Last night A., S. and I were talking about terrible wedding speeches. And from our conversation I confirmed that talking for 25 minutes, weeping consistently during the speech, and generally not having a point are altogether not good aspects of wedding toast. Honestly I’ve never been the best at brevity, but I will do my best to keep it relatively short and not to cry. We’ll see how it goes.
I’m an only child and as such I never had to deal with the trials and tribulations of navigating siblinghood. Never fought over who got to use the bathroom first, or whether a parent favored one kid over the other, or any of the other hassles and joys of growing up with a brother or sister. But K. has been basically the closest thing I’ll ever have to a sister, but perhaps without some of that drama. I’ve known her my whole life and we have both seen each other at some of the best moments and some of the worst moments of our individual lives and of our whole family. And even when I was annoying her with my inability to have an opinion (there are at least two memories I have of K.asking me what I wanted to do and me being so noncommittal that she stormed out of the room in frustration) I knew that the anger would pass and in another 20 minutes we’d be playing cards, or jumping on beds or doing any other number of things two girls do as they grow up. We may not have lived in the same house or same state, but she has been a constant throughout my life and one I’m so grateful for having.
A. I’ve known for much less time, but I’m excited to add him to the list of folks I plan on knowing forever. And I’m even more excited that he’s going to be by K.’s side as the years go by and be her constant companion and partner. When preparing for K.’s bachelerotte party back in August, I found a list of questions to ask A., which became a little trivia game for K. during the first leg of our evening. It was kind of like the newlywed game – what article of clothing does K. wish you would throw away? (Overalls or, as I learned this morning, bibs). They were generally silly questions that were designed to get silly answers, but not all of them. One of the questions was ‘What did A. care about the most when planning the wedding.’ I honestly expected him to say food or beer…but, sitting outside on that summer night he paused thoughtfully before saying that what he cared about most was that K.'s family was all there, and that her parents were happy. And, to me, that says it all. A. and W. and K. fit so well into the M/M clan that it’s like they were there all along, and I’m so glad to be able to call them family.The path K. and A. took to find each other was not straightforward or simple, but it was the path they needed to take to get where they are today. I just think about the years that K. went on a variety of first dates, which never led to second ones because she would quickly see the flaw or thing about the guy in question that just wasn’t going to work for her. I suggested numerous times that perhaps she should give these poor guys a little more of a chance before writing them off…and perhaps that advice would have been true for a different girl or a different date, but I willingly admit that I was wrong and K. was right. K. wasn’t looking for a perfect man with zero flaws (newsflash that guy doesn’t exist) but she was looking for the perfect man for her, and she knew when it wasn’t happening.
A second date wouldn’t have changed a thing. When she started seeing A. there was none of that, no ‘well he’s great but…”. She and I went to Jamaica not so long after they first started seeing each other, and already the joy she had in knowing A. was palpable and clear; this was a different thing than anything that came before and it was better and greater and special. A. was not a guy to write off. He was a man to keep close and know well. The first time I met A. was when we gathered outside of Gettysburg for a memorial for my mother. A. so effortlessly fit in, allowing us to have our moments of sadness and also joy, without thinking twice about it. Willing to contribute to our extremely complicated plan to break into the hotel’s pool after hours. Not blinking when K. and I, for no real good reason, got into a tickle fight. What I’m trying to say is I can be slow to trust or warm up to folks I don’t know, but A. never felt like a stranger to me. I really do wish that Mom had had the opportunity to meet him because I think they would have gotten along famously.
To me a solid relationship or marriage has to be based on trust and laughter and honesty and loyalty, and K. and A. have all four. They know the best of each other and they know the worst and while I’m sure that they’ll both rub each other the wrong way at one point or another in their lives, I have the utmost confidence that they have the love and complementary outlooks and true appreciation for one another to weather even the darkest of storms or most annoying of habits. I could wish for nothing more for my sister cousin. And on that note I’d like us all to raise our glasses and toast these two and the long, happy, fun, silly, marvelous, messy life that they’re going to have together. I love you both. Now let’s celebrate!