And she was the most beautiful bride in the history of the Universe and don’t even try to argue with me about that because we will have words which will turn into slapping and though I am quite small I am very fierce and I will bite if it comes to that.
She got married and I was the matron of honor and this, for the most part if you don’t count my bits of genius ad libbing, is what I said in my toast to her:
First, I wanted to thank everyone so much for being here. So many of our family, Ryan’s family and all our friends have made such a long trip to be here, it really warms my heart to see you here supporting my sister and her new husband.
For those of you that I don’t know me, my name is Lane, I am the sister of the beautiful bride.
My sister is my best friend. Saying that might be a cliché, but maybe the cliché came out of the truth that there is a special bond between women who are sisters. I lived for four years and 3 months as an only child, with all the attention and all the love and I thought things were pretty good. But the day my sister was born was absolutely one of the most pivotal moments of my life, although I had no way to grasp that in 1985.
The years that followed were full of all the adventures that two sisters have growing up together, except instead of following me and copying me, Alley and I grew into two very different girls.
When I was a baby, my mom wrote in my baby book that I slept through the night for the first time at 8 weeks. The same line in my sister’s baby book is still blank, because until she left for college we’re pretty sure she never slept through the night, except for the times my mom gave her a ‘sleeping pill’ which was actually half of a multivitamin. That little trick worked until we told her the truth and explained the placebo effect when she was about 21.
When we were little kids, my passion was for books. My sister’s was for Barbies.
When we got a little older, I stuck with books but moved on to books with more words and no pictures. My sister threw the Barbies aside and began pursuing an interest in boys.
When I was ten years old, my favorite pair of shoes were Birkenstock sandals. I wore them with socks. When my sister was ten years old her favorite shoes were white, studded cowgirl boots. She wore them with a mini-skirt.
When I was in 8th grade, the guest at my birthday sleepover was the police officer who came to our school to teach us not to use drugs. I was star struck. When my sister was in 8th grade, she was buying cigarettes for a quarter from a kid on the bus and smoking them with her head out the window while my parents slept.
When I was in high school I played Varsity tennis, although I was VERY hesitant about choosing a sport with a skirt. My sister was a Varsity cheerleader, probably because of the skirt.
In college I majored in political science, and my sister spent one wild night in the dorm with my friends talking about the Arab-Israeli conflict. My sister majored in Interior Design and I spent one very memorable night waiting for her to be sober enough to bail out of the drunk tank.
At the age 24, I engaged in my first act of rebellion. I decided to marry a professional hockey player from a foreign country. My sister was angry that I was spending so much time with someone else, especially a hockey player. My mom was concerned for my professional goals. My dad was characteristically ambivalent.
After all the resistance she showed to Dave and our decision to be together despite the stress of hockey life or the complications of having our families living so far from each other, you can imagine my surprise when, for the first time EVER, my sister decided to follow in my footsteps.
When Alley and Ryan started to get serious, I can be honest and say I had some concerns of my own. I know how hard it is to achieve your own goals and maintain your own relationships when you are constantly moving to support your husband’s job. I know how hard it can be to make enough time for both your families when they live so many miles apart. These kinds of stresses aren’t normal to most people in most relationships. But I also know about love. I know that try as you might, you can’t ignore it. You have to follow it. And that’s what Alley and Ryan are doing.
Like any big sister, I want to protect my little sister from having to struggle. But I realized through my own life and my own marriage that sometimes the best things are worth struggling for. I am so happy that she and Ryan have found each other.
All this talk about sisters, and you might not be surprised when I tell you one thing Alley and I always had in common is that we did NOT wish for a brother. We didn’t want anyone ruining our fun or interrupting our very elaborate games. This fear of brothers might have been why Alley had such a hard time letting Dave in to our family all those years ago. And even though Ryan does sometimes ruin our fun or interrupt our games, now that I have a brother, I can see that we were wrong. My new brother fixes things for me, lifts heavy objects and watches sports with my husband so I don’t have to. He plays with my daughter and cares about my parents. But most importantly, my new brother is a partner for my sister. He keeps her laughing. He tells her the truth. He makes her happy. What more could I want from a brother?
Alley and Ryan, I love you both. I have had a great time celebrating with you at your wedding and I look forward even more to supporting you in your marriage.