Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Wedding of a Lifetime

This all really begins on February 27th, 1973, with the birth of my little brother. We started out as decent playmates and got along well. But as we got a little older, we fought a lot and caused our mom and dad some embarrassment, I am sure. I remember being in physical fights with him in public on more than one occasion. But there were also the fights I got into in his defense. Somewhere we got past the fights and became friends as well as brothers. We share a very similar sense of humor and have spent enough time watching the same movies over and over together that we can speak and riff in quotes from movies, comedians, TV shows and other sundry forms of entertainment. I have a good friend of mine who said watching us talk was like watching two people sharing one brain. My closest set of friends and I will often have the same thought at the same and will just acknowledge it by saying “The router is working.” My brother and I have that going in spades.

As time has passed, I don't see my brother as often as I did when we were living in the same state. I am the only member of my immediate family still living in Arizona, my mom, dad and brother having bounced around for the last ten plus years. We still get together for Christmas and sometimes Easter and we trade phone calls from time to time. As technology has advanced we trade text messages or instant messages as our main form of communication. Two men leading full lives, resorting to what we can in order to keep in touch.

And yet, whenever we are in the same room, it is like nothing has changed. Sure we both shave our heads in defiance of the receding hairlines - Or protruding foreheads, if you prefer - and bald patches we now have. Many people who have seen pictures of us say that they can see the resemblance between us. I'm not sure I completely agree, we both have shaved heads, Van Dykes and the average number of eyes, ears, limbs and what not. Past that, he has a very athletic build, which I don't, and I have him on height. Maybe I am too close to see the physical similarities, but so be it.

In the words of one of our favorite comedians, “I told you that story to tell you this one.”

About 2 years ago, my brother met a wonderful young woman. They began dating and fell in love. I didn't have the chance to meet her until Christmas of 2008, by which time they had been dating for about a year and a half. I really liked her from the time I got to know her, she was sweet, smart and loving. She challenged him and didn't put up with his crap without giving a little back herself. She was good for him and he seemed very happy. He found a woman with the qualities I know I would need to find in order to build a lasting relationship with a personality like mine. Well, and his as well.

A few months later I get a Yahoo IM window pop up with one of the many lines that we quote to greet each other. After a few preliminary “How's it going?” types of posts he asks me what I think about marrying my little brother. Of course the first response was “I don't think that's legal in most states, plus what will your girlfriend say?” It turns out that he had asked her to marry him and she had agreed. (I know, you already got that. Nothing gets by you, does it?)

Beneath the knee jerk, smart-alec reaction, I was floored. My brother has always been the more together of the two of us, careers rather than jobs, no financial/credit issues, he travels and takes good care of himself. Now, I've never felt anything than loved unconditionally by my family, but I have always felt like a bit of a screw up when compared to him. Our lives follow very different paths and while I am happy with the majority of mine, I always feel a little less the grown-up than he is. I'll be forty this September, but that concept boggles my mind. Surely I can't be FORTY! Forty is kind of old. It would take a bit of convincing for me to date a forty year old woman. Those are cougars, aren't they? I don't look my age, I don't feel my age, and I certainly don't act my age! I'd say I am closer to thirty than forty. Denial is a lovely place, I'll send you a postcard.

So when my brother asked me to perform his wedding ceremony, I was deeply moved in the faith that he was putting in me to pull this off. Almost immediately I asked him if our parents knew that he was asking me to do this. I love my parents very much, but we have very different ideas about religion. I could imagine my parents asking my brother if he really wanted to have me do it, wouldn't he rather have a “real” ceremony, or something along those lines. His response was just another shot that really got my heartstrings thrumming, while the verbatim escapes me, it was along the lines of, “This is our wedding and we want you to be the one to do it.” Sure, no pressure. He didn't ever say, “Look, don't screw this up, okay?” but I most definitely wasn't going to give anyone a chance to go back to him afterward to give him the “Well, you picked him, you could have gotten a professional.”

Over the next couple of months, I wrote out some ideas for the ceremony. I looked at the first ceremony I had written, a very simple one for a friend of mine, and expanded on a couple of thoughts I had from that as well. I talked to a friend of mine who does weddings for a living and is highly regarded in the field, being chosen “Best Female Officiate for 2008,” in order to get additional information, ideas and tips. (Thanks Crystal!) My brother and his fiancee had also used “The Google Machine” to find some things they liked as well. In the course of exchanged e-mails, re works and revisions we came up with, in my opinion, a very nice ceremony. They had chosen a pair of readings, one for the best man and one for the matron of honor to read. They had found vows that they liked and words for the ring exchange as well. Beyond that, the bulk of the ceremony was all mine.

The ceremony went just about flawlessly. My brother and his fiancee were very obviously taken with the emotions of the moment and it was a joy to see the two of them together like that. It was, for the most part, a serious ceremony, but there were the whispered one liners and quips that have defined the majority of our relationship. I like to think that my voice didn't crack with emotion and that I was a magnificent speaker, but I haven't seen the tape. I sure know I felt the moment very deeply. There were many compliments about the”beautiful ceremony,” including the most important critics; my brother and his fiancee. Sorry, his wife now.

To my brother and his new bride, thank you very much for the honor you gave me in asking me to perform your ceremony. Thank you for your trust, your hospitality and your help in its creation. Thank you for inviting me to spend this very special and important day with you, it has meant more to me than you might know.

To my brother, I am very happy for you. I am also very proud of you. I always have been, but it has been a while since I had such a vivid reminder. You have made a very nice life for yourself. You are an amazing human being and I feel, as I always have been, honored and lucky to know you. I wish you the very happiest of lives, you deserve it. I love you very much. Now go put on the helmet.


Anonymous Eduardo said...

I was about to leave a comment telling you that I was speechless. Then it came to me.

"Pardon me, I got nothing to say!"

Love you like a brother.

8/17/2009 5:35 AM  
Blogger Bob Alan said...

Both of you ... life, and love as well.


8/17/2009 4:37 PM  
Anonymous Mom said...

You make me make me make me very proud to call you son! (That means the both of you!) Love, Mom

8/17/2009 5:14 PM  

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