It's true: my baby brother got married on Saturday.
I stood by his side as his Best Woman and I did my darnedest not to cry.
His wife's vows got me good. Jessica told the story of when she realized she couldn't live without Kevin. They were hiking and got separated and she frantically ran up and down the trail, to a closed ranger station, got on the line with the 9-1-1 operator before Kevin meandered down the trail, like: NBD.
While their love is inspiring, the main reason I was crying is because I, too, have felt the terror of believing that KEVIN MIGHT DIE!!!
I'm not a wing-it kind of gal, so here's my thoughtfully composed toast, also touching on the theme of Kevin's multiple near death experiences.
I’m just warning you. I’m definitely going to cry and it’s not going to be pretty. It’s going to be an ugly cry.
So no pictures.
Kevin and I are sixteen months apart. I don’t remember a time in my life without him.
When I sat down to think about what I could say or what stories I could tell about Kevin, I realized they were basically all about the trauma he caused me in our childhood.
For example, the time he fell off of a porch railing and into a bush. Terrified, I ran into the house exclaiming, “THE BUSH ATE KEVIN!” only to be received by a chorus of adult laughter.
Or the time Kevin jumped off of my grandparents’ cabin deck railing into what seemed like six feet of snow, but was probably more like two and half. Knowing nothing about snow safety, I tried to dig him out with the help of our trusty German shepherd Katie. But, we just packed the snow down around him even more.
Again I ran to my parents in the warm, toasty cabin, pleading in desperation for their assistance. I’m pretty sure they left us out in the cold until the sun set before finally coming to our aid.
Basically--our childhood involved a lot of Kevin falling from heights while our parents left us unsupervised.
As all big sisters know, it’s our job to keep our younger siblings out of trouble, to help them, to boss them around and to generally micromanage their lives.
But, today is a NEW DAY!
And Kevin, on this momentous day, your wedding day--the day on which you and Jessica have declared before us and the world that you will forevermore take care of each other, support each other and hold each other dear--on this day, I can tell you: I will finally leave you alone.
I can tell you that. Buuuuuut, that would be a lie.
On this day, what I will say is this: Jessica and Kevin, I--and I think I can speak for the rest of my family as well--WE WILL NEVER LEAVE YOU ALONE!!!
If you know my family, you know: we will drive you crazy, we will stick our noses where they don’t belong, we will laugh at you and make you question why you ever gave us a spare key to your house.
But, Jessica and Kevin: we will love you no matter what.
We will love you hard. We will support you. We will encourage you to grow as individuals and as a couple and eventually, as a family. We will be there to celebrate the good days in your life and even more so, we will be there to support you on the not so good days.
Jessica and Kevin, most importantly--and I mean this literally and figuratively--we will pull you out of man-eating bushes. And we will rescue you when you jump into snowdrifts.
I wish you the best in your adventures, in your life and in your love.
Lift your glasses. To Jessica and Kevin!
I love you, Brother Bear!!! To the moon and back.