I’m a bad sister. I woke up this morning with great intentions of calling my brother to wish him and his two-day wife a happy honeymoon before their flight left at 9 a.m. At 8:54, as I was sitting in my cubicle, I panicked and dialed the phones of both him and my new sister-in-law…no answer. Phones had been turned off. They were most likely seatbacked and tray-tabled up, comfortably seatbelted in on their way to Mexico. How could I forget to DO that? I woke up with that on my mind, and somewhere between applying my makeup and packing a lunch, I lost track of time. Ugh…is this a sign of things to come? I couldn’t help but wonder.
My big brother finally did it – he tied the knot this past Saturday. Brandon was so handsome and seemed to enjoy being in the company of family and friends, not to mention his hilarious groomsmen who flew in from Arizona, Hawaii, and France. Sherri looked like she stepped straight off the pages of Vogue magazine. My parents were beaming with joy and pride that their little boy had met his perfect match – something no one saw coming! My sister and I were bridesmaids. We wore lavender and got our hair and nails done, per the usual. The only difference this time was, though Julie still looked tan and thin and stunning (per HER usual), I was pale and round and squeezed into a size 16 dress, WITH additional fabric on both sides to ensure I had enough growth room, ya know, just in case I decided to eat the whole cake. I requested big hair, in hopes that it would detract from my belly becoming the center of attention, and did a little extra with my makeup, as if to say, “Hey, you look at my FACE when you’re talkin’ to me!” And, for all I know, it seemed to work.
Considering most of the guests were close family members, the kindness was well-attempted. I only got asked 14 times when I was due (I kept track, yes) and got really good at the phrases, “It’s a boy” (re: What are you having?) and “We’re not telling” (re: Do you have names picked out?). Other than that, I got through the day with only one rude comment from a relative who will remain unnamed. “That’s an interesting look,” she said. Hmm, funny. This “look” I was trying my damndest to pull off was not pre-planned the night before. I didn’t find it in a gossip magazine and go on a binge weight gain the week of the wedding to get this “look.” I wasn’t intentionally wearing a dress the size of a house so I could “look” more like my favorite red-carpet celebrity. So, I simply considered the source, cried to my sister for three-to-five minutes, and let it go. Today was a beautiful day and no one was going to ruin that for me, although honestly, part of me still wants to shove a fat fist up her nostrils.
Other than feeling like I was going to melt into a puddle of sweat on the ceremony stage, I got through the day like any other, but with lots more dancing, no shoes, and additional potty stops. My husband seemed to enjoy his last night of drunken freedom pre-daddy, trying to convince anyone and everyone that walked by the bar to take a shot with him. Apparently enough people bit, because by midnight, he had turned into a stumbling, bumbling, gurgling mess of a man who seemed to be on the verge of dimensia. I think he asked me 25 times if I remembered the camera before he hit the bathroom floor at home…poor guy.
As I sat in bed that night, unable to sleep in fear that Nate might knock his head on the porcelin tub and I wouldn’t know it til morning because I was the bad wife who slept comfortably in her bed while her husband was moaning in the cold bathroom, I had many deep thoughts. I thought about my brother. I thought about how my parents raised him. I thought about his incredible soul and his sensitive spirit, his love for comic books, his competitive personality, his knack to always be the cheapest person in the room, his adoration of his father, his respect for his mother, his patience with his irritating sisters, his ability to open his heart in times of need, his six-foot bear hugs saved only for moments that are truly hug-worthy, and his new bride. Sherri makes him happy, and to see him happy makes everyone happy. They are 30 years old, and someone took the time to develop them into the people that they are…the good, the bad, and the ugly. How does one do that? And, is it ever done without fear or room for error? Is there a secret guarantee-in-a-box you can purchase at the hospital for not screwing up your children? I know my parents are good people with great hearts, but was there ever a moment of “oops, what did I do?” in the raising of their first child? You wouldn’t know it if there was, based on the man he is now, but I’m assuming there were times of serious questioning…
I looked down at my stomach as I lay in bed and wondered what he will become in 30 years. Will he have a similar adoration of his father and respect (and patience) for his mother? Will he get married? Will he graduate from college? Right now, his only three-pound focus is on perfecting a triple axel that shakes my uterus wall so violently that it’s visible to the outside world, but soon he will be shaped by us. He will be in OUR hands. Everything we do, he will see – our goodbye morning kiss, his dad’s spitting, his mom’s toenail picking, scolding, fighting, eye-rolling, hugging…everything. And, these actions and surroundings will mold him into the person he will become. No pressure. Cripes!
I think these thoughts have something to do with the way I feel about this morning, when I remembered…then forgot…to wish my brother a fond farewell as he crosses the border into his new life. As a mother, a neglectful act like that will eat me up inside. I know it’s just one week, and many of you are probably rolling your eyes, but my maternal instincts are in overdrive and I can’t help but regret not getting in my goodbye phone call to this man I (patiently) watched grow up…even if it was just to tell him how much fun I had at the wedding and how proud I am to call myself his sister. If my son turns out to be even half the man he is, I will die happy.
Adios, Brandon and Sherri! Enjoy every minute. You deserve it.