The script (not verbatim) of the toast I gave my brother and his fiancee on the eve of his wedding.
May it not be a rehearsal, lambie.
Andrew is three years younger and six inches taller, so he's no longer my little brother. But now that he has a little salt in the pepper of his hair, people often assume I'm younger. I allow this.
When we were in high school, we went shopping with our mom. My mother overheard a couple of girls talking about how cute Andrew was. One said, "Ugh. And that girl he was with! How did she get a guy like him?"
Now we're all wondering how Andrew got a girl like Sandra.
I'm told that life with a sibling started with much difficulty. I wanted to send him back when he got home. Like a dress, he didn't fit very well, and so we needed to just take him back to the hospital. But as we grew up, I gained a playmate, a partner in crime, a fellow adventurer. Sometimes, the adventures went too far. Once, I was giving him an upside down piggy back ride and dropped him on his head, giving him a rug burn down the side of his face. I pushed him off a pier and into a bed of barnacles, requiring four stitches in his foot. I convinced him that the Gulf of Mexico was safe to swim in, even though we could see a school of sting rays, and of course he got stung.
But through it all, he never stopped wanting to be my friend. We always got along. He is loyal and forgiving and easygoing. I practiced using a curling iron on him. I practiced cooking on him. I practiced a too-short-lived stint as a Disney princess on him.
But so many things in life are practice. Love. Grief. Forgiveness. These things don't have to be perfect. Close enough counts in a multitude of ways, including hand grenades, which my brother once dug up in the backyard.
Andrew is especially good at rolling with the unexpected. The lessons from our childhood prepared us to be good practitioners of love, of partnerships, and of loyalty. I've practiced all of these things with my brother and learned more from him than any other person.
I am incredibly grateful that he as found such an amazing woman for a lifelong partnership. They are a great fit for each other, and I can't wait to watch all their practice become perfect.