Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Jennifer and Me at 17.5 Years

Over the last few days, I have had two chuckles. The first was when I realized that Jennifer and I react so differently to the same events. To read our respective writings on the death of Debbie Friedman or the fact that a friend is really quite sick, you would never know that we knew each other, let alone the fact that we share a life, a home, three children, and two cats. The second chuckle was when Jennifer told me that a couple of people who are following both of our blogs pointed out the same thing to her.

When you see either one or both of us in the parking lot after school, or at services, or anywhere else, you are seeing a finished product. You are encountering us after whatever issue of the day has been discussed. You see us with our kids, with the rules of parenting hammered out over almost 14 years of being parents. Presently, we have been apart for several months. The differences in our makeups appear more readily than they might when we are together.

A little information about our backgrounds is in order. Jennifer's parents sold the home in which she grew up, her very first home, the home they purchased ten months before she was born, only over summer 2010. My parents are in their fifth residence since she met me 19 years ago. Maybe it is the sixth residence. One of them was twice. I also might have missed one anyway. Jennifer grew up on Jewish Long Island. I am a southerner and a Navy brat, having grown up in military housing in Norfolk, Virginia. Jennifer went to Brandeis University, where she was accepted early admission. I went to State University of New York at Buffalo, on which I decided by process of elimination. All of the universities to which I applied save SUNY Buffalo eliminated me. SUNY Buffalo's largest dormitory was bigger than all of Brandeis University.

A funny, telling story: we spent the first year of married life living in Israel. Rabbinical School required one year in Jerusalem. In January 1994, it was winter break. I wanted to go to Turkey. We could rent a lounge chair on a ship for $30 each way. It would have been quite the adventure. Jennifer wanted to know what we were going to do there. I said we would figure it out when we got there. She wanted to plan it, and was not interested in traveling without a plan. Ultimately, we ended up purchasing an Ebgi.

I admit (begrudgingly) that there is probably a lot of room for some element of planning when considering travel. Jennifer would also likely admit that the ability to fly by the seat of one's pants will usually not result in torn jeans. We do well together in this regard.

Jennifer can cry when she is overwhelmed. I pick up my pen (well...keyboard, but you know what I mean). Jennifer looks for the communal meaning of Debbie Friedman's work. I find solace in words I studied in Talmud over a decade ago. I learned those words from one of Professor Lieberman's students, a teacher with whom Jennifer never studied. Jennifer cites Professor Heschel in her writings.

Most of you know us as Jennifer&Sean. It is interesting and amusing to see us as Jennifer & Sean. For what it is worth, I have enjoyed watching that as well. As marriage goes, 2=1. That is why the kids are not allowed to play us against each other. Still, I do not often take the time to think about how different we are. The last three months have certainly afforded that opportunity.

Jennifer - here's looking to the next 17.5 I love you.

If you have been following our blogs over the last several months, we will shortly send you a bill. Just kidding...

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