Monday, January 15, 2007

Wedding Tour Set 6: Family Friends

It is often said that you can choose your friends and are stuck with your family, but it’s not always that simple.

I don’t remember meeting Mat, but as long as I can remember we’ve been friends. According to family folk-lore, when I was three-months old my parents relocated from the heart of the happening post-hippie West Village to the slightly less Shakedown-approved suburb of Armonk, NY (with a brief detour in Upper East Side during its early-1980s Yuppie infancy). My mom, being a tried-and-true New Yorker, preferred her trees in parks and entertainment in her backyard (instead of vice-versa) and found it hard to relate to Armonk’s class of ’81. So, my Dad did what any devoted, 20-something husband would do: he picked up a few girls for her to play with. He found one at the bank, another at the beach, and, one spring day, a mother and her son Mat at the pool. I was eight months old, Mat was 10, and for the next 25 years he managed to stay precisely two months older than me. Our parents shared many of the same values---loving, educated, neurotic---and clicked immediately. They started-off as friends, but somewhere along the line we became family.

For the next decade our lives remained eerily intertwined. When we were three, we received younger siblings for Chanukah. When we were nine, we lost a grandparent on the same January day. I lost my first tooth while in a car with his family, he came pretty close to losing something else in my parent’s pool. Our families started sharing holidays and, and with each passing season, we looked forward to new things to worry about: Bar Mitzvahs, colleges, jobs, and, finally, weddings. We both brought girlfriends to Yom Kippur dinner the September after our college graduation, but while mine was gone faster then you could sound the shofar, his stuck around and last night they got married.

As they walked down the aisle, a number of random memories popped into my brain, scattered thoughts in mix-mashed order--- like images from a photo album spread across the kitchen table: attending/crying through the taping of a kids show in Kindergarten, raking leaves in second grade, working at 4H a few months later, carpooling to soccer games, running into each other on the train home from my first concert without the ‘rents…But as hard as I tried, I couldn’t shake this one image from that January when we were nine. In a weird, Wonder Years­-like way, I remember being really sad when my grandfather passed away and remember feeling a bit knowing that we were in it together.

I don’t see Mat that often anymore, but at the same time it’s nice to know he’s there and, more importantly, that he will be there when I find my own neurotic, Jewish girl to drive me slightly insane for the rest of eternity. And, with any luck, one day our wives will teach each other new ways to turn our hair prematurely gray. Mazel Tov…!

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