Tomorrow morning, I will board a flight to Rochester, NY for a special occasion: the wedding of my baby cousin, Meghan (she’s 25, I’m 28 – that makes her a baby). When she got engaged, it got me a little choked up. Between her sister and brother, I’m blessed to say I’ve been extremely close with my cousins from the time they were born, and now, into our adulthood.
As I prepare for this trip, I’m truly happy for Meghan – and not just in the “this is the right thing to say” kind of way. Because I know that she and her fiancée Joe believe this – that in a world of broken love, it’s still the most beautiful thing worth fighting for. And this is coming from a guy who loved hard for the better part of two years and took *cough* nearly as long to move on from it. A bitter, cruel pill to swallow. And I swear it’s still the best thing worth experiencing in life.
So in lieu of a handwritten card or an opportunity to give a speech at the wedding – if I drink enough that might happen anyway – I’ve decided to dedicate today’s post to Meghan and Joe.
To Meghan: You’re one of the most irreverent, foul-mouthed women I’ve ever met in my life. And I adore every inch of it. You had a fat head as a baby. I don’t know if I ever told you that, but you’ve grown into it nicely. It’s not all bad, though. You’re beautiful now, even if you prefer trolling around in hoodies and sweats. A lot of people love to say “what you see is what you get” about themselves, but they’ve never met you. It’s hilarious in some ways. It’s beautiful in others.
You’re fiercely loyal and you speak a language of love that I do, too. In life, you’ll meet so few people who ever truly understand you, but between your ass jokes, hugs and playing pranks on my mother, I can say that we have and always will “get” each other. Of course, I only know some of the sides to you. Joe, however, knows the others.
He hasn’t had the luxury – and maybe he’s glad he hasn’t – of seeing your missteps in love along the way. That’s kind of how it goes when you’re trying to figure it all out, and speaking as your older cousin, you’re a lot further along than I am. I’d always hoped that you – your sister, my sister, etc. – would find great men and that you’d each share your life with them for the right reasons. In Joe, you’ve nailed it.
At first glance, I’d have never picked you two for each other. But when I see you together, I can’t imagine a scenario where the two of you aren’t one. He gets you, too, and you add enough crazy fun to his ups-and-downs to create a balance; on the flip side, he adds enough stability to your one-of-a-kind sense of humor and love. It’s a tie-dye puzzle, to be sure, but the pieces fit perfectly.
And now? I look up to you because of your relationship. I respect you because of the tireless work ethic that you’ve developed as you’ve grown. I admire the way you love fearlessly. I cherish the fact that you’ve adored me and my family, too. And you’re somehow a bigger smartass than I am. What’s not to love?
I’ll toast to you on Saturday, but I want the world (or at least my Facebook friends to know) – you have all of my support, love and faith – not just in your marriage, but in all you do. I’m proud of you, and I love you.
To Joe: God bless you, brother. You’ve got your hands full. After all these years, though, you’ve certainly figured that out. Way back when you were first in Meg’s life, in what I perceived to be your inability to commit, I had my doubts. I chided Meg for it from time-to-time, too. And I was wrong for that. I can say with confidence that I’ve never met someone who has faced the trials in life that you have and endured them with such grace. One way or another, you navigated your way through your unbelievable circumstances and never stopped loving my cousin, even in the face of the obstacles that ended up in your way.
And you befriended me, too. You went out of your way to do so, especially during my short-lived return to NY last winter. Some of the moments that stick out to me from that six month adventure are decorated with your handprints – brainstorming sessions, amazing grilled cheese sandwiches from Marshall Street, and kickball in the freezing cold, too. Life has broken your heart in more ways than I could comprehend, yet it’s that same heart that is the best thing about you.
You’re driven. Determined. An adult in the most impressive of ways, way before you should’ve had to be one. If I’d endured your circumstances, I’d have used them as a shameless cry for help; a crutch for self-loathing and the comfort of others. And though you’re remiss to ever rely on it as an account for who you are, it’s that very reason that makes you such a wonderful person. The fact that you love and adore my cousin is icing on the cake. She’s blessed to have you. And as a family, we are, too.
To the both of you – I am overjoyed to celebrate your wedding with you on Saturday. And get hammered with you all night afterward. To your now and forever.