My sister, Emily, was married last week. There was so much love and joy on their special day. Here are my words for Emily and my new brother-in-law, Brett.
Emily, at your Bat Mitzvah, I think I gave the best speech of anyone in our entire family, when I sang to you my rewritten words to the Ricky Martin masterpiece, Livin La Vida Loca. Rest assured, I will not be reprising that spectacular performance today.
For the gorgeous bride, my beloved little sister, on her wedding day…
Emily, from the perspective of someone on the outside, you and I might appear to be some very interesting siblings. I have heard it said that a sister is the person who is most like you and also the person who is most different from you. Emily, this couldn’t be truer for you and me. When we remember our childhood together, the first thing we think about is almost always the time when at the age of four, you cut your own hair and blamed it on me. I was punished for weeks, and it wasn’t until mom and dad found your hair hidden in the corner of your room that I was found innocent.
It took a long time for us to calm down and get to where we are today. I think perhaps things started getting better when you stopped listening to the Spice Girls and Aqua, and started asking to borrow my Dave Matthews CDs. I’m so thankful for how we’ve grown closer together over the last decade, and how we now look forward to all the times we get to spend with each other. It’s especially a delight for me to appreciate great music together with you. I look forward to us getting to be the awkward older people at concerts. Maybe we’re already those awkward older people.
A little while ago, Brett showed up and started coming along to concerts with us. It’s interesting – I never really wanted a brother (sorry!) It was Emily who always wanted a sister, and she never hesitated to remind me how much she wanted – even how much she would have preferred to have a sister.
But now we find ourselves here today – I am blessed with a sister who is one of my best friends, and now I also get a new brother along with her.
This all started four years ago, when Emily came to me and asked if she and her friends could stay in my New York apartment over New Year’s Eve. Was I worried about four Toronto girls gallivanting around New York and having free reign over my place? Maybe a little. But I said “yes, of course!” and I am so thankful that I did, as it was on that trip to New York that Emily and Brett found each other.
Fast forward to around 18 months ago, when I was in Los Angeles for work. While in meetings all day long, I had turned off my cell phone. In the evening, I turned my phone back on. There were 7 missed calls from Emily, and a one-line text message: call me.
I was worried. Who was sick? What happened?
I rushed back to my hotel room and called Emily, out of breath. Without even letting me say hello, she screamed through the receiver: “I’M ENGAGED! I’M GETTING MARRIED!”
While I knew that day was coming, it was such an unexpected surprise and a blessing of wonderful news. I’ve been looking forward to this day ever since then.
Emily – we are much more than just brother and sister. We don’t just share our wonderful parents. You and I share profound joys, difficult times, hilarious stories, inside secrets, a love of good music, blessings, and a friendship that grows stronger as the years go by. I am so blessed to call you my sister and my friend.
Brett, I don’t need to give you any warnings about my little sister, because I am continually impressed with the love and devotion you show to your bride. Today, it is my joy and delight to now get to call you a brother. And Emily, truth be told, I don’t need to give you any advice either, because while you may be my not-so little sister, it’s from you that I learn so much about creating a loving partnership. And I know how much that you and I have learned from having two parents who showed us how to nurture a loving, respectful, caring relationship.
Emily and Brett, separately, you are two special and remarkable people, but together you are complete. Your journey towards each other has overcome great physical distances, but was always one of two immensely close souls. In the immortal words of our mentor, Dave Matthews – “Turns out, not where, but who you’re with that really matters.” For me, I can’t wait for us to be neighbours in New York City, and to be close by as you and Brett start building your life together.
For you both, I wish you a life together where with each new step, with each new verse of your songs together, with every new adventure, you always know how blessed you each are to have someone with you that really matters.
Jesse, I can’t begin to express how proud I am of you, Emily and Brett – our three (!) wonderful kids. On Emily and Brett’s wedding day, we were all enveloped in an embrace of love and joy so profound that it defies description. We are so blessed and so grateful that our kids not only share this love but play such a central role in creating it. Love you tons, my sweet son!