By Robin P.
It was a beautiful summer day. My groom and I were wearing shorts and a T-shirt but I still wore the traditional wedding veil. We stood facing the rabbi as we were instructed to recite our vows. I turned to my groom but before I could get out the first words, a loud sing songy voice pierced through our ceremony.
"ROBIN!!!! Your Spaghettios are on the table," my mother called from the third floor apartment balcony. I gave an apologetic glance to my wedding party,cupped my hands around my mouth and shouted back, "Not now, Mom! I'm getting married!" Mom called back, "OK! Come on up when you're done!" I turned back toward my groom and the wedding continued. I was five years old and my groom, Kevin, was six. We were very much in love.
It started off with a marriage proposal as I sat on the back step eating a slice of pizza one evening. Kevin and I had been friends for a while, so it seemed so natural when he approached me with a plastic ring in his hand and asked me to marry him. We planned the wedding for a few days later. His sister, Cheryl, was eight years old and our acting rabbi. We knew married people slept in the same bed together so we asked our parents if we could have a sleepover. Both moms sputtered out, "NO!" We were confused but we compromised. We each chose our favorite stuffed animal and let the other have that to sleep with. Everyone seemed happy with the arrangement.
Kevin and I spent a lot of time kissing. Looking back, I have absolutely no idea why we did it or where we saw it. They weren't long passionate kisses but they were on the lips! At some point our mothers took us aside and explained there could be no more kissing. We were very sad, but we agreed.
Flash forward 37 years. The other night Lillianna informed us that she is married to Zachary, a boy in her first grade class. She brought in a ring for him and he brought in a huge silver, plastic ring for her, heavily adorned with sparkly stones. Lillianna is quite proud of this ring.
The newly married couple are the parents of 9 children: 7 babies and 2 teenagers. Some of their classmates have taken on those roles. When I asked how they could have children older than they are, Lillianna sighed and said, "Mom! We're just pretending!"
Part of me wants to shrug this off because I did the same thing at a younger age and what's the big deal? The other part of me is a little uncomfortable with this form of "let's pretend." Playing house is a natural part of growing up, but is this going too far?
Have your young children pretended to get married? How did you handle the situation?