Ezzie's note: In Part XIII, I explained the difficulty in writing this series. We spent this past weekend at my in-laws in Monsey, and I realized on Friday night that Shabbos was the 8th (!!) anniversary of when I first met Serach that fateful pre-Thanksgiving eve. I determined yet again to complete the series as best as I could, so here goes.
This is Part XV of a series about how I proposed to Serach. To see the series, you could simply use the guide link under the header of the blog or this link right here titled "How I Met Serach".
When we last left off, I was calling my parents to tell them about the girl I was dating. While perhaps initially surprised that I was dating, I believe they were at first fine with the idea... until they realized that I meant it was serious. And by serious, I meant Serious - that I wanted to marry this girl. At this point, they... panicked a bit. I am pretty sure I remember my mother explaining to my father, dumbfounded herself, that I was quite serious about this. My friends and roommates from that semester claim that it was a rather... "loud" discussion from what they could make out from the other rooms in the apartment, which rings a bell.
I do know that I discovered shortly thereafter that they had, late that night, called my Rebbe and principal from high school whom I and they both respect heavily and who knows Serach's family well from growing up to discuss it with him (more on that later), and I found out months later that they had also woken up our best friends in Israel in the middle of the night to ask them about her and her family as well. Luckily, they all had only positive things to say, so that mitigated many of their initial concerns and at least kept things from going insane... for a bit, anyway.
This is the point in our dating where a lot of the history merges together. A lot of what I remember in an order makes no sense, as they had to have happened earlier or later, so if stories seem to contradict, that's why.
One of our most beautiful dates, one which I recommend to most people who've dated a little bit (NOT for early dates), was when we went to the Rockefeller Center area in late December one night. You don't need to be Christian to appreciate the snowy and lit up trees, the beautiful ice sculptures, and the generally calm yet festive atmosphere in the air. You don't have to ice skate to appreciate watching people having fun on the ice skating rink. It's fun, it's relaxing, and it's romantic (shut off your phones). I still remember it as one of our most relaxing, fun dates, walking slowly through the area with the sculptures and stopping every now and then to just look around.
Eight years later, it's easy to see that the calm times are hard to come by. Between our jobs, the kids, and everything else that goes on, life always seems to be incredibly busy. I personally take advantage of quiet hours in the middle of the night to think and reflect, but it's not the same, and certainly isn't something we're able to share - if we're both up, then there's always something that needs to get done, something we need to remind each other about or a story we need to tell. A friend who stopped by today once told me a great analogy for marriage: When Troy Aikman was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys, in their first training camp session, he would take the snaps, step back... and hold the ball, waiting and waiting and waiting, until someone would tag him for a "sack". After this happened a few times, he was asked what he was waiting for. He answered that he was waiting for a receiver to get open - he was used to a college game where his WRs would be able to get wide open and it was easy for him to throw to them. One of the coaches told him, "This is the pros. Here, that IS open." Once you're married (or hit other major transitions in life), time disappears rapidly. You have to take advantage of every opportunity, or everything that needs to get done slowly (or rapidly) piles up on you, until it's impossible to manage. Troy Aikman learned his lesson and became a very good NFL quarterback, winning a few Super Bowls along the way. In a marriage, that's not as easy, but it's a lesson worth learning.
That all said, as important as it is to try and make some calm and quiet time, even when we can't, we can always think back to times when we could - and strive to capture more of those in the future. That night, walking around Rockefeller Center with Serach, was beautiful, and I always remember it.
Next up: It's Shidduch Time!