I was blessed in my life to understand the meaning of true love very early. I met my husband when I was 17-years-old. Our lives have taken many journeys, many twists along that road – from the United States to Israel; from the two of us to the seven of us and beyond to another and another and another.
Yesterday, we had the kitchen installed in the apartment where Shmulik will live with his wife. It’s a lovely apartment with a large living room and a bedroom, a bathroom with a place for a washing machine, a sweet little patio area outside with a small garden off the living room, and the place where the kitchen and dining area will be. On Sunday morning, we finally ordered the kitchen cabinets, letting Shmulik and Na’ama pick the colors. We planned it with thoughts of the kosher kitchen it will be – two sinks, one for dairy and one for meat. Two sets of drawers and many cabinets.
The wedding is weeks away and the preparations are getting intense. Shmulik is getting nervous. The apartment has to be painted; the kitchen installed, the floors and windows scrubbed; their new furniture delivered; the closets put together; their things moved in. More – with Passover coming and guests to arrive, we have a major shift under way. Shmulik will leave his room and move to the apartment. Elie got the smallest room because he was in the army and away much of the time. Davidi got the largest room because he would live in this house the longest (and he promised to share it when we had guests or vacate when couples came to stay with us).
Shmulik’s room is in the middle – a nice size room, but the most beautiful part is the balcony – private, all his. This he leaves behind. Elie will move to this room. Aliza has been staying in the bomb shelter – a full-sized bedroom on the first floor near our bedroom. It has a heavy door to protect against bombs, explosions, etc. She will move upstairs to Elie’s room, which catches the first morning light and looks out on the beautiful Judean Desert.
My husband had a home office down in the apartment. He will move that office to the bomb shelter, making his office right next to our bedroom, still quiet, but nearer to the family. All this shifting is taking place and my living room is full of computers and boxes, a dismantled stereo, pictures that need to be hung on walls.
We were supposed to have painted the apartment yesterday, but Shmulik’s friend didn’t come and so it is being painted today. The kitchen was supposed to be installed today, but they called and it was ready yesterday.
From the army, Shmulik was calling me, trying to get things coordinated. I’m working from home, trying to make things go smoothly. I realized in the morning yesterday that we could save the day from being wasted by getting the kitchen installed. I decided not to tell Shmulik about the surprise. I let him think that another day was being wasted. We were plastering the walls, I told him, doing what we could. He was still frustrated – not enough progress as the days are seeping away and there is still so much to do. He wanted to tell his friend to come last night; I told him to wait.
He got home and I showed him the kitchen and he was so happy. It makes the apartment more real, the home they are about to build so much closer. A short while later, he brought Na’ama over to see it; I left for a meeting before she came, happy to know that they would be seeing this together. When I saw him later, he described how they had talked and planned out their kitchen. Where they would put the pots, the dishes, the dairy and the meat sides.
He let her decide; let her plan and simply enjoyed watching her enjoy the kitchen and talk about where she would put the various things. It was then I remembered something that my husband said to me in our early days of marriage, “if you are happy,” he told me, “then I am happy.”
True love, I think, is that wonderful feeling of knowing that the person you love is happy. If we lose that feeling, in some ways, I think maybe we lose it all. If I ever had doubts about how Shmulik and Na’ama feel about each other, watching them begin building their own home has shown me that what they have is true.