As I stood beneath Vicki’s chuppah, I felt déjà vu. You see, 23 years ago, 7-year-old Vicki stood beneath my chuppah. The day was Sunday, June 18. I literally became her dad--or, at any rate, her stepdad--on Father’s Day. (Pause for “Awww…”)
A few months later, on a Sunday morning, Vicki shuffled into the kitchen, swaddled in her mom’s oversized sweatshirts. It was a “Kodak moment,” a moment her kids would cherish...if she’d let me take a picture. So I made Vicki an offer that few 7-year-olds would refuse: “Let me take your picture, and I’ll pay you five bucks. On the spot.” But this 7-year-old could not be bought. “Paul,” she explained, as if stating the obvious, “I have almost 500 dollars in the bank. Money means nothing to me.” (Pause for laughter)
Vix, may money mean nothing to you for many moons. Because for many more moons, you and Dylan will have, as Porgy told Bess, “plenty o’ nuttin’.”
And Dylan, be thankful Vicki could not be bought. If money talked, she’d be sitting here tonight with Josh Groban. (Pause for laughter) Josh, what can I tell ya: Ya snooze, ya lose. (Pause for laughter)
During that year, our first year as a family, I was recording songs for my first musical play, Marriage At Work. Its characters are Jewish singles, all in their 30s. Through story, song, and dance, they live, and learn, what married life--for better, for worse--is truly about.
Anyway, one evening, Vicki and I, along with Alexa and Lina, were sprawled across the living room, watching the animated Disney classic 101 Dalmatians. Suddenly, Cruella de Vil glared at Roger and sneered, “Look at him. He sits at home all day, scribbling songs about love and romance--two subjects he knows nothing about.” And without missing a beat, Vicki blurted, “Like Paul!” (Pause for laughter)
That wasn’t quite the vote of confidence I had hoped for. (Pause for laughter) But Vicki’s confidence in herself was boundless. On her 12th birthday, I told her, “Soon I’ll have to protect you from boys.” And Vicki replied, “It’s they who will need to be protected from me.” (Pause for laughter)
So when I learned of Dylan, I asked Vicki point-blank, “Is this one another project?” And she assured me that no, this one was the real deal: grounded, grown, and worthy of her time and her heart. Dylan, finally, was a keeper.
Not just for Vicki, but for me. You know the scene in Les Miz, where Jean Valjean carries Marius to safety? That’s how I feel about Dylan. I can’t lift him, but it’s the thought that counts. (Pause for laughter)
Why do I love Dylan? What’s not to love? He’s unflappable. He’s gentle. He cooks. (Pause for laughter) He likes cats. (Pause for laughter) He can analyze any problem as subtly as a Talmudist. Recently, he converted--yes, few of you know, but Dylan has converted ... from iPhone to Android. (Pause for laughter) And he has cast his lot with my daughter.
I knew this day would come, two years ago. I had just given Dylan a large computer monitor. I assured him, “It’s yours to keep, even if you and Vicki break up.” And Dylan replied, “That’s not gonna happen.” Three hours later, Lina and I were driving home to Maryland. With a lilt in my voice, I repeated to Lina what Dylan had promised. And Lina said, “I’ll believe it when I see it.” (Pause for laughter) Well, mother of the bride, now you see it. (Pause for laughter)
Vicki and I drive identical cars: We each drive a 2011 Ford Fiesta hatchback, in lime green. I bought Vicki’s Fiesta in 2012, mine 2 years later. Because I knew that each morning, with each mile I’d drive, I’d feel connected to my Delaware daughter. And I do. Vicki, neither marriage nor miles can weaken the bond I feel. For 11 years, I felt privileged to help raise you. Today I felt privileged to give you away.
Finally, a word about the Super Bowl. Dylan, it must have been heartbreaking to watch your beloved New England Patriots lose to Vicki’s Philadelphia Eagles. But if that loss couldn’t come between you, nothing will.