My brother Chris is getting married this weekend. The event won’t be huge and glitzy (as if he would ever stand for that) but it definitely deserves recognition. I’m no speech-giver, so I thought I’d use a forum where I’m a little more comfortable to make some toasts on this, the weekend of my brother’s wedding (as if I would ever pass up an opportunity for a Godfather allusion):
To my big brother, who excelled in the role of tortuous older brother while we were growing up. He’s three years older than me, just the right amount for optimally effective teasing, baiting, occasional ordering around, and everything else that little girls HATE about their older brothers. For a solid few years, my responses to anything he said or did consisted mainly of shrieking or crying. I think our parents really, really enjoyed those years.
To my big brother, who somewhere in the teen years actually turned into a pretty cool person. The kind of guy with intelligence, phenomenal athletic ability, and popularity, but who, darn it, you just can’t dislike. My prior loathing for him, obligatory for all younger sisters, gradually subsided into tolerance, then respect.
To my big brother, who taught me how to drive a stick shift. Never once did he yell at me. Nor, bless him, did he ever appear outwardly terrified.
To my big brother, who took me out to celebrate my 21st birthday. Probably the less said publicly about that, the better.
To my big brother, who has run many miles of marathons by my side. He keeps me on pace, or at least tries. He mildly suggests that I start more conservatively, and remains graciously supportive after I blithely ignore his advice. When I was doing something mighty close to whimpering around mile 22 of the 2005 Marine Corps Marathon, he refused to let me curl up in the gutter for a nap like I wanted. Yet in each race he runs with me, after helping so much, he always slides to the sideline before the last mile, knowing the importance of facing and savoring that alone, under one’s own power.
To my big brother, who has taught me that you’re never too old to play catch. Even if, after approximately 20 years, I still can’t throw a stinkin’ spiral.
To my big brother, who is the one I called late at night after coming home from having my heart broken. Not only did he answer the phone, but he waited patiently through my crying incoherence, and knew all the right things to say to help me see a little straighter. And then, three days later, a mix CD arrived in the mail. Listening to it, I started crying again, but this time out of goofy, laughing happiness. I couldn’t believe I had a brother who knew that putting the Hoosiers theme, of all things, on a CD would give my spirits exactly the right kick in the pants.
To my big brother, who is bringing one of the coolest, smartest women I know into our family. Seriously. She’s fabulous. Not to mention our family’s holiday Canasta games need some fresh blood.
To my big brother, who has gone from being my sworn enemy to one of my best, most trusted friends.
Congratulations on your wedding!