Eleven years ago, Richard and I were married. As usual we were a bit unconventional in the way we met, dated, had our first child, then lived together and finally were married. We were married in a beautiful, old, though dilapidated, building in New York City, which also happens to be the oldest synagogue in New York City. (Neither of us are jewish, the building is no longer used for religious purposes, but instead is rented out for performances, parties, Spike Lee filmed a music video in it and other events.) The day we were married, New York City was in a blizzard. The black limo we’d ordered never arrived. Meanwhile Richard had gone ahead with most of the other wedding party. I was with Nic and my sister, on the phone, yelling at the car company, demanding they send a car, any car to take us downtown. When the car finally arrived, they’d sent a white, stretch limo. I remember I turned to my sister and said, “I feel like I’m going to a prom.”
“Let’s just go,” she pleaded with me.
We were over an hour late. When we arrived Richard said, with his usual dry sense of humor, “I was wondering if you were going to show up.” As my mother’s cousin, Peter led me down the aisle I kept my eyes on Richard, so handsome in his tuxedo and mouthed, I love you. My entire family were there, Nic, then nine months old and wearing a little velvet tuxedo was in the first row. Emma would be conceived in another few months. We had no idea of the events that would unfold in the coming years. We couldn’t know the feeling of unadulterated joy at the birth of our daughter, Emma, just two years later or our pride in watching our son, Nic play his Alto Saxophone in the winter concert at his school, just a few weeks ago. All those moments, millions of moments when events played themselves out.
It was 15 below zero and the basement of the building where we had a quartet set up to play after the ceremonies, played with their down coats on and fingerless gloves. You could literally see your breath it was so cold, still even in the freezing cold, it was beautiful. Richard reminded me to stop every twenty minutes or so to just take it all in, because this night, this moment would all be gone, before we knew it.
Eleven years later, Richard still has to remind me to stop and breathe, enjoy the moment because it is all so fleeting. But I do, we do. We have a good life: two beautiful children, a wonderful extended family, dear friends, a good, strong marriage, our love for one another and this moment.
Our wedding – December 22, 2000
For a more detailed look at Emma’s journey through a childhood of autism, go to: Emma’s Hope Book