There is something about my baby brother getting married that remains completely unreal to me, even though I attended the wedding and danced and ate cake and congratulated the happy couple. Days later I find myself rather startled to look around and be all, "Whoa, this is really happening. This DID happen."
Because the thing is, there are just the two of us. Rollin and A'Dell. Peanut Butter and Jelly. Peas and Carrots. A very large part of my life is made of up of endless days and nights where my brother and I watched Star Trek in the evenings, rode school busses in the mornings and packed and unpacked our lives in new houses every few years. We were military kids and we always made friends wherever we lived but at first there was always Just Us and in the end it always went back to Just Us.
Now we are both married and we have our own little family units and it is no longer Just Us. Of course, it hasn't been Just Us for a while seeing as I got married in 2006, but with his marriage it feels like a very heavy and significant page in the story of my life, and my parent's, has turned. The Kids Are All Married Off. The baton has been handed and now we're the ones navigating young families and dealing with things that married people in their thirties deal with. My parents are finished with that phase, and have been for a while. Our generation's turn, now. Officially.
Growing up is such a never ending process. Are we there yet?
My favorite part about my brother's wedding was not at the actual wedding. It was at the rehearsal dinner when family and friends were invited to stand up and say things about the bride and groom. It was so lovely to hear other people say things about my brother that I've thought and known for years.
I didn't know that was going to happen at the rehearsal dinner, and if I had I would have prepared some words, but all I could think to say were phrases that sounded trite or weak in my head (and, to my credit, I did have a Fever Baby on my lap). I felt kind of like an ass for not standing up and rambling about something, anything. His only sister and all. But, I am better in print/pixels. I think he knows that.
Time and time again people came to me over the weekend and told me how much they adored my brother and what a wonderful guy he is and how he's so grounded and normal and funny and honest and loyal and kind and a hundred other adjectives that made my heart warm and glowy. And, yes, my brother is all of these things and I knew all of this already, but to hear it from other people made me so happy.
"YES. You know how awesome he is! You ALSO think he's one of the funniest people you know! He is fantastic and also terrible at getting rid of video games from the 90's but we forgive him because it's kind of cute in a nerdy way."
Okay, maybe I was wrong about my favorite part. My favorite part of the wedding was the wedding.
The moment she came into view I could see their entire relationship, perhaps his entire life, flash before his eyes, all leading up to this single, defining, moment. Everything he's done, wished for, failed or succeeded at, has led him here and you guys, he looked so happy.
They were saying their vows and Eden started to get choked up and a bit teary (as brides do) and this sounds so trite but I could actually feel how much she loves him. She was, of course, radiant and exuded happiness that entire evening while making her social visits, but in that moment she appeared alone with him in this great big room filled with hundreds of people, mindful of nothing else but the words, the gravity of their meaning, and him.
It was gorgeous.
Congratulations, Rollin and Eden. I could not possibly be happier for you.