Welcome to the Family

Our bedroom windows are open to a cool breeze. The lights are low and calming. My make-up's scrubbed off and my feet are free from a night in heels. Brett's reading the Silmarillion, a nerd's vacation light reading. A night of wine, table, delicious food, pretty wood floors, good laughter, and deep tears. A wedding rehearsal I hope I never forget.

Weddings to me, are like a short indie film that does a good job at depicting what heaven will be like. Everyone you both love are there with you, celebrating, not just your marriage, but a covenant even greater than your marriage. Everyone excited. Everyone encouraging. Everyone dressed up. Everyone laughing, smiling, crying, dancing, eating, watching, feeling.

Tonight I toasted my big brother, Michael, and his fiancé (oh my gosh almost his wife) Erin. I told everyone about the time my parents accidentally locked us out of the house for a good three or four hours; enough time for me to have to desperately pee, go pee in the yard, then have Michael hose me off with our garden hose. I told Erin that's the kind of guy she's getting... the kind who hoses you off when your parents accidentally traumatize your childhood. And then I cried telling her that she's marrying one of my heroes.

Others toasted them and I was reminded of how sweet, wonderful, and ridiculous my hero is. My Uncle toasted to the fact that my parents could never get Michael to smile in pictures when he was younger, but somehow these days we've never seen him smile as much as he does, especially around Erin.

My sister had every head in the room nodding in agreement that Michael is one of the best gift givers she's ever met... and how fitting it is that Erin is a pretty great gift for him, for the rest of his life.

One of his college friends, Ben, encouraged him to live his marriage in the same ridiculous way he and Michael used to workout together in college. He said they'd start running together and when they neared the end of their run, Michael would yell "FREEDOMMMMM" (a Braveheart quote of course) then sprint as fast as he could to the finish. I'll never forget what he said, "Marriage can be tough and hard work, but I hope the gas never runs too low for you not to yell, 'FREEDOMMM' and keep running forward." I hope he'll always musters up the strength to yell that word until he is hoarse that he may love and cherish and fight for his Bride.

A few years ago my brother flew out to California and we drove up the Pacific Coastal Highway together from L.A. to San Francisco. We didn't talk much on that trip...we just let vineyards, small towns, ocean, and forests pass us by. We listened to a lot of music and drank some great Horchata. It was on that trip I asked Michael a few I'm-your-little-sister-let-me-probe-too-far questions about marriage and he told me he wasn't going to get married and that he didn't want to keep talking about it. I'd like to take this moment to be a little sister and say, "In your face Broski." Tomorrow you're getting married and I've joyfully witnessed that your heart has changed.  And I'm grateful for the gift you've been given.

Erin, Welcome to the family.