I spent a lot of time worrying this week about my pioneering interfaith parents (88 and 82) braving the New England blizzard. More than two feet of snow covered their home, the house I grew up in. But miraculously, the power and heat stayed on. My mother, an artist, finds the snow thrilling, gorgeous. As the storm approached, I heard excitement, not fear, in her voice. I suppose there’s a reason she loves a February snowstorm.
Fifty-three years ago today, my parents got married in my mother’s hometown in upstate New York. A brave rabbi presided (few rabbis would perform an intermarriage in those days). My mother’s Episcopal minister from across the street said a blessing. And then, a blizzard descended and the guests got snowed in at the hotel. An epic pyjama party ensued.
The next morning, on Valentine’s Day, my parents consumed a giant chocolate heart for breakfast–a wedding gift sent by a friend. To this day, my parents are chocoholics. My father hides chocolate espresso beans and nonpareils in his sock drawer. And every year, my father sends all of his children and grandchildren heart-shaped boxes of chocolate, with handmade cards drawn on shirt cardboards.
I don’t usually give my parents anniversary or Valentine’s gifts. But exactly sixteen years ago this morning, I gave birth to their first grandson (in a hospital just a baseball’s throw away from Fenway Park). The next day, a nurse put a foil heart sticker on my son’s tiny hat for Valentine’s Day.
These are the themes of February in my family: snow, chocolate, love. The snow reminds us to slow down, experience awe, and snuggle. The chocolate represents the sweetness between grandparents and grandchildren. And the love of my parents for each other continues like a powerful blizzard, sweeping away all objections, blanketing our family, our world, with beauty.
Susan Katz Miller is the author of Being Both: Embracing Two Religions in One Interfaith Family, from Beacon Press. She works as an interfaith families consultant, speaker, and coach. Follow her on twitter @susankatzmiller.
4 Replies to “Successful Interfaith Marriage: In a Blizzard”
Beautifully said Sue. Snow, chocolate and love are what I’m hoping for today. Today is also the first day of Lent! Love especially is what is needed today. May it be so for all of us. Love you Sue. Happy Birthday Ben and Happy Anniversary Martha and Bill. May you have many more years left of joy.
BeautifuL. My son was born a month premature eight years ago. He was due on Valentine’s Day, my mother in law’s birthday. But, to our surprise came on January 14. He spent 7 agonizing days in the NICU. On the morning of the 8th day we received a call bright and early to come pick him up. Due to the impending blizzard they were expecting a skeleton staff at the NICU and wanted to send home the healthiest of babies. So, in the blizzard we drove home from the hospital with our third, and tiniest little baby. Every big snowstorm reminds us of that glorious day.
Amy–I love this story! Happy birth-month to your boy.
Gorgeous piece, Verklempt!