My big brother is getting married today.
To a girl who stole his heart almost a decade ago.
To say my brother is slow to the punch is a gross understatement. He takes his time, with everything. His inevitable tardiness is the running joke at most family functions, he rarely returns a voicemail, he plans things…hardly ever. We are lovely opposites to each other. Where I’m slightly high-strung, he is cool as a cucumber. Where I make lists of my to-do lists, he can barely locate a pen & paper to write down directions.
Rachel has been my sister-in-law for years…she needs no title of Mrs to belong in my family. She loves my girls like they are her own, and even buys my dog a Christmas present. She is loud, chatty and aggressive. All things I hope my daughters will learn from her and adapt in their own lives. She is always concerned for the well-being of her friends and family, putting their needs first, always so inclusive. The life of the party for sure, we don’t call her The Rocket for nothing…she could chat her way into a Swiss vault full of jewels, I’m certain of it. She’s gorgeous and there’s no question in my mind why she caught my brother’s eye. Curves for days, I tell you. (…says the jealous sister-in-law)
My brother is her perfect opposite. Reserved, set in his ways and most certainly a traditionalist. I don’t know that I have been able to have a conversation with my brother at any family function since Bella could walk. He will do whatever- WHAT.EVER.- those girls ask/tell him to do. He will chase them for hours, so long as they are giggling. He will share his dinner/milk/dessert without thinking twice, simply because they batted their eyes. He wears princess crowns, plays make-believe and colours ponies. Ryan (yes, my brother’s name matches my husband’s name. It was weird for like…a minute. Now we’re over it.) is just like my dad, though he’d hate to admit it.
Growing up in a small town, 18 months apart in age, we spent a lot of time hanging out with the same people. I’ll never know if it bothered him that his baby sister butted in to his group of friends, he never made me feel awkward or small. He didn’t baby me either, he knew I was older than my years and felt like I should be able to take care of myself: he was right. That time I got drunk at that pre-prom party Mom warned me not to go to? Ryan walked my stumbling ass all the way down Erie Road and then forced me to call Mom for a ride. When I called home from Finland one afternoon and he answered the phone? I almost dissolved into a pile of tears, but was so glad I held it together because he chatted with me for what seemed like ages…all interested in what I was doing and HOW I was doing.
From the outside looking in, you’d never guess we were close. My brother and I are subtle and need not boast about our relationship. Our little immediate family passes information around to each other, making sure we know the big stuff, the sad stuff and the thrilling stuff. All the while understanding that our lives are separate while our bond is deep. My parents should be proud of how their family has grown…we make sure we are each other’s ladders, not their crutch.
This weekend feels like such a bright beginning. Hearing my Portuguese sister-in-law called Mrs. Rachel Clifford for the first time will be such a thrill for me. To watch my brother’s shoulders swell with pride when he walks his new wife back up the aisle in front of his family and friends? I get tingles up my spine just thinking about it. The sheer fact that my brother will actually be married blows my mind in a very real way.
So, today…my three daughters will be bribed to walk up an aisle wearing matching off-white dresses, toward an uncle they adore, in front of an aunt who loves them unconditionally. I will be likely shuffling between crying and guarding Maëlle from jumping in the pond. The weather will be perfect, the bride will look jaw-droppingly gorgeous. My mother will be choking back tears…along with the rest of us, when the bride’s brother walks her down the aisle just as her father surely will be gathering all the angels around to watch his baby girl marry the man of her dreams.
They will become RC Squared. Husband and wife. Today, I will watch my brother get married, and I will be reaffirmed, once again…that I am right where I am supposed to be on this earth.
Happy Wedding Day, Ryan & Rachel. I cannot possibly tell you how proud I am to be with you today…and to add these moments to the list of beautiful memories in my head.