A Toast for my Sister’s Wedding
Good evening, my name is Debbie, and I’m Margot’s sister.
Of the 10,297 or so days I’ve known Marg—and I really should be careful with my math in deference to Joel—I don’t think more than one has passed during which she and I weren’t in touch in some way. That’s always felt like a priority, and I find it wholly reassuring to know that when we don’t communicate, something integral feels off-kilter, easily setting itself right with even a text.
We’ve gone on many literal voyages together—some as distant as Scotland, others as nearby as the library. Many nights have found us taking long, meditative drives up the Pacific Coast Highway, listening to Jethro Tull and Pink Floyd as we meticulously analyzed the state of our lives and measured our dreams against reality.
And many days have found us taking walks to the neighborhood park or UCLA’s sculpture garden as we made jokes, talked about such favorite books as Anne of Green Gables or those by Madeleine L’Engle, and quoted movies like Kill Bill and Spaceballs, often discussing these things with the same degree of gravity and attention we did our plans for our presents and futures.
But far more frequent have been the trips we’ve taken into our pooled imaginations. As kids, we played elaborate games that used our bunk-bed to pretend we rode a 19th c. train cabin escaping the unwanted attentions of the irritating Prince Harold. We narrated voice-overs to the pictures we drew side-by-side, creating complicated storylines in our made-up worlds. We wrote strange little stories about princesses, aliens, and stowaways and songs about dogs and foxes, and our parents, with whom we are incredibly close and could probably not be closer, amusedly looked at us as if we were speaking Martian. “Demnuevo con los bube maintzes?” “Again with the bube maintzes?” my mom would say, using the Yiddish term for Old Wive’s Tale. But we’d be rapt in our very serious discussion about this fictional character or that aspect of our daily existence and could be neither interrupted nor bothered to emerge from our conversational stupor.
And though we’re grown up now, very little has changed. Yes she’s a lawyer with poise and a home of her own, but she’s still the girl who danced to “Aqualung” and “Still Loving You” with wild abandon, the gifted painter so intrigued by Carol Lombard, and the multi-dimensional companion who balances sharp wit and profound insight with sweet dreaminess. And she’s still my dearest friend.
So, for a long time, I wondered, who would be the person for her? What form would he take? I’ve always been excited by the prospect of seeing her meet her match, while apprehensive about a few things as well. Would she be blessed enough to find someone deserving, who would challenge and nurture her as she would challenge and nurture him? Would she have to change or compromise parts of herself to be with this person? Would I get along with him, or would I have to lose my sister?
Marg has always been very open with me. So little has she held back that when she told me she’d met a mathematician named Joel but refused to divulge much else, I felt…ahso. He must be different. He must be special. And she must find him so. I figured she didn’t want to jinx things by talking about him, and I was right. So I waited anxiously, fervently hoping that this time, she had met The One.
I couldn’t be happier that person is Joel. I felt relief then happiness as Marg eventually told me about him and how happy he was making her. When I finally got to meet him, as three of us got omelettes one Sunday, it felt even better to like him from the get-go.
I felt comfortable, seeing how comfortable they were around each other, that neither one seemed to be changing or trying too hard, that they both just seemed glad to be there, to be having a good time and listening to what the other had to say and considering it with attention. I love knowing they go on adventures and both comprehend and learn from each other every day. I was thrilled to see my sister with someone so intelligent and deep, talented and cultured, cool and funny. And it gladdened me to see that each had finally met his or her loving match.
I can’t really put to words the sense of gratitude and satisfaction I feel or the wonderful things I wish for them, but whatever I hoped to feel about the marriage of my cherished sister and this special person is, believe it or not, less than what I feel right now at witnessing and being part of Marg and Joel’s wedding–and that’s saying quite a bit.
How hackneyed to say I don’t lose a sister but gain a brother and friend, but…it’s true.
So: I wish you bliss and good health, understanding and humor, optimism and patience, and most importantly, fulfillment. I toast your love and the beginning of what I hope is a joyful, harmonious, and meaningful life together.