The Happy Couple

The Happy Couple


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There’s no friend like a friend you’ve had since you’re 4 years old.

I say this because a couple of friends who’ve known each other since pre-school are about to stand, side-by-side, under a chuppah, the canopy beneath which Jewish marriage ceremonies are performed.

I guess I always knew this day would come. They’ve loved each other for so long, and with such unabashed exuberance. You can see it in the countless pictures of the two of them from childhood, almost always hugging – through missing teeth and braces, and Halloween costumes and lemonade stands, to proms and travels abroad and even to college – which they attended … together.

Of course, it wasn’t always daisy chains and dandelion picking. Occasionally there would be disagreements. We could tell, because when they were playing at our house, the squabbles would often end with the friend running out the front door, across the lawn and down the street – without so much as a goodbye or see-you-tomorrow. During the time of not speaking to one another (which would last, at most, maybe a day) my son would point to his friend’s street name – Baughman Drive – and say, “that’s barf-man drive!”

Many times, when the parents were all gathered (because, of course, we became good friends), we’d spy the pair sitting on the couch watching Pokeman or looking at a book, their heads tilted towards one another, their gangly legs tangled together.

“Don’t they look like they’re always going to be together?” one of us would inevitably say. And then we’d all laugh and someone would comment, “Well, it’s okay with us if it’s okay with you!”

And the two friends did seem to believe, even at age 4, 7, or 12, that they would somehow always be in one another’s lives. While playing in the yard, the pair would contrive elaborate plans for their future and then regale me with stories of how they would one day marry. They would buy my home to live in, and then they would fix-up the haunted looking craftsman next door to house their shared dream: a macaroni and cheese restaurant.

How can you ever know how things will turn out? This is the great conundrum of parenting – did we do it right? Are they ready for … drum roll please … life?

Well, the wedding is this weekend.

I thought about writing this column after the big event to share the details of the special day, but I also wanted to share my thoughts of the friends, frozen as they are in my memory – two little boys who once dreamed of a life together, and a carb-heavy, high cholesterol restaurant. I know I’m going to cry watching them on Sunday – my son, the best man, and the friend, the groom.

There will also be a bride, and though she is as lovely a girl as you could hope for a young man you think of as one of your own, I know the lump in my throat will partly be for the two boys – young men now, who are moving-on to a new stage of life and friendship.

A new stage, yes, but one that is always reinforced by the love and optimism of an enduring friendship. They didn’t end up marrying each other, but they will no doubt be a part of one another’s lives for years and years and years to come.
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