Why did Uncle David smush the glass, Grandpa

newton, mass. | “Grandpa,” Sarah said, pulling at Grandpa’s blue wool trousers, “did you see it?”

“Hmm?” Grandpa reached down and lifted the 4-year-old, placing her on his lap. “Must not have, honey. Tell me.”

“Uncle David smushed glass with his foot and no one yelled at him.” Sarah’s green eyes looked directly at Grandpa.

“”Really?” Grandpa put down his newspaper. “When?”

“Well.” Sarah paused. “When Uncle David kissed Aunt Kathy right in front of everybody, he smushed a glass on purpose.”

“Start at the beginning.” Grandpa kissed Sarah’s fingers.

“I had on my new pink dress with pink shoes, Grandpa. And I had a pink basket with pink flowers or flower things.”

“Petals,” Grandpa uttered.

“I walked on a white rug and dropped flowers on it. I was told to.”

Grandpa smiled. Tiny lines crinkled around his green eyes.

“When I got all the way to the end, my flowers were all out of the basket. Then Aunt Kathy walked the rug of flowers.” Sarah began to get excited. “I sat on a step at the end of the rug. Mommy told me I had to be quiet.”

“What did Aunt Kathy wear?”

“A long dress she tripped on, Grandpa. When she walked up on the step I was sitting on, her dress got stuck under her shoe. I saw.” Sarah pointed to her own shoes as she spoke.

“Was it a bride’s dress?” Grandpa wondered if Sarah had noticed.

“Looked like a bride doll dress. You were there. Didn’t you see it?”

“See what, honey? Aunt Kathy tripping or see her dress?”

“You’re being silly,” Sarah giggled. “After a long, long time, Uncle David kissed Aunt Kathy and then a glass was put on the floor. Uncle David took his foot, and his shoe crunched it. People watching just laughed. Really.”

“Jewish weddings always end that way,” said Grandpa. “Weddings are happy. Some people think the glass placed under the groom’s foot, then shattered, is to remind us that we’re not always happy, and life is both smiles and tears.” Grandpa stroked Sarah’s tiny arms.

“Is that what you think, Grandpa?”

“I’m not sure, honey. Maybe it tells people, without speaking any words, about the time that the Temple was crushed a long, long time ago and that whatever we do in our lives is able to be shattered. Nothing is going to be the same forever; not Temples, people or even countries liking each other.”

“I don’t understand.” Now her head shook right to left.

“Weddings are pretty, right? And happy? You walked on a white runner tossing silky, good-smelling rose petals for Aunt Kathy to walk over. Didn’t your mommy and daddy look extra-special dressed up, and even Grandma and me? Didn’t the chuppah look pretty with flowers twisted around poles holding it up?”

“Oh, yes, Grandpa.”

“Well, life isn’t always pretty or happy. Sometimes you get sick and have to go to bed or take medicine, right?”

Sarah nodded.

“Sometimes people die and we can’t see them again; this makes us sad. Sometimes people call us names and we feel like crying. Sometimes, even, there is a bad storm and houses get broken. So, Uncle David, at his happiest moment, broke a glass to remind himself, and everyone else, that being happy is special and we shouldn’t waste it.”

“Will someone smush glass at my wedding?” Sarah jumped from the couch onto the carpet.

“Yes,” Grandpa stroked her smooth, tiny cheek.

Reprinted with permission from JewishFamily.com, a service of Jewish Family & Life.