Editor’s Note:I am including this post because I keep forgetting to send my parents a copy of the toast I gave at my sister’s wedding this summer. Now this will force my parents to read the blog, figure out how to use the cut and paste function in Microsoft Word and learn how to work the printer. They are smart people. I think they will figure it out.
To be honest, I really struggled to write a speech that would be appropriate for the wedding. I actually did not even know I was supposed to say anything until my best friend dropped the bombshell on me about two weeks beforehand. I thought that was the best man’s job?
My first instinct was to talk about how happy I was that we finally have a Jew in the family and how it really increases the diversity factor. But when I revealed my topic of choice to Emily her reaction was initially shock followed quickly after with horror. Apparently I ran the risk of offending the fiance and other guests. I was serious about the speech. So was Emily. So it was scrapped and I wrote the real one on the plane home to Boston. Nothing like waiting to the last minute.
Editor’s Second Note: I cleared the original speech with Vincent afterwards and he thought it was funny and not offensive. I love my brother-in-law.
My primary concern was that I wouldn’t be able to come with anything … nice to say. I wanted to be able to tell my sister something meaningful and wise, something hopeful and true. What I didn’t want to talk about was failed love. But at that point, fresh off getting dumped, that was kind of all I knew. And who was I to be giving advice on love? Especially when the only thing that came to mind was this: Love is a river. So wear a life preserver when you go fishing.
Again, not entirely appropriate for a wedding toast.
But here is what I ended up writing on the plane and reciting at the wedding. Sorry mom and dad, I know there is some stuff I added at the reception that I can’t remember and never wrote down. This will have to suffice.
For Jen and Vincent:
I have a confession to make.
Growing up I used to sneak into Jen’s room and read her diary. I would rifle through her drawers and under the bed until I found it, making a special note to return it exactly as it was discovered.
The thing is, Jen was always writing about boys she liked or problems with her girl friends. Mostly though it was about boys.
I’m not really sure why I was so interested in reading her diary. It probably had something to do with the fact that I wasn’t supposed to. Perhaps, it was her reaction when I’d let it spill at dinner that I’d read it. Again. Jen’s nostrils would flare, her eyes bulge – and you knew you were in for a beat down, or at least a good arm scratching.
But I think the main reason I was so eager to read her diary was because she was my big sister and she knew things I knew nothing about. Important things. Like how good Madonna really was, why perming your hair is a bad idea, and how to kiss a boy.
I was definitely interested in that part. I remember sitting on the floor of her bedroom asking her where do you put your nose? How do you breathe?
I think early on I knew that Jen could teach me a lot about love.
She taught me the value of privacy – and how it’s not always wise to share all of the details of your relationship with everybody. She taught me the importance of being affectionate – even if it means making out on the bus with your boyfriend and embarrassing your little sister. She taught me the importance of choosing your partner wisely.
Vincent you should know, I offered several times to have a cab idling in the parking lot today just in case. She passed.
And now here she is married and ready to start a new chapter of her life that I will have to read up on. I’m sure it will read much the same way as the diary of her youth – with stories she can decorate with hearts and exclamation points, with moments of sheer contentment and joy.
I also know that there will be days ahead filled with heartache and disappointment after one of life’s really good curve balls. But I also know that there will be someone else barging in on her privacy. Someone who won’t tell mom and dad all of her secrets, who will share in her losses and celebrate her successes – someone who will stand by her always.
So I am handing over my duties as chief snoop to Vincent. Now, you are responsible for knowing the contents of her heart and helping write the rest of your story together. May you both find comfort and happiness in each other always. And for the times that you do not – God help you Vincent. Because Jen has really sharp nails.