I haven’t decided yet if you and your sister getting married so close together is genuinely for true love, or just a cruel ploy to humiliate me in front of family members who know I’m older than both of you and still single. “David, when are you going to get married?”
I’m not going to. I’m going to get drunk.
I wasn’t sure where to start with this. I waited until the last minute to write it and now I’m glad that I did. I thought of starting with a story about Kayla that would somehow let everyone see inside her golden heart, her sense of humor, or her uncomfortable obsession with Jason.
And I’ll tell those stories, but not before I tell this one. The reason that I’m glad I waited until the last minute to write this.
Around 1:00 a.m. this morning, our great grandmother, Dorothy, suffered a massive stroke. And if her doctors are accurate in their estimates, she may be with us for just a few more months.
I know our family is dealing with this news today with a heavy heart. But at the same time, hers is not a sad story. In fact, it’s a beautiful story. And I can’t think of a more appropriate parallel to share today than this.
My great grandmother is the matriarch of our entire family. She has 4 children, 11 grandchildren, 17 great-grandchildren, and even a handful of great-great-grandchildren.
In her 98 years, she’s lived a full life. And no matter what God’s will is for her coming days and weeks, I can say with certainty that she will live forever. Both in spirit, and through the long lineage of children that came from an important decision she made in her younger years – to marry a wonderful man named Wilton Von Buren.
I wasn’t there for her wedding – I think I had plans that day – but I imagine that she was feeling everything that you’re feeling. Hope. Joy. Excitement. And the belief that love has never been more clear than it is right now.
I think that’s why everyone loves weddings so much. Open bar doesn’t hurt, either.
But weddings are a tangible reminder of one of the last pure things on earth; love in its most flawless form. Weddings make single people believe in love and they remind married people to never forget it; that if they’ve followed this rite of passage, they’re blessed to have had the opportunity to love someone and to be loved in return, which I know is probably a quote from a chick flick.
1 week from now, you’ll be celebrating your honeymoon, basking in one of the best moments of your life. 1 month from now, you’ll be back in your routine, sharing a home together and posting obnoxious lovey dovey crap on Facebook.
A couple of years from now, you might be parents. You’ll build a family. You’ll watch your kids grow. You’ll teach them lessons about life, praying that they inherited Kayla’s selflessness and Jason’s jump shot. And you’ll watch them experience love for themselves.
They’ll leave the nest. At some point, you’ll retire, buy a place next to your favorite cousin in Miami, and you’ll look at all of the living, breathing reminders of love’s power all around you. And you’ll remember today, the day you gave your love to each other, in front of God and your family.
Of course, that’s the abridged version. You’ll undoubtedly have your ups and downs. Seasons of sadness and seasons of joy. But you’ll have each other. You will live as one until death do you part.
One, because I know you both believe wholeheartedly in honoring that commitment, but two, because I think Kayla would sooner turn into a unicorn than ever let Jason leave her side.
But I want to focus on the “until death do us part” portion of this. I think in a marriage ceremony, that feels morbid to some people, but today, because of these circumstances, I feel differently.
That portion of the vow is not a reminder of death. It’s a reminder of life. Before today, you had two lives. And now you have a new one – the one you’ve made together. So live, damn it.
Don’t ever take for granted what you have in each other. Don’t sit by and wait for your life to be filled with memories. Go out and make them.
Kayla, compliment him on his blue eyes and Jay, keep writing cheesy love notes on the napkins in her lunch box. Play basketball together. Keep raising money for sick kids together. Have a ton of sex. You guys are so perfect together that I honestly want to throw up on both of you. Cherish that.
Jason, thank you for caring enough to love our family and for making tasteless jokes at my expense. Most importantly, thank you for adoring and loving my cousin.
Kayla. I’ll never forget the feeling I had when I walked in your father’s house on the first Thanksgiving after I moved to Miami. You ran and clung to me, and you had tears in your eyes. I have a shitty memory, but that’s a moment filled with so much love and validation that I will never forget it. You have one of the purest hearts I’ve ever known, and if I had the rest of the night to speak, I’d have no problem filling this night up with stories about it.
What’s inside of you is undoubtedly the best thing that Jason is gaining today by making you his wife.
Thank you to both of you for showing us of what love is, and reminding us that life should be lived in love.
Cheers to your today. Cheers to your tomorrow. And cheers to you building a love and a family that would make even Great Grandma envious.
I love you both.