My sister Maria and her partner Becky were married in January 2009. It was a lovely, small ceremony, just my sister, her partner and their two boys, my husband and I and our kids. The following summer, my parents hosted a wedding celebration at their golf club with a huge gathering of friends and our extended family. It would be so great if every gay child could grow up with parents like mine. Love is love, right?, what else is there.
I came across the wedding toast I wrote for them and decided that I would share it on my10000days. As days go this was one of my favorites.
The toast: Hi, I’m Kelly. Maria’s older sister. And for purposes of this toast I will be the Best Sister. In traditional wedding celebrations there would be a Best Man but as nothing this family does is traditional, I made the unilateral decision that I would be the Best Sister.
I would like to take you back to Memorial Day weekend 2001. The President was white. Same sex marriage was legalized in the Netherlands, leading the way for US States to follow. Wikipedia came online and Apple introduced the IPOD. But none of these events were as significant as what happened that has brought us all here, together, today.
Memorial Day 2001 was the weekend that Becky and Maria first met.
Imagine that. Maria, a girl born in Colombia, South America met a girl born in Plymouth, Massachusetts. They fell in love. They built a home and they adopted two amazing boys from Haiti – Bejunior and Nayderson.
This unlikely journey is what has brought all of us together to celebrate. Some of you here today were also here when my parents brought Maria home from Columbia. With Becky she has come full circle and built her family the same way my parents did, untraditionally but with love.
Becky and Maria are uniquely themselves and together they are even better. It’s a very special celebration and I am sure you are all happy to be a part of it.
I am equally sure that you are all thinking the same thing.
What’s with all the tattoos?
Becky has 7 – 2 butterflies, a Sagittarius zodiac symbol, the Buddhist character for medicine, the Chinese character for strength, a vine with flowers, a purple rose and a paw print from their Chihuahua Joey.
Maria has a few more. Across the upper part of her left arm it says “to be unafraid of the judgement of others is the best freedom you have.” She also has: a woman in ‘daisy dukes’ on her calf, two swords, a panther, the Chinese character for dog, the Chinese character for girl, the Korean character for Friend, the words “be their voice” over a cat and a dog, a dog dish in memory of her dog Grace, all four of my children’s names down her left arm: SeanCeliaRyanTroy. My personal favorite – I GOT THIS – on her right arm. And of course, a paw print from their Chihuahua Joey.
As I was thinking about today and about their tattoos and how they each had the same Chihuahua paw print, I began to get an idea of what drew Becky and Maria together in the first place.
I think it is their mutual love of dogs. Or maybe it is all that they have learned from dogs. Any dog owner knows that dogs love completely and have a greater capacity for love than most people they know.
If one were to describe the main characteristics of a dog, they would have to be:
1. strong affection
2. warm attachment
3. unselfish loyalty
I think that is the kind of bond that Maria and Becky have. They have indeed found their soul-mate in each other.
I am admittedly NOT a dog person so I am sure that Maria is rolling her eyes that I finally “get it.”
Most Best Man/Sister toasts are designed to pass along some supposed wisdom to the new couple so I will share mine:
Never go to bed angry.
Hmmm. Well, I am here to tell you that sometimes it’s actually best to go to bed angry. Because in the morning when you wake up more often than not you’ve forgotten what you were angry about so my advice would actually be to: Let sleeping dogs lie.
As you raise Bejunior and Nayderson together you might find that you have differences of opinion and may do something unpleasing to the other – when you do this you will find yourself in the DOGHOUSE. I have been here a few times. Try to make your visits there be infrequent.
It could be said that you pursued the adoption of Bejunior and Nayderson with Dogged Determination. It was two very long years but what lucky dogs they are.
I think that you are truly blessed to have found each other and to have adopted Bejunior and Nayderson. As they grow, please keep in mind what Nora Ephron said, “When your kids are teenagers it is good to have a dog, that way you’ll have someone in the house who likes you.”
Thank you for being you and reminding us that ” to be unafraid of the judgement of others is the best freedom you have.”
Congratulations and I love you both.