There were three little boys at my brother’s wedding this weekend. Two of them were mine.
That night, filled with so many firsts, was the greatest night in their little lives. The night they were no longer just children in a sea of adults. The night they were grownups too. They donned tuxedos and bow ties just like all the big boys did and checked the football scores while they waited.
They solemnly walked down the aisle of the church, clutching the rings in their sweaty anxious hands. Halfway down they forgot to be nervous, briefly breaking character to wave and smile at familiar faces in the crowd. They sat in the pew – the very first pew – and poured over the wedding program, tracing over their names again and again with fidgety fingers.
At the reception, exhausted from the day’s duties and tired of smiling for pictures, they stood at the bar and ordered their very first coca-colas. Grownup drinks for grownup boys. And giddy with the kind of love only little children can have, they twirled around the dance floor with their new aunt.
As the night went on, they shed their jackets and casually sauntered around the room with their top buttons undone and their bowties hanging loosely around their necks. They danced with all the pretty girls and all the handsome funny boys. They stayed up way past their bedtime, high on adrenaline and cake. And when the evening was over, they crawled into bed, their hair sticky with sweat and sugar, already dreaming of the magical night they just had.
The third boy was also mine. We belonged to each other the very moment my mother placed him in my awestruck arms 34 years ago. We have belonged to each other ever since. He is not a boy in the pejorative sense. He is, after all, 34 years old. A responsible banker who is fiercely loyal and unafraid to commit his whole heart to his family and friends and endeavors. A man who asked a girl to marry him in June and buried his father in July.
But there were moments that night which belied the mantle of adulthood that he has worn for so long. The brief flash in his eyes as he touched the smooth gold of the pocket watch – a gift from our mother to our father on their wedding day – and felt his father standing next to him. The flush in his cheeks as the pretty girl in the white dress came through the giant wooden doors of the church nave. The silly smile as he glanced down at the shiny gold band on his finger for the first time. The giggle he could not contain as the bandleader introduced them to the crowd as husband and wife.
In those moments, that 34 year old man was just a boy. Giddy with the love only a boy can have, on a night filled with firsts. On a night he will never forget.
There were three boys at my brother’s wedding. All in love with the same girl. The beautiful one in the white dress. The one who is in love with them too.
There were three boys at my brother’s wedding and they all belong to me. And now they belong to her too. We all belong to each other.