A Toast From My Sis

Brian and I have been married for six months today, which, by Us Weekly standards, means one of us should be dating Angelina Jolie by now. I probably wouldn’t have noticed the date if my wonderful sister hadn’t emailed me with the note: “I’ve been thinking about your six-month wedding anniversary for a while, wanting to give you something to commemorate it. Attached is the extended remix of the toast I gave at the reception, including the parts that I left out because I was winging it up there. Happy anniversary!”

I don’t like to brag, but I have the best sister ever. No, no, I’m sure your sister is cool and all, but I win. Deal with it. Thank you for this, Melia. It made me weep at the wedding, and I still get a little verklempt every time I read it. I can’t wait till the day when I get to return the favor, grabbing the mike after a few too many glasses of champagne and slurring, “You can’ have ‘er… she’s mine!”


Toasting with my two favorite people

To Gill and Brian
Maid of Honor’s Toast
January 17, 2009

As you may know, I’m Gill’s older sister by three years. We’ve been close throughout our lives, and she’s one of my favorite people on this earth. There’s something about having a sister so close in age that’s like nothing else. We have the same mannerisms, and it’s common for us to say things in unison. We have almost a secret language that comes from the roughly 10,000 inside jokes that date back over 20 years. I say one word and she’ll know what I’m talking about. That’s why no one will ever play the game of Taboo with us.

Just as there’s a special bond that comes with being sisters, there’s also a special kind of torment that an older sister reserves for the younger one. My mom likes to tell a story about when I was three years old and dragging my blanket down the hall…with little baby Gill asleep on the end. I told my mom that I was taking my blanket back. I also used to hide her stuffed orange Kitty, which she loved, in places like the freezer, or the microwave, and she would tell my mom she knew I was up to something because I was “smiling my mean smile.” I told her that I didn’t know what she was talking about. [Ed. note: This was the point in the toast when Darren confirmed my accusation that Melia has a mean smile. It’s a fact; it’s time to admit it.]

Up to no good

Probably right before she tried to feed the baby raisins

Of course, we had tons of happy times, too. We used to dress up Barbies while we watched terrible daytime TV during school vacations. We decorated the Christmas tree every year while listening to “Funky Funky Xmas” by New Kids on the Block. Actually, we still do.

Chillin’ in the city

San Francisco, 1986

Gill has always been so mature that I’ve always felt more a peer than someone three years older and wiser. I’ve always admired her for being the trailblazer in our family. She got her ears pierced first, moved across the country first, and now she’s getting married first. People ask me if it’s strange for me to have my little sister get married first, and I tell them that I love it, because when it’s my turn, she can tell me what to do.

I’ve always admired Gill for her courage to try new things no matter what anyone else is doing, and for so many other reasons. She has the entire package — she’s intelligent and beautiful, adventurous and active, creative and funny. And the biggest feat of all is that people don’t hate her for it. Quite the opposite. Girls love her because she will take them for a manicure and a martini when they’re feeling down. Guys love her because she’ll drink Miller High Lifes and play tackle football. It’s impossible not to love her. In fact, there’s a Cowboy Mouth song called “Everybody Loves Jill,” and they do not tell a lie.

I could never picture a guy who would suit Gill, a guy who A) wouldn’t be intimidated by all of her charms, and B) would bring just as much to the table. Brian surprised me by having both of these qualities and being an excellent fit for Gill. He shares her sense of humor, and like Gill, he’s smart, passionate, artistic, and really really ridiculously good-looking. One day they will have children and give rise to a superior hybrid race. When they do have kids, don’t be surprised if you never get a traditional holiday card from their family, the kind of posed studio portrait with matching sweaters. Instead, they’ll all probably dress up as Christmas pirates or will be leaping around in full-body spandex and afro wigs. (Brian, I’m not referring to any real events here).

Gill and Brian’s song, which will be their first dance and inspired the inscription on their rings, is Jack Johnson’s “Better Together,” and they really are. They’re one of those couples where the girl is cool, the guy is cool, and together they’re fantastic. They’re two talented individuals who have a synergy, meaning that their combined energy is more powerful than each alone.

I know that we’re all relieved that they’ll actually be ABLE to be together, since they’ve had to be apart during much of their four-year relationship. The summer after Gill’s college graduation, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, and they had to evacuate. At that point, Gill left for France and they did long distance for the better part of a year. Then Brian was deployed, came back briefly, and was deployed again. When Gill and Bri finally settle into a normal routine, I think we’ll have to storm their house in the middle of the night just to make them feel at home.

Brian, you are one lucky guy to get to be Gill’s husband. I know this because I got to be her pseudo-husband when Gill and I lived together in San Francisco during your first deployment. She and I would make nachos and watch our favorite TV shows every week, go grocery shopping together, and even be each other’s date for weddings. (Sorry, that’s why she tries to lead now every time you two dance.) When she moved away, I missed my partner in crime like crazy. I used to burst into tears every time I walked past her bedroom door. The only thing that made it easier was knowing that you two were happy. Plus, I bought a spinning wheel and a few dozen cats to keep me company until I met Darren.

Gill, I can’t believe that you’re all growns up. I can’t tell you how much you mean to me, and how happy I am that you’ve found the perfect guy for you. I can’t wait until we live in the same place again.

Brian, I know you appreciate Gill as much as I do, and you’ll be as good a husband to her as I was. Welcome to the family. You fit right in, and we love you already.

Now, everyone, please raise your glasses for a toast. Baby Sis, and my new Little Bro, may your lives continue to be better together. Cheers!


1 brian { 07.18.09 at 8:00 am }

This was just as good reading it again as it was hearing it for the first time. Thanks again Melia, great toast, you set the bar pretty high.

2 Sher { 07.18.09 at 8:58 am }

Not gonna lie, it made me cry the second time around too!

3 Meg { 07.19.09 at 11:41 pm }

Yep, got me the 2nd time just as hard as the first. You have a way with words Madame Melia :)

The pics make this even better!

4 Kerri { 07.20.09 at 11:30 am }

Damn it, Melia! You got my mascara running down my cheeks. Good thing I’m in Florida and blend in with all the other sun burnt “hot messes” walking around south beach :)

I wish I could have witnessed the first toast in person. I couldn’t agree more with you about their charm and energy as a couple.

Gill and Brian, happy anniversary!


5 Kathleen { 07.20.09 at 1:45 pm }

What can I say that hasn’t already been said? Still a wonderful toast. So happy for you two and can’t wait to see you both in August!!

6 Melia { 07.20.09 at 10:00 pm }

Thank you, dahlings, and Gill for sharing this with everyone. I am still surprised that I was able to get through the speech without sobbing. (The waterworks began during the father-daughter dance.)

I love the pics, especially my rockin’ hot pink, puffy 80s jacket, oh yeah! The photos brought back memories that made me verklempt, too. Happy anniversary, baby sis!

7 Gillian { 07.21.09 at 2:46 pm }

Aw, love you all. I’m glad I’m not the only one who cries at the drop of a hat. Jesus, who have I become?

Thanks, sis. Aren’t those pictures great? I found an envelope of childhood photos while unpacking, and I have to say we were pretty cute.

8 Mom { 08.15.09 at 1:27 pm }

Honest, folks, I didn’t let them have Cokes and M&Ms every day!

9 Erin NayNay { 08.29.09 at 7:27 pm }

Melia, you rock! I’m currently writing a speech for my sister’s wedding – not an easy task. Brava for being so eloquent and funny at the same time =)
Happy Anniversary Gill and Brian!

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