Continuing in the tradition of my family, Mr. Quotidian and I celebrated our anniversary over a period of several days. I quite like that unintentional tradition. Relationships like marriage take time to unfold… what’s wrong with letting the celebration unfold in a similarly leisurely fashion?
Since both of us were busy on our actual anniversary, we simply read our vows aloud again as we sat on the couch after dinner. Because our vows were more than just private promises we made, I posted them on Facebook and here on my blog, in an effort to display them in full view of our family and friends. While marriage in this culture is conducted privately, it is still a public institution. For all the ways the internet has detracted from personal life, I have come to be grateful for the easily available public forum it gives.
The celebration continued Wednesday night when we went to see the Broadway of Fiddler on the Roof. While we normally manage to see just one play a year, I always forget how much I enjoy seeing live productions. There is something fascinating about how a whole world can be contained in a visually finite stage.While the actors were superb, the performance was a little dissonant for me only because it’s the first live performance I’ve seen of a play I grew up with. Phrases like “Right? Of course right” and “As the good book says…” were regular occurrences in my childhood vocabulary. Along with movies like The Parent Trap and The Sound of Music, Fiddler on the Roof defined my sense of sense of humor as a kid. So, to hear the lines I knew so well uttered by a different voice, sometimes with a different cadence, was off putting, like seeing a professor in line at the grocery store. However, like the professor’s grocery choices don’t have bearing over his ability to teach, the actors’ style choices didn’t diminish their talent.
It’s funny how in growing up with a film, different themes stick to your thoughts at different times. I remember early on being totally captivated by the love stories of the different daughters. I thought the romance was all the play was about. It wasn’t until later that I became aware of the surrounding context of the Jewish faith and the prejudice and fear exhibited by both sides. Watching it this time (for the first time in several years), I was struck by the opposing demands of faith and family. While in the Southern Christian culture it seems like the two go hand in hand, this play picks at the places where the two collide. What happens when someone you love forces you to bend your beliefs? How do you love two good things when they are in conflict with each other? Is Tevye predominately a Jew or a father? Which pulls him harder? While he does end up shunning one of his daughters for her choices, his choked “God be with you” leaves us questioning his resolve. Maybe it’s my own looming parenthood that prompted such reflections…
After the show, we went and scarfed a slice of coconut cake at Nonnah’s while oggling some local art. I envy people who can afford to collect original art.
Early Saturday morning Mr. Quotidian and I tumbled out of bed and scooted down to the river to watch the sunrise. We muffled, swaddled, draped, enfolded, and otherwise bundled ourselves as warmly as we could, but it was still quite chilly. But there is a peculiar stillness that cold brings, almost as if everything is holding its breath, waiting for the cold to pass. We Quotidians stole into this stillness with our scarves, blankets, mittens, knee socks, and gloves. I took no pictures of the sunrise itself because some things are to be savored rather than documented.
As few things motivate Mr. Quotidian to get out of bed (especially on a cold morning) quite as well as the promise of a sweet breakfast, I made Jenny’s Buckwheat Sourdoughnuts. I’ve never made doughnuts of any kind before. Like with any food I make that is normally store-bought, I felt a zing of independence that made me walk around all night with my shoulders straightened and head held high. Doughnuts can now join the ranks of mayonnaise, yogurt, cheese, and pizza.
Altogether, this was one of my favorite ways to celebrate anything– giftlessly. There was no agonizing over what to get Mr. Quotidian, as if a trinket could express how much I love him. Or worrying about controlling my facial expressions as I pretend to like something I don’t. Instead, we spent lots of time together, experiencing new things together, and talking together. To me, that’s so much better than a velvet covered gift box.