure if this is normal or not but...
all in all, im thrilled for them, share in their simcha, keep in touch, and hope to join that club soon(and i be sure to remind them that now that they have access to boys.... ;-))
itsagift- any advice for friends on the other side of the ocean? ;-)
Good luck and enjoy! ;-)
please excuse if this wasn't coherent i had to wake up early this morning and still have a long time till i can go to bed ;-)

Jewish Side of Babysitter said...

itsagift: yea, I feel guilty that my friend is the one that always calls me and I should really call her more. So it'll be good to start again.

That's great that it levels out at the end, that you remain super close.

Staying Afloat said...

I had a good friend I managed to stay in touch with for three kids, which is about 6 years, after I got married. I noticed that she stopped calling me and I always called her, and I was the married one. It wasn't as often as it could have been, but I did my best.

I think it was very hard for her to talk to me. She desperately wanted to be married with a family and we all thought she's be one of the first ones, but she wasn't even close. And I didn't know how to talk to her without pouring salt into wounds, either by mentioning the kids that were most of what I was about or by blatantly not mentioning them.

I really wanted to keep her as a friend, but I didn't want to keep pushing it when she was clearly pulling away.

I know she's married with a family now. I wish I could have been part of all of that like she was for me. But that's a selfish thing- I don't know that she needed me. So I'm being happy for her from afar.

MusingMaidel said...

Thank you so much for your comments.

itsagift: thanks for the tip. I did the same things with my israeli relatives when I was in sem and it really changed my year. The problem is that b'h I have a lot of friends I'd like to keep in touch with and there isn't enough time on Friday :P

Babysitter: good luck keeping in touch.

Anonymous: thanks for commenting. You're right. There are some things you can't talk to a husband about. That's what friends are for.

MusingMaidel said...

SA: sorry, our comments must have crossed in cyberspace. Thanks for giving us a perspective far beyond the first flush of post-seminary weddings.

thinking out loud said...

I can relate only to well to this post...
As I told one of my friends who got married: Our relation is not ending now, it's just taking a different turn...
But to be honest, the friendship - with all of my married friends - is not what it was before their big day.
Sorry I have no words of comfort... I'm just in it, with you.

itsagift said...

Anon - here's my advice:
It's up to you! You can choose to keep in touch if you want to. And there's always some common ground between you and your married friends so it's not like there's nothing to talk about! If you really want to make it work, you can!
MM - if Fridays are too short, you can call Thursday night or Motzei Shabbos - to wish a good shabbos or a good week. Yes, life gets busy and let me tell you, it only gets busier!! If you want to find time, you will!
You can always just text your friend(s) saying: Just wanna let you know that I'm thinking of you and wishing you a great day/shabbos/week...(I do that all the time!)
I still try to get together with my friends every so often, even though we are not all on the same page...whenever there's a legal holiday and we are off from work, we try to meet at a park for lunch or something like that because anyway, the husbands don't get off from yeshiva those days so it works out well for everyone!
The bottom line is, if you really want to make it work, you can! Just let your friend know you are thinking of her and she will get back to you eventually...even if it takes a little while until she recipricates...

Staying Afloat said...

Itsagift, I agree. Texting or email is a great way to stay in touch without pressure, and I wish I'd used it more with my friend. Maybe it could have turned out differently.

It's all about being open to what both of you want and need and recognizing the changes. When I was busy with family crisis and not able to stay in touch, I loved getting quick messages that just said hi, and I got back to them when I could. And some of my friendships came through those times better than before.

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