To my little brother on the occasion of his engagement…

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The day that my little brother was born was the greatest day of my childhood.  In the interest of full disclosure, I should probably add that the other highlights of the day included a blizzard (a meteorological miracle in southeastern Virginia) and my grandparents arriving with an armload of presents for me because I was now a big sister.

The import of this new position was not lost on me.  I was, after all, four years old and in the heyday of playing mother to all my baby dolls.  And now I had a real one.  I fed him; I carried him; I fetched his toys; I read him books; I dressed him up in ridiculous ensembles.  When he developed his own language, I was the only one who could translate for him.  When he was in high school, I smuggled him into bars underage (gasp).  When he was in college and I was in law school, I did his laundry, fed him dinner, and took his bloody shirt (don’t ask) to the dry cleaners and explained that it was not, in fact, evidence from a crime scene.  In return, he has always loved me unconditionally, accepted every one of my many faults, and made me laugh when no one else could.

Your siblings are your first friends.  Your relationship will be the longest of your life.  They are your playmates and your confidantes, your co-conspirators and your unwavering alibis, your biggest cheerleaders and the only ones who will always tell you the truth without worrying about hurting your feelings.   They teach you how to share and how to fight.  You exchange secret eye rolls at the dinner table when your parents say something uncool.   You make fun of each other for bad haircuts and even worse outfits.  Your imaginations grow together as you build forts, go on super secret spy missions, swim in the ocean, and spend 8 hours in the backseat in an era before cars had DVD players.  Only they know how to make you laugh so hard that your face turns purple.

You hold your breath (and your tongue) when they date someone that you know doesn’t deserve their love.  Indeed, you firmly believe that no human being will ever be good enough for them.  Until you meet The One.  Capital T.  Capital O.

Congratulations to my baby brother and The One who makes him happier than I have ever seen him.  The One who embraces the craziness of our family and likes us anyway.  The One who loves every part of him, even the messy parts.  The One who knows how much we love her too.

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May you live happily ever after…